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Title: Captain Canot - or, Twenty Years of an African Slaver
Author: Canot, Theodore, Mayer, Brantz
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration:

CAPTAIN CANOT

OR

TWENTY YEARS
OF AN
AFRICAN SLAVER

D. APPLETON & CO.]



                 CAPTAIN CANOT;


       TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER


              BEING AN ACCOUNT OF

     HIS CAREER AND ADVENTURES ON THE COAST,
      IN THE INTERIOR, ON SHIPBOARD, AND IN
                THE WEST INDIES.


        WRITTEN OUT AND EDITED FROM THE

Captain's Journals, Memoranda and Conversations,


                       BY

                  BRANTZ MAYER.


NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
846 & 848 BROADWAY.
LONDON: 16 LITTLE BRITAIN.
M.DCCC.LIV.



[Illustration: MANDINGO CHIEF AND HIS SWORD BEARER.]



ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by

BRANTZ MAYER,

in the Clerk's Office of the United States District Court for the
District of Maryland.



TO

N. P. WILLIS,

OF IDLEWILD.

MY DEAR WILLIS,

While inscribing this work with your name, as a testimonial of our
long, unbroken friendship, you will let me say, I am sure, not only
how, but why I have written it.

About a year ago I was introduced to its hero, by Dr. James Hall, the
distinguished founder and first governor of our colony at Cape Palmas.
While busy with his noble task in Africa, Dr. Hall accidentally became
acquainted with Captain Canot, during his residence at Cape Mount, and
was greatly impressed in his favor by the accounts of all who knew
him. Indeed,--setting aside his career as a slaver,--Dr. Hall's
observation convinced him that Canot was a man of unquestionable
integrity. The zeal, moreover, with which he embraced the first
opportunity, after his downfall, to mend his fortunes by honorable
industry in South America, entitled him to respectful confidence. As
their acquaintance ripened, my friend gradually drew from the wanderer
the story of his adventurous life, and so striking were its incidents,
so true its delineations of African character, that he advised the
captain to prepare a copious memorandum, which I should write out for
the public.

Let me tell you why I undertook this task; but first, let me assure
you that, entertaining as the story might have been for a large class
of readers, I would not have composed a line for the mere
gratification of scandalous curiosity. My conversations with Canot
satisfied me that his disclosures were more thoroughly candid than
those of any one who has hitherto related his connection with the
traffic. I thought that the evidence of one who, for twenty years,
played the chief part in such a drama, was of value to society, which,
is making up its mind, not only about a great political and domestic
problem, but as to the nature of the race itself. I thought that a
true picture of aboriginal Africa,--unstirred by progress,--unmodified
by reflected civilization,--full of the barbarism that blood and
tradition have handed down from the beginning, and embalmed in its
prejudices, like the corpses of Egypt,--could not fail to be of
incalculable importance to philanthropists who regard no people as
beyond the reach of enlightenment.

The completed task rises before me like a moving panorama whose
scenery and background are the ocean and tropics, and whose principal
actor combines the astuteness of Fouché with the dexterity of Gil
Blas. I have endeavored to set forth his story as plainly as possible,
letting events instead of descriptions develope a chequered life which
was incessantly connected with desperate men of both colors. As he
unmasked his whole career, and gave me leave to use the incidents, I
have not dared to hide what the actor himself displayed no wish to
conceal. Besides the sketches of character which familiarize us with
the aboriginal negro in Africa, there is a good moral in the
resultless life, which, after all its toils, hazards, and successes
leaves the adventurer a stranded wreck in the prime of manhood. One
half the natural capacity, employed industriously in lawful commerce,
would have made the captain comfortable and independent. Nor is there
much to attract in the singular abnegation of civilized happiness in a
slaver's career. We may not be surprised, that such an _animal_ as Da
Souza, who is portrayed in these pages, should revel in the
sensualities of Dahomey; but we must wonder at the passive endurance
that could chain a superior order of man, like Don Pedro Blanco, for
fifteen unbroken years, to his pestilential hermitage, till the
avaricious anchorite went forth from the marshes of Gallinas, laden
with gold. I do not think this story is likely to seduce or educate a
race of slavers!

The frankness of Canot's disclosures may surprise the more reserved
and timid classes of society; but I am of opinion that there is an
ethnographic value in the account of his visit to the Mandingoes and
Fullahs, and especially in his narrative of the wars, jugglery,
cruelty, superstition, and crime, by which one sixth of Africa
subjects the remaining five sixths to servitude.

As the reader peruses these characteristic anecdotes, he will ask
himself how,--in the progress of mankind,--such a people is to be
approached and dealt with? Will the Mahometanism of the North which is
winning its way southward, and infusing itself among the crowds of
central Africa, so as, in some degree, to modify their barbarism,
prepare the primitive tribes to receive a civilization and faith which
are as true as they are divine? Will our colonial fringe spread its
fibres from the coast to the interior, and, like veins of refreshing
blood, pour new currents into the mummy's heart? Is there hope for a
nation which, in three thousand years, has hardly turned in its sleep?
The identical types of race, servitude, occupation, and character that
are now extant in Africa, may be found on the Egyptian monuments built
forty centuries ago; while a Latin poem, attributed to Virgil,
describes a menial negress who might unquestionably pass for a slave
of our Southern plantations:

    "Interdum clamat Cybalen; erat unica custos;
    Afra genus, tota patriam testante figura;
    Torta comam, labroque tumens, et fusca colorem;
    Pectore lata, jacens mammis, compressior alvo,
    Cruribus exilis, spatiosa prodiga planta;
    Continuis rimis calcanea scissa rigebant."[1]

It will be seen from these hints that our memoir has nothing to do
with slavery as a North American institution, except so far as it is
an inheritance from the system it describes; yet, in proportion as the
details exhibit an innate or acquired inferiority of the negro race
_in its own land_, they must appeal to every generous heart in behalf
of the benighted continent.

It has lately become common to assert that Providence permits _an
exodus through slavery_, in order that the liberated negro may in time
return, and, with foreign acquirements, become the pioneer of African
civilization. It is attempted to reconcile us to this "good from
evil," by stopping inquiry with the "inscrutability of God's ways!"
But we should not suffer ourselves to be deceived by such imaginary
irreverence; for, in God's ways, there is nothing _less_ inscrutable
than his _law of right_. That law is never qualified in this world. It
moves with the irresistible certainty of organized nature, and, while
it makes man free, in order that his responsibility may be
unquestionable, it leaves mercy, even, for the judgment hereafter.
Such a system of divine law can never palliate _the African slave
trade_, and, in fact, it is the basis of that human legislation which
converts the slaver into a pirate, and awards him a felon's doom.

For these reasons, we should discountenance schemes like those
proposed not long ago in England, and sanctioned by the British
government, for the encouragement of spontaneous emigration from
Africa under the charge of _contractors_. The plan was viewed with
fear by the colonial authorities, and President Roberts at once issued
a proclamation to guard the natives. No one, I think, will read this
book without a conviction that the idea of _voluntary expatriation_
has not dawned on the African mind, and, consequently, what might
begin in laudable philanthropy would be likely to end in practical
servitude.

Intercourse, trade, and colonization, in slow but steadfast growth,
are the providences intrusted to us for the noble task of
civilization. They who are practically acquainted with the colored
race of our country, have long believed that gradual colonization was
the only remedy for Africa as well as America. The repugnance of the
free blacks to _emigration from our shores_ has produced a tardy
movement, and thus the African population has been thrown back grain
by grain, and not wave by wave. Every one conversant with the state of
our colonies, knows how beneficial this languid accretion has been. It
moved many of the most enterprising, thrifty, and independent. It
established a social nucleus from the best classes of American colored
people. Like human growth, it allowed the frame to mature in muscular
solidity. It gave immigrants time to test the climate; to learn the
habit of government in states as well as in families; to acquire the
bearing of freemen; to abandon their imitation of the whites among
whom they had lived; and thus, by degrees, to consolidate a social and
political system which may expand into independent and lasting
nationality. Instead, therefore, of lamenting the slowness with which
the colonies have reached their vigorous promise, we should consider
it a blessing that the vicious did not rush forth in turbulent crowds
with the worthy, and impede the movements of better folks, who were
still unused to the task of self-reliance.

Men are often too much in a hurry to do good, and mar by excessive
zeal what patience would complete. "Deus quies quia æternus," saith
St. Augustine. The cypress is a thousand years in growth, yet its
limbs touch not the clouds, save on a mountain top. Shall the
regeneration of a continent be quicker than its ripening? That would
be miracle--not progress.

Accept this offering, my dear Willis, as a token of that sincere
regard, which, during an intimacy of a quarter of a century, has never
wavered in its friendly trust.

    Faithfully, yours,

    BRANTZ MAYER.

    BALTIMORE, _1st July, 1854_.


FOOTNOTE:

[1] MORETUM,--Carm. Virg. Wagner's ed. vol. 4, p. 301.



CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE
 CHAP. I.--My parentage and education--Apprenticed at Leghorn to
 an American captain--First voyage--its mishaps--overboard--black
 cook--Sumatra--cabin-boy--Arrival in Boston--My first
 _command_--View of Boston harbor from the mast-head--My first
 interview with a Boston merchant, WILLIAM GRAY                      1

 CHAP. II.--My uncle tells my adventure with LORD BYRON--CAPTAIN
 TOWNE, and my life in Salem--My skill in Latin--Five years
 voyaging from Salem--I rescue a Malay girl at Quallahbattoo--The
 _first_ slave I ever saw--End of my apprenticeship--My backslidings
 in Antwerp and Paris--Ship on a British vessel for Brazil--The
 captain and his wife--Love, grog, and grumbling--A scene in the
 harbor of Rio--Matrimonial happiness--Voyage to Europe--Wreck
 and loss on the coast near Ostend                                  10

 CHAP. III.--I design going to South America--A Dutch galliot
 for Havana--Male and female captain--Run foul of in the Bay
 of Biscay--Put into Ferrol, in Spain--I am appropriated by
 a _new_ mother, grandmother, and sisters--A comic scene--How
 I got out of the scrape--Set sail for Havana--Jealousy of
 the captain--Deprived of my post--Restored--Refuse to do
 duty--Its sad consequences--Wrecked on a reef near
 Cuba--Fisherman-wreckers--Offer to land cargo--Make a bargain
 with our salvors--A sad _denouement_--A night bath and escape      19

 CHAP. IV.--Bury my body in the sand to escape the insects--Night
 of horror--Refuge on a tree--Scented by bloodhounds--March to
 the rancho--My guard--Argument about my fate--"MY UNCLE" RAFAEL
 suddenly appears on the scene--Magic change effected by
 my relationship--Clothed, and fed, and comforted--I find an
 uncle, and am protected--MESCLET--Made cook's mate--Gallego,
 the cook--His appearance and character--DON RAFAEL'S
 story--"Circumstances"--His counsel for my conduct on the
 island                                                             31

 CHAP. V.--Life on a sand key--Pirates and wreckers--Their
 difference--Our galliot destroyed--the gang goes to Cuba--I am
 left with Gallego--His daily fishing and nightly flitting--I
 watch him--My discoveries in the graveyard--Return of the
 wreckers--"Amphibious Jews"--Visit from a Cuban
 inspector--"Fishing license"--Gang goes to Cape Verde--Report
 of a fresh wreck--Chance of escape--Arrival--Return of
 wreckers--Bachicha and his clipper--Death of Mesclet--My
 adventures in a privateer--My restoration to the key--Gallego's
 charges--His trial and fate                                        41

 CHAP. VI.--I am sent from the key--Consigned to a grocer at
 Regla--CIBO--His household--Fish-loving padre--Our dinners
 and studies--Rafael's fate--Havana--A slaver--I sail for
 Africa--The Areostatico's voyage, crew, gale--Mutiny--How
 I meet it alone--My first night in Africa!                         57

 CHAP. VII.--Reflections on my conduct and character--Morning
 after the mutiny--Burial of the dead--My wounds--JACK ORMOND
 or the "MONGO JOHN"--My physician and his prescription--Value
 of woman's milk--I make the vessel ready for her slave cargo--I
 dine with Mongo John--His harem--Frolic in it--Duplicity of my
 captain--I take service with Ormond as his clerk--I _pack_ the
 human cargo of the Areostatico--Farewell to my English
 cabin-boy--His story                                               68

 CHAP. VIII.--I take possession of my new quarters--My household
 and its fittings--History of Mr. Ormond--How he got his rights
 in Africa--I take a survey of his property and of my duties--The
 Cerberus of his harem--Unga-golah's stealing--Her rage at my
 opposition--A night visit at my quarters--ESTHER, the
 quarteroon--A warning and a sentimental scene--Account of
 an African factor's harem--Mongo John in his decline--His
 women--Their flirtations--Battles among the girls--How African
 beaus fight a duel _for love_!--Scene of passionate jealousy
 among the women                                                    76

 CHAP. IX.--Pains and dreariness of the "wet season"--African
 rain!--A CARAVAN announced as coming to the Coast--Forest
 paths and trails in Africa--How we arrange to catch a
 caravan--"Barkers," who they are--AHMAH-DE-BELLAH, son of
 the ALI-MAMI of FOOTHA-YALLON--A Fullah chief leads the caravan
 of 700 persons--Arrival of the caravan--Its character and
 reception--Its produce taken charge of--People billeted--Mode
 of trading for the produce of a caravan--(_Note:_ Account of
 the produce, its value and results)--Mode of purchasing
 the produce--Sale over--Gift of an ostrich--Its value in
 guns--_Bungee_ or "_dash_"--Ahmah-de-Bellah--How he got up
 his caravan--Blocks the forest paths--Convoy duties--Value and
 use of blocking the forest paths--Collecting debts, &c.--My
 talks with Ahmah--his instructions and sermons on Islamism--My
 geographical disquisitions, rotundity of the world, the Koran--I
 consent to turn, _minus_ the baptism!--Ahmah's attempt to vow
 me to Islamism--Fullah punishments--Slave wars--Piety and
 profit--Ahmah and I exchange gifts--A double-barrelled gun
 for a Koran--I promise to visit the Fullah country                 84

 CHAP. X.--Mode of purchasing Slaves at factories--Tricks of
 jockeys--Gunpowder and lemon-juice--I become absolute manager
 of the stores--Reconciliation with Unga-golah--La belle
 Esther--I get the African fever--My nurses--Cured by sweating
 and bitters--Ague--Showerbath remedy--MR. EDWARD JOSEPH--My
 union with him--I quit the Mongo, and take up my quarters with
 the Londoner                                                       94

 CHAP. XI.--An epoch in my life in 1827--A vessel arrives
 consigned to me for slaves--LA FORTUNA--How I managed to sell
 my cigars and get a cargo, though I had no factory--My first
 shipment--(Note on the cost and profit of a slave voyage)--How
 slaves are selected for various markets, and shipped--Go on
 board naked--hearty feed before embarkation--Stowage--Messes--Mode
 of eating--Grace--Men and women separated--Attention to health,
 cleanliness, ventilation--Singing and amusements--Daily
 purification of the vessel--Night, order and silence preserved
 by negro constables--Use and disuse of handcuffs--Brazilian
 slavers--(Note on condition of slavers since the treaty with
 Spain)                                                             99

 CHAP. XII.--How a cargo of slaves is landed in Cuba--Detection
 avoided--"_Gratificaciones_." Clothes distributed--Vessel burnt
 or sent in as a coaster, or in distress--A slave's first glimpse
 of a Cuban plantation--Delight with food and dress--Oddity of
 beasts of burden and vehicles--A slave's first interview
 with a negro _postilion_--the postilion's sermon in favor of
 slavery--Dealings with the anchorites--How tobacco smoke blinds
 public functionaries--My popularity on the Rio Pongo--Ormond's
 enmity to me                                                      107

 CHAP. XIII.--I become intimate with "Country princes" and receive
 their presents--Royal marriages--Insulting to refuse a proffered
 wife--I am pressed to wed a princess and my diplomacy to escape
 the sable noose--My partner agrees to marry the princess--The
 ceremonial of wooing and wedding in African high life--COOMBA     110

 CHAP. XIV.--JOSEPH, my partner, has to fly from Africa--How
 I save our property--My visit to the BAGERS--their primitive
 mode of life--Habits--Honesty--I find my property unguarded and
 safe--My welcome in the village--Gift of a goat--Supper--Sleep--A
 narrow escape in the surf on the coast--the skill of KROOMEN      118

 CHAP. XV.--I study the institution of SLAVERY IN AFRICA--Man
 becomes a "legal tender," or the coin of Africa--Slave wars,
 how they are directly promoted by the peculiar adaptation
 of the trade of the great commercial nations--Slavery an
 immemorial institution in Africa--How and why it will always be
 retained--Who are made _home_ slaves--Jockeys and brokers--Five
 sixths of Africa in domestic bondage                              126

 CHAP. XVI.--Caravan announced--MAMI-DE-YONG, from Footha-Yallon,
 uncle of Ahmah-de-Bellah--My ceremonious reception--My
 preparations for the chief--Coffee--his school and
 teaching--NARRATIVE OF HIS TRIP TO TIMBUCTOO--Queer
 black-board map--prolix story teller--Timbuctoo and its
 trade--Slavery                                                    129

 CHAP. XVII.--I set forth on my journey to TIMBO, to see
 the father of Ahmah-de-Bellah--My caravan and its mode of
 travel--My Mussulman passport--Forest roads--Arrive at KYA
 among the MANDINGOES--My lodgings--IBRAHIM ALI--Our supper
 and "bitters"--A scene of piety, love and liquor--Next morning's
 headache--ALI-NINPHA begs leave to halt for a day--I manage our
 Fullah guide--My fever--Homoeopathic dose of Islamism from the
 Koran--My cure--Afternoon                                         136

 CHAP. XVIII.--A ride on horseback--Its exhilaration in the
 forest--Visit to the DEVIL'S FOUNTAIN--Tricks of an echo and
 sulphur water--Ibrahim and I discourse learnedly upon the ethics
 of fluids--My respect for national peculiarities--Our host's
 liberality--Mandingo etiquette at the departure of a guest--A
 valuable gift from Ibrahim and its delicate bestowal--My offering
 in return--Tobacco and brandy                                     143

 CHAP. XIX.--A night bivouac in the forest--Hammock swung between
 trees--A surprise and capture--What we do with the fugitive
 slaves--A Mandingo upstart and his "town"--Inhospitality--He
 insults my Fullah leader--A quarrel--The Mandingo is seized and
 his townsfolk driven out--We tarry for Ali-Ninpha--He returns and
 tries his countrymen--Punishment--Mode of inculcating the social
 virtues among these interior tribes--We cross the Sanghu on an
 impromptu bridge--Game--Forest food--Vegetables--A "Witch's
 cauldron" of reptiles for the negroes                             147

 CHAP. XX.--Spread of Mahometanism in the interior of Africa--The
 external aspect of nature in Africa--Prolific land--Indolence
 a law of the physical constitution--My caravan's progress--The
 ALI-MAMI'S PROTECTION, its value--Forest scenery--Woods,
 open plains, barrancas and ravines--Their intense
 heat--Prairies--Swordgrass--River scenery, magnificence
 of the shores, foliage, flowers, fruits and birds; picturesque
 towns, villages and herds--Mountain scenery, view, at _morning_,
 over the lowlands--An African noon                                153

 CHAP. XXI.--We approach TAMISSO--Our halt at a brook--bathing,
 beautifying, and adornment of the women--Message and welcome
 from MOHAMEDOO, by his son, with a gift of food--Our musical
 escort and procession to the city--My horse is led by a buffoon
 of the court, who takes care of my face--Curiosity of the
 townsfolk to see the white Mongo--I pass on hastily to the
 PALACE OF MOHAMEDOO--What an African palace and its furniture
 is--Mohamedoo's appearance, greeting and dissatisfaction--I make
 my present and clear up the clouds--I determine to bathe--How
 the girls watch me--Their commentaries on my skin and
 complexion--Negro curiosity--A bath scene--Appearance of
 Tamisso, and my entertainment there                               157

 CHAP. XXII.--Improved character of country and population as
 we advance to the interior--We approach JALLICA--Notice to
 SUPHIANA--A halt for refreshment and ablutions--Ali-Ninpha's
 early home here--A great man in SOOLIMANA--Sound of the
 war-drum at a distance--Our welcome--Entrance to the town--My
 party, with the Fullah, is barred out--We are rescued--Grand
 ceremonial procession and reception, lasting two hours--I am,
 at last, presented to Suphiana--My entertainment in Jallica--A
 concert--Musical instruments--MADOO, the _ayah_--I reward her
 dancing and singing                                               162

 CHAP. XXIII.--Our caravan proceeds towards Timbo--Met
 and welcomed in advance, on a lofty table land, by
 Ahmah-de-Bellah--Psalm of joy song by the Fullahs for our
 safety--We reach TIMBO before day--A house has been specially
 built and furnished for me--Minute care for my taste and
 comforts--Ahmah-de-Bellah _a trump_--A fancy dressing-gown
 and ruffled shirt--I bathe, dress, and am presented to
 the ALI-MAMI--His inquisitive but cordial reception and
 recommendation--Portrait of a Fullah king--A breakfast with
 his wife--My formal reception by the Chiefs of Timbo and
 SULIMANI-ALI--The ceremonial--Ahmah's speech as to my
 purposes--Promise of hospitality--My gifts--I design purchasing
 slaves--scrutiny of the presents--_Cantharides_--ABDULMOMEN-ALI,
 a prince and book-man--His edifying discourse on Islamism--My
 submission                                                        167

 CHAP. XXIV.--Site of Timbo and the surrounding country--A ride
 with the princes--A modest custom of the Fullahs in passing
 streams--Visit to villages--The inhabitants fly, fearing we are
 on a slave scout--Appearance of the cultivated lands, gardens,
 near Findo and Furo--Every body shuns me--A walk through Timbo--A
 secret expedition--I watch the girls and matrons as they go to
 the stream to draw water--Their figures, limbs, dress--A splendid
 headdress--The people of Timbo, their character, occupation,
 industry, reading--I announce my approaching departure--Slave
 forays to supply me--A capture of forty-five by Sulimani-Ali--The
 personal dread of me increases--Abdulmomen and Ahmah-de-Bellah
 continue their slave hunts by day, and their pious discourses on
 Islamism by night--I depart--The farewell gifts--two pretty
 damsels                                                           176

 CHAP. XXV.--My home journey--We reach home with a caravan near a
 thousand strong--Kambia in order--Mami-de-Yong and my clerk--The
 story and fate of the Ali-Mami's daughter BEELJIE                 183

 CHAP. XXVI.--Arrival of a French slaver, LA PEROUSE, Captain
 Brulôt--Ormond and I breakfast on board--Its sequel--We are made
 prisoners and put in irons--Short mode of collecting an old debt
 on the coast of Africa--The Frenchman gets possession of our
 slaves--Arrival of a Spanish slaver                               190

 CHAP. XXVII.--Ormond communicates with the Spaniard, and arranges
 for our rescue--LA ESPERANZA--Brulôt gives in--How we fine him
 two hundred and fifty doubloons for the expense of his suit, and
 teach him the danger of playing tricks upon African factors       196

 CHAP. XXVIII.--CAPT. ESCUDERO of the Esperanza dies--I resolve
 to take his place in command and visit Cuba--Arrival of a Danish
 slaver--Quarrel and battle between the crews of my Spaniard and
 the Dane--The Dane attempts to punish me through the duplicity of
 Ormond--I bribe a servant and discover the trick--My conversation
 with Ormond--We agree to circumvent the enemy--How I get a cargo
 without cash                                                      200

 CHAP. XXIX.--Off to sea--A calm--A British man-of-war--Boat
 attack--Reinforcement--A battle--A catastrophe--A prisoner        206

 CHAP. XXX.--I am sent on board the corvette--My reception--A
 dangerous predicament--The Captain and surgeon make me
 comfortable for the night--Extraordinary conveniences for
 escape, of which I take the liberty to avail myself               214

 CHAP. XXXI.--I drift away in a boat with my servant--Our
 adventures till we land in the ISLES DE LOSS--My illness and
 recovery--I return to the Rio Pongo--I am received on board a
 French slaver--Invitation to dinner--Monkey soup and its
 consequences                                                      218

 CHAP. XXXII.--My greeting in KAMBIA--The FELIZ from
 Matanzas--Negotiations for her cargo--Ormond attempts
 to poison me--Ormond's _suicide_--His burial according
 to African customs                                                222

 CHAP. XXXIII.--A visit to the MATACAN river in quest of
 slaves--My reception by the king--His appearance--Scramble
 for my gifts--How slaves are sometimes trapped on a hasty
 hunt--I visit the MATACAN WIZARD; his cave, leopard, blind
 boy--Deceptions and jugglery--Fetiches--A scale of African
 intellect                                                         227

 CHAP. XXXIV.--What became of the Esperanza's officers and
 crew--The destruction of my factory at Kambia by fire--I lose
 all but my slaves--the incendiary detected--Who instigated the
 deed--Ormond's relatives--DEATH OF ESTHER--I go to sea in a
 schooner from Sierra Leone--How I acquire a cargo of slaves
 in the Rio Nunez without money                                    233

 CHAP. XXXV.--I escape capture--Symptoms of mutiny and detection
 of the plot--How we put it down                                   240

 CHAP. XXXVI.--A "white squall"--I land my cargo near St. Jago de
 Cuba--Trip to Havana on horseback--My consignees and their prompt
 arrangements--success of my voyage--Interference of the French
 Consul--I am _nearly_ arrested--How things were managed, of old,
 in Cuba                                                           244

 CHAP. XXXVII.--A long holiday--I am wrecked on a key--My
 rescue by salvors--New Providence--I ship on the SAN PABLO,
 from St. Thomas's, as sailing master--Her captain and
 his arrangements--Encounter a transport--Benefit of the
 small-pox--Mozambique Channel--Take cargo near QUILLIMANE--How
 we managed to get slaves--Illness of our captain--The
 small-pox breaks out on our brig--Its fatality                    248

 CHAP. XXXVIII.--Our captain _longs_ for calomel, and how I get
 it from a Scotchman--Our captain's last will and testament--We
 are chased by a British cruiser--How we out-manoevred and
 crippled her--Death of our captain--Cargo landed and the San
 Pablo burnt                                                       255

 CHAP. XXXIX.--My returns from the voyage $12,000, and how I apply
 them--A custom-house encounter which loses me LA CONCHITA and
 my money--I get command of a slaver for AYUDAH--LA ESTRELLA--I
 consign her to the notorious DA SOUZA or CHA-CHA--His history
 and mode of life in Africa--His gambling houses and women--I
 keep aloof from his temptations, and contrive to get my cargo
 in two months                                                     260

 CHAP. XL.--All Africans believe in divinities or powers of
 various degree, except the Bagers--Iguanas worshipped in
 Ayudah--Invitation to witness the HUMAN SACRIFICES at the court
 of DAHOMEY--How they travel to ABOMEY--The King, his court,
 amazons, style of life, and brutal festivities--Superstitious
 rights at LAGOS--The JUJU hunts by night for the virgin to be
 sacrificed--Gree-gree bush--The sacrifice--African priest and
 kingcraft                                                         265

 CHAP. XLI.--My voyage home in the ESTRELLA--A REVOLT OF THE
 SLAVES during a squall, and how we were obliged to suppress
 it--Use of pistols and hot water                                  272

 CHAP. XLII.--Smallpox and a _necessary murder_--Bad luck every
 where--A chase and a narrow escape                                276

 CHAP. XLIII.--The AGUILA DE ORO, a Chesapeake clipper--my race
 with the Montesquieu--I enter the river Salum to trade for
 slaves--I am threatened, then arrested, and my clipper seized by
 French man-of-war's men--Inexplicable mystery--We are imprisoned
 at GOREE--Transferred to San Louis on the Senegal--The Frenchmen
 appropriate my schooner without condemnation--How they used her
 The sisters of charity in our prison--The trial scene in court,
 and our sentence--Friends attempt to facilitate my escape, but
 our plans detected--I am transferred to a guard-ship in the
 stream--New projects for my escape--A jolly party and the nick
 of time, but the captain spoils the sport                         280

 CHAP. XLIV.--I am sent to France in the frigate FLORA--Sisters
 of charity--The prison of Brest--My prison companions--Prison
 mysteries--CORPORAL BLON--I apply to the Spanish
 minister--Transfer to the civil prison                            286

 CHAP. XLV.--MADAME SORRET and my new quarters--Mode of life--A
 lot of Catalan girls--Prison boarding and lodging--Misery of
 the convicts in the coast prisons--Improvement of the central
 prisons                                                           292

 CHAP. XLVI.--New lodgers in our quarters--How we pass our
 time in pleasant diversions by aid of the Catalan girls and
 my cash--Soirées--My funds give out--Madame Sorret makes a
 suggestion--I turn schoolmaster, get pupils, teach English
 and penmanship, and support my whole party                        295

 CHAP. XLVII.--MONSIEUR GERMAINE, the forger--His trick--Cause of
 Germaine's arrest--An adroit and rapid forgery--Its detection     300

 CHAP. XLVIII.--Plan of escape--Germaine's project against
 Babette--A new scheme for New Year's night--Passports--PIETRO
 NAZZOLINI and DOMINICO ANTONETTI--Preparations for our "French
 leave"--How the attempt eventuated                                304

 CHAP. XLIX.--Condition of the sentinel when he was found--His
 story--Prison researches next day--How we avoid detection--Louis
 Philippe receives my petition favorably--Germaine's philosophic
 pilfering and principles--His plan to rob the SANTISSIMA CASA OF
 LORETTO--He designs making an attempt on the Emperor Nicholas--I
 am released and banished from France                              310

 CHAP. L.--I go to Portugal, and return in disguise to Marseilles,
 in order to embark for Africa--I resolve to continue a slaver--A
 Marseilles hotel during the cholera--DOCTOR DU JEAN and MADAME
 DUPREZ--Humors of the _table d'hôte_--Coquetry and flirtation--A
 phrenological _denouement_                                        316

 CHAP. LI.--I reach Goree, and hasten to Sierra Leone, where I
 become a coast-pilot to GALLINAS--Site of that celebrated
 factory--_Don_ PEDRO BLANCO--His monopoly of the Vey
 country--Slave-trade and its territorial extent prior to
 the AMERICAN SCHEME OF COLONIZATION--Blanco's arrangements,
 telegraphs, &c. at Gallinas--Appearance and mode of life--Blanco
 and the Lords' prayer in Latin                                    324

 CHAP. LII.--Anecdotes of Blanco--Growth of slave-trade in
 the VEY country--Local wars--AMARAR and SHIAKAR--Barbarities
 of the natives                                                    330

 CHAP. LIII.--I visit LIBERIA, and observe a new phase of negro
 development--I go to NEW SESTROS, and establish trade--Trouble
 with Prince FREEMAN--The value of gunpowder physic                335

 CHAP. LIV.--My establishment at New Sestros, and how I created
 the slave-trade in that region--The ordeal of SAUCY-WOOD--My
 mode of attacking a superstitious usage, and of saving the
 victims--The story of BARRAH and his execution                    339

 CHAP. LV.--No river at New Sestros--Beach--Kroomen and
 Fishmen--Bushmen--Kroo boats--I engage a fleet of them for
 my factory--I ship a cargo of slaves in a hurry--My mode
 of operating--Value of rum and mock coral beads--Return
 of the cruiser                                                    344

 CHAP. LVI.--I go on a pleasure voyage in the Brilliant,
 accompanied by GOVERNOR FINDLEY--Murder of the Governor--I
 fit out an expedition to revenge his death--A fight with
 the beach negroes--We burn five towns--A disastrous retreat--I
 am wounded--Vindication of Findley's memory                       349

 CHAP. LVII.--What Don Pedro Blanco thought of my
 Quixotism--Painful effects of my wound--Blanco's
 liberality to Findley's family--My slave _nurseries_
 on the coast--Digby--I pack nineteen negroes on my launch,
 and set sail for home--Disastrous voyage--Stories--I land
 my cargo at night at MONROVIA, and carry it through the
 colony!--Some new views of commercial Morality!                   356

 CHAP. LVIII.--My compliments to British cruisers--The BONITO--I
 offer an inspection of my barracoons, &c., to her officers--A
 lieutenant and the surgeon are sent ashore--My reception of them,
 and the review of my slaves, feeding, sleeping, &c.--Our night
 frolic--Next morning--A surprise--The Bonito off, and her
 officers ashore!--Almost a quarrel--How I pacified my guests over
 a good breakfast--Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander     362

 CHAP. LIX.--Ups and downs--I am captured in a Russian vessel,
 and sent to Sierra Leone--It is resolved that I am to be despatched
 to England--I determine to take French leave--Preparation
 to celebrate a birthday--A feast--A martinet--CORPORAL
 BLUNT--Pleasant effects of cider--A swim for life and liberty
 at night--My concealment--I manage to equip myself, and depart
 in a Portuguese vessel--I ship thirty-one slaves at Digby--A
 narrow escape from a cruiser--My return to New Sestros--Report
 of my death--How I restored confidence in my actual existence--Don
 Pedro's notion of me--The gift of a donkey, and its disastrous
 effect on the married ladies of New Sestros                       369

 CHAP. LX.--The confession of a dying sailor--SANCHEZ--The story
 of the murder of Don Miguel, and destruction of his factory by
 THOMPSON--A piratical revenge--An _auto-da-fé_ at sea             377

 CHAP. LXI.--My establishment at Digby--The rival kinsmen,
 and their quarrel--JEN-KEN, THE BUSHMAN--My arrival at
 Digby, carousal--A night attack by the rival and his
 allies--A rout--Horrid scenes of massacre, barbarity,
 and cannibalism--My position and ransom                           382

 CHAP. LXII.--I escape from the bloody scene in a boot with
 a Krooman--Storm on the coast--My perilous attempt to land
 at Gallinas--How I am warned off--An African tornado--The
 sufferings of my companion and myself while exposed in the
 boat, and our final rescue                                        387

 CHAP. LXIII.--Don Pedro Blanco leaves Gallinas--I visit Cape
 Mount, to restore his son to the Chief--His reception--I go
 to England in the GIL BLAS; she is run down by steamer in the
 Channel--Rescued, and reach Dover--I see London and the British
 Islands--The diversions, sufferings, and opinions of my servant
 LUNES in Great Britain--He leaves voluntarily for Africa--A queer
 chat and scene with the ladies--His opinion of negro dress and
 negro bliss                                                       391

 CHAP. LXIV.--I make arrangements for future trade and business
 with MR. REDMAN--I go to Havana, resolved to obtain a release
 from Blanco, and engage in lawful commerce--Don Pedro refuses,
 and sends me back with a freight--A voyage with two African
 females revisiting their native country--Their story in Cuba;
 results of frugality and industry--Shiakar's daughter--Her
 reception at home--Her disgust with her savage home in Africa,
 and return to Cuba                                                396

 CHAP. LXV.--I find my establishment in danger, from the colonists
 and others--A correspondence with LIEUT. BELL, U. S. N.--Harmless
 termination of GOVERNOR BUCHANAN's onslaught--Threatened with
 famine; my relief--The VOLADOR takes 749 slaves;--THE LAST CARGO
 I EVER SHIPPED                                                    399

 CHAP. LXVI.--I am attacked by the British cruiser TERMAGANT,
 Lieut. SEAGRAM--Correspondence and diplomacy--I go on board the
 cruiser in a _damp uniform_--My reception and jollification--I
 CONFESS MY INTENTION TO ABANDON THE SLAVE-TRADE--My compact
 with Seagram--How we manage Prince Freeman--His treaty with
 the Lieutenant for the suppression of the trade--The negro's
 duplicity outwits himself--The British officer guaranties
 the safe removal of my property, whereupon I release 100
 slaves--Captain DENMAN'S DESTRUCTION OF GALLINAS--Freeman
 begins to see my diplomacy, and regrets his inability to
 plunder my property, as the natives had done at Gallinas--His
 plot to effect this--How I counteract it                          405

 CHAP. LXVII.--My barracoons destroyed--Adieus to New Sestros--I
 sail with Seagram, in the Termagant, for Cape Mount--A slaver
 in sight--All the nautical men depart to attack her in boats
 during a calm--I am left in charge of Her Britannic Majesty's
 cruiser--The fruitless issue--Escape of the Serea                 411

 CHAP. LXVIII.--We land at Cape Mount, and obtain a cession of
 territory, by deed, from KING FANA-TORO and PRINCE GRAY--I
 explore the region--Site of old English slave factory--Difficulty
 of making the negroes comprehend my improvements at New
 Florence--Negro speculations and philosophy in regard to labor.   414

 CHAP. LXIX.--Visit to Monrovia--Description of the colony and
 its products--Speculations on the future of the republic, and
 the character of colored colonization                             419

 CHAP. LXX.--I remove, and settle permanently at New Florence--I
 open communications with cruisers to supply them with provisions,
 &c.--Anecdote of SOMA, the gambler--His sale and danger in the
 hands of a Bushman--Mode of gambling one's self away in Africa--A
 letter from Governor Macdonald destroys my prospect of British
 protection--I haul down the British flag--I determine to devote
 myself to husbandry--Bad prospect                                 424

 CHAP. LXXI.--Account of the character of the VEY negroes--The
 GREE-GREE bush--Description of this institution, its rites,
 services, and uses--Marriage and midwifery--A scene with
 Fana-Toro, at Toso--Human sacrifice of his enemy; frying a
 heart; indignity committed on the body--Anecdote of the king's
 endurance; burns his finger as a test, and rallies his men--Death
 of Prince Gray--Funeral rites among the Vey people--_Smoking the
 corpse_--I am offered the choice of his widows                    429

 CHAP. LXXII.--My workshops, gardens, and plantations at the Cape
 Mount settlement--I do not prosper as a farmer or trader with
 _the interior_--I decide to send a _coaster_ to aid in the
 transfer of the Yankee clipper A---- to a slaver--I part on bad
 terms with the British--Game at Cape Mount--Adventure of a boy
 and an _Ourang-outang_--How we killed leopards, and saved our
 castle--Mode of hunting elephants--Elephant law                   437

 CHAP. LXXIII.--Fana-Toro's war, and its effect on my
 establishment--I decline joining actively in the conflict--I
 allow captives to be shipped by a Gallinas factor--Two years
 of blockade by the British--A miraculous voyage of a long-boat
 with thirty-three slaves to Bahia--My disasters and mishaps
 at Cape Mount in consequence of this war--Exaggerations of
 my enemies--My true character--Letter from Rev. JOHN SEYS to
 me--My desire to aid the missionaries--CAIN and CURTIS stimulate
 the British against me--Adventure of the Chancellor--the British
 destroy my establishment--Death of Fana-Toro--The natives revenge
 my loss--The end                                                  442



THEODORE CANOT.



CHAPTER I.


Whilst Bonaparte was busy conquering Italy, my excellent father, Louis
Canot, a captain and paymaster in the French army, thought fit to
pursue his fortunes among the gentler sex of that fascinating country,
and luckily won the heart and hand of a blooming Piedmontese, to whom
I owe my birth in the capital of Tuscany.

My father was faithful to the Emperor as well as the Consul. He
followed his sovereign in his disasters as well as glory: nor did he
falter in allegiance until death closed his career on the field of
Waterloo.

Soldiers' wives are seldom rich, and my mother was no exception to the
rule. She was left in very moderate circumstances, with six children
to support; but the widow of an old campaigner, who had partaken the
sufferings of many a long and dreary march with her husband, was
neither disheartened by the calamity, nor at a loss for thrifty
expedients to educate her younger offspring. Accordingly, I was kept
at school, studying geography, arithmetic, history and the languages,
until near twelve years old, when it was thought time for me to choose
a profession. At school, and in my leisure hours, I had always been a
greedy devourer of books of travel, or historical narratives full of
stirring incidents, so that when I avowed my preference for a
sea-faring life, no one was surprised. Indeed, my fancy was rather
applauded, as two of my mother's brothers had served in the Neapolitan
navy, under Murat. Proper inquiries were quickly made at Leghorn; and,
in a few weeks, I found myself on the _mole_ of that noble seaport,
comfortably equipped, with a liberal outfit, ready to embark, as an
apprentice, upon the American ship Galatea, of Boston.

It was in the year 1819, that I first saluted the element upon which
it has been my destiny to pass so much of my life. The reader will
readily imagine the discomforts to which I was subjected on this
voyage. Born and bred in the interior of Italy, I had only the most
romantic ideas of the sea. My opinions had been formed from the lives
of men in loftier rank and under more interesting circumstances. My
career was necessarily one of great hardship; and, to add to my
misfortunes, I had neither companion nor language to vent my grief and
demand sympathy. For the first three months, I was the butt of every
joker in the ship. I was the scape-goat of every accident and of every
one's sins or carelessness. As I lived in the cabin, each plate,
glass, or utensil that fell to leeward in a gale, was charged to my
negligence. Indeed, no one seemed to compassionate my lot save a fat,
lubberly negro cook, whom I could not endure. He was the _first_
African my eye ever fell on, and I must confess that he was the only
friend I possessed during my early adventures.

Besides the officers of the Galatea, there was a clerk on board, whom
the captain directed to teach me English, so that, by the time we
reached Sumatra, I was able to stand up for my rights, and plead my
cause. As we could not obtain a cargo of pepper on the island, we
proceeded to Bengal; and, on our arrival at Calcutta, the captain, who
was also supercargo, took apartments on shore, where the clerk and
myself were allowed to follow him.

According to the fashion of that period, the house provided for our
accommodation was a spacious and elegant one, equipped with every
oriental comfort and convenience, while fifteen or twenty servants
were always at the command of its inmates. For three months we lived
like nabobs, and sorry, indeed, was I when the clerk announced that
the vessel's loading was completed, and our holiday over.

On the voyage home, I was promoted from the cabin, and sent into the
steerage to do duty as a "light hand," in the chief mate's watch.
Between this officer and the captain there was ill blood, and, as I
was considered the master's pet, I soon began to feel the bitterness
of the subordinate's spite. This fellow was not only cross-grained,
but absolutely malignant. One day, while the ship was skimming along
gayly with a five-knot breeze, he ordered me out to the end of the
jib-boom to loosen the sail; yet, without waiting until I was clear of
the jib, he suddenly commanded the men who were at the halliards to
hoist the canvas aloft. A sailor who stood by pointed out my
situation, but was cursed into silence. In a moment I was jerked into
the air, and, after performing half a dozen involuntary summersets,
was thrown into the water, some distance from the ship's side. When I
rose to the surface, I heard the prolonged cry of the anxious crew,
all of whom rushed to the ship's side, some with ropes' ends, some
with chicken coops, while others sprang to the stern boat to prepare
it for launching. In the midst of the hurly-burly, the captain reached
the deck, and laid the ship to; the sailor who had remonstrated with
the mate having, in the meantime, clutched that officer, and attempted
to throw him over, believing I had been drowned by his cruelty. As the
sails of the Galatea flattened against the wind, many an anxious eye
was strained over the water in search of me; but I was nowhere seen!
In truth, as the vessel turned on her heel, the movement brought her
so close to the spot where I rose, that I clutched a rope thrown over
for my rescue, and climbed to the lee channels without being
perceived. As I leaped to the deck, I found one half the men in
tumultuous assemblage around the struggling mate and sailor; but my
sudden apparition served to divert the mob from its fell purpose, and,
in a few moments, order was perfectly restored. Our captain was an
intelligent and just man, as may be readily supposed from the fact
that he exclusively controlled so valuable an enterprise.
Accordingly, the matter was examined with much deliberation; and, on
the following day, the chief mate was deprived of his command. I
should not forget to mention that, in the midst of the excitement, my
sable friend the cook leaped overboard to rescue his _protegé_. Nobody
happened to notice the darkey when he sprang into the sea; and, as he
swam in a direction quite contrary from the spot where I fell, he was
nigh being lost, when the ship's sails were trimmed upon her course.
Just at that moment a faint call was heard from the sea, and the
woolly skull perceived in time for rescue.

This adventure elevated not only "little Theodore," but our "culinary
artist" in the good opinion of the mess. Every Saturday night my
African friend was allowed to share the cheer of the forecastle, while
our captain presented him with a certificate of his meritorious deed,
and made the paper more palatable by the promise of a liberal bounty
in current coin at the end of the voyage.

I now began to feel at ease, and acquire a genuine fondness for sea
life. My aptitude for languages not only familiarized me with English,
but enabled me soon to begin the scientific study of navigation, in
which, I am glad to say, that Captain Solomon Towne was always pleased
to aid my industrious efforts.

We touched at ST. HELENA for supplies, but as Napoleon was still
alive, a British frigate met us within five miles of that rock-bound
coast, and after furnishing a scant supply of water, bade us take our
way homeward.

I remember very well that it was a fine night in July, 1820, when we
touched the wharf at Boston, Massachusetts. Captain Towne's family
resided in Salem, and, of course, he was soon on his way thither. The
new mate had a young wife in Boston, and he, too, was speedily
missing. One by one, the crew sneaked off in the darkness. The second
mate quickly found an excuse for a visit in the neighborhood; so that,
by midnight, the Galatea, with a cargo valued at about one hundred and
twenty thousand dollars, was intrusted to the watchfulness of a
stripling cabin-boy.

I do not say it boastfully, but it is true that, whenever I have been
placed in responsible situations, from the earliest period of my
recollection, I felt an immediate stirring of that pride which always
made me equal, or at least willing, for the required duty. All night
long I paced the deck. Of all the wandering crowd that had accompanied
me nearly a year across many seas, I alone had no companions, friends,
home, or sweetheart, to seduce me from my craft; and I confess that
the sentiment of loneliness, which, under other circumstances, might
have unmanned me at my American greeting, was stifled by the mingled
vanity and pride with which I trod the quarter-deck as temporary
captain.

When dawn ripened into daylight, I remembered the stirring account my
shipmates had given of the beauty of Boston, and I suddenly felt
disposed to imitate the example of my fellow-sailors. Honor, however,
checked my feet as they moved towards the ship's ladder; so that,
instead of descending her side, I closed the cabin door, and climbed
to the main-royal yard, to _see_ the city at least, if I could not
mingle with its inhabitants. I expected to behold a second Calcutta;
but my fancy was not gratified. Instead of observing the long,
glittering lines of palaces and villas I left in India and on the
Tuscan shore, my Italian eyes were first of all saluted by dingy
bricks and painted boards. But, as my sight wandered away from the
town, and swept down both sides of the beautiful bay, filled with its
lovely islands, and dressed in the fresh greenness of summer, I
confess that my memory and heart were magically carried away into the
heart of Italy, playing sad tricks with my sense of duty, when I was
abruptly restored to consciousness by hearing the heavy footfall of a
stranger on deck.

The intruder--as well as I could see from aloft--seemed to be a stout,
elderly person. I did not delay to descend the ratlins, but slid down
a back-stay, just in time to meet the stranger as he approached our
cabin. My notions of Italian manners did not yet permit me to
appreciate the greater freedom and social liberty with which I have
since become so familiar in America, and it may naturally be supposed
that I was rather peremptory in ordering the inquisitive Bostonian to
leave the ship. I was in command--in my _first_ command; and so
unceremonious a visit was peculiarly annoying. Nor did the conduct of
the intruder lessen my anger, as, quietly smiling at my order, he
continued moving around the ship, and peered into every nook and
corner. Presently he demanded whether I was alone? My self-possession
was quite sufficient to leave the question unanswered; but I ordered
him off again, and, to enforce my command, called a dog that did not
exist. My _ruse_, however, did not succeed. The Yankee still continued
his examination, while I followed closely on his heels, now and then
twitching the long skirts of his surtout to enforce my mandate for his
departure.

During this promenade, my unwelcome guest questioned me about the
captain's health,--about the mate,--as to the cause of his
dismissal,--about our cargo,--and the length of our voyage. Each new
question begot a shorter and more surly answer. I was perfectly
satisfied that he was not only a rogue, but a most impudent one; and
my Franco-Italian temper strained almost to bursting.

By this time, we approached the house which covered the steering-gear
at the ship's stern, and in which were buckets containing a dozen
small turtles, purchased at the island of Ascension, where we stopped
to water after the refusal at St. Helena. The turtle at once attracted
the stranger's notice, and he promptly offered to purchase them. I
stated that only half the lot belonged to me, but that I would sell
the whole, provided he was able to pay. In a moment, my persecutor
drew forth a well-worn pocket-book, and handing me six dollars, asked
whether I was satisfied with the price. The dollars were
unquestionable gleams, if not absolute proofs, of honesty, and I am
sure my heart would have melted had not the purchaser insisted on
taking one of the buckets to convey the turtles home. Now, as these
charming implements were part of the ship's pride, as well as
property, and had been laboriously adorned by our marine artists with
a spread eagle and the vessel's name, I resisted the demand, offering,
at the same time, to return the money. But my turtle-dealer was not to
be repulsed so easily; his ugly smile still sneered in my face as he
endeavored to push me aside and drag the bucket from my hand. I soon
found that he was the stronger of the two, and that it would be
impossible for me to rescue my bucket fairly; so, giving it a sudden
twist and shake, I contrived to upset both water and turtles on the
deck, thus sprinkling the feet and coat-tails of the veteran with a
copious ablution. To my surprise, however, the tormentor's cursed grin
not only continued but absolutely expanded to an immoderate laugh, the
uproariousness of which was increased by another suspicious Bostonian,
who leaped on deck during our dispute. By this time I was in a red
heat. My lips were white, my checks in a blaze, and my eyes sparks.
Beyond myself with ferocious rage, I gnashed my teeth, and buried them
in the hand which I could not otherwise release from its grasp on the
bucket. In the scramble, I either lost or destroyed part of my bank
notes; yet, being conqueror at last, I became clement, and taking up
my turtles, once more insisted upon the departure of my annoyers.
There is no doubt that I larded my language with certain epithets,
very current among sailors, most of which are learned more rapidly by
foreigners than the politer parts of speech.

Still the abominable monster, nothing daunted by my onslaught, rushed
to the cabin, and would doubtless have descended, had not I been
nimbler than he in reaching the doors, against which I placed my back,
in defiance. Here, of course, another battle ensued, enlivened by a
chorus of laughter from a crowd of laborers on the wharf. This time I
could not bite, yet I kept the apparent thief at bay with my feet,
kicking his shins unmercifully whenever he approached, and swearing in
the choicest Tuscan.

He who knows any thing of Italian character, especially when it is
additionally spiced by French condiments, may imagine the intense rage
to which so volcanic a nature as mine was, by this time, fully
aroused. Language and motion were nearly exhausted. I could neither
speak nor strike. The mind's passion had almost produced the body's
paralysis. Tears began to fall from my eyes: but still he laughed! At
length, I suddenly flung wide the cabin doors, and leaping below at a
bound, seized from the rack a loaded musket, with which I rushed upon
deck. As soon as the muzzle appeared above the hatchway, my tormentor
sprang over the ship, and by the time I reached the ladder, I found
him on the wharf, surrounded by a laughing and shouting crowd. I shook
my head menacingly at the group; and shouldering my firelock, mounted
guard at the gangway. It was fully a quarter of an hour that I paraded
(occasionally ramming home my musket's charge, and varying the
amusement by an Italian defiance to the jesters), before the tardy
mate made his appearance on the wharf. But what was my consternation,
when I beheld him advance deferentially to my pestilent visitor, and
taking off his hat, respectfully offer to conduct him on board! This
was a great lesson to me in life on the subject of "appearances." The
shabby old individual was no less a personage than the celebrated
William Gray, of Boston, owner of the Galatea and cargo, and
proprietor of many a richer craft then floating on every sea.

But Mr. Gray was a forgiving enemy. As he left the ship that morning,
he presented me fifty dollars, "in exchange," he said, "for the six
destroyed in protection of his property;" and, on the day of my
discharge, he not only paid the wages of my voyage, but added fifty
dollars more to aid my schooling in scientific navigation.

Four years after, I again met this distinguished merchant at the
Marlborough Hotel, in Boston. I was accompanied, on that occasion, by
an uncle who visited the United States on a commercial tour. When my
relative mentioned my name to Mr. Gray, that gentleman immediately
recollected me, and told my venerable kinsman that he never received
such abuse as I bestowed on him in July, 1820! The sting of my teeth,
he declared, still tingled in his hand, while the kicks I bestowed on
his ankles, occasionally displayed the scars they had left on his
limbs. He seemed particularly annoyed, however, by some caustic
remarks I had made about his protuberant stomach, and forgave the
blows but not the language.

My uncle, who was somewhat of a tart disciplinarian, gave me an
extremely black look, while, in French, he demanded an explanation of
my conduct. I knew Mr. Gray, however, better than my relative; and so,
without heeding his reprimand, I answered, in English, that if I
cursed the ship's owner on that occasion, it was my _debut_ in the
English language on the American continent; and as my Anglo-Saxon
education had been finished in a forecastle, it was not to be expected
I should be select in my vocabulary. "Never the less," I added, "Mr.
Gray was so delighted with my _accolade_, that he valued my defence of
his property and our delicious _tête-à-tête_ at the sum of a hundred
dollars!"



CHAPTER II.


The anecdote told in the last chapter revived my uncle's recollection
of several instances of my early impetuosity; among which was a
rencounter with Lord Byron, while that poet was residing at his villa
on the slope of Monte Negro near Leghorn, which he took the liberty to
narrate to Mr. Gray.

A commercial house at that port, in which my uncle had some interest,
was the noble lord's banker;--and, one day, while my relative and the
poet were inspecting some boxes recently arrived from Greece, I was
dispatched to see them safely deposited in the warehouse. Suddenly,
Lord Byron demanded a pencil. My uncle had none with him, but
remembering that I had lately been presented one in a handsome silver
case, requested the loan of it. Now, as this was my first _silver_
possession, I was somewhat reluctant to let it leave my possession
even for a moment, and handed it to his lordship with a bad grace.
When the poet had made his memorandum, he paused a moment, as if lost
in thought, and then very unceremoniously--but, doubtless, in a fit of
abstraction--put the pencil in his pocket. If I had already visited
America at that time, it is likely that I would have warned the
Englishman of his mistake on the spot; but, as children in the Old
World are rather more curbed in their intercourse with elders than on
this side of the Atlantic, I bore the forgetfulness as well as I could
until next morning. Summoning all my resolution, I repaired without my
uncle's knowledge to the poet's house at an early hour, and after much
difficulty was admitted to his room. He was still in bed. Every body
has heard of Byron's peevishness, when disturbed or intruded on. He
demanded my business in a petulant and offensive tone. I replied,
respectfully, that on the preceding day I loaned him a _silver_
pencil,--strongly emphasizing and repeating the word _silver_,--which,
I was grieved to say, he forgot to return. Byron reflected a moment,
and then declared he had restored it to me on the spot! I mildly but
firmly denied the fact; while his lordship as sturdily reasserted it.
In a short time, we were both in such a passion that Byron commanded
me to leave the room. I edged out of the apartment with the slow,
defying air of angry boyhood; but when I reached the door, I suddenly
turned, and looking at him with all the bitterness I felt for his
nation, called him, in French, "an English hog!" Till then our quarrel
had been waged in Italian. Hardly were the words out of my mouth when
his lordship leaped from the bed, and in the scantiest drapery
imaginable, seized me by the collar, inflicting such a shaking as I
would willingly have exchanged for a tertian ague from the Pontine
marshes. The sudden air-bath probably cooled his choler, for, in a few
moments, we found ourselves in a pacific explanation about the
luckless pencil. Hitherto I had not mentioned my uncle; but the moment
I stated the relationship, Byron became pacified and credited my
story. After searching his pockets once more ineffectually for the
lost _silver_, he presented me his own _gold_ pencil instead, and
requested me to say why I "cursed him _in French_?"

"My father was a Frenchman, my lord," said I.

"And your mother?"

"She is an Italian, sir."

"Ah! no wonder, then, you called me an 'English hog.' The hatred runs
in the blood; you could not help it."

After a moment's hesitation, he continued,--still pacing the apartment
in his night linen,--"You don't like the English, do you, my boy?"

"No," said I, "I don't."

"Why?" returned Byron, quietly.

"Because my father died fighting them," replied I.

"Then, youngster, you have _a right_ to hate them," said the poet, as
he put me gently out of the door, and locked it on the inside.

A week after, one of the porters of my uncle's warehouse offered to
sell, at an exorbitant price, what he called "Lord Byron's pencil,"
declaring that his lordship had presented it to him. My uncle was on
the eve of bargaining with the man, when he perceived his own initials
on the silver. In fact, it was my lost gift. Byron, in his
abstraction, had evidently mistaken the porter for myself; so the
servant was rewarded with a trifling gratuity, while my _virtuoso_
uncle took the liberty to appropriate the golden relic of Byron to
himself, and put me off with the humbler remembrance of his honored
name.

These, however, are episodes. Let us return once more to the Galatea
and her worthy commander.

Captain Towne retired to Salem after the hands were discharged, and
took me with him to reside in his family until he was ready for
another voyage. In looking back through the vista of a stormy and
adventurous life, my memory lights on no happier days than those spent
in this sea-faring emporium. Salem, in 1821, was my paradise. I
received more kindness, enjoyed more juvenile pleasures, and found
more affectionate hospitality in that comfortable city than I can well
describe. Every boy was my friend. No one laughed at my broken
English, but on the contrary, all seemed charmed by my foreign accent.
People thought proper to surround me with a sort of romantic mystery,
for, perhaps, there was a flavor of the dashing dare-devil in my
demeanor, which imparted influence over homelier companions. Besides
this, I soon got the reputation of a scholar. I was considered a
marvel in languages, inasmuch as I spoke French, Italian, Spanish,
English, and _professed_ a familiarity with Latin. I remember there
was a wag in Salem, who, determining one day to test my acquaintance
with the latter tongue, took me into a neighboring druggist's, where
there were some Latin volumes, and handed me one with the request to
translate a page, either verbally or on paper. Fortunately, the book
he produced was Æsop, whose fables had been so thoroughly studied by
me two years before, that I even knew some of them by heart. Still,
as I was not very well versed in the niceties of English, I thought it
prudent to make my version of the selected fable in French; and, as
there was a neighbor who knew the latter language perfectly, my
translation was soon rendered into English, and the proficiency of the
"Italian boy" conceded.

       *       *       *       *       *

I sailed during five years from Salem on voyages to various parts of
the world, always employing my leisure, while on shore and at sea, in
familiarizing myself minutely with the practical and scientific
details of the profession to which I designed devoting my life. I do
not mean to narrate the adventures of those early voyages, but I
cannot help setting down a single anecdote of that fresh and earnest
period, in order to illustrate the changes that time and
"_circumstances_" are said to work on human character.

In my second voyage to India, I was once on shore with the captain at
Quallahbattoo, in search of pepper, when a large _proa_, or Malay
canoe, arrived at the landing crammed with prisoners, from one of the
islands. The unfortunate victims were to be sold _as slaves_. They
were the _first slaves_ I had seen! As the human cargo was
disembarked, I observed one of the Malays dragging a handsome young
female by the hair along the beach. Cramped by long confinement in the
wet bottom of the canoe, the shrieking girl was unable to stand or
walk. My blood was up quickly. I ordered the brute to desist from his
cruelty; and, as he answered with a derisive laugh, I felled him to
the earth with a single blow of my boat-hook. This impetuous
vindication of humanity forced us to quit Quallahbattoo in great
haste; but, at the age of seventeen, my feelings in regard to slavery
were very different from what this narrative may disclose them to have
become in later days.

When my apprenticeship was over, I made two or three successful
voyages as mate, until--I am ashamed to say,--that a "disappointment"
caused me to forsake my employers, and to yield to the temptations of
reckless adventure. This sad and early blight overtook me at
Antwerp,--a port rather noted for the backslidings of young seamen.
My hard-earned pay soon diminished very sensibly, while I was
desperately in love with a Belgian beauty, who made a complete fool of
me--for at least three months! From Antwerp, I betook myself to Paris
to vent my second "disappointment." The pleasant capital of _la belle
France_ was a cup that I drained at a single draught. Few young men of
eighteen or twenty have lived faster. The gaming tables at Frascati's
and the Palais Royal finished my consumptive purse; and, leaving an
empty trunk as a recompense for my landlord, I took "French leave" one
fine morning, and hastened to sea.

The reader will do me the justice to believe that nothing but the
direst necessity compelled me to embark on board a _British_ vessel,
bound to Brazil. The captain and his wife who accompanied him, were
both stout, handsome Irish people, of equal age, but addicted to
fondness for strong and flavored drinks.

My introduction on board was signalized by the ceremonious bestowal
upon me of the key of the spirit-locker, with a strict injunction from
the commander to deny more than three glasses daily either to his wife
or himself. I hardly comprehended this singular order at first, but,
in a few days, I became aware of its propriety. About eleven o'clock
her ladyship generally approached when I was serving out the men's
ration of gin, and requested me to fill her tumbler. Of course, I
gallantly complied. When I returned from deck below with the bottle,
she again required a similar dose, which, with some reluctance, I
furnished. At dinner the dame drank _porter_, but passed off the gin
on her credulous husband as water. This system of deception continued
as long as the malt liquor lasted, so that her ladyship received and
swallowed daily a triple allowance of capital grog. Indeed, it is
quite astonishing what quantities of the article can sometimes be
swallowed by sea-faring _women_. The oddness of their appetite for the
cordials is not a little enhanced by the well-known aversion the sex
have to spirituous fluids, in every shape, on shore. Perhaps the salt
air may have something to do with the acquired relish; but, as I am
not composing an essay on temperance, I shall leave the discussion to
wiser physiologists.

My companions' indulgence illustrated another diversity between the
sexes, which I believe is historically true from the earliest records
to the present day. _The lady_ broke her rule, but _the captain_
adhered faithfully to his. Whilst on duty, the allotted three glasses
completed his potations. But when we reached Rio de Janeiro, and there
was no longer need of abstinence, save for the sake of propriety, both
my shipmates gave loose to their thirst and tempers. They drank,
quarrelled, and kissed, with more frequency and fervor than any
creatures it has been my lot to encounter throughout an adventurous
life. After we got the vessel into the inner harbor,--though not
without a mishap, owing to the captain's drunken stubbornness,--my
Irish friends resolved to take lodgings for a while on shore. For two
days they did not make their appearance; but toward the close of the
third, they returned, "fresh," as they said, "from the theatre." It
was very evident that the jolly god had been their companion; and, as
I was not a little scandalized by the conjugal scenes which usually
closed these frolics, I hastened to order tea under the awning on
deck, while I betook myself to a hammock which was slung on the main
boom. Just as I fell off into pleasant dreams, I was roused from my
nap by a prelude to the opera. Madame gave her lord the lie direct. A
loaf of bread, discharged against her head across the table, was his
reply. Not content with this harmless demonstration of rage, he seized
the four corners of the table-cloth, and gathering the tea-things and
food in the sack, threw the whole overboard into the bay. In a flash,
the tigress fastened on his scanty locks with one hand, while, with
the other, she pummelled his eyes and nose. Badly used as he was, I
must confess that the captain proved too generous to retaliate on that
portion of his spouse where female charms are most bewitching and
visible; still, I am much mistaken if the sound spanking she received
did not elsewhere leave marks of physical vigor that would have been
creditable to a pugilist.

It was remarkable that these human tornados were as violent and brief
as those which scourge tropical lands as well as tropical characters.
In a quarter of an hour there was a dead calm. The silence of the
night, on those still and star-lit waters, was only broken by a sort
of chirrup, that might have been mistaken for a cricket, but which I
think was _a kiss_. Indeed, I was rapidly going off again to sleep,
when I was called to give the key of the spirit-locker,--a glorious
resource that never failed as a solemn seal of reconciliation and
bliss.

Next morning, before I awoke, the captain went ashore, and when his
wife, at breakfast, inquired my knowledge of the night's affray, my
gallantry forced me to confess that I was one of the soundest sleepers
on earth or water, and, moreover, that I was surprised to learn there
had been the least difference between such happy partners. In spite of
my simplicity, the lady insisted on confiding her griefs, with the
assurance that she would not have been half so angry had not her
spouse foolishly thrown her silver spoons into the sea, with the bread
and butter. She grew quite eloquent on the pleasures of married life,
and told me of many a similar reproof she had been forced to give her
husband during their voyages. It did him good, she said, and kept him
wholesome. In fact, she hoped, that if ever I married, I would have
the luck to win a guardian like herself. Of course, I was again most
gallantly silent. Still, I could not help reserving a decision as to
the merits of matrimony; for present appearances certainly did not
demonstrate the bliss I had so often read and heard of. At any rate, I
resolved, that if ever I ventured upon a trial of love, it should, at
least, in the first instance, be love _without_ liquor!

On our return to Europe we called at Dover for orders, and found that
Antwerp was our destination. We made sail at sunset, but as the wind
was adverse and the weather boisterous, we anchored for two days in
the Downs. At length, during a lull of the gale, we sailed for the
mouth of the Scheldt; but, as we approached the coast of Holland, the
wind became light and baffling, so that we were unable to enter the
river. We had not taken a pilot at Ramsgate, being confident of
obtaining one off Flushing. At sundown, the storm again arose in all
its fury from the north-west; but all attempts to put back to England
were unavailing, for we dared not show a rag of sail before the
howling tempest. It was, indeed, a fearful night of wind, hail,
darkness, and anxiety. At two o'clock in the morning, we suddenly
grounded on one of the numerous banks off Flushing. Hardly had we
struck when the sea made a clean sweep over us, covering the decks
with sand, and snapping the spars like pipe-stems. The captain was
killed instantly by the fall of a top-gallant yard, which crushed his
skull; while the sailors, who in such moments seem possessed by utter
recklessness, broke into the spirit-room and drank to excess. For
awhile I had some hope that the stanchness of our vessel's hull might
enable us to cling to her till daylight, but she speedily bilged and
began to fill.

After this it would have been madness to linger. The boats were still
safe. The long one was quickly filled by the crew, under the command
of the second mate--who threw an anker of gin into the craft before he
leaped aboard,--while I reserved the jolly-boat for myself, the
captain's widow, the cook, and the steward. The long-boat was never
heard of.

All night long that dreadful nor'wester howled along and lashed the
narrow sea between England and the Continent; yet I kept our frail
skiff before it, hoping, at daylight, to descry the lowlands of
Belgium. The heart-broken woman rested motionless in the stern-sheets.
We covered her with all the available garments, and, even in the midst
of our own griefs, could not help feeling that the suddenness of her
double desolation had made her perfectly unconscious of our dreary
surroundings.

Shortly after eight o'clock a cry of joy announced the sight of land
within a short distance. The villagers of Bragden, who soon descried
us, hastened to the beach, and rushing knee deep into the water,
signalled that the shore was safe after passing the surf. The sea was
churned by the storm into a perfect foam. Breakers roared, gathered,
and poured along like avalanches. Still, there was no hope for us but
in passing the line of these angry sentinels. Accordingly, I watched
the swell, and pulling firmly, bow on, into the first of the breakers,
we spun with such arrowy swiftness across the intervening space, that
I recollect nothing until we were clasped in the arms of the brawny
Belgians on the beach.

But, alas! the poor widow was no more. I cannot imagine when she died.
During the four hours of our passage from the wreck to land, her head
rested on my lap; yet no spasm of pain or convulsion marked the moment
of her departure.

That night the parish priest buried the unfortunate lady, and
afterwards carried round a plate, asking alms,--not for masses to
insure the repose of her soul,--but to defray the expenses of _the
living_ to Ostend.



CHAPTER III.


I had no time or temper to be idle. In a week, I was on board a Dutch
galliot, bound to Havana; but I soon perceived that I was again under
the command of two captains--male and female. The regular master
superintended the navigation, while the _bloomer_ controlled the whole
of us. Indeed, the dame was the actual owner of the craft, and, from
skipper to cabin-boy, governed not only our actions but our stomachs.
I know not whether it was piety or economy that swayed her soul, but I
never met a person who was so rigid as this lady in the observance of
the church calendar, especially whenever a day of abstinence allowed
her to deprive us of our beef. Nothing but my destitution compelled me
to ship in this craft; still, to say the truth, I had well-nigh given
up all idea of returning to the United States, and determined to
engage in any adventurous expedition that my profession offered. In
1824, it will be remembered, Mexico, the Spanish main, Peru, and the
Pacific coasts, were renowned for the fortunes they bestowed on
enterprise; and, as the galliot was bound to Havana, I hailed her as a
sort of floating bridge to my EL DORADO.

On the seventh night after our departure, while beating out of the bay
of Biscay with a six-knot breeze, in a clear moonlight, we ran foul of
a vessel which approached us on the opposite tack. Whence she sprang
no one could tell. In an instant, she appeared and was on us with a
dreadful concussion. Every man was prostrated on deck and all our
masts were carried away. From the other vessel we heard shrieks and a
cry of despair; but the ill-omened miscreant disappeared as rapidly as
she approached, and left us floating a helpless log, on a sea
proverbial for storms.

We contrived, however, to reach the port of Ferrol, in Spain, where we
were detained four months, in consequence of the difficulty of
obtaining the materials for repairs, notwithstanding this place is
considered the best and largest ship-yard of Castile.

It was at Ferrol that I met with a singular adventure, which was
well-nigh depriving me of my personal identity, as Peter Schlemhil was
deprived of his shadow. I went one afternoon in my boat to the other
side of the harbor to obtain some pieces of leather from a tannery,
and, having completed my purchase, was lounging slowly towards the
quay, when I stopped at a house for a drink of water. I was handed a
tumbler by the trim-built, black-eyed girl, who stood in the doorway,
and whose rosy lips and sparkling eyes were more the sources of my
thirst than the water; but, while I was drinking, the damsel ran into
the dwelling, and hastily returned with her mother and another sister,
who stared at me a moment without saying a word, and simultaneously
fell upon my neck, smothering my lips and cheeks with repeated kisses!

"_Oh! mi querido hijo_," said the mother.

"_Carissimo Antonio_," sobbed the daughter.

"_Mi hermano!_" exclaimed her sister.

"Dear son, dear Antonio, dear brother! Come into the house; where have
you been? Your grandmother is dying to see you once more! Don't delay
an instant, but come in without a word! _Por dios!_ that we should
have caught you at last, and in such a way: _Ave Maria! madrecita,
aqui viene Antonito!_"

In the midst of all these exclamations, embraces, fondlings, and
kisses, it may easily be imagined that I stood staring about me with
wide eyes and mouth, and half-drained tumbler in hand, like one in a
dream. I asked no questions, but as the dame was buxom, and the girls
were fresh, I kissed in return, and followed unreluctantly as they
half dragged, half carried me into their domicil. On the door-sill of
the inner apartment I found myself locked in the skinny arms of a
brown and withered crone, who was said to be my grandmother, and, of
course, my youthful _moustache_ was properly bedewed with the moisture
of her toothless mouth.

As soon as I was seated, I took the liberty to say,--though without
any protest against this charming assault,--that I fancied there might
possibly be some mistake; but I was quickly silenced. My _madrecita_
declared at once, and in the presence of my four shipmates, that, six
years before, I left her on my first voyage in a Dutch vessel; that my
_querido padre_, had gone to bliss two years after my departure; and,
accordingly, that now, I, Antonio Gomez y Carrasco, was the only
surviving male of the family, and, of course, would never more quit
either her, my darling sisters, or the old _pobrecita_, our
grandmother. This florid explanation was immediately closed like the
pleasant air of an opera by a new chorus of kisses, nor can there be
any doubt that I responded to the embraces of my sweet _hermanas_ with
the most gratifying fraternity.

Our charming _quartette_ lasted in all its harmony for half an hour,
during which volley after volley of family secrets was discharged into
my eager ears. So rapid was the talk, and so quickly was its thread
taken up and spun out by each of the three, that I had no opportunity
to interpose. At length, however, in a momentary lull and in a jocular
manner,--but in rather bad Spanish,--I ventured to ask my loving and
talkative mamma, "what amount of property my worthy father had deemed
proper to leave on earth _for his son_ when he took his departure to
rest _con Dios_?" I thought it possible that this agreeable drama was
a Spanish joke, got up _al' improvista_, and that I might end it by
exploding the dangerous mine of money: besides this, it was growing
late, and my return to the galliot was imperative.

But alas! my question brought tears in an instant into my mother's
eyes, and I saw that the scene was _not_ a jest. Accordingly, I
hastened, in all seriousness, to explain and insist on their error. I
protested with all the force of my Franco-Italian nature and Spanish
rhetoric, against the assumed relationship. But all was unavailing;
they argued and persisted; they brought in the neighbors; lots of old
women and old men, with rusty cloaks or shawls, with cigars or
_cigarillos_ in mouth, formed a jury of inquest; so that, in the end,
there was an unanimous verdict in favor of my Galician nativity!

Finding matters had indeed taken so serious a turn, and knowing the
impossibility of eradicating an impression from the female mind when
it becomes imbedded with go much apparent conviction, I resolved to
yield; and, assuming the manner of a penitent prodigal, I kissed the
girls, embraced my mother, passed my head over both shoulders of my
grand-dame, and promised my progenitors a visit next day.

As I did not keep my word, and two suns descended without my return,
the imaginary "mother" applied to the ministers of law to enforce her
rights over the truant boy. The _Alcalde_, after hearing my story,
dismissed the claim; but my dissatisfied relatives summoned me, on
appeal, before the governor of the district, nor was it without
infinite difficulty that I at last succeeded in shaking off their
annoying consanguinity.

I have always been at a loss to account for this queer mistake. It is
true that my father was in Spain with the French army during
Napoleon's invasion, but that excellent gentleman was a faithful
spouse as well as valiant soldier, and I do not remember that he ever
sojourned in the pleasant port of Ferrol!

       *       *       *       *       *

At length, we sailed for Havana, and nothing of importance occurred to
break the monotony of our hot and sweltering voyage, save a sudden
flurry of jealousy on the part of the captain, who imagined I made an
attempt to conquer the pious and economical heart of his wife! In
truth, nothing was further from my mind or taste than such an
enterprise; but as the demon had complete possession of him, and his
passion was stimulated by the lies of a cabin-boy, I was forced to
undergo an inquisitorial examination, which I resisted manfully but
fruitlessly. The Bloomer-dame, who knew her man, assumed such an air
of outraged innocence and calumniated virtue, interlarded with sobs,
tears, and hysterics, that her perplexed husband was quite at his
wit's end, but terminated the scene by abruptly ordering me to my
state-room.

This was at nightfall. I left the cabin willingly but with great
mortification; yet the surly pair eyed each other with so much anger
that I had some fear for the _denouement_. I know not what passed
during the silent watches of that night; but doubtless woman's
witchcraft had much to do in pouring oil on the seared heart of the
skipper. At daylight he emerged from his cabin with orders to have the
tell-tale cabin-boy soundly thrashed; and, when Madame mounted the
deck, I saw at a glance that her influence was completely restored.
Nor was I neglected in this round of reconciliation. In the course of
the day, I was requested to resume my duty on board, but I stubbornly
refused. Indeed, my denial caused the captain great uneasiness, for he
was a miserable navigator, and, now that we approached the Bahamas, my
services were chiefly requisite. The jealous scamp was urgent in
desiring me to forget the past and resume duty; still I declined,
especially as his wife informed me in private that there would perhaps
be peril in my compliance.

The day after we passed the "Hole in the Wall" and steered for Salt
Key, we obtained no meridian observation, and no one on board, except
myself, was capable of taking a lunar, which in our position, among
unknown keys and currents, was of the greatest value. I knew this
troubled the skipper, yet, after his wife's significant warning, I did
not think it wise to resume my functions. Nevertheless, I secretly
made calculations and watched the vessel's course. Another day went by
without a noontide observation; but, at midnight, I furtively obtained
a lunar, by the result of which I found we were drifting close to the
Cuba reefs, about five miles from the CRUZ DEL PADRE.

As soon as I was sure of my calculation and sensible of imminent
danger, I did not hesitate to order the second officer,--whose watch
it was,--to call all hands and tack ship. At the same time, I
directed the helmsman to luff the galliot close into the wind's eye.

But the new mate, proud of his command, refused to obey until the
captain was informed; nor would he call that officer, inasmuch as no
danger was visible ahead on the allotted course. But time was
precious. Delay would lose us. As I felt confident of my opinion, I
turned abruptly from the disobedient mariners, and letting go the main
brace, brought the vessel to with the topsail aback. Quickly, then, I
ordered the watch as it rushed aft, to clew up the mainsail;--but
alas! no one would obey; and, in the fracas, the captain, who rushed
on deck ignorant of the facts or danger, ordered me back to my
state-room with curses for my interference in his skilful navigation.

With a shrug of my shoulders, I obeyed. Remonstrance was useless. For
twenty minutes the galliot cleft the waters on her old course, when
the look-out screamed: "Hard up!--rocks and breakers dead ahead!"

"Put down the helm!" yelled the confused second mate;--but the galliot
lost her headway, and, taken aback, shaved the edge of a foam-covered
rock, dropping astern on a reef with seven feet water around her.

All was consternation;--sails flapping; breakers roaring; ropes
snapping and beating; masts creaking; hull thumping; men shouting! The
captain and his wife were on deck in the wink of an eye. Every one
issued an order and no one obeyed. At last, _the lady_ shouted--"let
go the anchor!"--the worst command that could be given,--and down went
the best bower and the second anchor, while the vessel swung round,
and dashed flat on both of them. No one seemed to think of clewing up
the sails, and thereby lessening the impetuous surges of the
unfortunate galliot.

Our sad mishap occurred about one o'clock in the morning. Fortunately
there was not much wind and the sea was tolerably calm, so that we
could recognize, and, in some degree, control our situation;--yet,
every thing on board appeared given over to Batavian stupidity and
panic.

My own feelings may be understood by those who have calmly passed
through danger, while they beheld their companions unmanned by fear or
lack of coolness. There was no use of my interference, for no one
would heed me. At last the captain's wife, who was probably the most
collected individual on board, called my name loudly, and in the
presence of officers and crew, who, by this time were generally
crowded on the quarter-deck, entreated me to save her ship!

Of course, I sprang to duty. Every sail was clewed up, while the
anchors were weighed to prevent our thumping on them. I next ordered
the boats to be lowered; and, taking a crew in one, directed the
captain to embark in another to seek an escape from our perilous trap.
At daylight, we ascertained that we had crossed the edge of the reef
at high water, yet it would be useless to attempt to force her back,
as she was already half a foot buried in the soft and mushy
outcroppings of coral.

Soon after sunrise, we beheld, at no great distance, one of those low
sandy keys which are so well-known to West Indian navigators; while,
further in the distance, loomed up the blue and beautiful outline of
the highlands of Cuba. The sea was not much ruffled by swell or waves;
but as we gazed at the key, which we supposed deserted, we saw a boat
suddenly shoot from behind one of its points and approach our wreck.
The visitors were five in number; their trim, beautiful boat was
completely furnished with fishing implements, and four of the hands
spoke Spanish only, while the _patron_, or master, addressed us in
French. The whole crew were dressed in flannel shirts, the skirts of
which were belted by a leather strap over their trowsers, and when the
wind suddenly dashed the flannel aside, I saw they had long knives
concealed beneath it.

The _patron_ of these fellows offered to aid us in lightening the
galliot and depositing the cargo on the key; where, he said, there was
a hut in which he would guarantee the safety of our merchandise until,
at the full of the moon, we could float the vessel from the reef. He
offered, moreover, to pilot us out of harm's way; and, for all his
services in salvage, we were to pay him a thousand dollars.

While the master was busy making terms, his companions were rummaging
the galliot in order to ascertain our cargo and armament. It was
finally agreed by the captain and his petticoat commodore, that if, by
evening and the return of tide, our galliot would not float, we would
accept the wreckers' offer; and, accordingly, I was ordered to inform
them of the resolution.

As soon as I stated our assent, the _patron_, suddenly assumed an air
of deliberation, and insisted that the money should be paid in hard
cash on the spot, and not by drafts on Havana, as originally required.
I thought the demand a significant one, and hoped the joint partners
would neither yield nor admit their ability to do so; but,
unfortunately, they assented at once. The nod and wink I saw the
_patron_ immediately bestow on one of his companions, satisfied me of
the imprudence of the concession and the justice of my suspicions.

The fishermen departed to try their luck on the sea, promising to be
back at sunset, on their way to the island. We spent the day in
fruitless efforts to relieve the galliot or to find a channel, so that
when the Spaniards returned in the afternoon with a rather careless
reiteration of their proposal, our captain, with some eagerness, made
his final arrangements for the cargo's discharge early next morning.
Our skipper had visited the key in the course of the day, and finding
the place of deposit apparently safe, and every thing else seemingly
honest, he was anxious that the night might pass in order that the
disembarkation might begin.

The calm quiet of that tropic season soon wore away, and, when I
looked landward, at day-dawn, I perceived two strange boats at anchor
near the key. As this gave me some uneasiness, I mentioned it to the
captain and his wife, but they laughed at my suspicions. After an
early meal we began to discharge our heaviest cargo with the
fishermen's aid, yet we made little progress towards completion by the
afternoon. At sunset, accounts were compared, and finding a
considerable difference _in favor_ of the wreckers, I was dispatched
ashore to ascertain the error. At the landing I was greeted by several
new faces. I particularly observed a Frenchman whom I had not noticed
before. He addressed me with a courteous offer of refreshments. His
manners and language were evidently those of an educated person, while
his figure and physiognomy indicated aristocratic habits or birth, yet
his features and complexion bore the strong imprint of that premature
old age which always marks a dissipated career.

After a delightful chat in my mother-tongue with the pleasant
stranger, he invited me to spend the night on shore. I declined
politely, and, having rectified the cargo's error, was preparing to
re-embark, when the Frenchman once more approached and insisted on my
remaining. I again declined, asserting that duty forbade my absence.
He then remarked that orders had been left by my countryman the
_patron_ to detain me; but if I was so obstinate as to go, _I might
probably regret it_.

With a laugh, I stepped into my boat, and on reaching the galliot,
learned that our skipper had imprudently avowed the rich nature of our
cargo.

Before leaving the vessel that night, the _patron_ took me aside, and
inquired whether I received the invitation to pass the night on the
key, and why I had not accepted it? To my great astonishment, he
addressed me in pure Italian; and when I expressed gratitude for his
offer, he beset me with questions about my country, my parents, my
age, my objects in life, and my prospects. Once or twice he threw in
the ejaculation of, "poor boy! poor boy!" As he stepped over the
taffrail to enter his boat, I offered my hand, which he first
attempted to take,--then suddenly stopping, rejected the grasp, and,
with an abrupt--"_No! addio!_" he spun away in his boat from the
galliot's side.

I could not help putting these things together in my mind during the
glowing twilight. I felt as if walking in a cold shadow; an
unconquerable sense of impending danger oppressed me. I tried to
relieve myself by discussing the signs with the captain, but the
phlegmatic Hollander only scoffed at my suspicions, and bade me sleep
off my nervousness.

When I set the first night watch, I took good care to place every case
containing valuables _below_, and to order the look-out to call all
hands at the first appearance or sound of a boat. Had we been provided
with arms, I would have equipped the crew with weapons of defence,
but, unluckily, there was not on board even a rusty firelock or sabre.

       *       *       *       *       *

How wondrously calm was all nature that night! Not a breath of air, or
a ripple on the water! The sky was brilliant with stars, as if the
firmament were strewn with silver dust. The full moon, with its
glowing disc, hung some fifteen or twenty degrees above the horizon.
The intense stillness weighed upon my tired limbs and eyes, while I
leaned with my elbows on the taffrail, watching the roll of the vessel
as she swung lazily from side to side on the long and weary swell.
Every body but the watch had retired, and I, too, went to my
state-room in hope of burying my sorrows in sleep. But the calm night
near the land had so completely filled my berth with annoying insects,
that I was obliged to decamp and take refuge in the stay-sail netting,
where, wrapped in the cool canvas, I was at rest in quicker time than
I have taken to tell it.

Notwithstanding my nervous apprehension, a sleep more like the torpor
of lethargy than natural slumber, fell on me at once. I neither
stirred nor heard any thing till near two o'clock, when a piercing
shriek from the deck aroused me. The moon had set, but there was light
enough to show the decks abaft filled with men, though I could
distinguish neither their persons nor movements. Cries of appeal, and
moans as of wounded or dying, constantly reached me. I roused myself
as well and quickly as I could from the oppression of my deathlike
sleep, and tried to shake off the nightmare. The effort assured me
that it was reality and not a dream! In an instant, that presence of
mind which has seldom deserted me, suggested escape. I seized the
gasket, and dropping by aid of it as softly as I could in the water,
struck out for shore. It was time. My plunge into the sea,
notwithstanding its caution, had made some noise, and a rough voice
called in Spanish to return or I would be shot.

When I began to go to sea, I took pains to become a good swimmer, and
my acquired skill served well on this occasion. As soon as the voice
ceased from the deck, I lay still on the water until I saw a flash
from the bow of the _galliot_, to which I immediately made a
complaisant bow by diving deeply. This operation I repeated several
times, till I was lost in the distant darkness; nor can I pride myself
much on my address in escaping the musket balls, as I have since had
my own aim similarly eluded by many a harmless duck.

After swimming about ten minutes, I threw myself on my back to rest
and "take a fresh departure." It was so dark that I could not see the
key, yet, as I still discerned the galliot's masts relieved against
the sky, I was enabled by that beacon to steer my way landward. Naked,
with the exception of trowsers, I had but little difficulty in
swimming, so that in less than half an hour, I touched the key, and
immediately sought concealment in a thick growth of mangroves.

I had not been five minutes in this dismal jungle, when such a swarm
of mosquitoes beset me, that I was forced to hurry to the beach and
plunge into the water. In this way was I tormented the whole night. At
dawn, I retreated once more to the bushes; and climbing the highest
tree I found,--whose altitude, however, was not more than twelve feet
above the sand,--I beheld, across the calm sea, the dismantled hull of
my late home, surrounded by a crowd of boats, which were rapidly
filling with plundered merchandise. It was evident that we had fallen
a prey to pirates; yet I could not imagine why _I_ had been singled
from this scene of butchery, to receive the marks of anxious sympathy
that were manifested by the _patron_ and his French companion on the
key. All the morning I continued in my comfortless position, watching
their movements,--occasionally refreshing my parched lips by chewing
the bitter berries of the thicket. Daylight, with its heat, was as
intolerable as night, with its venom. The tropical sun and the glaring
reflection from a waveless sea, poured through the calm atmosphere
upon my naked flesh, like boiling oil. My thirst was intense. As the
afternoon wore away, I observed several boats tow the lightened hull
of our galliot south-east of the key till it disappeared behind a
point of the island. Up to that moment, my manhood had not forsaken
me; but, as the last timber of my vessel was lost to sight, nature
resumed its dominion. Every hope of seeing my old companions was gone;
I was utterly alone. If this narrative were designed to be a
sentimental confession, the reader might see unveiled the ghastly
spectacle of a "troubled conscience," nor am I ashamed to say that no
consolation cheered my desolate heart, till I prayed to my Maker that
the loss of so many lives might not be imputed to the wilful malice of
a proud and stubborn nature.



CHAPTER IV.


So passed the day. As the sun sank is the west, I began to reflect
about obtaining the rest for mind and body I so much needed. My system
was almost exhausted by want of food and water, while the dreadful
tragedy of the preceding night shattered my nerves far more than they
ever suffered amid the trying scenes I have passed through since. It
was my _first_ adventure of peril and of blood; and my soul shrank
with the natural recoil that virtue experiences in its earliest
encounter with flagrant crime.

In order to escape the incessant torment of insects, I had just
determined to bury my naked body in the sand, and to cover my head
with the only garment I possessed, when I heard a noise in the
neighboring bushes, and perceived a large and savage dog rushing
rapidly from side to side, with his nose to the ground, evidently in
search of game or prey. I could not mistake the nature of his hunt.
With the agility of a harlequin, I sprang to my friendly perch just in
time to save myself from his fangs. The foiled and ferocious beast,
yelling with rage, gave an alarm which was quickly responded to by
other dogs, three of which--followed by two armed men--promptly made
their appearance beneath my tree. The hunters were not surprised at
finding me, as, in truth, I was the game they sought. Ordering me
down, I was commanded to march slowly before them, and especially
warned to make no attempt at flight, as the bloodhounds would tear me
to pieces on the spot. I told my guard that I should of course
manifest no such folly as to attempt as escape from _caballeros_ like
themselves,--upon a desolate sand key half a mile wide,--especially
when my alternative refuge could only be found among the fish of the
sea. The self-possession and good humor with which I replied, seemed
somewhat to mollify the cross-grained savages, and we soon approached
a habitation, where I was ordered to sit down until the whole party
assembled. After a while, I was invited to join them in their evening
meal.

The piquant stew upon which we fed effectually loosened their tongues,
so that, in the course of conversation, I discovered my pursuers had
been in quest of me since early morning, though it was hardly believed
I had either escaped the shot, or swam fully a mile amid sharks during
the darkness. Upon this, I ventured to put some ordinary questions,
but was quickly informed that inquisitiveness was considered very
unwholesome on the sand keys about Cuba!

At sunset, the whole piratical community of the little isle was
assembled. It consisted of two parties, each headed by its respective
chief. Both gangs were apparently subject to the leadership of the
_rancho's_ proprietor; and in this man I recognized the _patron_ who
inquired so minutely about my biography and prospects. His companions
addressed him either as "El señor patron" or "Don Rafael." I was
surveyed very closely by the picturesque group of bandits, who retired
into the interior of the _rancho_,--a hut made of planks and sails
rescued from wrecks. My guard or sentinel consisted of but a single
vagabond, who amused himself by whetting a long knife on a hone, and
then trying its sharpness on a single hair and then on his finger.
Sometimes the scoundrel made a face at me, and drew the back of his
weapon across his throat.

The conversation within, which I felt satisfied involved my fate, was
a long one. I could distinctly overhear the murmuring roar of talk,
although I could not distinguish words. One sentence, however, did
not escape me, and its signification proved particularly
interesting:--"_Los muertos_," said the French dandy,--"_no
hablan_,"--Dead men tell no tales!

It is hard to imagine a situation more trying for a young, hearty, and
hopeful man. I was half naked; my skin was excoriated by the sun,
sand, and salt water; four bloodhounds were at my feet ready to fasten
on my throat at the bidding of a _desperado_; a piratical sentry,
knife in hand, kept watch over me, while a jury of _buccaneers_
discussed my fate within earshot. Dante's Inferno had hardly more
torments.

The _filibustero_ conclave lasted quite an hour without reaching a
conclusion. At length, after an unusual clamor, the _patron_ Rafael
rushed from the _rancho_ with a horseman's pistol, and, calling my
name, whirled me behind him in his strong and irresistible grasp. Then
facing both hands, with a terrible imprecation, he swore vengeance if
they persisted in requiring the death of HIS NEPHEW!

At the mention of the word "_nephew_," every one paused with a look of
surprise, and drawing near the excited man with expressions of
interest, agreed to respect his new-found relative, though they
insisted I should swear never to disclose the occurrence of which I
had been an unwilling witness. I complied with the condition
unhesitatingly, and shook hands with every one present except the
sentry, of whom I shall have occasion to speak hereafter.

It is astonishing what revulsions of manner, if not of feeling, take
place suddenly among the class of men with whom my lot had now been
cast. Ten minutes before, they were greedy for my blood, not on
account of personal malice, but from utter recklessness of life
whenever an individual interfered with their personal hopes or tenure
of existence. Each one of these outlaws now vied with his companions
in finding articles to cover my nakedness and make me comfortable. As
soon as I was clothed, supper was announced and I was given almost a
seat of honor at a table plentifully spread with fresh fish, sardines,
olives, ham, cheese, and an abundance of capital claret.

The chat naturally turned upon me, and some sly jokes were uttered at
the expense of Rafael, concerning the kinsman who had suddenly sprung
up like a mushroom out of this pool of blood.

"_Caballeros!_" interposed Rafael, passionately, "you seem inclined to
doubt my word. Perhaps you are no longer disposed to regard me as
your chief? We have broken bread together during four months; we have
shared the same dangers and divided our spoils fairly: am I _now_ to
be charged to my face with a lie?" "Ha!" said he, rising from the
table and striding through the apartment with violent gestures, "who
dares doubt my word, and impute to me the meanness of a lie? Are ye
drunk? Can this wine have made you mad?" and seizing a bottle, he
dashed it to the ground, stamping with rage. "Has the blood of last
night unsettled your nerves and made you delirious? _Basta! basta!_
Let me not hear another word of doubt as to this youth. The first who
utters a syllable of incredulity shall kill me on the spot or fall by
my hand!"

This sounds, I confess, very melo-dramatically, yet, my experience has
taught me that it is precisely a bold and dashing tone of bravado,
adopted at the right moment, which is always most successful among
_such_ ruffians as surrounded my preserver. The speech was delivered
with such genuine vehemence and resolution that no one could question
his sincerity or suppose him acting. But, as soon as he was done, the
leader of the other gang, who had been very unconcernedly smoking his
cigar, and apparently punctuating Don Rafael's oration with his little
puffs, advanced to my new uncle, and laying his hand on his arm,
said:--

"_Amigo_, you take a joke too seriously. No one here certainly desires
to harm the boy or disbelieve you. Take my advice,--calm yourself,
light a cigarillo, drink a tumbler of claret, and drop the subject."

But this process of pacification was too rapid for my excited uncle.
Men of his quality require to be let down gradually from their wrath,
for I have frequently noticed that when their object is too easily
gained, they interpose obstacles and start new subjects of
controversy, so that the most amiable and yielding temper may at last
become inflamed to passionate resistance.

"No, _caballeros_!" exclaimed Don Rafael, "I will neither light a
_cigarillo_, drink claret, calm myself, nor accept satisfaction for
this insult, short of the self-condemnation you will all experience
for a mean suspicion, when I _prove_ the truth of my assertions about
this boy. A doubted man has no business at the head of such fellows as
you are. Begone out of my hearing, Theodore," continued he, pointing
to the canvas door, "begone till I convince these people that I am
your uncle!"

As soon as I was out of the chamber, I afterwards learned, that Rafael
announced my name, place of birth, and parentage to the wreckers, and
desired the other _patron_, Mesclet, who spoke Italian, to follow and
interrogate me as to his accuracy.

Mesclet performed the service in a kind manner, opening the interview
by asking the names of my father and mother, and then demanding how
many uncles I had on my mother's side? My replies appeared
satisfactory.

"Was one of your uncles a navy officer?" inquired Mesclet, "and where
is he at present?" The only uncle I had in the navy, I declared, had
long been absent from his family. But once in my life had I seen him,
and that was while on his way to Marseilles, in 1815, to embark for
the Spanish main; since then no intelligence of the wanderer had
reached my ears. Had I been a French _scholar_ at that time, my
adventures of consanguinity at Ferrol and on this key might well have
brought Molière's satire to my mind:

    "De moi je commence à douter tout de bon;
    Pourtant, quand je me tâte et que je me rapelle,
    _Il me semble que je suis moi!_"

Mesclet's report gave perfect satisfaction to the scoffers, and the
mysterious drama at once established me in a position I could not have
attained even by desperate services to the _filibusteros_. A bumper,
all round, closed the night; and each slunk off to his cot or blanket
beneath a mosquito bar, while the bloodhounds were chained at the door
to do double duty as sentinels and body-guard.

I hope there are few who will deny me the justice to believe that when
I stretched my limbs on the hard couch assigned me that night, I
remembered my God in heaven, and my home in Tuscany. It was the first
night that an ingenuous youth had spent among outcasts, whose hands
were still reeking with the blood of his companions. At that period
of manhood we are grateful for the mere boon of _life_. It is pleasant
to live, to breathe, to have one's being, on this glorious earth, even
though that life may be cast among felons. There is still a _future_
before us; and Hope, the bright goddess of health and enthusiasm,
inspires our nerves with energy to conquer our present ills.

I threw myself down thankfully, but I could not rest. Sore and tired
as I was, I could not compose my mind to sleep. The conduct of Rafael
surprised me. I could not imagine how he became familiar with my
biography, nor could I identify his personal appearance with my uncle
who went so long before to South America. A thousand fancies jumbled
themselves in my brain, and, in their midst, I fell into slumber. Yet
my self-oblivion was broken and short. My pulse beat wildly, but my
skin did not indicate the heat of fever. The tragedy of the galliot
was reacted before me. Phantoms of the butchered wife and men,
streaming with blood, stood beside my bed, while a chorus of devils,
in the garb of sailors, shouted that _I_ was the cause of the
galliot's loss, and of their murder. Then the wretched woman would
hang round my neck, and crawl on my breast, besprinkling me with gore
that spouted from her eyeless sockets, imploring me to save
her;--till, shrieking and panting, I awoke from the horrible
nightmare. Such were the dreams that haunted my pillow nearly all the
time I was forced to remain with these desperadoes.

       *       *       *       *       *

I thanked God that the night of the tropics was so brief. The first
glimmer of light found me up, and as soon as I could find a companion
to control the hounds, I ran to the sea for refreshment by a glorious
surf-bath. I was on a miserable sandbar, whose surface was hardly
covered with soil; yet, in that prolific land of rain and sunshine,
nature seems only to require the slightest footing to assert her
magnificent power of vegetation. In spots, along the arid island, were
the most beautiful groves of abundant undergrowth, matted with
broad-leaved vines, while, within their shadow, the fresh herbage
sprang up, sparkling with morning dew. In those climates, the blaze of
noon is a season of oppressive languor, but morning and evening, with
their dawn and twilight,--their lengthened shadows and declining sun,
are draughts of beauty that have often intoxicated less enthusiastic
tempers than mine. The bath, the breeze, the renewed nature, aroused
and restored a degree of tone to my shattered nerves, so that when I
reached the _rancho_, I was ready for any duty that might be imposed.
The twin gangs had gone off in their boats soon after daylight, with
saws and axes; but Rafael left orders with my brutal sentry that I
should assist him in preparing breakfast, which was to be ready by
eleven o'clock.

I never knew the real patronymic of this fellow, who was a Spaniard,
and passed among us by the nickname of Gallego. Gallego possessed a
good figure,--symmetrical and strong, while it was lithe and active.
But his head and face were the most repulsive I ever encountered. The
fellow was not absolutely ugly, so far as mere contour of features was
concerned; but there was so dropsical a bloat in his cheeks, such a
stagnant sallowness in his complexion, such a watching scowl in his
eyes, such a drawling sullenness of speech, such sensuality in the
turn of his resolute lips, that I trembled to know he was to be my
daily companion. His dress and skin denoted slovenly habits, while a
rude and growling voice gave token of the bitter heart that kept the
enginery of the brute in motion.

With this wretch for _chef de cuisine_ I was exalted to the post of
"cook's mate."

       *       *       *       *       *

I found that a fire had been already kindled beneath some dwarf trees,
and that a kettle was set over it to boil. Gallego beckoned me to
follow him into a thicket some distance from the _rancho_, where,
beneath the protection of a large tarpaulin, we found _filibustero's_
pantry amply provided with butter, onions, spices, salt-fish, bacon,
lard, rice, coffee, wines, and all the requisites of comfortable
living. In the corners, strewn at random on the ground, I observed
spy-glasses, compasses, sea-charts, books, and a quantity of choice
cabin-furniture. We obtained a sufficiency of water for cookery and
drinking from holes dug in the sand, and we managed to cool the
beverage by suspending it in a draft of air in porous vessels, which
are known throughout the West Indies by the mischievous name of
"monkeys." Our copious thickets supplied us with fuel, nor were we
without a small, rough garden, in which the gang cultivated peppers,
tomatoes and mint. The premises being reviewed, I returned with my
ill-favored guard to take a lesson in piratical cookery.

It is astonishing how well these wandering vagabonds know how to toss
up a savory mess, and how admirably they understand its enjoyment. A
tickled palate is one of the great objects of their mere animal
existence, and they are generally prepared with a mate who might pass
muster in a second-rate restaurant. The _déjeuner_ we served of
codfish stewed in claret, snowy and granulated rice, delicious
tomatoes and fried ham, was irreproachable. Coffee had been drunk at
day-dawn; so that my comrades contented themselves during the meal
with liberal potations of claret, while they finished the morning with
brandy and cigars.

By two o'clock the breakfast was over, and most of the gorged scamps
had retired for a _siesta_ during the sweltering heat. A few of the
toughest took muskets and went to the beach to shoot gulls or sharks.
Gallego and myself were dispatched to our grove-kitchen to scullionize
our utensils; and, finally, being the youngest, I was intrusted with
the honorable duty of feeding the bloodhounds.

As soon as my duties were over, I was preparing to follow the
siesta-example of my betters, when I met Don Rafael coming out of the
door, and, without a word, was beckoned to follow towards the interior
of the island. When we reached a solitary spot, two or three hundred
yards from the _rancho_, Rafael drew me down beside him in the shade
of a tree, and said gently with a smile, that he supposed I was at
least _surprised_ by the events of the last four days. I must confess
that I saw little for any thing else but astonishment in them, and I
took the liberty to concede that fact to the Don.

"Well," continued he, "I have brought you here to explain a part of
the mystery, and especially to let you understand why it was that I
passed myself off last night as your uncle, in order to save your
life. I was obliged to do it, boy; and, _voto à Dios_! I would have
fought the _junta_,--bloodhounds and all,--before they should have
harmed a limb of your body!"

Don Rafael explained that as soon as he caught a glimpse of my face
when he boarded the _galliot_ on the morning of our disaster, he
recognized the lineaments of an old companion in arms. The resemblance
caused him to address me as particularly as he had done on the night
of the piracy, the consequence of which was that his suspicions
ripened into certainty.

If I were writing the story of Don Rafael's life, instead of my own,
I might give an interesting and instructive narrative, which
showed,--as he alleged,--how those potent controllers of
outlaws,--"circumstances,"--had changed him from a very respectable
soldier of fortune into a genuine buccaneer. He asserted that my
uncle had been his schoolmate and professional companion in the old
world. When the war of South American independence demanded the aid
of certain Dugald Dalgettys to help its fortune, Don Rafael and my
uncle had lent the revolutionists of Mexico their swords, for which
they were repaid in the coin that "patriots" commonly receive for
such amiable self-sacrifice. _Republics_ are proverbially ungrateful,
and Mexico, alas! was a republic.

After many a buffet of fortune, my poor uncle, it seems, perished in a
duel at which Don Rafael performed the professional part of "his
friend." My relation died, of course, like a "man of honor," and soon
after, Don Rafael, himself, fell a victim to the "circumstances"
which, in the end, enabled him to slaughter my shipmates and save my
life.

I must admit that I use this flippant tone with a twinge of sorrow,
for I think I perceived certain spasms of conscience during our
interview, which proved that, among the lees of that withered heart,
there were some rich drops of manhood ready to mantle his cheek with
shame at our surroundings. Indeed, as he disclosed his story, he
exhibited several outbursts of passionate agony which satisfied me
that if Don Rafael were in Paris, Don Rafael would have been a most
respectable _bourgeois_; while, doubtless, there were many estimable
citizens at that moment in Paris, who would have given up their shops
in order to become Don Rafaels in Cuba! Such is life--and
"circumstances!"

Our chat wasted a large portion of the afternoon. It was terminated by
a counsel from my friend to be wary in my deportment, and a direction
to console myself with the idea that he did not mean I should tarry
long upon the island.

"You see," said he, "that I do not lack force of eye, voice, and
personal influence over these ruffians; yet I do not know that I can
always serve or save a friend, so your fate hangs very much on your
circumspection. Men in our situation are Ishmaelites. Our hands are
not only against all, and all against us, but we do not know the
minute when we may be all against each other. The power of habitual
control may do much for a leader among such men; but such an one must
neither quail nor _deceive_. Therefore, _beware_! Let none of your
actions mar my projects. Let them never suspect the truth of our
consanguinity. Call me 'uncle;' and in my mouth you shall always be
'Theodore.' Ask no questions; be civil, cheerful, and serviceable
about the _rancho_; never establish an intimacy, confidence, or
friendship with any _one_ of the band; stifle your feelings and your
tears if you ever find them rising to your lips or eyes; talk as
little as you possibly can; avoid that smooth-tongued Frenchman; keep
away from our revels, and refrain entirely from wine.

"I charge you to be specially watchful of Gallego, the cook. He is our
man of dirty work,--a shameless coward, though revengeful as a cat. If
it shall ever happen that you come in collision with him, _strike
first and well_; no one cares for him; even his death will make no
stir. Take this _cuchillo_,--it is sharp and reliable; keep it near
you day and night; and, _in self-defence_, do not hesitate to make
good use of it. In a few days, I may say more to you; until
then,--_corragio figlio, è addio!_"

We returned to the _rancho_ by different paths.



CHAPTER V.


The life of men under the ban of society, on a desolate sand key,
whose only visitors are land-crabs and sea-gulls, is a dull and dreary
affair. The genuine pirate, properly equipped for a desperate lot, who
has his swift keel beneath him and is wafted wheresoever he lists on
canvas wings, encounters, it is true, an existence of peril; yet there
is something exhilarating and romantic in his dashing career of
incessant peril: he is ever on the wing, and ever amid novelty; there
is something about his life that smacks of genuine warfare, and his
existence becomes as much more respectable as the old-fashioned
highwayman on his mettlesome steed was superior to the sneaking
footpad, who leaped from behind a thicket and bade the unarmed
pedestrian stand and deliver. But the wrecker-pirate takes his victim
at a disadvantage, for he is not a genuine freebooter of the sea. He
shuns an able foe and strikes the crippled. Like the shark and the
eagle, he delights to prey on the carcass, rather than to strike the
living quarry.

The companionship into which misfortune had thrown me was precisely of
this character, and I gladly confess that I was never tempted for a
moment to bind up my fate with the sorry gang. I confided, it is true,
in Rafael's promise to liberate me; yet I never abandoned the hope of
escape by my own tact and energy.

Meanwhile, I became heartily tired of my scullion duties as the
subordinate of Gallego. Finding one day a chest of carpenters' tools
among the rubbish, I busied myself in making a rudder for one of the
boats, and so well did I succeed, that when my companions returned to
breakfast from their daily "fishing," my mechanical skill was lauded
to such a degree that Rafael converted the general enthusiasm to my
advantage by separating me from the cook. I was raised to the head of
our "naval bureau" as boatbuilder in chief. Indeed, it was admitted on
all hands that I was abler with the adze than the ladle and spoiled
fewer boards than broths.

A few days passed, during which I learned that our unfortunate galliot
was gradually emptied and destroyed. This was the usual morning
occupation of the whole gang until the enterprise ended. When the job
was over Don Rafael told me that he was about to depart hurriedly on
business with the whole company, to the mainland of Cuba, so that,
during his absence, the island and its property would be left in
custody of Gallego, myself, and the bloodhounds. He specially charged
the cook to keep sober, and to give a good account of himself at the
end of _five days_, which would terminate his absence.

But no sooner was the _patron_ away, than the lazy scamp neglected his
duties, skulked all day among the bushes, and refused even to furnish
my food or supply the dogs. Of course, I speedily attended to the
welfare of myself and the animals; but, at night, the surly Galician
came home, prepared his own supper, drank till he was completely
drunk, and retired without uttering a word.

I was glad that he yielded to the temptation of liquor, as I hoped he
would thereby become incapable of harming me during the watches of the
night, if weariness compelled me to sleep. He was a malignant wretch,
and his taciturnity and ill-will appeared so ominous now that I was
left utterly alone, that I resolved, if possible, to keep awake, and
not to trust to luck or liquor. The galliot's tragedy and anxiety
stood me in stead, so that I did not close my eyes in sleep the whole
of that dreary vigil. About midnight, Gallego stealthily approached my
cot, and pausing a moment to assure himself that I was in the profound
repose which I admirable feigned, he turned on tip-toe to the door of
our cabin, and disappeared with a large bundle in his hand. He did not
return until near day-dawn; and, next night, the same act was exactly
repeated.

The mysterious sullenness of this vagabond not only alarmed, but
increased my nervousness, for I can assure the reader that, on a
desolate island, without a companion but a single outcast, one would
rather hear the sound of that wretch's voice than be doomed to the
silence of such inhuman solitude. During the day he kept entirely
aloof,--generally at sea fishing,--affording me time for a long
_siesta_ in a nook near the shore, penetrated by a thorny path, which
Gallego could not have traced without hounds. On the fourth night,
when the pirate left our hut for his accustomed excursion, I resolved
to follow; and taking a pistol with renewed priming, I pursued his
steps at a safe distance, till I saw him enter a thick shrubbery, in
which he was lost. I marked the spot and returned to the cabin. Next
morning, after coffee, Gallego departed in his canoe to fish. I
watched him anxiously from the beach until he anchored about two miles
from the reef, and then calling the dogs, retraced my way to the
thicket. The hounds were of great service, for, having placed them on
the track, they instantly traced the path of the surly scoundrel.

After some trouble in passing the dense copse of underwood, I entered
a large patch of naked sand, broken by heaps of stones, which appeared
to cover graves. One heap bore the form of a cross, and was probably
the sepulchre of a wrecker. I stopped awhile and reflected as to
further explorations. On entering this arid graveyard, I observed a
number of land-crabs scamper away; but, after awhile, when I sat down
in a corner and became perfectly quiet, I noticed that the army
returned to the field and introduced themselves into all the heaps of
stones or graves _save one_. This struck me as singular; for, when
people are so hopelessly alone as I was, they become minute observers,
and derive infinite happiness from the consideration of the merest
trifles. Accordingly, I ventured close to the abandoned heap, and
found at once that the neighboring sand had been freshly smoothed. I
was on Gallego's track! In dread of detection, I stealthily climbed a
tree, and, screening myself behind the foliage, peered out towards the
sea till I beheld the cook at work beyond the reef. My musket and
pistols were again examined and found in order. With these
precautions, I began to remove the stones, taking care to mark their
relative positions so that I might replace them exactly; and, in about
ten minutes work at excavation, I came upon two barrels, one of which
was filled with bundles of silk, linens, and handkerchiefs, while the
other contained a chronometer, several pieces of valuable lace, and a
beautifully bound, gilt, and ornamented _Bible_. One bundle, tied in a
Madras handkerchief, particularly attracted my attention, for I
thought I recognized the covering. Within it I found a number of
trinkets belonging to the wife of my Dutch captain, and a large
hairpin, set with diamonds, which I remember she wore the last day of
her life. Had this wretch torn it from her head, as he imbrued his
hands in her blood on that terrible night? The painful revelation
brought all before me once more with appalling force. I shuddered and
became sick. Yet, I had no time for maudlin dalliance with my
feelings. Replacing every thing with precision, and smoothing the sand
once more with my flannel shirt, I returned to the _rancho_, where I
indulged in the boyish but honest outburst of nature which I could no
longer restrain. I was not then--and, thank God, I am not now--a
stranger to tears! To the world, the human heart and the human eye,
like the coral isle of the Atlantic, may be parched and withered; yet
beneath the seared and arid surface, the living water still flows and
gushes, when the rock and the heart alike are stricken!

       *       *       *       *       *

Just before sunset of this day, the deep baying of our hounds gave
notice of approaching strangers; and, soon after, four boats appeared
in the cove. The two foremost belonged to Don Rafael and his crew,
while the others were filled with strangers whose appearance was that
of landsmen rather than mariners. As Rafael received them on the
beach, he introduced them to me as his especial pets, the "AMPHIBIOUS
JEWS."

Our delicious supper of that night was augmented by a fine store of
beef, pork and fowls, brought from shore. I lingered at table as long
as the company maintained a decent sobriety, and learned that these
salt water Hebrews were, in truth, speculators from Cardenas, who
accompanied Rafael in the guise of fishermen, to purchase the
plundered cargo of my galliot.

During his visit to Cuba, Don Rafael was apprised that the Cuban
authorities were about sending an Inspector among the islands off the
coast, and accordingly took precaution to furnish himself in advance
with a regular "fishing license." All hands were forthwith set to work
to make our key and _rancho_ conform to this calling, and, in a few
days, the canvas roof of our hut was replaced by a thatch of leaves,
while every dangerous article or implement was concealed in the
thicket of a labyrinthine creek. In fact, our piscatory character
could not be doubted. In our persons and occupation, we looked as
innocent and rustic as a pic-nic party on a summer bivouac for fresh
air and salt bathing. Nor was the transformation less real in regard
to our daily tasks. We became, in reality, most industrious fishermen;
so that we had more than a thousand of the finny tribe piled up and
dried, when the hounds signalled the arrival of the expected
officials.

Breakfast was on the table when they landed, but it was the _banyan_
meal of humble men, whose nets were never filled with aught but the
_scaly_ products of the sea. Our inspector was regaled with a scant
fish-feast, and allowed to digest it over the genuine license. Rafael
complained sadly of hard times and poverty;--in fact, the drama of
humility was played to perfection, and, finally, the functionary
signed our license, with a certificate of our loyalty, and pocketed a
moderate "gratification" of _five ounces_!

       *       *       *       *       *

Six long, hot, and wretched weeks passed over my head before any
striking occurrence relieved the monotony of my life. During the whole
of this period, our fishing adventure was steadily pursued, when
information was mysteriously brought to the key that a richly-laden
French vessel had run ashore on the Cayo Verde, an islet some forty
miles east of the Cruz del Padre. That afternoon, both of our large
boats were filled with armed men, and, as they departed with _every_
wrecker aboard, I alone was left on the islet to guard our property
with the dogs.

The thought and hope of escape both swelled in my breast as I saw the
hulls dwindle to a dot and disappear behind the horizon. In a moment,
my plan was conceived and perfected. The sea was perfectly smooth, and
I was expert in the use of oars. That very night I launched our
canoe,--the only vessel left in the cove,--and placing the sail,
scullers, and grappling-hook within it, returned to the _rancho_ for
clothing. As it was dark, I lighted a candle, when, on looking into
the clothes-chest beneath my bed, I found inscribed on the lid, in
fresh chalk-marks, the words "PATIENCE! WAIT!"

This discovery made me pause in my preparations. Was it the
warning--as it was certainly the handwriting--of Rafael? Had he
purposely and honorably left me alone, in order to escape this scene
of blood? Did he anticipate my effort to fly, and endeavor to save me
from the double risk of crossing to the mainland, and of future
provision for my comfort? I could not doubt its being the work of my
friend; and, whether it was superstition or prudence, I cannot say,
but I resolved, unhesitatingly, to abandon a scheme in regard to which
I hesitated. Instead, therefore, of attempting to pass the strait
between the key and Cuba, I went to bed, and slept more comfortably in
my utter abandonment than I had done since I was on the island.

Next day, at noon, I descried a small pilot-boat sailing inside the
reef, with all the confidence of a perfect master of the channel. Two
persons speedily landed, with provisions from the mainland, and stated
that, on his last visit to Cuba, Don Rafael engaged them to take me to
Havana. This, however, was to be done with much caution, inasmuch as
his men would not assent to my departure until they had compromised my
life with theirs by some act of desperate guilt. The pilots declined
taking me then without my guardian's assent;--and, in truth, so fully
was I convinced of his intention to liberate me in the best and
speediest way, that I made up my mind to abide where I was till he
returned.

For three days more I was doomed to solitude. On the fourth, the
boats came back, with the pilot's cutter, and I quickly saw that a
serious encounter had taken place. The pilot-boat appeared to be
deeply laden. Next day, she was taken to the mazes of the winding and
wooded creek, where, I learned, the booty was disembarked and hidden.
While the party had gone to complete this portion of their enterprise,
the Frenchman, who was wounded in the head and remained behind, took
that opportunity to enlighten me on passing events. When the wreckers
reached Cayo Verde, they found the French vessel already taken
possession of by "fishermen" of that quarter. Anticipated in their
dirty work, our comrades were in no mood to be sociable with the
fortunate party. An affray was the natural result, in which knives had
been freely used, while Mesclet himself had been rescued by Rafael,
pistol in hand, after receiving the violent blow on his head from
which he was now suffering. Having secured a retreat to their boats,
they were just beginning to think of a rapid departure, when the
friendly pilot-boat hove in sight. So fortunate a reinforcement
renerved our gang. A plan of united action was quickly concerted. The
French vessel was again hoarded and carried. Two of the opposite party
were slain in the onslaught; and, finally, a rich remnant of the cargo
was seized, though the greater part of the valuables had, no doubt,
been previously dispatched ashore by the earlier band of desperadoes.

"Thank God!" added the narrator, "we have now the boat and the
assistance of Bachicha, who is as brave as Rafael: with his
'_Baltimore clipper_,' we shall conduct our affairs on a grander scale
than heretofore. _Sacre-bleu!_ we may now cruise under the Columbian
flag, and rob Peter to pay Paul!"

In fact, the "clipper" had brought down an ample store of ammunition,
under the innocent name of "provisions," while she carried in her
bowels a long six, which she was ready to mount amidships at a
moment's notice.

But poor Mesclet did not live to enjoy the fruits of the larger
piracy, which he hoped to carry on in a more elegant way with
Bachicha. The _roué_ could not be restrained from the favorite
beverages of his beautiful France. His wound soon mastered him; and,
in a month, all that was mortal of this gallant Gaul, who, in earlier
years, had figured in the best saloons of his country, rested among
sand-graves of a Cuban key.

"Ah!" growled Gallego, as they came home from his burial, "there is
one less to share our earnings; and, what is better, claret and brandy
will be more plentiful now that this sponge is under the sand!"

       *       *       *       *       *

In a few days, the boats were laden with fish for the mainland, in
order to cover the real object of our _patron's_ visit to Cuba, which
was to dispose of the booty. At his departure, he repeated the
cherished promise of liberty, and privately hinted that I had better
continue fishing on good terms with Señor Gallego.

It required some time to repair the nets, for they had been rather
neglected during our late fishing, so that it was not, in fact, until
Rafael had been three days gone that I took the canoe with Gallego,
and dropped anchor outside the reef, to take breakfast before
beginning our labor.

We had hardly begun a frugal meal when, suddenly, a large schooner
shot from behind a bend of the island, and steered in our direction.
As the surly Spaniard never spoke, I had become accustomed to be
equally silent. Unexpectedly, however, he gave a scowling glance from
beneath his shaggy brows at the vessel, and exclaimed with unusual
energy: "A Columbian privateer!"

"We had best up anchor, and get inside the reef," continued he, "or
our sport will be spoiled for the day."

"Pshaw!" returned I, "she's not making for us, and, even if she were,
I wouldn't be such a coward as to run!" Indeed, I had heard so much of
"Columbian privateers" and the patriot service, that I rather longed
to be captured, that I might try my hand at lawful war and glory. The
impulse was sudden and silly.

Still Gallego insisted on retreating; until, at length, we got into an
angry controversy, which the cook, who was in the bow of the boat,
attempted to end by cutting the anchor-rope. As he was drawing his
knife to execute this purpose, I swiftly lifted an oar, and, with a
single blow, laid him senseless in the bottom of the canoe. By this
time the schooner was within pistol-shot; and, as she passed with a
three-knot breeze, the captain, who had witnessed the scene, threw a
grappling-iron into our skiff, and taking us in tow, dragged the boat
from its moorings.

As soon as we got into deeper water, I was ordered on deck, while
Gallego, still quite insensible, was hoisted carefully on board. I
told the truth as to our dispute, reserving, however, the important
fact that I had been originally urged into the quarrel by my anxiety
"to ship" on board a privateer.

"I want a pilot for Key West," said the master, hurriedly, "and I have
no time to trifle with your stupid quarrels. Can either of you perform
this service?"

By this time Gallego had been somewhat roused from his stupor, and
pointing feebly towards me, uttered a languid:--"Yes, and an
_excellent_ one."

Mistaking the word "_pilote_," which in Spanish signifies "navigator,"
the French captain, who spoke the Castilian very badly, translated it
into the more limited meaning attached to that peculiar profession,
one of whose ministers he was anxious to secure.

"_Bon!_" said the master, "put the other fellow back into his skiff,
and make sail at once under charge of this youngster."

I remonstrated, protested, declaimed, swore, that I knew nothing of
Key West and its approaches; but all my efforts were vain. I was a
pilot in spite of myself.

The malicious cook enjoyed the joke of which I had so hastily become
the victim. As they lowered him again into the boat, he jeered at my
incredulity, and in ten minutes was towed to the edge of the reef,
where the scamp was turned adrift to make for the island.

When the schooner was once more under full sail, I was ordered to give
the course for Key West. I at once informed the captain, whose name I
understood to be Laminé, that he really labored under a mistake in
translating the Spanish word _pilote_ into _port guide_, and assured
him that Gallego had been prompted by a double desire to get rid of
him as well as me by fostering his pernicious error. I acknowledged
that I was a "_pilot_," or "navigator," though not a "_practico_," or
harbor-pilot; yet I urged that I could not, without absolute
foolhardiness, undertake to conduct his schooner into a port of which
I was utterly ignorant, and had never visited. Hereupon the first
lieutenant or mate interposed. This fellow was a short, stout-built
person of thirty-five, with reddish whiskers and hair, a
long-projecting under-jaw, and eye-teeth that jutted out like tusks.
To add to his ugliness, he was sadly pitted by small-pox, and waddled
about on short duck legs, which were altogether out of proportion to
his long body, immense arms, and broad, massive shoulders. I do not
remember a more vulgarly repulsive person than this privateering
lieutenant.

"He is a liar, Captain Laminé, and only wants to extort money for his
services," interjected the brute. "Leave him to me, sir; I'll find a
way to refresh his memory of Key West that will open the bottom of the
gulf to his eyes as clearly as the pathway to his piratical hut on the
sand key! To the helm, sir--to the helm!"

What possible object or result could I gain by resistance amid the
motley assemblage that surrounded me on the deck of the "CARA-BOBO?"
She was a craft of about 200 tons; and, with her crew of seventy-five,
composed of the scourings of all nations, castes, and colors, bore a
commission from the authorities of Carthagena to burn, sink and
destroy all Spanish property she was strong enough to capture. Laminé
was born in the isle of France, while Lasquetti, the lieutenant, was a
creole of Pensacola. The latter spoke French and Spanish quite well,
but very little English; while both master and mate were almost
entirely ignorant of navigation, having intrusted that task to the
third lieutenant, who was then ill with yellow fever. The second
lieutenant was absent on board a prize.

Thus forced to take charge of a privateer without a moment's warning,
I submitted with the best grace, and, calling for charts and
instruments, I shaped my way for the destined port. All day we steered
west-north-west, but at sunset, as we had run along smartly, I
ordered the schooner to be "laid to" for the night. The wind and
weather were both charmingly fair, and objections were of course made
to my command. But, as the most difficult part of our navigation was
to be encountered during the night, if I kept on my course, I resolved
to persist to the last in my resolution, and I was fortunate enough to
carry my point.

"D--n you," said Lasquetti, as the vessel was brought to the wind and
made snug for the night, "d--n you, Master Téodore; this laying-to
shall give _you_ no rest, at least, if you thought to dodge work, and
get into a hammock by means of it! You shall march the deck all night
to see that we don't drift on a reef, if I have to sit up, or stand up
till day-dawn to watch you!"

Obedience, alas! had been the order of the day with me for a long
while; so I promenaded the lee quarter till nearly midnight, when,
utterly exhausted by fatigue, I sat down on a long brass chaser, and
almost instantly fell asleep.

I know not how long I rested, but a tremendous shock knocked me from
the cannon and laid me flat on the deck, bleeding from mouth, nose and
ears. Lasquetti stood beside me, cigar in hand, laughing immoderately,
blaspheming like a demon, and kicking me in the ribs with his rough
wet-weather boots. He had detected me asleep, and touched off the gun
with his _havanna_!

The explosion aroused all hands, and brought the commander on deck. My
blood flowed, but it did not pour fast enough to relieve my agonizing
rage. As soon as I recovered consciousness, I seized the first heavy
implement I could grasp, and rushed at my aggressor, whose skull was
saved from the blow by descending beneath the combings of the
hatchway, which, the instant after, were shivered by the descent of my
heavy weapon. Laminé was a man of some sensibility, and, though
selfish, as usual with his set, could not avoid at once reprimanding
Lasquetti with uncommon severity in presence of his men.

That afternoon, I was fortunate enough, by the aid of a good chart,
and a sort of _navigating instinct_, to anchor the "Cara-bobo" in the
narrow harbor of Key West. When Laminé went ashore, he ordered me not
to leave the schooner, while sentries were placed to prevent boats
from boarding or even approaching us. Hardly was the master out of the
vessel before two men seized me as I looked at the shore through a
telescope. In the twinkling of an eye, I was hurried below and
double-ironed; nor would I have received a morsel of food save bread
and water during our detention, had I not been secretly fed by some
good fellows from the forecastle, who stole to me after dark with the
remnant of their rations. This was the cowardly revenge of Lasquetti.

On the third day, Laminé returned, bringing an American pilot for the
coast and islands. I was set at liberty as he was seen approaching;
and when we got under way on another cruise, I was commanded to do
duty as sailing-master, which I promptly refused with spirited
indignation, until I received satisfaction from the dastard
lieutenant. But this fellow had taken care to forestall me, by
assuring Laminé that he never dreamed of securing me until I was
caught in the very act of escaping from the schooner!

During a week's cruise of indifferent success with these "patriots," I
won the kind heart of the American pilot, who heard the story of my
late adventures with patience; and, through his influence with the
commander, my lot was mitigated, notwithstanding my refusal to do
duty. By this time, the third lieutenant was restored to sufficient
health to resume the deck. He was a native of Spain and a gallant
sailor. Many an hour did he pass beside me, recounting his adventures
or listening to mine, until I seemed to win his sympathy, and insure
his assistance for relief from this miserable tyranny.

At length, the schooner's course was shaped for the Cruz del Padre,
while I was summoned to the cabin. I perceived at once a singular
change for the better in Monsieur Laminé's manner. He requested me to
be seated; pressed me to accept a tumbler of claret; inquired about my
health, and ended this harmonious overture by saying, that if I would
sign a document exonerating him from all charges of compulsory
detention or ill-treatment, he would pay me two hundred dollars for
my service, and land me again on the key.

I promptly saw that his object in replacing me on the island was to
prevent my complaints against his conduct from reaching the ears of a
tribunal in a neutral port; and, accordingly, I declined the
proposition,--demanding, however, to be put on board of any vessel we
met, no matter what might be her nationality. I sternly refused his
money, and insisted that my only desire was to be free from his brutal
officer.

But Laminé was in power and I was not. In the end, I discovered that
worse consequences might befall me among these ruffians, if I
hesitated to take the recompense and sign the paper. In fact, I began
to be quite satisfied that, in reality, it was an _escape_ to be freed
from the privateer, even if I took refuge once more among pirates!

So, after a good deal of claret and controversy had been wasted, I
signed the document and pocketed the cash.

As the first bars of saffron streaked the east next morning, the reef
of the Cruz del Padre hove in sight dead ahead. The third lieutenant
presented me at my departure with a set of charts, a spy-glass, a
quadrant, and a large bag of clothes; while, in the breast of a rich
silk waistcoat, he concealed three ounces and a silver watch, which he
desired me to wear in honor of him, if ever I was fortunate enough to
tread the streets of Havana. Several of the white sailors also offered
me useful garments; and a black fellow, who had charge of the boat in
which I was sent ashore, forced on me two sovereigns, which he
considered a small gratuity to "_a countryman_" in distress. He hailed
from Marblehead, and protested that he knew me in Salem when I was a
lad.

As the boat approached the _rancho's_ cove, I perceived every body
under arms, and heard Don Rafael command my boatmen, in a loud,
imperious voice, to begone, or he would fire. Standing on the thwarts
of the boat, I ordered the oarsmen to back water, and leaping into the
sea, waist-deep, struggled alone to the beach, calling "mi tio! mi
tio!"--"_my uncle! Don Rafael!_"--who, recognizing my voice and
gestures, promptly rushed forward to embrace me. Our boat was then
allowed to approach the landing and disburthen itself of the gifts. I
thought it best to request my sable ally from Marblehead to narrate,
in as good Spanish or _lingua-franca_, as he could press into his
service, the whole story of my capture and the conduct of Gallego.
This being done, the boat and its crew were dispatched aboard with a
multitude of Spanish courtesies and the substantial gift of some
_Chateau Margaux_.

After an early supper, I became the lion of the evening, and was
requested to give a narrative of my cruise in the "patriot service." I
noticed that some of the gang looked on me askance with an incredulous
air, while others amused themselves by smoking and spitting in a very
contemptuous way whenever I reached what I conceived to be a thrilling
portion of my story. At its conclusion, I arose and deposited in the
hands of Don Rafael my gifts of two hundred dollars and the two
sovereigns. This evidence of reciprocity seemed to restore the good
temper of my impatient hearers, so that, by the time the _patron_ went
round the circle, giving each man his share of my earnings,--not even
omitting Gallego,--my credit was almost restored among the gang.

"As for these two pieces of gold, these charts, instruments and
clothes," said Don Rafael, "they are the property of the youth, and I
am sure none of you are mean enough to divide them. The money was
another thing. That was _his_ earning, as the 'fishing _revenue_' is
ours; and as he is entitled to a share of what _we_ gain, we are
entitled to participate in whatever _he_ wins. Yet, _amigos_, this is
not all. My nephew, _caballeros_, has been accused, by one of this
party, _during his absence_, of being not only a contemptible thief,
but a traitor and coward. Now, as these are three 'blasphemous
vituperations' which are not to be found under any head in my
prayer-book, and never were chargeable on the blood of our family, I
insist on immediate justice to my kinsman. Let that cowardly scoundrel
repeat and _prove_ his accusation of Téodore, face to face! You,
_señores_, shall stand judges. Every thing shall be fair. To-night, my
boy shall be found guilty or purged of the baseness imputed to him;
and, moreover, I apprise you now, that if he is innocent, I shall
to-morrow restore him to liberty. His voluntary return was a voucher
of honesty; and I doubt whether there is a clever man among you who
does not agree with me. Stand forth, Gallego, and charge this youth
again with the infamy you heaped on him while he was away."

But the sullen wretch bowed his head, with a hang-dog look, and rolled
his black and bushy skull slowly from side to side, with an air of
bullying defiance. Still he remained perfectly silent.

"Stand forth, Gallego, once more, I say!" shouted Don Rafael, stamping
with fury and foaming at the mouth; "stand forth, imp of the devil,
and make good your charge, or I'll trice you up to these rafters by
your thumbs, and lash you with a cow-hide till your stretched skin
peels off in ribbons!"

The threat restored Gallego's voice; but he could only say that there
was no use in repeating the charges, because the case was prejudged,
and all feared Don Rafael and his parasite to such a degree that it
was impossible to treat him with justice. "Yet, look ye, señores, if I
can't talk, I can fight. If Don Rafael is ready to meet me, knife in
hand, in support of my cause, why, all I have to say is, that I am
ready for him and his bastard to boot!"

In a moment, Rafael's knife was out of his belt, and the two sprang
forward in a death-struggle, which would doubtless have been a short
affair, had not the whole party interposed between the combatants and
forbidden the fight. In the hurly-burly, Gallego took to his heels and
departed.

The scoundrel's escape caused some alarm in the camp, as it was feared
he might leave the island, and, turning king's evidence, make the
waters of Cuba too hot for the band. Accordingly, all the canoes and
boats that night were drawn up on the beach and kept under double
watch.

When order was restored in the _rancho_, I asked Don Rafael to explain
the "three accusations" that had been made against my fair fame; when
I learned that I was charged by Gallego with having felled him in the
boat, with having shipped voluntarily in the privateer, and with
returning in the Cara-bobo's boats _to rob the rancho of its
valuables_!

The first of the allegations I admitted to be true; the second had
been disproved by the privateer's boatmen; and, as to the third, I at
once insisted upon the party's taking torches and accompanying me to
the graveyard, where, I told them, they would find--as, in truth, they
did--the valuables this villain had charged me with stealing. On our
way thither, I recounted the manner in which I detected his infamy.

Nest morning we divided into two parties, and taking the dogs,
proceeded in chase of the dastard Galician. He was quickly tracked by
the hounds and caught asleep, with two empty flasks beside him.

A drum-head court-martial at once convened for his trial, and it was
unanimously resolved to chain him to a tree, where he was to be left
exposed to the elements until he starved to death. The passive and
silent fit had again come over Gallego. I implored that the sentence
might be softened, but I was laughed at for my childish pity, and
ordered home to the _rancho_. The command to chain him having been
executed, the Spanish outcast was left to his terrible fate. One of
the men, out of compassion, as he said, secretly conveyed a case of
gin to the doomed man, and left it within reach, either to solace his
departure from the world, or to render him insensible. But his end was
speedy. Next morning the guard found him dead, with six empty bottles
out of the case. His body was denied the rites of sepulture. It was
left lying in chains as he perished, to rot in the sun and be devoured
by the insects generated from his decay.



CHAPTER VI.


When these dreadful scenes were over, Don Rafael took me aside with
the pleasant news that the time for my liberation was indeed arrived.
He handed me one hundred and twenty-five dollars, which wore my share
of the proceeds of our lawful fishing. "Take the money," said Rafael,
with a good deal of feeling; "take it, young man, with _perfect_
confidence;--_there is no blood on it!_"

My preparations for departure were quickly made, as Bachicha was in
the cove with his craft ready to take me to the mainland. I bade a
hasty adieu to the gang; and perhaps it is rare that any one ever
abandoned the companions of several months' intimacy with so little
pain. Rafael's solicitude for my character touched me. He had done all
in his power to preserve my self-respect, and I was, therefore, well
disposed to regard the good counsel he gave me at parting, and to
believe in his sincerity when he pictured a bright future, and
contrasted it with his own desolation and remorse.

"I have recommended you, _hijo mio_, to a friend in Regla, on the
opposite side of the harbor at Havana, who will take care of you. He
is a _paisano_ of ours. Take these additional ten ounces, which are
the fruit of honest labor. They will help you to appear properly in
Havana; so that, with the care of Bachicha and our Regla countryman, I
don't despair of your welfare. ADIOS! _para siempre!_"

And so we parted;--and it was, indeed, an adieu for ever. We never
met again, but I heard of Don Rafael and his fortunes. The new
enterprise with the pilot-boat turned out successfully, and the band
acquired considerable property on the island before the piratical
nests along the coast of Cuba were broken up by cruisers. Rafael had
some narrow escapes from the noose and the yard arm; but he eluded the
grasp of his pursuers, and died a respectable _ranchero_ on a
comfortable farm in the interior of the Queen of the Antilles.

       *       *       *       *       *

The light winds of summer soon brought us inside the Moro Castle, past
the frowning batteries of the Cabanas, and at anchor near Regla,
within the beautiful harbor of Havana. I shall never forget the
impression made on my mind by this delicious scene as it first broke
on my sight at sunrise, in all the cool freshness of morning. The
grand amphitheatre of hills swept down to the calm and lake-like water
with gentle slopes, lapped in the velvet robes of richest green, and
embroidered, as it were, with lace-like spots of castle, fort,
dwelling, and villa, until the seaward points were terminated on the
left, by the brilliant city, and on the right by a pile of majestic
batteries.

This grand and lasting impression was made almost at a glance, for,
at my time of life, I was more concerned with man than nature, and
rarely paused to dwell on the most fascinating scenery. Accordingly,
I hastened to Regla with my letter of introduction, which was
_interpreted_ by Bachicha to the Italian grocer, the friend of
Rafael, to whom I was confided. _Il signore Carlo Cibo_ was an
illiterate man of kind heart, who had adventurously emigrated from
Italy to furnish the Havanese with good things; while, in return, the
Havanese had been so pleased with his provender, that Carlo may be
said to have been a man "very well to do in the world" for a
foreigner. He received me with unbounded kindness;--welcomed me to
his bachelor home;--apologized for its cold cheerlessness, and
ordered me to consider himself and his "_casa_" entirely at my
disposal as long as I chose to remain.

I was content to accept this unstinted hospitality for a few days,
while I ran over the town, the hills, and the _paseos_; but I could
not consent to dally long eating the bread of idleness and charity. I
observed that my friend Carlo was either the most prudent or least
inquisitive man I knew, for he never asked me a question about my
early or recent history. As he would not lend the conversation to my
affairs, I one day took the liberty to inquire whether there was a
vessel in port bound to the Pacific Ocean or Mexico, in which my
protector could possibly find a situation for me as an officer, or
procure me permission to work my way even as a common sailor.

The kind grocer instantly divined my true motive, and while he honored
me for it, deprecated the idea of my departure. He said that my visit,
instead of being a burden, was a pleasure he could not soon replace.
As to the expenses of his house, he declared they were, in fact, _not_
increased. What fed five, fed half a dozen; and, as to my proposal to
go to Mexico, or any other place in Spanish America on the Continent,
with a view of "making my fortune," he warmly protested against it, in
consequence of his own experience.

"They can never conquer their jealousy of _foreigners_," said Carlo;
"you may live with them for years, and imagine yourself as intimate as
brothers; but, at last, _carramba_, you will find something turn up,
that marks you an alien and kindles nationality against you. Take my
advice, Don Téodore, stay where you are; study Spanish carefully; get
the hang of the people; and, my life on it, before long, you'll have
your hands full of trump cards and the game in your power."

I did as he desired, and was presented to a corpulent old quiz of a
_padre_, who pretended to instruct me in classical Castilian. Two
lessons demonstrated his incapacity; but as he was a jolly gossip of
my grocer, and hail-fellow with the whole village of Regla, I thought
it good policy to continue his pupil in appearance, while I taught
myself _in private_. Besides this, the _padre_ was a _bon vivant_ and
devoted lover of fish. Now, as I happened to be a good sportsman, with
a canoe at my command, I managed to supply his kitchen with an
abundance of the finny tribe, which his cook was an adept in
preparing. It may be supposed that our "fast days" were especial
epochs of delicious reunion. A fine dinner smoked on the table; a good
bottle was added by the grocer; and, while my entertainer discussed
the viands, I contrived to keep him in continual chat, which, in
reality, was the best practical lesson a man in my circumstances could
receive.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is strange how our lives and destinies are often decided by
trifles. As I sailed about the harbor in idleness, my nautical eye and
taste were struck by the trim rig of the sharp built "slavers," which,
at that time, used to congregate at Havana. There was something
bewitching to my mind in their race-horse beauty. A splendid vessel
has always had the same influence on my mind, that I have heard a
splendid woman has on the minds of other men. These dashing _slavers_,
with their arrowy hulls and raking masts, got complete possession of
my fancy. There was hardly a day that I did not come home with a
discovery of added charms. Signor Carlo listened in silence and nodded
his head, when I was done, with an approving smile and a "_bueno!_"

I continued my sailing peregrinations for a month around the harbor,
when my kind entertainer invited me to accompany him aboard a vessel
of which, he said, he owned two shares--_she was bound to Africa!_ The
splendid clipper was one of the very craft that had won my heart; and
my feverish soul was completely upset by the gala-scene as we drifted
down the bay, partaking of a famous breakfast, and quaffing bumpers of
Champagne to the schooner's luck. When she passed the Moro Castle we
leaped into our boats, and gave the voyagers three hearty and tipsy
cheers. My grocer was a "slaver!"

I had a thousand questions for the Italian in regard to the trade, now
that I found _he_ belonged to the fraternity. All my inquiries were
gratified in his usually amiable manner; and that night, in my dreams,
I was on board of a coaster chased by John Bull.

My mind was made up. Mexico, Peru, South American independence,
patriotism, and all that, were given to the breezes of the gulf. I
slept off my headache and nightmare; and next morning announced to
Cibo my abandonment of the Costa Firma, and my anxiety to get a
situation in a vessel bound to Africa.

In a few days I was told that my wishes would perhaps be gratified, as
a fast vessel from the Canaries was about to be sold; and if she went
off a bargain, Signor Carlo had resolved to purchase her, with a
friend, to send to Africa.

Accordingly, the Canary "GLOBO" was acquired for $3000; and after a
perfect refitting at the Casa-Blanca of Havana, loomed in the harbor
as a respectable pilot-boat of forty tons. Her name, in consequence of
reputed speed, was changed to "El Areostatico;" a culverine was placed
amidships; all the requisites for a slave cargo were put on board;
fifteen sailors, the refuse of the press-gang and jail-birds, were
shipped; powder, ammunition, and small arms, were abundantly supplied;
and, last of all, four kegs, ballasted with specie, were conveyed into
the cabin to purchase our return cargo.

It was on the 2d of September, 1826, after a charming _déjeuner_, that
I bade farewell to my friend Carlo on the deck of the Areostatico,
cleared for the Cape de Verd isles, but, in truth, bound for the Rio
Pongo. Our crew consisted of twenty-one scamps--Spaniards, Portuguese,
Frenchmen, and mongrels. The Majorcan captain was an odd character to
intrust with such an enterprise, and probably nowhere else, save in
Havana at that period, would he have been allowed to command a slaver.
He was a scientific navigator, but no sailor;--afraid of his shadow,
he had not a particle of confidence in his own judgment; every body
was listened to, and he readily yielded his opinions without argument
or controversy. Our chief officer, a Catalonian cousin of the captain,
made no pretensions to seamanship, yet he was a good mathematician. I
still remember the laughs I had at the care he took of his lily-white
hands, and the jokes we cracked upon his girl-like manners, voice, and
conversation. The boatswain, who was in his watch, assured me that he
rarely gave an order without humming it out to a tune of some favorite
opera.

In this fantastic group, I occupied the position of supernumerary
officer and interpreter; but accustomed, as I had been, to wholesome
_American_ seamanship and discipline, I trembled not a little when I
discovered the amazing ignorance of the master, and observed the utter
worthlessness of our crew. These things made me doubly vigilant; and
sometimes I grieved that I was not still in Regla, or on the _paseo_.
On the tenth day out, a northwester began to pipe and ripen to a gale
as the sea rose with it. Sail had been soon diminished on the
schooner; but when I was relieved in my watch by the first officer, I
hinted to the captain that it would be best to lay the vessel to as
soon as possible. We had been scudding before the tempest for some
hours under a close-reefed foresail, and I feared if we did not bring
our craft to the wind at once, we would either run her under, or be
swamped in attempting the manoeuvre when the waves got higher. The
captain, however, with his usual submission to the views of the wrong
person, took the advice of the helmsman, who happened to be older than
I, and the schooner was allowed to dash on either through or over the
seas, at the speed of a racer.

By this time the forward deck was always under water, and the men
gathered abaft the trunk to keep as dry as possible. Officers and crew
were huddled together pell-mell, and, with our usual loose discipline,
every body joined in the conversation and counsel. Before sundown I
again advised the laying-to of the schooner; but the task had now
become so formidable that the men who dreaded the job, assured the
captain that the wind would fall as the moon arose. Yet, when the dim
orb appeared above the thick, low-drifting scud, the gale _increased_.
The light rather hinted than revealed the frightful scene around that
egg-shell on the lashed and furious sea. Each wave swept over us, but
our buoyant craft rose on the succeeding swell, and cleft its crest
with her knife-like prow. It was now too late to attempt bringing her
to the wind; still it became more urgent to do something to prevent us
from being submerged by the huge seas, which came thundering after us
like avalanches on our quarters.

The perilous dilemma of our doubtful captain and his dainty mate, may
be easily imagined. Every body had an opinion, and of course they vied
with each other in absurdity;--at last some one proposed to cut away
the foresail, and bring her to the wind under bare poles.

I was "conning" the schooner when this insane scheme was broached, and
fearing that the captain might adopt it, I leaped on the hatch, after
calling the boatswain to my place, and assured the crew that if they
severed the sail, we would lose command of the vessel, so that with
impaired headway, the next wave that struck her would show her keel to
the skies and her dock to the fishes. I exhorted them to drive her
_faster_ if possible rather than stop. To turn out the "balance reef,"
I said, was our only salvation;--and I alleged that I had seen a
vessel saved before in precisely the same way. Cowards, with death
clutching their throats, were soon convinced by a man of nerve. I
availed myself of the instantaneous silence that followed my act, and
before the captain could think or speak, I leaped to the boom with my
sharp knife, cutting the reef-points slowly and carefully, so as not
to allow the foresail to be inflated and torn by a single blast.

My judgment was correct. Our increased canvas immediately sent us
skimming over the waves; the rollers no longer combed dangerously over
our quarter; we scudded steadily throughout the remnant of the gale;
and, next night, at sundown, we rested on a quiet, lake-like ocean,
taughtening the strained rigging, and priding ourselves mightily on
the hazards we encountered and overcame. The Minorcan skipper was
satisfied that no man ever before performed so daring an exploit. He
was, moreover, convinced, that no one but himself could have carried
the schooner through so frightful a storm, or would have invented the
noble expedient of driving instead of stripping her!

From this hour all semblance of regular discipline was abandoned.
Sailors, who are suffered to tread the quarter-deck familiarly and
offer their opinions, never get over the permitted freedom. Our
ragamuffins of the Areostatico could never abide the idea that the
youngest seaman aboard,--and he, too, a _foreigner_,--should have
proved the best sailor. The skilful performance of my duty was the
source of a rankling grudge. As I would not mix with the scamps, they
called me arrogant. My orders were negligently obeyed; and, in fact,
every thing in the schooner became as comfortless as possible.

Forty-one days, however, brought us to the end of our voyage at the
mouth of the Rio Pongo. No one being acquainted with the river's
entrance or navigation, the captain and four hands went ashore for a
pilot, who came off in the afternoon, while our master ascended in a
boat to the slave-factory at Bangalang. Four o'clock found us entering
the Rio Pongo, with tide and wind in our favor, so that before the sun
sank into the Atlantic Ocean we were safe at our anchorage below the
settlement.

While we were slowly drifting between the river banks, and watching
the gorgeous vegetation of Africa, which, that evening, first burst
upon my sight, I fell into a chat with the native pilot, who had been
in the United States, and spoke English remarkably well. Berak very
soon inquired whether there was any one else on board who spoke the
language besides myself, and when told that the cabin-boy alone knew
it, he whispered a story which, in truth, I was not in the least
surprised to hear.

That afternoon one of our crew had attempted the captain's life, while
on shore, by snapping a carabine behind his back! Our pilot learned
the fact from a native who followed the party from the landing, along
the beach; and its truth was confirmed, in his belief, by the
significant boasts made by the _tallest_ of the boatmen who
accompanied him on board. He was satisfied that the entire gang
contemplated our schooner's seizure.

The pilot's story corroborated some hints I received from our cook
during the voyage. It struck me instantly, that if a crime like this
were really designed, no opportunity for its execution could be more
propitious than the present. I determined, therefore, to omit no
precaution that might save the vessel and the lives of her honest
officers. On examining the carabines brought back from shore, which I
had hurriedly thrown into the arm-chest on deck, I found that the lock
of this armory had been forced, and several pistols and cutlasses
abstracted.

Preparations had undoubtedly been made to assassinate us. As night
drew on, my judgment, as well as _nervousness_, convinced me that the
darkness would not pass without a murderous attempt. There was an
unusual silence. On reaching port, there is commonly fun and merriment
among crews; but the usual song and invariable guitar were omitted
from the evening's entertainment. I searched the deck carefully, yet
but two mariners were found above the hatches apparently asleep.
Inasmuch as I was only a subordinate officer, I could not command, nor
had I any confidence in the nerve or judgment of the chief mate, if I
trusted my information to him. Still I deemed it a duty to tell him
the story, as well as my discovery about the missing arms.
Accordingly, I called the first officer, boatswain, and cook, as
quietly as possible, into the cabin; leaving our English cabin-boy to
watch in the companion way. Here I imparted our danger, and asked
their assistance in _striking the first blow_. My plan was to secure
the crew, and give them battle. The mate, as I expected, shrank like a
girl, declining any step till the captain returned. The cook and
boatswain, however, silently approved my movement; so that we
counselled our cowardly comrade to remain below, while we assumed the
responsibility and risk of the enterprise.

It may have been rather rash, but I resolved to begin the rescue, by
shooting down, like a dog and without a word, the notorious Cuban
convict who had attempted the captain's life. This, I thought, would
strike panic into the mutineers; and end the mutiny in the most
bloodless way. Drawing a pair of large horse-pistols from beneath the
captain's pillow, and examining the load, I ordered the cook and
boatswain to follow me to the deck. But the craven officer would not
quit his hold on my person. He besought me not to commit murder. He
clung to me with the panting fear and grasp of a woman. He begged me,
with every term of endearment, to desist; and, in the midst of my
scuffle to throw him off, one of the pistols accidentally exploded. A
moment after, my vigilant watch-boy screamed from the starboard, a
warning "look-out!" and, peering forward in the blinding darkness as I
emerged from the lighted cabin, I beheld the stalwart form of the
ringleader, brandishing a cutlass within a stride of me. I aimed and
fired. We both fell; the mutineer with two balls in his abdomen, and I
from the recoil of an over-charged pistol.

My face was cut, and my eye injured by the concussion; but as neither
combatant was deprived of consciousness, in a moment we were both on
our feet. The Spanish felon, however, pressed his hand on his bowels,
and rushed forward exclaiming he was slain; but, in his descent to the
forecastle, he was stabbed in the shoulder with a bayonet by the
boatswain, whose vigorous blow drove the weapon with such tremendous
force that it could hardly be withdrawn from the scoundrel's carcass.

I said I was up in a minute; and, feeling my face with my hand, I
perceived a quantity of blood on my cheek, around which I hastily tied
a handkerchief, below my eyes. I then rushed to the arm-chest. At that
moment, the crack of a pistol, and a sharp, boyish cry, told me that
my pet was wounded beside me. I laid him behind the hatchway, and
returned to the charge. By this time I was blind with rage, and
fought, it seems, like a _madman_. I confess that I have no personal
recollection whatever of the following events, and only learned them
from the subsequent report of the cook and boatswain.

I stood, they said, over the arm-chest like one spell-bound. My eyes
were fixed on the forecastle; and, as head after head loomed out of
the darkness above the hatch, I discharged carabine after carabine at
the mark. Every thing that moved fell by my aim. As I fired the
weapons, I flung them away to grasp fresh ones: and, when the battle
was over, the cook aroused me from my mad stupor, still groping wildly
for arms in the emptied chest.

As the smoke cleared off, the fore part of our schooner seemed utterly
deserted: yet we found two men dead, one in mortal agony on the deck,
while the ringleader and a colleague were gasping in the forecastle.
Six pistols had been fired against us from forward; but, strange to
say, the only efficient ball was the one that struck my English boy's
leg.

When I came to my senses, my first quest was for the gallant
boatswain, who, being unarmed on the forecastle when the unexpected
discharge took place, and seeing no chance of escape from my murderous
carabines, took refuge over the bows.

Our cabin-boy was soon quieted. The mutineers needed but little care
for their hopeless wounds, while the felon chief, like all such
wretches, died in an agony of despicable fear, shrieking for pardon.
My shriving of his sins was a speedy rite!

Such was my _first_ night in Africa!



CHAPTER VII.


There are casual readers who may consider the scene described in the
last chapter unnatural. It may be said that a youth, whose life had
been chequered by trials and disasters, but who preserved a pure
sensibility throughout them, is sadly distorted when portrayed as
expanding, at a leap, into a desperado. I have but little to say in
reply to these objections, save that _the occurrences are perfectly
true as stated_, and, moreover, that I am satisfied they were only the
natural developments of my character.

From my earliest years I have adored nobility of soul, and detested
dishonor and treachery. I have passed through scenes which will be
hereafter told, that the world may qualify by harsh names; yet I have
striven to conduct myself throughout them, not only with the ideas of
fairness current among reckless men, but with the truth that, under
all circumstances, characterizes an honorable nature.

Now, the tragedy of my first night on the Rio Pongo was my transition
from pupilage to responsible independence. I do not allege in a
boastful spirit that I was a man of courage; because courage, or the
want of it, are things for which a person is no more responsible than
he is for the possession or lack of physical strength. I was,
moreover, always a man of what I may style _self-possessed passion_. I
was endowed with something more than cool energy; or, rather, cool
energy was heightened and sublimated by the fire of an ardent nature.
Hitherto, I had been tempered down by the habitual obedience to which
I was subjected as a sailor under lawful discipline. But the events
of the last six months, and especially the gross relaxation on the
voyage to Africa, the risks we had run in navigating the vessel, and
the outlaws that surrounded me, not only kept my mind for ever on the
alert, but aroused my dormant nature to a full sense of duty and
self-protection.

Is it unnatural, then, for a man whose heart and nerves have been laid
bare for months, to quiver with agony and respond with headlong
violence, when imperilled character, property and life, hang upon the
fiat of his courageous promptitude? The doubters may cavil over the
philosophy, but I think I may remain content with the fact. _I did my
duty_--dreadful as it was.

Let me draw a veil over our gory decks when the gorgeous sun of Africa
shot his first rays through the magnificent trees and herbage that
hemmed the placid river. Five bodies were cast into the stream, and
the traces of the tragedy obliterated as well as possible. The
recreant mate, who plunged into the cabin at the report of the first
pistol from the forecastle, reappeared with haggard looks and
trembling frame, to protest that _he_ had no hand in what he called
"the murder." The cook, boatswain, and African pilot, recounted the
whole transaction to the master, who inserted it in the log-book, and
caused me to sign the narrative with unimplicated witnesses. Then the
wound of the cabin-boy was examined and found to be trifling, while
mine, though not painful, was thought to imperil my sight. The flint
lock of a rebounding pistol had inflicted three gashes, just beneath
the eye on my cheek.

There was but little appetite for breakfast that day. After the story
was told and recorded, we went sadly to work unmooring the vessel,
bringing her slowly like a hearse to an anchorage in front of
Bangalang, the residence and factory of Mr. Ormond, better known by
the country-name of "Mongo John." This personage came on board early
in the morning with our returned captain, and promised to send a
native doctor to cure both my eye and the boy's leg, making me pledge
him a visit as soon as the vessel's duties would permit.

That evening the specie was landed, and the schooner left in my
charge by the master, with orders to strip, repair, and provide for
the voyage home. Before night, Mongo John fulfilled his promise of a
physician, who came on board with his prescription,--not in his
pocket, but by his side! He ordered my torn cheek to be bathed, every
half-hour, _with human milk fresh from the breast_; and, in order to
secure a prompt, pure, and plentiful supply, a stout negress and her
infant were sent, with orders to remain as long as her lacteal
services might be required! I cannot say whether nature or the remedy
healed my wound, but in a short time the flesh cicatrized, and all
symptoms of inflammation disappeared entirely.

It required ten days to put the Areostatico in ship-shape and supply
her with wood and water. Provisions had been brought from Havana, so
that it was only necessary we should stow them in an accessible
manner. As our schooner was extremely small, we possessed no
slave-deck; accordingly, mats were spread over the fire-wood which
filled the interstices of the water-casks, in order to make an even
surface for our cargo's repose.

When my tiresome task was done, I went ashore--almost for the first
time--to report progress to the master; but he was still unprepared to
embark his living freight. Large sums, far in advance of the usual
market, were offered by him for a cargo of _boys_; still we were
delayed full twenty days longer than our contract required before a
supply reached Bangalang.

As I had promised _Mongo John_, or John the Chief, to visit his
factory, I took this opportunity to fulfil my pledge. He received me
with elaborate politeness; showed me his town, barracoons, and stores,
and even stretched a point, to honor me by an introduction to the
_penetralia_ of his _harem_. The visit paid, he insisted that I should
dine with him; and a couple of choice bottles were quickly disposed
of. Ormond, like myself, had been a sailor. We spoke of the lands,
scenes, and adventures, each had passed through, while a fresh bottle
was called to fillip our memories. There is nothing so nourishing to
friendship as wine! Before sundown our electric memories had circled
the globe, and our intimacy culminated.

While the rosy fluid operated as a sedative on the Mongo, and glued
him to his chair in a comfortable nap, it had a contrary effect on my
exhilarated nerves. I strolled to the verandah to get a breath of
fresh air from the river, but soon dashed off in the darkness to the
sacred precincts of the _harem_! I was not detected till I reached
nearly the centre of the sanctuary where Ormond confined his motley
group of black, mulatto, and quarteroon wives. The first dame who
perceived me was a bright mulatto, with rosy checks, sloe-like eyes,
coquettish turban, and most voluptuous mouth, whom I afterwards
discovered to be second in the chief's affections. In an instant the
court resounded with a chattering call to her companions, so that,
before I could turn, the whole band of gabbling parrots hemmed me in
with a deluge of talk. Fame had preceded me! My sable nurse was a
servant of the harem, and her visit to the schooner, with the tale of
the tragedy, supplied anecdotes for a lifetime. Every body was on the
_qui vive_ to see the "white fighter." Every body was crazy to feel
the "white skin" she had healed. Then, with a sudden, childish freak
of caprice, they ran off from me as if afraid, and at once rushed back
again like a flock of glib-tongued and playful monkeys. I could not
comprehend a word they said; but the bevy squealed with quite as much
pleasure as if I did, and peered into my eyes for answers, with impish
devilry at my wondering ignorance.

At last, my sable friends seemed not only anxious to amuse themselves
but to do something for my entertainment also. A chatter in a corner
settled what it should be. Two or three brought sticks, while two or
three brought coals. A fire was quickly kindled in the centre of the
court; and as its flames lit up the area, a whirling circle of
half-stripped girls danced to the monotonous beat of a _tom-tom_.
Presently, the formal ring was broken, and each female stepping out
singly, danced according to her individual fancy. Some were wild, some
were soft, some were tame, and some were fiery. After so many years I
have no distinct recollection of the characteristic movements of these
semi-savages, especially as the claret and champagne rather fermented
in my brain, and possessed me with the idea that it was my duty to
mingle in the bounding throng. I resolved that the barbarians should
have a taste of Italian quality!

Accordingly, I leaped from the hammock where I had swung idly during
the scene, and, beginning with a _balancez_ and an _avant-deux_,
terminated my terpsichorean exhibition by a regular "double shuffle"
and sailor's hornpipe. The delirious laughter, cracked sides,
rollicking fun, and outrageous merriment, with which my feats were
received, are unimaginable by sober-sided people. Tired of my single
exhibition, I seized the prettiest of the group by her slim, shining
waist, and whirled her round and round the court in the quickest of
waltzes, until, with a kiss, I laid her giddy and panting on the
floor. Then, grasping another,--another,--another,--and another,--and
treating each to the same dizzy swim, I was about waltzing the whole
_seraglio_ into quiescence, when who should rise before us but the
staring and yawning _Mongo_!

The apparition sobered me. A quarteroon pet of Ormond,--just spinning
into fashionable and luscious insensibility,--fell from my arms into
those of her master; and while I apologized for the freak, I charged
it altogether to the witchcraft of his wit and wine.

"Ha!" said the Mongo, "St. Vitus is in your Italian heels the moment
you are within hail of music and dancing; and, by Jove, it seems you
can scent a petticoat as readily as a hound tracks runaways. But
there's no harm in _dancing_, Don Téodore; only hereafter I hope you
will enjoy the amusement in a less uproarious manner. In Africa we are
fond of a _siesta_ after dinner; and I recommend you to get, as soon
as possible, under the lee of another bottle."

We retired once more to his mahogany; and, under the spell of my
chieftain's claret and sea-yarns, I was soon lapped in delicious
sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next day the captain of the Areostatico drew me aside confidentially,
and hinted that Ormond had taken such a decided fancy for me, and
_insinuated_ so warm a wish for my continuance _as his clerk_ at
Bangalang, that he thought it quite a duty, though a sad one, to give
his advice on the subject.

"It may be well for your purse, Don Téodore, to stay with so powerful
a trader; but beside the improvement of your fortunes, there are
doubts whether it will be _wholesome_ for you to revisit Havana, at
least at present. It may be said, _amigo mio_, that you _commenced_
the warfare on board the schooner;--and as five men were slain in the
affray, it will be necessary for me to report the fact to the
_commandante_ as soon as I arrive. Now it is true, _hijo mio_, that
you saved the vessel, cargo, specie, and my cousin; yet, God knows
what may be the result of Havana justice. You will have a rigid
examination, and I rather think you will be _imprisoned_ until the
final decision is made. When that consummation shall occur is quite
uncertain. If you have friends, they will be bled as long as possible
before you get out; if you have none, no one will take pains to see
you released without recompense. When you see daylight once more, the
rest of these ragamuffins and the felon friends of the dead men, will
begin to dog your steps, and make Havana uncomfortable as well as
dangerous; so that I have no hesitation in recommending you to stay
where you are, and take the doubloons of the Mongo."

I thought I saw at a glance the drift of this hypocritical
_fanfaronade_, and was satisfied he only desired to get rid of me in
order to reinstate the chief mate in a situation which he surely could
not occupy as long as I was on board. As I meant to stay in Africa, I
told him at once that I grieved because he had not spoken his wishes
openly, boldly, and honestly, like a man, but had masked an ungrateful
cowardice by hypocritical solicitude for my welfare. I departed
abruptly with a scowl of contempt; and as he hastened to hide his
blanched face in the cabin, I called a boat, and throwing my sea
chest, bedding, and arms, aboard, committed my fate to the African
continent. _A half-hour turned and decided my fate!_

Mr. Ormond received me very cordially, and, installing me in my new
secretaryship, promised a private establishment, a seat at his table,
and a negro per month,--or its value at the rate of forty
dollars,--for my services.

When the runners returned from the interior with the slaves required
to complete the Areostatico's cargo, I considered it my duty to the
Italian grocer of Regla to dispatch his vessel personally.
Accordingly, I returned on board to aid in stowing _one hundred and
eight boys and girls, the eldest of whom did not exceed fifteen
years_! As I crawled between decks, I confess I could not imagine how
this little army was to be packed or draw breath in a hold but
_twenty-two inches high_! Yet the experiment was promptly made,
inasmuch as it was necessary to secure them below in descending the
river, in order to prevent their leaping overboard and swimming
ashore. I found it impossible to adjust the whole in a sitting
posture; but we made them lie down in each other's laps, like
_sardines_ in a can, and in this way obtained space for the entire
cargo. Strange to tell, when the Areostatico reached Havana, but
_three_ of these "passengers" had paid the debt of nature.

As I left the schooner a few miles outside the bar, I crossed her side
without an adieu save for the English cabin-boy, whose fate I was
pained to intrust to these stupid Spaniards. Indeed, the youth almost
belonged to me, for I may say he owed his life to my interference.

Previous to the voyage, while waiting in the harbor of Havana for a
crew, our vessel was anchored near the wharves, next to an English
merchantman. One afternoon I heard a scream from the neighboring
craft, and perceived a boy rush from the cabin with his face dyed in
blood. He was instantly pursued by a burly seaman, inflicting blows
with his fist. I implored the brute to desist, but my interference
seemed to augment his choler to such a degree, that he seized a
handspike to knock the stripling down. Upon this I called the child to
leap overboard, at the same time commanding a hand to lower my boat
and scull in the direction of his fall. The boy obeyed my voice; and
in a few minutes I had him on board blessing me for his safety. But
the drunken Briton vented his rage in the most indecent language; and
had his boat been aboard, I doubt not a summary visit would have
terminated in a fight on my deck.

However, as good luck would have it, his skiff was at the landing, so
that there was ample time, before he could reach the Areostatico, to
tie up the bruised face and broken rib of the child, and to conceal
him in the house of a Spanish crone in Havana, who cured the maladies
of credulous seamen by witchcraft!

After nightfall the master of the British vessel came aboard to claim
his boy; but as he was petulant and seemed disposed to carry matters
with a high hand, my temper rose in resistance, and I refused to
release the child until he sealed with an oath his promise to treat
him better in future. But the cruel scoundrel insisted on
_unconditional_ surrender; and to end the controversy, I was compelled
to order him off the schooner.

British pluck of course would not allow a captain to be deprived so
easily of his property, so the British consul was invoked to appeal
to the captain of the port. This personage summoned me before him,
and listened calmly to a story which added no honor to English
mariners. In my last interview with the boy he implored my continued
protection and concealment; so that when the Spanish official
declared--notwithstanding the officer's conduct--that the vessel was
entitled to her crew, and that I must surrender the child, I excused
myself from complying by pleading utter ignorance of his whereabout.
In view of this contingency, I directed the woman to hide him in a
place of which I should be ignorant. So I told no lie, and saved the
boy from his tyrant.

The inquiry was dropped at this stage of proceedings. When the British
vessel sailed a few days after, I caused the youth to be brought from
his concealment; and, with our captain's consent, brought him aboard
to serve in our cabin.

I have narrated this little episode in consequence of my love for the
boy, and because _he was the only English subject I ever knew to ship
in a slaver_.

I requested the Areostatico's owners to pay him liberally for his
fidelity when he got back to Havana; and I was happy to learn next
year, that they not only complied with my request, but sent him home
to his friends in Liverpool.



CHAPTER VIII.


When I got back to Bangalang, my first movement was to take possession
of the quarters assigned me by the Mongo, and to make myself as
comfortable as possible in a land whose chief requirements are shade
and shelter. My house, built of cane plastered with mud, consisted of
two earthen-floored rooms and a broad verandah. The thatched roof was
rather leaky, while my furniture comprised two arm-chests covered with
mats, a deal table, a bamboo settle, a tin-pan with palm-oil for a
lamp, and a German looking-glass mounted in a paper frame. I augmented
these comforts by the addition of a trunk, mattress, hammock and pair
of blankets; yet, after all this embellishment, I confess my household
was rather a sorry affair.

It is time I should make the reader acquainted with the individual who
was the presiding genius of the scene, and, in some degree, a type of
his peculiar class in Africa.

Mr. Ormond was the son of an opulent slave-trader from Liverpool, and
owed his birth to the daughter of a native chief on the Rio Pongo. His
father seems to have been rather proud of his mulatto stripling, and
dispatched him to England to be educated. But Master John had made
little progress in belles-lettres, when news of the trader's death was
brought to the British agent, who refused the youth further supplies
of money. The poor boy soon became an outcast in a land which had not
yet become fashionably addicted to philanthropy; and, after drifting
about awhile in England, he shipped on board a merchantman. The
press-gang soon got possession of the likely mulatto for the service
of his Britannic Majesty. Sometimes he played the part of dandy waiter
in the cabin; sometimes he swung a hammock with the hands in the
forecastle. Thus, five years slipped by, during which the wanderer
visited most of the West Indian and Mediterranean stations.

At length the prolonged cruise was terminated, and Ormond paid off. He
immediately determined to employ his hoarded cash in a voyage to
Africa, where he might claim his father's property. The project was
executed; his mother was still found alive; and, fortunately for the
manly youth, she recognized him at once as her first-born.

The reader will recollect that these things occurred on the west coast
of Africa in the early part of the present century, and that the
tenure of property, and the interests of foreign traders, were
controlled entirely by such _customary_ laws as prevailed on the spot.
Accordingly, a "grand palaver" was appointed, and all Mr. Ormond's
brothers, sisters, uncles, and cousins,--many of whom were in
possession of his father's slaves or their descendants,--were summoned
to attend. The "talk" took plate at the appointed time. The African
mother stood forth stanchly to assert the identity and rights of her
first-born, and, in the end, all of the Liverpool trader's property,
in houses, lands, and negroes, that could be ascertained, was handed
over, according to coast-law, to the returned heir.

When the mulatto youth was thus suddenly elevated into comfort, if not
opulence, in his own country, he resolved to augment his wealth by
pursuing his father's business. But the whole country was then
desolated by a civil war, occasioned, as most of them are, by family
disputes, which it was necessary to terminate before trade could be
comfortably established.

To this task Ormond steadfastly devoted his first year. His efforts
were seconded by the opportune death of one of the warring chiefs. A
tame opponent,--a brother of Ormond's mother,--was quickly brought to
terms by a trifling present; so that the sailor boy soon concentrated
the family influence, and declared himself "MONGO," or, Chief of the
River.

Bangalang had long been a noted factory among the English traders.
When war was over, Ormond selected this post as his permanent
residence, while he sent runners to Sierra Leone and Goree with notice
that he would shortly be prepared with ample cargoes. Trade, which had
been so long interrupted by hostilities, poured from the interior.
Vessels from Goree and Sierra Leone were seen in the offing,
responding to his invitation. His stores were packed with British,
French, and American fabrics; while hides, wax, palm-oil, ivory, gold,
and slaves, were the native products for which Spaniards and
Portuguese hurried to proffer their doubloons and bills.

It will be readily conjectured that a very few years sufficed to make
Jack Ormond not only a wealthy merchant, but a popular Mongo among the
great interior tribes of Foulahs and Mandingoes. The petty chiefs,
whose territory bordered the sea, flattered him with the title of
king; and, knowing his _Mormon taste_, stocked his _harem_ with their
choicest children as the most valuable tokens of friendship and
fidelity.

When I was summoned to act as secretary or clerk of such a personage,
I saw immediately that it would be well not only to understand my
duties promptly, but to possess a clear estimate of the property I was
to administer and account for. Ormond's easy habits satisfied me that
he was not a man of business originally, or had become sadly negligent
under the debasing influence of wealth and voluptuousness. My earliest
task, therefore, was to make out a _minute inventory_ of his
possessions, while I kept a watchful eye on his stores, never allowing
any one to enter them unattended. When I presented this document,
which exhibited a large deficiency, the Mongo received it with
indifference, begging me not to "annoy him with accounts." His manner
indicated so much petulant fretfulness, that I augured from it the
conscious decline or disorder of his affairs.

As I was returning to the warehouse from this mortifying interview, I
encountered an ancient hag,--a sort of superintendent Cerberus or
manager of the Mongo's _harem_,--who, by signs, intimated that she
wanted the key to the "cloth-chest," whence she immediately helped
herself to several fathoms of calico. The crone could not speak
English, and, as I did not understand the Soosoo dialect, we attempted
no oral argument about the propriety of her conduct; but, taking a
pencil and paper, and making signs that she should go to the Mongo,
who would write an order for the raiment, I led her quietly to the
door. The wrath of the virago was instantly kindled, while her horrid
face gleamed with that devilish ferocity, which, in some degree is
lost by Africans who dwell on our continent. During the reign of my
predecessors, it seems that she had been allowed to control the store
keys, and to help herself unstintedly. I knew not, of course, what she
_said_ on this occasion; but the violence of her gestures, the nervous
spasms of her limbs, the flashing of her eyes, the scream of her
voluble tongue, gave token that she swelled with a rage which was
augmented by my imperturbable quietness. At dinner, I apprised Mr.
Ormond of the negro's conduct; but he received the announcement with
the same laugh of indifference that greeted the account of his
deficient inventory.

That night I had just stretched myself on my hard pallet, and was
revolving the difficulties of my position with some degree of pain at
my forced continuance in Africa, when my servant tapped softly at the
door, and announced that some one demanded admittance, but begged that
I would first of all extinguish the light. I was in a country
requiring caution; so I felt my pistols before I undid the latch. It
was a bright, star-light night; and, as I opened the door sufficiently
to obtain a glance beyond,--still maintaining my control of the
aperture,--I perceived the figure of a female, wrapped in cotton cloth
from head to foot, except the face, which I recollected as that of the
beautiful _quarteroon_ I was whirling in the waltz, when surprised by
the Mongo. She put forth her hands from the folds of her garment, and
laying one softly on my arm, while she touched her lips with the
other, looked wistfully behind, and glided into my apartment.

This poor girl, the child of a mulatto mother and a white parent, was
born in the settlement of Sierra Leone, and had acquired our language
with much more fluency than is common among her race. It was said that
her father had been originally a missionary from Great Britain, but
abandoned his profession for the more lucrative traffic in slaves, to
which he owed an abundant fortune. It is probable that the early
ecclesiastical turn of her delinquent progenitor induced him, before
he departed for America, to bestow on his child the biblical name of
ESTHER.

I led my trembling visitor to the arm-chest, and, seating her gently
by my side, inquired why I was favored by so stealthy a visit from the
_harem_. My suspicions were aroused; for, though a novice in Africa, I
knew enough of the discipline maintained in these slave factories, not
to allow my fancy to seduce me with the idea that her visit was owing
to mad-cap sentimentality.

The manner of these _quarteroon_ girls, whose complexion hardly
separates them from our own race, is most winningly graceful; and
Esther, with abated breath, timidly asked my pardon for intruding,
while she declared I had made so bitter an enemy of Unga-golah,--the
head-woman of the seraglio,--that, in spite of danger, she stole to my
quarters with a warning. Unga swore revenge. I had insulted and
thwarted her; I was able to thwart her at all times, if I remained the
Mongo's "book-man;"--I must soon "go to another country;" but, if I
did not, I would quickly find the food of Bangalang excessively
unwholesome! "Never eat any thing that a Mandingo offers you," said
Esther. "Take your meals exclusively from the Mongo's table.
Unga-golah knows all the Mandingo _jujus_, and she will have no
scruple in using them in order to secure once more the control of the
store keys. Good night!"

With this she rose to depart, begging me to be silent about her visit,
and to believe that a poor slave could feel true kindness for a white
man, or even expose herself to save him.

If an unruly passion had tugged at my heartstrings, the soft appeal,
the liquid tones, the tenderness of this girl's humanity, would have
extinguished it in an instant. It was the first time for many a long
and desolate mouth that I had experienced the gentle touch of a
woman's hand, or felt the interest of mortal solicitude fall like a
refreshing dew upon my heart! Who will censure me for halting on my
door-sill as I led her forth, retaining her little hand in mine, while
I cast my eyes over the lithe symmetry of those slender and rounded
limbs; while I feasted on the flushed magnolia of those beautiful
cheeks, twined my fingers in the trailing braids of that raven hair,
peered into the blackness of those large and swimming orbs, felt a
tear trickle down my hardening face, and left, on those coral lips,
the print of a kiss that was fuller of gratitude than passion!

       *       *       *       *       *

Nowadays that Mormonism is grafting a "celestial wifery" upon the
civilization of the nineteenth century, I do not think it amiss to
recall the memory of those African establishments which formed so
large a portion of a trader's homestead. It is not to be supposed that
the luxurious _harem_ of Turkey or Egypt was transferred to the Guinea
coast, or that its lofty walls were barricaded by stout gates, guarded
by troops of sable eunuchs. The "wifery" of my employer was a bare
inclosure, formed by a quadrangular cluster of mud-houses, the
entrance to whose court-yard was never watched save at night.
Unga-golah, the eldest and least delectable of the dames, maintained
the establishment's police, assigned gifts or servants to each female,
and distributed her master's favors according to the bribes she was
cajoled by.

In early life and during his gorged prosperity, Ormond,--a stout,
burly, black-eyed, broad-shouldered, short-necked man,--ruled his
_harem_ with the rigid decorum of the East. But as age and misfortunes
stole over the sensual voluptuary, his mental and bodily vigor became
impaired, not only by excessive drink, but by the narcotics to which
he habitually resorted for excitement. When I became acquainted with
him, his face and figure bore the marks of a worn-out _debauché_. His
harem now was a fashion of the country rather than a domestic resort.
His wives ridiculed him, or amused themselves as they pleased. I
learned from Esther that there was hardly one who did not "flirt" with
a lover in Bangalang, and that Unga-golah was blinded by gifts, while
the stupor of the Mongo was perpetuated by liquor.

It may be supposed that in such a _seraglio_, and with such a master,
there were but few matrimonial jealousies; still, as it would be
difficult to find, even in our most Christian society, two females
without some lurking bitterness towards rivals, so it is not to be
imagined that the Mongo's mansion was free from womanly quarrels.
These disputes chiefly occurred when Ormond distributed gifts of
calico, beads, tobacco, pipes and looking-glasses. If the slightest
preference or inequality was shown, adieu to order. Unga-golah
descended below zero! The favorite wife, outraged by her neglected
authority, became furious; and, for a season, pandemonium was let
loose in Bangalang.

One of these scenes of passion occurs to me as I write. I was in the
store with the Mongo when an aggrieved dame, not remarkable either for
delicacy of complexion or sweetness of odor, entered the room, and
marching up with a swagger to her master, dashed a German
looking-glass on the floor at his feet. She wanted a larger one, for
the glass bestowed on her was half an inch smaller than the gifts to
her companions.

When Ormond was sober, his pride commonly restrained him from allowing
the women to molest his leisure; so he quietly turned from the virago
and ordered her out of the store.

But my lady was not to be appeased by dignity like this. "Ha!"
shrieked the termagant, as she wrenched off her handkerchief. "Ha!"
yelled she, tearing off one sleeve, and then the other. "Ha!" screamed
the fiend, kicking a shoe into one corner, and the other shoe into
another corner. "Ha! Mongo!" roared the beldame, as she stripped every
garment from her body and stood absolutely _naked_ before us, slapping
her wool, cheeks, forehead, breasts, arms, stomach and limbs, and
appealing to Ormond to say where she was deficient in charms, that she
should be slighted half an inch on a looking-glass?

As the Mongo was silent, she strode up to me for an opinion; but,
scarlet with blushes, I dived behind the cloth-chest, and left the
laughing Ormond to gratify the whim of the "_model artiste_."

Years afterwards, I remember seeing an infuriate Ethiopian fling her
infant into the fire because its white father preferred the child of
another spouse. Indeed, I was glad my station at Bangalang did not
make it needful for the preservation of my respectability that I
should indulge in the luxury of _African matrimony_!

       *       *       *       *       *

But these exhibitions of jealous passion were not excited alone by the
unequal distribution of presents from the liege lord of Bangalang. I
have observed that Ormond's wives took advantage of his carelessness
and age, to seek congenial companionship outside the _harem_.
Sometimes the preference of two of these sable _belles_ alighted on
the same lover, and then the battle was transferred from a worthless
looking-glass to the darling _beau_. When such a quarrel arose, a
meeting between the rivals was arranged out of the Mongo's hearing;
when, throwing off their waist-cloths, the controversy was settled
between the female gladiators without much damage. But, now and then,
the matter was not left to the ladies. The sable lovers themselves
took up the conflict, and a regular challenge passed between the gay
Othellos.

At the appointed time, the duellists appeared upon "the field of
honor" accompanied by friends who were to witness their victory or
sympathize in their defeat. Each stalwart savage leaped into the
arena, armed with a cow-hide cat, whose sharp and triple thongs were
capable of inflicting the harshest blows. They stripped, and tossed
three _cowries_ into the air to determine which of the two should
receive the first lashing. The unfortunate loser immediately took his
stand, and received, with the firmness of a martyr, the allotted
number of blows. Then came the turn of the whipper, who, with equal
constancy, offered his back to the scourge of the enraged sufferer.
Thus they alternated until one gave in, or until the bystanders
decreed victory to him who bore the punishment longest without
wincing. The flayed backs of these "chivalrous men of honor" were ever
after displayed in token of bravery; and, doubtless, their Dulcineas
devoted to their healing the subtlest ointment and tenderest affection
recognized among Africans.



CHAPTER IX.


My business habits and systematic devotion to the Mongo's interests
soon made me familiar with the broad features of "country trade;" but
as I was still unable to speak the coast dialects, Mr. Ormond--who
rarely entered the warehouse or conversed about commerce--supplied an
adroit interpreter, who stood beside me and assisted in the retail of
foreign merchandise, for rice, ivory, palm-oil, and domestic
provisions. The purchase of slaves and gold was conducted exclusively
by the Mongo, who did not consider me sufficiently initiated in native
character and tricks to receive so delicate a trust.

       *       *       *       *       *

Long and dreary were the days and nights of the apparently
interminable "wet season." Rain in a city, rain in the country, rain
in a village, rain at sea, are sufficiently wearying, even to those
whose mental activity is amused or occupied by books or the concerns
of life; but who can comprehend the insufferable lassitude and
despondency that overwhelm an African resident, as he lies on his
mat-covered arm-chest, and listens to the endless deluge pouring for
days, weeks, months, upon his leaky thatch?

At last, however, the season of rain passed by, and the "dry season"
set in. This was the epoch for the arrival of caravans from the
interior; so that we were not surprised when our runners appeared,
with news that AHMAH-DE-BELLAH, son of a noted Fullah chief, was
about to visit the Rio Pongo with an imposing train of followers and
merchandise. The only means of communication with the interior of
Africa are, for short distances, by rivers, and, for longer ones, by
"paths" or "trails" leading through the dense forest and among the
hills, to innumerable "towns" that stud this prolific land. Stephenson
and McAdam have not been to Africa, and there are neither turnpikes
nor railways. Now, when the coast-traders of the west are apprised
that caravans are threading their way towards the Atlantic shores, it
is always thought advisable to make suitable preparations for the
chiefs, and especially to greet them by messages, before their arrival
at the beach. Accordingly, "_barkers_" are sent forth on the forest
"paths" to welcome the visitors with gifts of tobacco and powder.
"_Barkers_" are colored gentlemen, with fluent tongues and flexible
consciences, always in the train of factories on the coast, who hasten
to the wilderness at the first signal of a caravan's approach, and
magnify the prosperity and merchandise of their patrons with as much
zeal and veracity as the "drummers" of more Christian lands.

A few days after our band of travelling agents had departed on their
mission, the crack of fire-arms was heard from the hills in our rear,
signifying that the Mongo's "_barkers_" had been successful with the
caravan in tow. A prompt response to the joyous signal was made by our
cannons; so that, after half an hour's firing, Ahmah-de-Bellah and his
party emerged from the smoke, marshalled by our band of singers, who
preceded him, chanting with loud voices the praise of the youthful
chieftain. Behind the master came the principal traders and their
slaves laden with produce, and followed by forty captive negroes,
secured by bamboo withes. These were succeeded by three-score
bullocks, a large flock of sheep or goats, and the females of the
party; while the procession was closed by the demure tread of a tame
and stately OSTRICH!

It was the first time I had seen so odd an assemblage of beasts and
humanity. Indeed, had the troupe been accompanied by a bevy of
ourang-outangs, I confess I might, at times, have had difficulty in
deciding the grade of animal life to which the object in front of me
belonged.

Mr. Ormond, when put upon his mettle, was one of the ablest traders
in Africa, and received the Mahometan strangers with becoming state.
He awaited Ahmah-de-Bellah and his committee of head-traders on the
piazza of his receiving-house, which was a rather stately edifice, one
hundred and fifty feet in length, built to be fire-proof for the
protection of our stores. When each Fullah stranger was presented, he
shook hands and "snapped fingers" with the Mongo several times; and,
as every petty peddler in the train wanted to _salaam_, the "white man
for good luck," the process of presentation occupied at least an hour.

According to coast custom, as soon as these compliments were over, the
caravan's merchandise was deposited within our walls, not only for
security, but in order that we might gauge the _value of the welcome_
the owners were entitled to receive. This precaution, though
ungallant, is extremely necessary, inasmuch as many of the interior
dealers were in the habit of declaring, on arrival, the value of their
gold and ivory to be much greater than it was in fact, in order to
receive a more liberal "present." Even savages instinctively acquire
the tricks of trade!

When the goods were stored, a couple of fat bullocks, with an abundant
supply of rice, were given to the visitors, and the chiefs of the
caravan were billeted upon our townspeople. The _canaille_ built
temporary huts for themselves in the outskirts; while Ahmah-de-Bellah,
a strict Mahometan, accompanied by two of his wives, was furnished
with a pair of neat houses that had been hastily fitted up with new
and elegant mats.[A]

While the merchandise of these large caravans is unpaid for, their
owners, by the custom of the country, remain a costly burden upon the
factories. We were naturally anxious to be free from this expense as
soon as possible, and gave notice next morning that "trade would begin
forthwith." Ahmah-de-Bellah, the chiefs of the caravans, and Mr.
Ormond, at once entered into negotiations, so that by nightfall a
bargain had been struck, not only for their presents, but for the
price of merchandise, and the percentage to be retained as "native
duty." Such a preliminary liquidation with _the heads_ of a caravan is
ever indispensable, for, without their assistance, it would be out of
the question to traffic with the ragamuffins who hang on the skirts of
opulent chieftains.

Each morning, at daylight, a crier went through the town, announcing
the character of the specific trade which would be carried on during
hours of business. One day it was in hides; another, rice; another,
cattle. When these were disposed of, a time was specially appointed
for the exchange of gold, ivory and slaves; and, at the agreed hour,
Mr. Ormond, Ahmah-de-Bellah, and myself, locked the doors of the
warehouse, and traded through a window, while our "barkers"
distributed the goods to the Africans, often using their whips to keep
the chattering and disputatious scamps in order. Ahmah-de-Bellah
pretended to inspect the measurement of cloth, powder and tobacco, to
insure justice to his compatriots; but, in reality, like a true
tax-gatherer, he was busy ascertaining his lawful percentage on the
sale, in return for the protection from robbery he gave the petty
traders on their pilgrimage to the coast.

At length the market was cleared of sellers and merchandise--except
the ostrich, which, when all was over, reached the Mongo's hands as a
royal gift from the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon, the pious father of
Ahmah-de-Bellah. The bird, it is true, was presented as a free
offering; yet it was hinted that the worthy Ali stood in need of
reliable muskets, which his son would take charge of on the journey
home. As twenty of those warlike instruments were dispatched by
Ahmah-de-Bellah, the ostrich became rather a costly as well as
characteristic gift. Each of the traders, moreover, expected a
"bungee" or "dash" of some sort, in token of good will, and in
proportion to his sales; so that we hastened to comply with all the
common-law customs of the country, in order to liberate Bangalang from
the annoying crowd. They dropped off rapidly as they were paid; and in
a short time Ahmah-de-Bellah, his wives, and immediate followers, were
all that remained of the seven hundred Fullahs.

Ahmah-de-Bellah was a fine specimen of what may be considered "Young
Africa," though he can hardly be classed among the progressives or
revolutionary propagandists of the age. In person he was tall,
graceful, and commanding. As the son of an important chief, he had
been free from those menial toils which, in that climate, soon
obliterate all intellectual characteristics. His face was well formed
for an African's. His high and broad brow arched over a straight nose,
while his lips had nothing of that vulgar grossness which gives so
sensual an expression to his countrymen. Ahmah's manners to strangers
or superiors were refined and courteous in a remarkable degree; but to
the mob of the coast and inferiors generally, he manifested that harsh
and peremptory tone which is common among the savages of a fiery
clime.

Ahmah-de-Bellah was second son of the Ali-Mami, or King of
Footha-Yallon, who allowed him to exercise the prerogative of leading
for the first time, a caravan to the seaboard, in honor of attaining
the discreet age of "twenty four rainy seasons." The privilege
however, was not granted without a view to profit by the courage of
his own blood; for the Ali-Mami was never known to suffer a son or
relative to depart from his jurisdiction without a promise of _half_
the products of the lucrative enterprise.

The formation of a caravan, when the king's permission has been
finally secured, is a work of time and skill. At the beginning of the
"dry season," the privileged chieftain departs with power of life and
death over his followers, and "squats" in one of the most frequented
"paths" to the sea, while he dispatches small bands of daring
retainers to other trails throughout the neighborhood, to blockade
every passage to the beach. The siege of the highways is kept up with
vigor for a month or more, by these black Rob Roys and Robin Hoods,
until a sufficient number of traders may be trapped to constitute a
valuable caravan, and give importance to its leader. While this is the
main purpose of the forest adventure, the occasion is taken advantage
of to collect a local tribute, due by small tribes to the Ali, which
could not be obtained otherwise. The despotic officer, moreover,
avails himself of the blockade to stop malefactors and absconding
debtors. Goods that are seized in the possession of the latter may be
sequestrated to pay his creditors; but if their value is not equal to
the debt, the delinquent, if a pagan, is sold as a slave, but is let
off with a _bastinado_, if he proves to be "one of the faithful."

It is natural to suppose that every effort is made by the small
traders of the interior to avoid these savage press-gangs. The poor
wretches are not only subjected to annoying vassalage by ruffian
princes, but the blockade of the forest often diverts them from the
point they originally designed to reach,--forces them to towns or
factories they had no intention of visiting,--and, by extreme delay,
wastes their provisions and diminishes their frugal profits. It is
surprising to see how admirably even savages understand and exercise
the powers of sovereignty and the rights of transit!

       *       *       *       *       *

While Ahmah-de-Bellah tarried at Bangalang, it was my habit to visit
him every night to hear his interesting chat, as it was translated by
an interpreter. Sometimes, in return, I would recount the adventures
of my sea-faring life, which seemed to have a peculiar flavor for this
child of the wilderness, who now gazed for the first time on the
ocean. Among other things, I strove to convince him of the world's
rotundity; but, to the last, he smiled incredulously at my daring
assertion, and closed the argument by asking me to prove it from the
Koran? He allowed me the honors due a traveller and "book-man;" but a
mind that had swallowed, digested, and remembered every text of
Mahomet's volume, was not to be deceived by such idle fantasies. He
kindly undertook to conquer my ignorance of his creed by a careful
exposition of its mysteries in several long-winded lectures, and I was
so patient a listener, that I believe Ahmah was entirely satisfied of
my conversion.

My seeming acquiescence was well repaid by the Fullah's confidence. He
returned my nightly calls with interest; and, visiting me in the
warehouse during hours of business, became so fervently wrapped up in
my spiritual salvation, that he would spout Mahometanism for hours
through an interpreter. To get rid of him, one day, I promised to
follow the Prophet with pleasure if he consented to receive me; but I
insisted on entering the "fold of the faithful" _without_ submitting
to the peculiar rite of Mussulman baptism!

Ahmah-de-Bellah took the jest kindly, laughing like a good fellow,
and from that day forward, we were sworn cronies. The Fullah at once
wrote down a favorite prayer in Arabic, requiring as my spiritual
guide, that I should commit it to memory for constant and ready use.
After a day or two, he examined me in the ritual; but, finding I was
at fault after the first sentence, reproached me pathetically upon my
negligence and exhorted me to repentance,--much to the edification of
our interpreter, who was neither Jew, Christian, nor Mussulman.

But the visit of the young chieftain, which began in trade and tapered
off in piety, drew to a close. Ahmah-de-Bellah began to prepare for
his journey homeward. As the day of departure approached, I saw that
my joke had been taken seriously by the Fullah, and that he _relied_
upon my apostasy. At the last moment, Ahmah tried to put me to a
severe test, by suddenly producing the holy book, and requiring me to
seal our friendship by an oath that I would never abandon Islamism. I
contrived, however, adroitly to evade the affirmation by feigning an
excessive anxiety to acquire more profound knowledge of the Koran,
before I made so solemn a pledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

It came to pass that, out of the forty slaves brought in the caravan,
the Mongo rejected eight. After some altercation, Ahmah-de-Bellah
consented to discard seven; but he insisted that the remaining veteran
should be shipped, as he could neither _kill_ nor send him back to
Footha-Yallon.

I was somewhat curious to know the crime this culprit had committed,
which was so heinous as to demand his perpetual exile, though it
spared his life. The chief informed me that the wretch had slain his
son; and, as there was no punishment for such an offence assigned by
the Koran, the judges of his country condemned him to be sold _a slave
to Christians_,--a penalty they considered worse than death.

Another curious feature of African law was developed in the sale of
this caravan. I noticed a couple of women drawn along with ropes
around their necks, while others of their sex and class were suffered
to wander about without bonds. These females, the chief apprised us,
would have been burnt in his father's domains for witchcraft, had not
his venerable ancestor been so much distressed for powder that he
thought their lives would be more valuable to his treasury than their
carcasses to outraged law.

It was a general complaint among the companions of Ahmah-de-Bellah
that the caravan was scant of slaves in consequence of this
unfortunate lack of powder. The young chieftain promised better things
in future. Next year, the Mongo's barracoons should teem with his
conquests. When the "rainy season" approached, the Ali-Mami, his
father, meant to carry on a "great war" against a variety of small
tribes, whose captives would replenish the herds, that, two years
before, had been carried off by a sudden blight.

I learned from my intelligent Fullah, that while the Mahometan courts
of his country rescued by law the people of their own faith from
slavery, they omitted no occasion to inflict it, as a penalty, upon
the African "unbelievers" who fell within their jurisdiction. Among
these unfortunates, the smallest crime is considered capital, and a
"capital crime" merits the profitable punishment of slavery. Nor was
it difficult, he told me, for a country of "true believers" to acquire
a multitude of bondsmen. They detested the institution, it is true,
among themselves, and among their own caste, but it was both right and
reputable among the unorthodox. The Koran commanded the "subjugation
of the tribes to the true faith," so that, to enforce the Prophet's
order against infidels, they resorted to the white man's cupidity,
which authorized its votaries to enslave the negro! My inquisitiveness
prompted me to demand whether these holy wars spoken of in the Koran
were not somewhat stimulated, in our time, at least, by the profits
that ensued; and I even ventured to hint that it was questionable
whether the mighty chief of Footha-Yallon would willingly storm a
Kaffir fortification, were he not prompted by the booty of slaves!

Ahmah-de-Bellah was silent for a minute, when his solemn face
gradually relaxed into a quizzical smile, as he replied that, in
truth, Mahometans were no worse than Christians, so that it was quite
likely,--if the white elect of heaven, who knew how to make powder
and guns, did not tempt the black man with their weapons,--the
commands of Allah would be followed with less zeal, and implements not
quite so dangerous!

I could not help thinking that there was a good deal of quiet satire
in the gossip of this negro prince. According to the custom of his
country, we "exchanged names" at parting; and, while he put in my
pocket the gift of a well-thumbed _Koran_, I slung over his shoulder a
_double-barrelled gun_. We walked side by side for some miles into the
forest, as he went forth from Bangalang; and as we "cracked fingers"
for farewell, I promised, with my hand on my heart, that the "next dry
season" I would visit his father, the venerable Ali-Mami, in his realm
of Footha-Yallon.


FOOTNOTE:

[A] As it may be interesting to learn the nature of trade on this
coast,--_which is commonly misunderstood at consisting in slaves
alone_,--I thought it well to set down the inventory I made out of the
caravan's stock and its result, as the various items were intrusted to
my guardianship. The body of the caravan itself consisted of seven
hundred persons, principally men; while the produce was as follows:

  3,500 hides                                   $1,750
     19 large and prime teeth of ivory,          1,560
        Gold,                                    2,500
    600 pounds small ivory,                        320
     15 tons of rice,                              600
     40 slaves,                                  1,600
     36 bullocks,                                  360
        Sheep, goats, butter, vegetables,          100
    900 pounds bees-wax,                            95
                                               -------
  Total value of the caravan's merchandise,     $8,885
                                               -------

Our profits on this speculation were very flattering, both as regards
sales and acquisitions. Rice cost us one cent per pound; hides were
delivered at eighteen or twenty cents each; a bullock was sold for
twenty or thirty pounds of tobacco; sheep, goats or hogs, cost two
pounds of tobacco, or a fathom of common cotton, each; ivory was
purchased at the rate of a dollar the pound for the best, while
inferior kinds were given at half that price. In fact, the profit on
our merchandise was, at least, one hundred and fifty per cent. As gold
commands the very best fabrics in exchange, and was paid for at the
rate of sixteen dollars an ounce, we made but seventy per cent. on the
article. The slaves were delivered at the rate of one hundred "_bars_"
each. The "_bar_" is valued on the coast at half a dollar; but a pound
and a half of tobacco is also a "bar," as well as a fathom of ordinary
cotton cloth, or a pound of powder, while a common musket is equal to
twelve "bars." Accordingly, where slaves were purchased for one
hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco, only eighteen dollars were, in
reality, paid; and when one hundred pounds of powder were given, we
got them for twenty dollars each. Our _British_ muskets cost us but
three dollars apiece; yet we seldom purchased negroes for this article
alone. If the women, offered in the market, exceeded twenty-five years
of age, we made a deduction of twenty per cent.; but if they were
stanchly-built, and gave promising tokens for the future, we took them
at the price of an able-bodied man. The same estimate was made for
youths over four feet four inches high; but children were rarely
purchased at the factories, though they might be advantageously traded
in the native towns.



CHAPTER X.


I was a close watcher of Mongo John whenever he engaged in the
purchase of slaves. As each negro was brought before him, Ormond
examined the subject, without regard to sex, from head to foot. A
careful manipulation of the chief muscles, joints, arm-pits and groins
was made, to assure soundness. The mouth, too, was inspected, and if a
tooth was missing, it was noted as a defect liable to deduction. Eyes,
voice, lungs, fingers and toes were not forgotten; so that when the
negro passed from the Mongo's hands without censure, he might have
been readily adopted as a good "life" by an insurance company.

Upon one occasion, to my great astonishment, I saw a stout and
apparently powerful man discarded by Ormond as utterly worthless. His
full muscles and sleek skin, to my unpractised eye, denoted the height
of robust health. Still, I was told that he had been medicated for the
market with bloating drugs, and sweated with powder and lemon-juice to
impart a gloss to his skin. Ormond remarked that these jockey-tricks
are as common in Africa as among horse-dealers in Christian lands; and
desiring me to feel the negro's pulse, I immediately detected disease
or excessive excitement. In a few days I found the poor wretch,
abandoned by his owner, a paralyzed wreck in the hut of a villager at
Bangalang.

[Illustration: INSPECTION AND SALE OF A NEGRO.]

When a slave becomes useless to his master in the interior, or
exhibits signs of failing constitution, he is soon disposed of to a
peddler or broker. These men call to their aid a quack, familiar with
drugs, who, for a small compensation, undertakes to refit an impaired
body for the temptation of green-horns. Sometimes the cheat is
successfully effected; but experienced slavers detect it readily by
the yellow eye, swollen tongue, and feverish skin.

After a few more lessons, I was considered by the Mongo sufficiently
learned in the slave traffic to be intrusted with the sole management
of his stores. This exemption from commerce enabled him to indulge
more than ever in the use of ardent spirits, though his vanity to be
called "king," still prompted him to attend faithfully to all the
"country palavers;"--and, let it be said to his credit, his decisions
were never defective in judgment or impartiality.

After I had been three months occupied in the multifarious intercourse
of Bangalang and its neighborhood, I understood the language well
enough to dispense with the interpreter, who was one of the Mongo's
confidential agents. When my companion departed on a long journey, he
counselled me to make up with Unga-golah, the _harem's_ Cerberus, as
she suspected my intimacy with Esther, who would doubtless be
denounced to Ormond, unless I purchased the beldame's silence.

Indeed, ever since the night of warning, when the beautiful
_quarteroon_ visited my hovel, I had contrived to meet this charming
girl, as the only solace of my solitude. Amid all the wild,
passionate, and savage surroundings of Bangalang, Esther--the
Pariah--was the only golden link that still seemed to bind me to
humanity and the lands beyond the seas. On that burning coast, I was
not excited by the stirring of an adventurous life, nor was my young
heart seduced and bewildered by absorbing avarice. Many a night, when
the dews penetrated my flesh, as I looked towards the west, my soul
shrank from the selfish wretches around me, and went off in dreams to
the homes I had abandoned. When I came back to myself,--when I was
forced to recognize my doom in Africa,--when I acknowledged that my
lot had been cast, perhaps unwisely, by myself, my spirit turned,
like the worm from the crashing heel, and found nothing that kindled
for me with the light of human sympathy, save this outcast girl.
Esther was to me as a sister, and when the hint of her harm or loss
was given, I hastened to disarm the only hand that could inflict a
blow. Unga-golah was a woman, and a rope of sparkling coral for her
neck, smothered all her wrongs.

The months I had passed in Africa without illness,--though I went
abroad after dark, and bathed in the river during the heat of the
day,--made me believe myself proof against malaria. But, at length, a
violent pain in my loins, accompanied by a swimming head, warned me
that the African fever held me in its dreaded gripe. In two days I was
delirious. Ormond visited me; but I knew him not, and in my madness,
called on Esther, accompanying the name with terms of endearment.
This, I was told, stirred the surprise and jealousy of the Mongo, who
forthwith assailed the matron of his harem with a torrent of inquiries
and abuse. But Unga-golah was faithful. The beads had sealed her
tongue; so that, with the instinctive adroitness peculiar to ladies of
her color, she fabricated a story which not only quieted the Mongo,
but added lustre to Esther's character.

The credulous old man finding Unga so well disposed towards his
watchful clerk, restored the warehouse to her custody. This was the
height of her avaricious ambition; and, in token of gratitude for my
profitable malady, she contrived to let Esther become the nurse and
guardian of my sick bed.

As my fever and delirium continued, a native doctor, renowned for his
skill, was summoned, who ordered me to be cupped in the African
fashion by scarifying my back and stomach with a hot knife, and
applying plantain leaves to the wounds. The operation allayed my pulse
for a few hours; but as the fever came back with new vigor, it became
necessary for my attendants to arouse the Mongo to a sense of my
imminent danger. Yet Ormond, instead of springing with alacrity to
succor a friend and retainer in affliction, sent for a young man,
named Edward Joseph, who had formerly been in his employment, but was
now settled on his own account in Bangalang.

Joseph proved a good Samaritan. As soon as he dared venture upon my
removal, he took me to his establishment at Kambia, and engaged the
services of another Mandingo doctor, in whose absurdities he believed.
But all the charms and incantations of the savage would not avail, and
I remained in a state of utter prostration and apparent insensibility
until morning. As soon as day dawned, my faithful Esther was again on
the field of action; and this time she insisted upon the trial of her
judgment, in the person of an old white-headed woman, who accompanied
her in the guise of the greatest enchantress of the coast. A slave,
paid in advance, was the fee for which she undertook to warrant my
cure.

No time was to be lost. The floor of a small and close mud hut was
intensely heated, and thickly strewn with moistened lemon leaves, over
which a cloth was spread for a couch. As soon as the bed was ready, I
was borne to the hovel, and, covered with blankets, was allowed to
steam and perspire, while my medical attendant dosed me with half a
tumbler of a green disgusting juice which she extracted from herbs.
This process of drinking and barbecuing was repeated during five
consecutive days, at the end of which my fever was gone. But my
convalescence was not speedy. For many a day, I stalked about, a
useless skeleton, covering with ague, and afflicted by an insatiable
appetite, until a French physician restored me to health by the use of
cold baths at the crisis of my fever.

When I was sufficiently recovered to attend to business, Mongo John
desired me to resume my position in his employment. I heard, however,
from Esther, that during my illness, Unga-golah used her opportunities
so profitably in the warehouse, that there would be sad deficiencies,
which, doubtless, might be thrown on me, if the crone were badly
disposed at any future period. Accordingly, I thought it decidedly
most prudent to decline the clerkship, and requested the Mongo to
recompense me for the time and attention I had already bestowed on
him. This was refused by the indolent voluptuary; so we parted with
coolness, and I was once more adrift in the world.

In these great outlying colonies and lodgments of European nations in
the East Indies and Africa, a stranger is commonly welcome to the
hospitality of every foreigner. I had no hesitation, therefore, in
returning to the house of Joseph, who, like myself, had been a clerk
of Ormond, and suffered from the pilferings of the matron.

My host, I understood, was a native of London, where he was born of
continental parents, and came to Sierra Leone with Governor Turner.
Upon the death or return of that officer,--I do not recollect
which,--the young adventurer remained in the colony, and, for a time,
enjoyed the post of harbor master. His first visit to the Rio Pongo
was in the capacity of supercargo of a small coasting craft, laden
with valuable merchandise. Joseph succeeded in disposing of his wares,
but was not equally fortunate in collecting their avails. It was,
perhaps, an ill-judged act of the supercargo, but he declined to face
his creditors with a deficient balance-sheet; and quitting Sierra
Leone for ever, accepted service with Ormond. For a year he continued
in this employment; but, at the end of that period, considering
himself sufficiently informed of the trade and language of the river,
he sent a message to his creditors at the British settlement that he
could promptly pay them in full, if they would advance him capital
enough to commence an independent trade. The terms were accepted by an
opulent Israelite, and in a short time Edward Joseph was numbered
among the successful factors of Rio Pongo.

As I had nothing to do but get well and talk, I employed my entire
leisure in acquiring the native language perfectly. The Soosoo is a
dialect of the Mandingo. Its words, ending almost universally in
vowels, render it as glibly soft and musical as Italian; so that, in a
short time, I spoke it as fluently as my native tongue.



CHAPTER XI.


The 15th of March, 1827, was an epoch in my life. I remember it well,
because it became the turning point of my destiny. A few weeks more of
indolence might have forced me back to Europe or America, but the
fortune of that day decided my residence and dealings in Africa.

At dawn of the 15th, a vessel was descried in the offing, and, as she
approached the coast, the initiated soon ascertained her to be a
Spanish slaver. But, what was the amazement of the river grandees when
the captain landed and consigned his vessel _to me_!

"LA FORTUNA," the property, chiefly, of my old friend the Regla
grocer, was successor of the Areostatico, which she exceeded in size
as well as comfort. Her captain was charged to pay me my wages in full
for the round voyage in the craft I had abandoned, and handed me,
besides, a purse of thirty doubloons as a testimonial from his owners
for my defence of their property on the dreadful night of our arrival.
The "Fortuna" was dispatched to me for an "assorted cargo of slaves,"
while 200,000 cigars and 500 ounces of Mexican gold, were on board for
their purchase. My commission was fixed at ten per cent., and I was
promised a command whenever I saw fit to abandon my residence on the
African coast.

Having no factory, or _barracoon_ of slaves, and being elevated to the
dignity of "a trader" in so sudden a manner, I thought it best to
summon all the factors of the river on board the schooner, with an
offer to divide the cargo, provided they would pledge the production
of the slaves within thirty days. Dispatch was all-important to the
owners, and, so anxious was I to gratify them, that I consented to pay
fifty dollars for every slave that should be accepted.

After some discussion my offer was taken, and the cargo apportioned
among the residents. They declined, however, receiving any share of
the cigars in payment, insisting on liquidation in gold alone.

As this was my first enterprise, I felt at a loss to know how to
convert my useless tobacco into merchantable doubloons. In this
strait, I had recourse to the Englishman Joseph, who hitherto traded
exclusively in produce; but, being unable to withstand the temptation
of gold, had consented to furnish a portion of my required negroes. As
soon as I stated the difficulty to Don Edward, he proposed to send the
Havanas to his Hebrew friend in Sierra Leone, where, he did not doubt,
they would be readily exchanged for Manchester merchandise. That
evening a canoe was dispatched to the English colony with the cigars;
and, on the tenth day after, the trusty Israelite appeared in the Rio
Pongo, with a cutter laden to the deck with superior British fabrics.
The rumor of five hundred doubloons disturbed his rest in Sierra
Leone! So much gold could not linger in the hands of natives as long
as Manchester and Birmingham were represented in the colony; and,
accordingly, he coasted the edge of the surf, as rapidly as possible,
to pay me a profit of four dollars a thousand for the cigars, and to
take his chances at the exchange of my gold for the sable cargo! By
this happy hit I was enabled to pay for the required balance of
negroes, as well as to liquidate the schooners expenses while in the
river. I was amazingly rejoiced and proud at this happy result,
because I learned from the captain that the invoice of cigars was a
malicious trick, palmed off on the Areostatico's owners by her
captain, in order to thwart or embarrass me, when he heard I was to be
intrusted with the purchase of a cargo on the coast.

At the appointed day, La Fortuna sailed with 220 human beings packed
in her hold. Three months afterwards, I received advices that she
safely landed 217 in the bay of Matanzas, and that their sale yielded
a clear profit on the voyage of forty-one thousand four hundred and
thirty-eight dollars.[B]

As I am now fairly embarked in a trade which absorbed so many of my
most vigorous years, I suppose the reader will not be loth to learn a
little of my experience in the alleged "cruelties" of this commerce;
and the first question, in all likelihood, that rises to his lips, is
a solicitation to be apprised of the embarkation and treatment of
slaves on the dreaded voyage.

An African factor of fair repute is ever careful to select his human
cargo with consummate prudence, so as not only to supply his employers
with athletic laborers, but to avoid any taint of disease that may
affect the slaves in their transit to Cuba or the American main. Two
days before embarkation, the head of every male and female is neatly
shaved; and, if the cargo belongs to several owners, each man's
_brand_ is impressed on the body of his respective negro. This
operation is performed with pieces of silver wire, or small irons
fashioned into the merchant's initials, heated just hot enough to
blister without burning the skin. When the entire cargo is the venture
of but one proprietor, the branding is always dispensed with.

On the appointed day, the _barracoon_ or slave-pen is made joyous by
the abundant "feed" which signalizes the negro's last hours in his
native country. The feast over, they are taken alongside the vessel in
canoes; and as they touch the deck, they are entirely stripped, so
that women as well as men go out of Africa as they came into
it--_naked_. This precaution, it will be understood, is indispensable;
for perfect nudity, during the whole voyage, is the only means of
securing cleanliness and health. In this state, they are immediately
ordered below, the men to the hold and the women to the cabin, while
boys and girls are, day and night, kept on deck, where their sole
protection from the elements is a sail in fair weather, and a
_tarpaulin_ in foul.

At meal time they are distributed in messes of ten. Thirty years ago,
when the Spanish slave-trade was lawful, the captains were somewhat
more ceremoniously religious than at present, and it was then a
universal habit to make the gangs say grace before meat, and give
thanks afterwards. In our days, however, they dispense with this
ritual, and content themselves with a "_Viva la Habana_," or "hurrah
for Havana," accompanied by a clapping of hands.

This over, a bucket of salt water is served to each mess, by way of
"finger glasses" for the ablution of hands, after which a
_kidd_,--either of rice, farina, yams, or beans,--according to the
tribal habit of the negroes, is placed before the squad. In order to
prevent greediness or inequality in the appropriation of nourishment,
the process is performed by signals from a monitor, whose motions
indicate when the darkies shall dip and when they shall swallow.

It is the duty of a guard to report immediately whenever a slave
refuses to eat, in order that his abstinence may be traced to
stubbornness or disease. Negroes have sometimes been found in slavers
who attempted voluntary starvation; so that, when the watch reports
the patient to be "shamming," his appetite is stimulated by the
medical antidote of a "cat." If the slave, however, is truly ill, he
is forthwith ticketed for the sick list by a bead or button around his
neck, and dispatched to an infirmary in the forecastle.

These meals occur twice daily,--at ten in the morning and four in the
afternoon,--and are terminated by another ablution. Thrice in each
twenty-four hours they are served with half a pint of water. Pipes and
tobacco are circulated economically among both sexes; but, as each
negro cannot be allowed the luxury of a separate bowl, boys are sent
round with an adequate supply, allowing a few whiffs to each
individual. On regular days,--probably three times a week,--their
mouths are carefully rinsed with vinegar, while, nearly every morning,
a dram is given as an antidote to scurvy.

Although it is found necessary to keep the sexes apart, they are
allowed to converse freely during day while on deck. Corporal
punishment is _never_ inflicted save by order of an officer, and, even
then, not until the culprit understands exactly why it is done. Once a
week, the ship's barber scrapes their chins without assistance from
soap; and, on the same day, their nails are closely pared, to insure
security from harm in those nightly battles that occur, when the slave
contests with his neighbor every inch of plank to which he is glued.
During afternoons of serene weather, men, women, girls, and boys are
allowed to unite in African melodies, which they always enhance by an
extemporaneous _tom-tom_ on the bottom of a tub or tin kettle.

These hints will apprise the reader that the greatest care, compatible
with safety, is taken of a negro's health and cleanliness on the
voyage. In every well-conducted slaver, the captain, officers, and
crew, are alert and vigilant to preserve the cargo. It is their
personal interest, as well as the interest of humanity to do so. The
boatswain is incessant in his patrol of purification, and disinfecting
substances are plenteously distributed. The upper deck is washed and
swabbed daily; the slave deck is scraped and holy-stoned; and, at nine
o'clock each morning, the captain inspects every part of his craft; so
that no vessel, except a man-of-war, can compare with a slaver in
systematic order, purity, and neatness. I am not aware that the
ship-fever, which sometimes decimates the emigrants from Europe, has
ever prevailed in these African traders.

At sundown, the process of stowing the slaves for the night is begun.
The second mate and boatswain descend into the hold, whip in hand, and
range the slaves in their regular places; those on the right side of
the vessel facing forward, and lying in each other's lap, while those
on the left are similarly stowed with their faces towards the stern.
In this way each negro lies on his right side, which is considered
preferable for the action of the heart. In allotting places,
particular attention is paid to size, the taller being selected for
the greatest breadth of the vessel, while the shorter and younger are
lodged near the bows. When the cargo is large and the lower deck
crammed, the supernumeraries are disposed of on deck, which is
securely covered with boards to shield them from moisture. The
_strict_ discipline of nightly stowage is, of course, of the greatest
importance in slavers, else every negro would accommodate himself as
if he were a passenger.

In order to insure perfect silence and regularity during night, a
slave is chosen as constable from every ten, and furnished with a
"cat" to enforce commands during his appointed watch. In remuneration
for his services, which, it may be believed, are admirably performed
whenever the whip is required, he is adorned with an old shirt or
tarry trowsers. Now and then, billets of wood are distributed among
the sleepers, but this luxury is never granted until the good temper
of the negroes is ascertained, for slaves have often been tempted to
mutiny by the power of arming themselves with these pillows from the
forest.

It is very probable that many of my readers will consider it barbarous
to make slaves lie down naked upon a board, but let me inform them
that native Africans are not familiar with the use of feather-beds,
nor do any but the free and rich in their mother country indulge in
the luxury even of a mat or raw-hide. Among the Mandingo chiefs,--the
most industrious and civilized of Africans,--the beds, divans, and
sofas, are heaps of mud, covered with untanned skins for cushions,
while logs of wood serve for bolsters! I am of opinion, therefore,
that emigrant slaves experience very slight inconvenience in lying
down on the deck.

But _ventilation_ is carefully attended to. The hatches and bulkheads
of every slaver are grated, and apertures are cut about the deck for
ampler circulation of air. Wind-sails, too, are constantly pouring a
steady draft into the hold, except during a chase, when, of course,
every comfort is temporarily sacrificed for safety. During calms or in
light and baffling winds, when the suffocating air of the tropics
makes ventilation impossible, the gratings are always removed, and
portions of the slaves allowed to repose at night on deck, while the
crew is armed to watch the sleepers.

Handcuffs are rarely used on shipboard. It is the common custom to
secure slaves in the _barracoons_, and while shipping, by chaining
_ten_ in a gang; but as these platoons would be extremely inconvenient
at sea, the manacles are immediately taken off and replaced by
leg-irons, which fasten them in pairs by the feet. Shackles are never
used but for _full-grown men_, while _women_ and _boys_ are set at
liberty as soon as they embark. It frequently happens that when the
behavior of _male_ slaves warrants their freedom, they are released
from all fastenings long before they arrive. Irons are altogether
dispensed with on many _Brazilian_ slavers, as negroes from Anjuda,
Benin, and Angola, are mild; and unaddicted to revolt like those who
dwell east of the Cape or north of the Gold Coast. Indeed, a knowing
trader will never use chains but when compelled, for the longer a
slave is ironed the more he deteriorates; and, as his sole object is
to land a healthy cargo, pecuniary interest, as well as natural
feeling, urges the sparing of metal.

My object in writing this palliative description is not to exculpate
the slavers or their commerce, but to correct those exaggerated
stories which have so long been current in regard to the _usual_
voyage of a trader. I have always believed that the cause of humanity,
as well as any other cause, was least served by over-statement; and I
am sure that if the narratives given by Englishmen are true, the
voyages they detail must either have occurred before my day, or were
conducted in British vessels, while her majesty's subjects still
considered the traffic lawful.[C]


FOOTNOTES:

[B] As the reader may scarcely credit so large a profit, I subjoin an
account of the fitting of a slave vessel from Havana in 1827, and the
liquidation of her voyage in Cuba:--

1.--EXPENSES OUT.

  Cost of LA FORTUNA, a 90 ton schooner,               $3,700 00
  Fitting out, sails, carpenter and cooper's bills,     2,500 00
  Provisions for crew and slaves,                       1,115 00
  Wages advanced to 18 men before the mast,               900 00
    "      "     to captain, mates, boatswain,
                   cook, and steward,                     440 00
  200,000 cigars and 500 doubloons, cargo,             10,900 00
  Clearance and hush-money,                               200 00
                                                     -----------
                                                      $19,755 00
  Commission at 5 per cent.,                              987 00
                                                     -----------
  Full cost of voyage out,                            $20,742 00

2.--EXPENSES HOME.

  Captain's head-money, at $8 a head,                   1,746 00
  Mate's        "          $4   "                         873 00
  Second mate and boatswain's head-money,
      at $2 each a head,                                  873 00
  Captain's wages,                                        219 78
  First mate's wages                                      175 56
  Second mate and boatswain's wages,                      307 12
  Cook and steward's wages,                               264 00
  Eighteen sailors' wages,                              1,972 00
                                                     -----------
                                                      $27,172 46

3.--EXPENSES IN HAVANA.

  Government officers, at $8 per head,                  1,736 00
  My commission on 217 slaves, expenses off,            5,565 00
  Consignees' commissions,                              8,878 00
  217 slave dresses, at $2 each,                          634 00
  Extra expenses of all kinds, say,                     1,000 00
                                                     -----------
  Total expenses,                                     $39,980 46

4.--RETURNS.

  Value of vessel at auction,                          $3,950 00
  Proceeds of 217 slaves,                              77,469 00
                                                     -----------
                                                      $81,419 00
                                                     -----------

RESUMÉ.

  Total Returns,                                      $81,419 00
    "   Expenses,                                      39,980 46
                                                     -----------
  Nett profit,                                        $41,438 54
                                                     -----------

[C] The treaty with Spain, which was designed by Great Britain to end
the slave-trade, failed utterly to produce the desired result.

All _profitable_ trade,--illicit, contraband, or what not,--_will_ be
carried on by avaricious men, as long as the temptation continues.
Accordingly, whenever a trade becomes _forced_, the only and sure
result of violent restriction is to imperil still more both life and
cargo.

1st.--The treaty with Spain, it is said, was enforced some time before
it was properly promulgated or notified; so that British cruisers
seized over eighty vessels, one third of which certainly were not
designed for slave-trade.

2d.--As the compact condemned slave vessels to be broken up, the
sailing qualities of craft were improved to facilitate escape, rather
than insure human comfort.

3d.--The Spanish slavers had recourse to Brazilians and Portuguese to
cover their property; and, as slavers could not be fitted out in Cuba,
other nations sent their vessels ready equipped to Africa, and (under
the jib-booms of cruisers) Sardinians, Frenchmen and Americans,
transferred them to slave traders, while the captains and parts of the
crew took passage home in regular merchantmen.

4th.--As the treaty created greater risk, every method of economy was
resorted to; and the crowding and cramming of slaves was one of the
most prominent results. Water and provisions were diminished; and
every thing was sacrificed for gain.



CHAPTER XII.


In old times, before treaties made slave-trade piracy, the landing of
human cargoes was as comfortably conducted as the disembarkation of
flour. But now, the enterprise is effected with secrecy and hazard. A
wild, uninhabited portion of the coast, where some little bay or
sheltering nook exists, is commonly selected by the captain and his
confederates. As soon as the vessel is driven close to the beach and
anchored, her boats are packed with slaves, while the craft is quickly
dismantled to avoid detection from sea or land. The busy skiffs are
hurried to and fro incessantly till the cargo is entirely ashore, when
the secured gang, led by the captain, and escorted by armed sailors,
is rapidly marched to the nearest plantation. There it is safe from
the rapacity of local magistrates, who, if they have a chance, imitate
their superiors by exacting "_gratifications_."

In the mean time, a _courier_ has been dispatched to the owners in
Havana, Matanzas, or Santiago de Cuba, who immediately post to the
plantation with clothes for the slaves and gold for the crew.
Preparations are quickly made through brokers for the sale of the
blacks; while the vessel, if small, is disguised, to warrant her
return under the coasting flag to a port of clearance. If the craft
happens to be large, it is considered perilous to attempt a return
with a cargo, or "_in distress_," and, accordingly, she is either sunk
or burnt where she lies.

When the genuine African reaches a plantation for the first time, he
fancies himself in paradise. He is amazed by the generosity with which
he is fed with fruit and fresh provisions. His new clothes, red cap,
and roasting blanket (a civilized superfluity he never dreamed of),
strike him dumb with delight, and, in his savage joy, he not only
forgets country, relations, and friends, but skips about like a
monkey, while he dons his garments wrongside out or hind-part before!
The arrival of a carriage or cart creates no little confusion among
the Ethiopian groups, who never imagined that beasts could be made to
work. But the climax of wonder is reached when that paragon of
oddities, a Cuban _postilion_, dressed in his sky-blue coat,
silver-laced hat, white breeches, polished jack-boots, and ringing
spurs, leaps from his prancing quadruped, and bids them welcome in
their mother-tongue. Every African rushes to "snap fingers" with his
equestrian brother, who, according to orders, forthwith preaches an
edifying sermon on the happiness of being a white man's slave, taking
care to jingle his spurs and crack his whip at the end of every
sentence, by way of _amen_.

Whenever a cargo is owned by several proprietors, each one takes his
share at once to his plantation; but if it is the property of
speculators, the blacks are sold to any one who requires them before
removal from the original depot. The sale is, of course, conducted as
rapidly as possible, to forestall the interference of British
officials with the Captain-General.

Many of the Spanish Governors in Cuba have respected treaties, or, at
least, promised to enforce the laws. Squadrons of dragoons and troops
of lancers have been paraded with convenient delay, and ordered to
gallop to plantations designated by the representative of England. It
generally happens, however, that when the hunters arrive the game is
gone. Scandal declares that, while brokers are selling the blacks at
the depot, it is not unusual for their owner or his agent to be found
knocking at the door of the Captain-General's secretary. It is often
said that the Captain-General himself is sometimes present in the
sanctuary, and, after a familiar chat about the happy landing of "the
contraband,"--as the traffic is amiably called, the requisite
_rouleaux_ are insinuated into the official desk under the intense
smoke of a fragrant _cigarillo_. The metal is always considered the
property of the Captain-General, but his scribe avails himself of a
lingering farewell at the door, to hint an immediate and pressing need
for "a very small darkey!" Next day, the diminutive African does not
appear; but, as it is believed that Spanish officials prefer gold even
to mortal flesh, his algebraic equivalent is unquestionably furnished
in the shape of shining ounces!

       *       *       *       *       *

The prompt dispatch I gave the schooner Fortuna, started new ideas
among the traders of the Rio Pongo, so that it was generally agreed my
method of dividing the cargo among different factors was not only most
advantageous for speed, but prevented monopoly, and gave all an equal
chance. At a "grand palaver" or assemblage of the traders on the
river, it was resolved that this should be the course of trade for the
future. All the factors, except Ormond, attended and assented; but we
learned that the Mongo's people, with difficulty prevented him from
sending an armed party to break up our deliberations.

The knowledge of this hostile feeling soon spread throughout the
settlement and adjacent towns, creating considerable excitement
against Ormond. My plan and principles were approved by the natives as
well as foreigners, so that warning was sent the Mongo, if any harm
befell Joseph and Theodore, it would be promptly resented. Our native
landlord, Ali-Ninpha, a Foulah by descent, told him boldly, in
presence of his people, that the Africans were "tired of a mulatto
Mongo;" and, from that day, his power dwindled away visibly, though a
show of respect was kept up in consequence of his age and ancient
importance.

During these troubles, the Areostatico returned to my consignment, and
in twenty-two days was dispatched with a choice cargo of
Mandingoes,--a tribe, which had become fashionable for house servants
among the Havanese. But the luckless vessel was never heard of, and it
is likely she went down in some of the dreadful gales that scourged
the coast immediately after her departure.



CHAPTER XIII.


I had now grown to such sudden importance among the natives, that the
neighboring chiefs and kings sent me daily messages of friendship,
with trifling gifts that I readily accepted. One of these bordering
lords, more generous and insinuating than the rest, hinted several
times his anxiety for a closer connection in affection as well as
trade, and, at length, insisted upon becoming my father-in-law!

I had always heard in Italy that it was something to receive the hand
of a princess, even after long and tedious wooing; but now that I was
surrounded by a mob of kings, who absolutely thrust their daughters on
me, I confess I had the bad taste not to leap with joy at the royal
offering. Still, I was in a difficult position, as no graver offence
can be given a chief than to reject his child. It is so serious an
insult to refuse a wife, that, high born natives, in order to avoid
quarrels or war, accept the tender boon, and as soon as etiquette
permits, pass it over to a friend or relation. As the offer was made
to me personally by the king, I found the utmost difficulty in
escaping. Indeed, he would receive no excuse. When I declined on
account of the damsel's youth, he laughed incredulously. If I urged
the feebleness of my health and tardy convalescence, he insisted that
a regular life of matrimony was the best cordial for an impaired
constitution. In fact, the paternal solicitude of his majesty for my
doubloons was so urgent that I was on the point of yielding myself a
patient sacrifice, when Joseph came to my relief with the offer of his
hand as a substitute.

The Gordian knot was cut. Prince Yungee in reality did not care so
much who should be his son-in-law as that he obtained one with a white
skin and plentiful purse. Joseph or Theodore, Saxon or Italian, made
no difference to the chief; and, as is the case in all Oriental lands,
the opinion of the lady was of no importance whatever.

I cannot say that my partner viewed this matrimonial project with the
disgust that I did. Perhaps he was a man of more liberal philosophy
and wider views of human brotherhood; at any rate, his residence in
Africa gave him a taste not only for its people, habits, and
superstitions, but he upheld practical amalgamation with more fervor
and honesty than a regular abolitionist. Joseph was possessed by
Africo-mania. He admired the women, the men, the language, the
cookery, the music. He would fall into philharmonic ecstasies over the
discord of a bamboo _tom-tom_. I have reason to believe that even
African barbarities had charms for the odd Englishman; but he was
chiefly won by the _dolce far niente_ of the natives, and the Oriental
license of polygamy. In a word, Joseph had the same taste for a
full-blooded _cuffee_, that an epicure has for the _haut gout_ of a
stale partridge, and was in ecstasies at my extrication. He neglected
his _siestas_ and his accounts; he wandered from house to house with
the rapture of an impatient bridegroom; and, till every thing was
ready for the nuptial rites, no one at the factory had a moment's
rest.

As the bride's relations were eminent folks on the upper part of the
river, they insisted that the marriage ceremony should be performed
with all the honorable formalities due to the lady's rank. Esther, who
acted as my mentor in every "country-question," suggested that it
would be contrary to the Englishman's interest to ally himself with a
family whose only motive was sordid. She strongly urged that if he
persisted in taking the girl, he should do so without a "_colungee_"
or ceremonial feast. But Joseph was obstinate as a bull; and as he
doubted whether he would ever commit matrimony again, he insisted
that the nuptials should be celebrated with all the fashionable
splendor of high life in Africa.

When this was decided, it became necessary, by a fiction of etiquette,
to ignore the previous offer of the bride, and to begin anew, as if
the damsel were to be sought in the most delicate way by a desponding
lover. She must be demanded formally, by the bridegroom from her
reluctant mother; and accordingly, the most respectable matron in our
colony was chosen by Joseph from his colored acquaintances to be the
bearer of his valentine. In the present instance, the selected Cupid
was the principal wife of our native landlord, Ali-Ninpha; and, as
Africans as well as Turks love by the pound, the dame happened to be
one of the fattest, as well as most respectable, in our parish.
Several female _attachés_ were added to the suite of the ambassadress,
who forthwith departed to make a proper "_dantica_." The gifts
selected were of four kinds. First of all, two demijohns of
_trade_-rum were filled to gladden the community of Mongo-Yungee's
town. Next, a piece of blue cotton cloth, a musket, a keg of powder,
and a demijohn of _pure_ rum, were packed for papa. Thirdly, a
youthful virgin dressed in a white "tontongee,"[2] a piece of white
cotton cloth, a white basin, a white sheep, and a basket of white
rice, were put up for mamma, in token of her daughter's purity. And,
lastly, a German looking-glass, several bunches of beads, a coral
necklace, a dozen of turkey-red handkerchiefs, and a spotless white
country-cloth, were presented to the bride; together with a decanter
of white palm-oil for the anointment of her ebony limbs after the
bath, which is never neglected by African _belles_.

While the missionary of love was absent, our sighing swain devoted his
energies to the erection of a bridal palace; and the task required
just as many days as were employed in the creation of the world. The
building was finished by the aid of bamboos, straw, and a modicum of
mud; and, as Joseph imagined that love and coolness were secured in
such a climate by utter darkness, he provided an abundance of that
commodity by omitting windows entirely. The furnishing of the domicil
was completed with all the luxury of native taste. An elastic
four-poster was constructed of bamboos; some dashing crockery was set
about the apartment for display; a cotton quilt was cast over the
matted couch; an old trunk served for bureau and wardrobe; and, as
negresses adore looking-glasses, the largest in our warehouse was
nailed against the door, as the only illuminated part of the edifice.

At last all was complete, and Joseph snapped his fingers with delight,
when the corpulent dame waddled up asthmatically, and announced with a
wheeze that her mission was prosperous. If there had ever been doubt,
there was now no more. The oracular "_fetiche_" had announced that the
delivery of the bride to her lord might take place "on the tenth day
of the new moon."

As the planet waxed from its slender sickle to the thicker quarter,
the impatience of my Cockney waxed with it; but, at length, the firing
of muskets, the twang of horns, and the rattle of tom-toms, gave
notice from the river that COOMBA, the bride, was approaching the
quay. Joseph and myself hastily donned our clean shirts, white
trousers, and glistening pumps; and, under the shade of broad
_sombreros_ and umbrellas, proceeded to greet the damsel. Our fat
friend, the matron; Ali-Ninpha, her husband; our servants, and a troop
of village ragamuffins, accompanied us to the water's brink, so that
we were just in time to receive the five large canoes bearing the
escort of the king and his daughter. Boat after boat disgorged its
passengers; but, to our dismay, they ranged themselves apart, and were
evidently displeased. When the last canoe, decorated with flags,
containing the bridal party, approached the strand, the chief of the
escort signalled it to stop and forbade the landing.

In a moment there was a general row--a row, conceivable only by
residents of Africa, or those whose ears have been regaled with the
chattering of a "wilderness of monkeys." Our lusty _factotum_ was
astonished. The Cockney aspirated his _h's_ with uncommon volubility.
We hastened from one to the other to inquire the cause; nor was it
until near half an hour had been wasted in palaver, that I found they
considered themselves slighted, first of all because we had not fired
a salvo in their honor, and secondly because we failed to spread mats
from the beach to the house, upon which the bride might place her
virgin feet without defilement! These were indispensable formalities
among the "upper ten;" and the result was that COOMBA could not land
unless the etiquette were fulfilled.

Here, then, was a sad dilemma. The guns could be fired instantly;--but
where, alas! at a moment's notice, were we to obtain mats enough to
carpet the five hundred yards of transit from the river to the house?
The match must be broken off!

My crest-fallen cockney immediately began to exculpate himself by
pleading ignorance of the country's customs,--assuring the strangers
that he had not the slightest inkling of the requirement. Still, the
stubborn "master of ceremonies" would not relax an iota of his
rigorous behests.

At length, our bulky dame approached the master of the bridal party,
and, squatting on her knees, confessed her neglectful fault. Then, for
the first time, I saw a gleam of hope. Joseph improved the moment by
alleging that he employed this lady patroness to conduct every thing
in the sublimest style imaginable, because it was presumed no one knew
better than she all that was requisite for so admirable and virtuous a
lady as COOMBA. Inasmuch, however, as he had been disappointed by her
unhappy error, he did not think the blow should fall on _his_
shoulders. The negligent matron ought to pay the penalty; and, as it
was impossible now to procure the mats, she should forfeit the value
of a slave to aid the merry-making, _and carry the bride on her back
from the river to her home_!

A clapping of hands and a quick murmur of assent ran through the
crowd, telling me that the compromise was accepted. But the porterage
was no sinecure for the delinquent elephant, who found it difficult at
times to get along over African sands even without a burden. Still, no
time was lost in further parley or remonstrance. The muskets and
cannon were brought down and exploded; the royal boat was brought to
the landing; father, mother, brothers, and relations were paraded on
the strand; tom-toms and horns were beaten and blown; and, at last,
the suffering missionary waddled to the canoe to receive the veiled
form of the slender bride.

The process of removal was accompanied by much merriment. Our
corpulent porter groaned as she "larded the lean earth" beneath her
ponderous tread; but, in due course of labor and patience, she sank
with her charge on the bamboo couch of Master Joseph.

As soon as the bearer and the burden were relieved from their fatigue,
the maiden was brought to the door, and, as her long concealing veil
of spotless cotton was unwrapped from head and limbs, a shout of
admiration went up from the native crowd that followed us from the
quay to the hovel. As Joseph received the hand of COOMBA, he paid the
princely fee of a slave to the matron.

COOMBA had certainly not numbered more than sixteen years, yet, in
that burning region, the sex ripen long before their pallid sisters of
the North. She belonged to the Soosoo tribe, but was descended from
Mandingo ancestors, and I was particularly struck by the uncommon
symmetry of her tapering limbs. Her features and head, though
decidedly African, were not of that coarse and heavy cast that marks
the lineaments of her race. The grain of her shining skin was as fine
and polished as ebony. A melancholy languor subdued and deepened the
blackness of her large eyes, while her small and even teeth gleamed
with the brilliant purity of snow. Her mouth was rosy and even
delicate; and, indeed, had not her ankles, feet, and wool, manifested
the unfortunate types of her kindred, COOMBA, the daughter of
Mongo-Yungee, might have passed for a _chef d'oeuvre in black
marble_.

The scant dress of the damsel enabled me to be so minute in this
catalogue of her charms; and, in truth, had I not inspected them
closely, I would have violated matrimonial etiquette as much as if I
failed to admire the _trousseau_ and gifts of a bride at home.
Coomba's costume was as innocently primitive as Eve's after the
expulsion. Like all maidens of her country, she had beads round her
ankles, beads round her waist, beads round her neck, while an
abundance of bracelets hooped her arms from wrist to elbow. The white
_tontongee_ still girdled her loins; but Coomba's climate was her
mantuamaker, and indicated more necessity for ornament than drapery.
Accordingly, Coomba was obedient to Nature, and troubled herself very
little about a supply of useless garments, to load the presses and vex
the purse of her bridegroom.

As soon as the process of unveiling was over, and time had been
allowed the spectators to behold the damsel, her mother led her gently
to the fat ambassadress, who, with her companions, bore the girl to a
bath for ablution, anointment, and perfuming. While Coomba underwent
this ceremony at the hands of our matron, flocks of sable dames
entered the apartment; and, as they withdrew, shook hands with her
mother, in token of the maiden's purity, and with the groom in
compliment to his luck.

As soon as the bath and _oiling_ were over, six girls issued from the
hut, bearing the glistening bride on a snow-white sheet to the home of
her spouse. The transfer was soon completed, and the burden deposited
on the nuptial bed. The dwelling was then closed and put in charge of
sentinels; when the plump plenipotentiary approached the Anglo-Saxon,
and handing him the scant fragments of the bridal dress, pointed to
the door, and, in a loud voice, exclaimed: "White man, this authorizes
you to take possession of your wife!"

It may naturally be supposed that our radiant cockney was somewhat
embarrassed by so public a display of matrimonial happiness, at six
o'clock in the afternoon, on the thirtieth day of a sweltering June.
Joseph could not help looking at me with a blush and a laugh, as he
saw the eyes of the whole crowd fixed on his movements; but, nerving
himself like a man, he made a profound _salaam_ to the admiring
multitude, and shaking my hand with a convulsive grip, plunged into
the darkness of his abode. A long pole was forthwith planted before
the door, and a slender strip of white cotton, about the size of a
"_tontongee_," was hoisted in token of privacy, and floated from the
staff like a pennant, giving notice that the commodore is aboard.

No sooner were these rites over, than the house was surrounded by a
swarm of women from the adjacent villages, whose incessant songs,
screams, chatter, and _tom-tom_ beatings, drowned every mortal sound.
Meanwhile, the men of the party--whose merriment around an enormous
_bonfire_ was augmented by abundance of liquor and provisions--amused
themselves in dancing, shouting, yelling, and discharging muskets in
honor of the nuptials.

Such was the ceaseless serenade that drove peace from the lovers'
pillow during the whole of that memorable night. At dawn, the
corpulent matron again appeared from among the wild and reeling crowd,
and concluding her functions by some mysterious ceremonies, led forth
the lank groom from the dark cavity of his hot and sleepless oven,
looking more like a bewildered wretch rescued from drowning, than a
radiant lover fresh from his charmer. In due time, the bride also was
brought forth by the matrons for the bath, where she was anointed from
head to foot with a vegetable butter,--whose odor is probably more
agreeable to Africans than Americans,--and fed with a bowl of broth
made from a young and tender pullet.

The marriage _fêtes_ lasted three days, after which I insisted that
Joseph should give up nonsense for business, and sobered his ecstasies
by handing him a wedding-bill for five hundred and fifty dollars.

There is hardly a doubt that he considered COOMBA very _dear_, if not
absolutely adorable!


FOOTNOTE:

[2] A _tontongee_ is a strip of white cotton cloth, three inches wide
and four feet long, used as a _virgin African's only dress_. It is
wound round the limbs, and, hanging partly in front and partly behind,
is supported from the maiden's waist by strands of _showee-beads_.



CHAPTER XIV.


I am sorry to say that my colleague's honeymoon did not last long,
although it was not interrupted by domestic discord. One of his
malicious Sierra Leone creditors, who had not been dealt with quite as
liberally as the rest, called on the colonial governor of that British
establishment, and alleged that a certain Edward Joseph, an
Englishman, owned a factory on the Rio Pongo, in company with a
Spaniard, and was engaged in the slave-trade!

At this the British lion, of course, growled in his African cage, and
bestirred himself to punish the recreant cub. An expedition was
forthwith fitted out to descend upon our little establishment; and, in
all likelihood, the design would have been executed, had not our
friendly Israelite in Sierra Leone sent us timely warning. No sooner
did the news arrive than Joseph embarked in a slaver, and, packing up
his valuables, together with sixty negroes, fled from Africa. His
disconsolate bride was left to return to her parents.

As the hostile visit from the British colony was hourly expected, I
did not tarry long in putting a new face on Kambia. Fresh books were
made out in my name exclusively; their dates were carefully suited to
meet all inquiries; and the townspeople were prepared to answer
impertinent questions; so that, when Lieutenant Findlay, of Her
Britannic Majesty's naval service, made his appearance in the river,
with three boats bearing the cross of St. George, no man in the
settlement was less anxious than Don Téodore, the _Spaniard_.

When the lieutenant handed me an order from the governor of Sierra
Leone and its dependencies, authorizing him to burn or destroy the
property of Joseph, as well as to arrest that personage himself, I
regretted that I was unable to facilitate his patriotic projects,
inasmuch as the felon was afloat on salt water, while all his property
had long before been conveyed to me by a regular bill of sale. In
proof of my assertions, I produced the instrument and the books; and
when I brought in our African landlord to sustain me in every
particular, the worthy lieutenant was forced to relinquish his
hostility and accept an invitation to dinner. His conduct during the
whole investigation was that of a gentleman; which, I am sorry to say,
was not always the case with his professional countrymen.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the rainy season, which begins in June and lasts till October,
the stores of provisions in establishments along the Atlantic coast
often become sadly impaired. The Foulah and Mandingo tribes of the
interior are prevented by the swollen condition of intervening streams
from visiting the beach with their produce. In these straits, the
factories have recourse by canoes to the smaller rivers, which are
neither entered by sea-going vessels, nor blockaded for the caravans
of interior chiefs.

Among the tribes or clans visited by me in such seasons, I do not
remember any whose intercourse afforded more pleasure, or exhibited
nobler traits, than the BAGERS, who dwell on the solitary margins of
these shallow rivulets, and subsist by boiling salt in the dry season
and making palm-oil in the wet. I have never read an account of these
worthy blacks, whose civility, kindness, and honesty will compare
favorably with those of more civilized people.

The Bagers live very much apart from the great African tribes, and
keep up their race by intermarriage. The language is peculiar, and
altogether devoid of that Italian softness that makes the Soosoo so
musical.

Having a week or two of perfect leisure, I determined to set out in a
canoe to visit one of these establishments, especially as no
intelligence had reached me for some time from one of my country
traders who had been dispatched thither with an invoice of goods to
purchase palm-oil. My canoe was comfortably fitted with a waterproof
awning, and provisioned for a week.

A tedious pull along the coast and through the dangerous surf, brought
us to the narrow creek through whose marshy mesh of _mangroves_ we
squeezed our canoe to the bank. Even after landing, we waded a
considerable distance through marsh before we reached the solid land.
The Bager town stood some hundred yards from the landing, at the end
of a desolate savanna, whose lonely waste spread as far as the eye
could reach. The village itself seemed quite deserted, so that I had
difficulty in finding "the oldest inhabitant," who invariably stays at
home and acts the part of chieftain. This venerable personage welcomed
me with great cordiality; and, having made my _dantica_, or, in other
words, declared the purpose of my visit, I desired to be shown the
trader's house. The patriarch led me at once to a hut, whose miserable
thatch was supported by four posts. Here I recognized a large chest, a
rum cask, and the grass hammock of my agent. I was rather exasperated
to find my property thus neglected and exposed, and began venting my
wrath in no seemly terms on the delinquent clerk, when my conductor
laid his hand gently on my sleeve, and said there was no need to blame
him. "This," continued he, "is his house; here your property is
sheltered from sun and rain; and, among the Bagers, whenever your
goods are protected from the elements, they are safe from every
danger. Your man has gone across the plain to a neighboring town for
oil; to-night he will be back;--in the mean time, look at your goods!"

I opened the chest, which, to my surprise, was unlocked, and found it
nearly full of the merchandise I had placed in it. I shook the cask,
and its weight seemed hardly diminished. I turned the spigot, and lo!
the rum trickled on my feet. Hard-by was a temporary shed, filled to
the roof with hides and casks of palm-oil, all of which, the
gray-beard declared was my property.

Whilst making this inspection, I have no doubt the expression of my
face indicated a good deal of wonder, for I saw the old man smile
complacently as he followed me with his quiet eye.

"Good!" said the chief, "it is all there,--is it not? We Bagers are
neither Soosoos, Mandingoes, Foulahs, nor _White-men_, that the goods
of a stranger are not safe in our towns! We work for a living; we want
little; big ships never come to us, and we neither steal from our
guests nor go to war to sell one another!"

The conversation, I thought, was becoming a little personal; and, with
a gesture of impatience, I put a stop to it. On second thoughts,
however, I turned abruptly round, and shaking the noble savage's hand
with a vigor that made him wince, presented him with a piece of cloth.
Had Diogenes visited Africa in search of his man, it is by no means
unlikely that he might have extinguished his lamp among the Bagers!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon when I arrived in the town,
which, as I before observed, seemed quite deserted, except by a dozen
or two ebony antiquities, who crawled into the sunshine when they
learned the advent of a stranger. The young people were absent
gathering palm nuts in a neighboring grove. A couple of hours before
sundown, my trader returned; and, shortly after, the merry gang of
villagers made their appearance, laughing, singing, dancing, and laden
with fruit. As soon as the gossips announced the arrival of a white
man during their absence, the little hut that had been hospitably
assigned me was surrounded by a crowd, five or six deep, of men,
women, and children. The pressure was so close and sudden that I was
almost stifled. Finding they would not depart until I made myself
visible, I emerged from concealment and shook hands with nearly all.
The women, in particular, insisted on gratifying themselves with a
_sumboo_ or smell at my face,--which is the native's kiss,--and
folded their long black arms in an embrace of my neck, threatening
peril to my shirt with their oiled and dusty flesh. However, I noticed
so much _bonhommie_ among the happy crew that my heart would not allow
me to repulse them; so I kissed the youngest and shunned the crones.
In token of my good will, I led a dozen or more of the prettiest to
the rum-barrel, and made them happy for the night.

When the townsfolks had comfortably nestled themselves in their
hovels, the old chief, with a show of some formality, presented me a
heavy ram-goat, distinguished for its formidable head-ornaments,
which, he said, was offered as a _bonne-bouche_, for my supper. He
then sent a crier through the town, informing the women that a white
stranger would be their guest during the night; and, in less than half
an hour, my hut was visited by most of the village dames and damsels.
One brought a pint of rice; another some roots of _cassava_; another,
a few spoonfuls of palm-oil; another a bunch of peppers; while the
oldest lady of the party made herself particularly remarkable by the
gift of a splendid fowl. In fact, the crier had hardly gone his
rounds, before my mat was filled with the voluntary contributions of
the villagers; and the wants, not only of myself but of my eight
rowers, completely supplied.

There was nothing peculiar in this exhibition of hospitality, on
account of my nationality. It was the mere fulfilment of a Bager law;
and the poorest _black stranger_ would have shared the rite as well as
myself. I could not help thinking that I might have travelled from one
end of England or America to the other, without meeting a Bager
_welcome_. Indeed, it seemed somewhat questionable, whether it were
better for the English to civilize Africa, or for the Bagers to send
missionaries to their brethren in Britain!

These reflections, however, did not spoil my appetite, for I confess a
feeling of unusual content and relish when the patriarch sat down with
me before the covered bowls prepared for our supper. But, alas! for
human hopes and tastes! As I lifted the lid from the vessel containing
the steaming stew, its powerful fragrance announced the remains of
that venerable quadruped with which I had been welcomed. It was
probably not quite in etiquette among the Bagers to decline the stew,
yet, had starvation depended on it, I could not have touched a morsel.
Accordingly, I forbore the mess and made free with the rice, seasoning
it well with salt and peppers. But my amiable landlord was resolved
that I should not go to rest with such penitential fare, and ordered
one of his wives to bring her supper to my lodge. A taste of the dish
satisfied me that it was edible, though intensely peppered. I ate with
the appetite of an alderman, nor was it till two days after that my
trader informed me I had supped so heartily on the spareribs of an
alligator! It was well that the hours of digestion had gone by, for
though partial to the chase, I had never loved "water fowl" of so wild
a character.

When supper was over, I escaped from the hut to breathe a little fresh
air before retiring for the night. Hardly had I put my head outside
when I found myself literally inhaling the mosquitoes that swarmed at
nightfall over these marshy flats. I took it for granted that there
was to be no rest for me in darkness among the Bagers; but, when I
mentioned my trouble to the chief, he told me that another hut had
already been provided for my sleeping quarters, where my bed was made
of certain green and odorous leaves which are antidotes to mosquitoes.
After a little more chat, he offered to guide me to the hovel, a low,
thickly matted bower, through whose single aperture I crawled on hands
and knees. As soon as I was in, the entrance was closed, and although
I felt very much as if packed in my grave, I slept an unbroken sleep
till day-dawn.[D]

My return to the Rio Pongo was attended with considerable danger, yet
I did not regret the trial of my spirit, as it enabled me to see a
phase of African character which otherwise might have been missed.

After passing two days among the Bagers, I departed once more in my
canoe, impelled by the stout muscles of the Kroomen. The breeze
freshened as we passed from the river's mouth across the boiling surf
of the bar, but, when we got fairly to sea, I found the Atlantic so
vexed by the rising gale, that, in spite of waterproof awning and
diligent bailing, we were several times near destruction. Still, I had
great confidence in the native boatmen, whose skill in their skiffs is
quite as great as their dexterity when naked in the water. I had often
witnessed their agility as they escaped from capsized boats on the
surf of our bar; and often had I rewarded them with a dram, when they
came, as from a frolic, dripping and laughing to the beach.

When night began to fall around us the storm increased, and I could
detect, by the low chatter and anxious looks of the rowers, that they
were alarmed. As far as my eye reached landward, I could descry
nothing but a continuous reef on which the chafed sea was dashing
furiously in columns of the densest spray. Of course I felt that it
was not my duty, nor would it be prudent, to undertake the guidance of
the canoe in such circumstances. Yet, I confess that a shudder ran
through my nerves when I saw my "head-man" suddenly change our course
and steer the skiff directly towards the rocks. On she bounded like a
racer. The sea through which they urged her foamed like a caldron with
the rebounding surf. Nothing but wave-lashed rock was before us. At
last I could detect a narrow gap in the iron wall, which was filled
with surges in the heaviest swells. We approached it, and paused at
the distance of fifty feet. A wave had just burst through the chasm
like a storming army. We waited for the succeeding lull. All hands
laid still,--not a word was spoken or paddle dipped. Then came the
next enormous swell under our stern;--the oars flew like
lightning;--the canoe rose as a feather on the crest of the surf;--in
a moment she shot through the cleft and reposed in smooth water near
the shore. As we sped through the gap, I might have touched the rocks
on both sides with my extended arms!

Such is the skill and daring of Kroomen.


FOOTNOTE:

[D] These Bagers are remarkable for their honesty, as I was convinced
by several anecdotes related, during my stay in this village, by my
trading clerk. He took me to a neighboring lemon-tree, and exhibited
an English brass steelyard hanging on its branches, which had been
left there by a mulatto merchant from Sierra Leone, who died in the
town on a trading trip. This article, with a chest half full of goods,
deposited in the "palaver-house," had been kept securely more than
twelve years in expectation that some of his friends would send for
them from the colony. The Bagers, I was told, have no _jujus_,
_fetiches_, or _gree-grees_;--they worship no god or evil
spirit;--their dead are buried without tears or ceremony;--and their
hereafter in eternal oblivion.

The males of this tribe are of middling size and deep black color;
broad-shouldered, but neither brave nor warlike. They keep aloof from
other tribes, and by a Fullah law, are protected from foreign violence
in consequence of their occupation as salt-makers, which is regarded
by the interior natives as one of the most useful trades. Their
fondness for palm-oil and the little work they are compelled to
perform, make them generally indolent. Their dress is a single
handkerchief, or a strip of country cloth four or five inches wide,
most carefully put on.

The young women have none of the sylphlike appearance of the
Mandingoes or Soosoos. They work hard and use palm-oil plentifully
both internally and externally, so that their relaxed flesh is bloated
like blubber. Both sexes shave their heads, and adorn their noses and
lower lips with rings, while they penetrate their ears with porcupine
quills or sticks. _They neither sell nor buy each other_, though they
acquire children of both sexes from other tribes, and adopt them into
their own, or dispose of them if not suitable. Their avails of work
are commonly divided; so the Bagers may be said to resemble the
Mormons in polygamy, the Fourierites in community, but to exceed both
in honesty!

I am sorry that their nobler characteristics have so few imitators
among the other tribes of Africa.



CHAPTER XV.


When the rains began to slacken, a petty caravan now and then
straggled towards the coast; but, as I was only a new comer in the
region, and not possessed of abundant means, I enjoyed a slender share
of the trade. Still I consoled myself with the hope of better luck in
the dry season.

In the mean time, however, I not only heard of Joseph's safe arrival
at Matanzas, but received a clerk whom he dispatched to dwell in
Kambia while I visited the interior. Moreover, I built a boat, and
sent her to Sierra Leone with a cargo of palm-oil, to be exchanged for
British goods; and, finally, during my perfect leisure, I went to work
with diligence _to study_ the trade in which fortune seemed to have
cast my lot.

It would be a task of many pages if I attempted to give a full account
of the origin and causes of _slavery in Africa_. As a national
institution, it seems to have existed always. Africans have been
bondsmen every where: and the oldest monuments bear their images
linked with menial toils and absolute servitude. Still, I have no
hesitation in saying, that three fourths of the slaves _sent abroad_
from Africa are the fruit of native wars, fomented by the avarice and
temptation of our own race. I cannot exculpate any commercial nation
from this sweeping censure. We stimulate the negro's passions by the
introduction of wants and fancies never dreamed of by the simple
native, while slavery was an institution of domestic need and comfort
alone. But what was once a luxury has now ripened into an absolute
necessity; so that MAN, _in truth, has become the coin of Africa, and
the "legal tender" of a brutal trade_.

England, to-day, with all her philanthropy, sends, under the cross of
St. George, to convenient magazines of _lawful commerce_ on the coast,
her Birmingham muskets, Manchester cottons, and Liverpool lead, all of
which are righteously swapped at Sierra Leone, Acra, and on the Gold
coast, for Spanish or Brazilian bills on London. Yet, what British
merchant does not know the traffic on which those bills are founded,
and for whose support his wares are purchased? France, with her
_bonnet rouge_ and fraternity, dispatches her Rouen cottons,
Marseilles brandies, flimsy taffetas, and indescribable variety of
tinsel gewgaws. Philosophic Germany demands a slice for her
looking-glasses and beads; while multitudes of our own worthy traders,
who would hang a slaver as a pirate _when caught_, do not hesitate to
supply him indirectly with tobacco, powder, cotton, Yankee rum, and
New England notions, in order to bait the trap in which he _may_ be
caught! It is the temptation of these things, I repeat, that feeds the
slave-making wars of Africa, and forms the human basis of those
admirable bills of exchange.

I did not intend to write a homily on Ethiopian commerce when I begun
this chapter; but, on reviewing the substantial motives of the
traffic, I could not escape a statement which tells its own tale, and
is as unquestionable as the facts of verified history.

Such, then, may be said to be the _predominating_ influence that
supports the African slave-trade; yet, if commerce of all kinds were
forbidden with that continent, the customs and laws of the natives
would still encourage slavery as a domestic affair, though, of course,
in a very modified degree. The rancorous family quarrels among tribes
and parts of tribes, will always promote conflicts that resemble the
forays of our feudal ancestors, while the captives made therein will
invariably become serfs.

Besides this, the financial genius of Africa, instead of devising
bank notes or the precious metals as a circulating medium, has from
time immemorial, declared that a human creature,--_the true
representative and embodiment of labor_,--is the most valuable article
on earth. A man, therefore, becomes the standard of prices. A slave is
a note of hand, that may be discounted or pawned; he is a bill of
exchange that carries himself to his destination and pays a debt
bodily; he is a tax that walks corporeally into the chieftain's
treasury. Thus, slavery is not likely to be surrendered by the negroes
themselves as a national institution. Their social interests will
continue to maintain hereditary bondage; they will send the felon and
the captive to foreign _barracoons_; and they will sentence to
domestic servitude the orphans of culprits, disorderly children,
gamblers, witches, vagrants, cripples, insolvents, the deaf, the mute,
the barren, and the faithless. Five-sixths of the population is in
chains.[3]

To facilitate the sale of these various unfortunates or malefactors,
there exists among the Africans a numerous class of brokers, who are
as skilful in their traffic as the jockeys of civilized lands. These
adroit scoundrels rove the country in search of objects to suit
different patrons. They supply the body-guard of princes; procure
especial tribes for personal attendants; furnish laborers for farms;
fill the _harems_ of debauchees; pay or collect debts in flesh; and in
cases of emergency take the place of bailiffs, to kidnap under the
name of sequestration. If a native king lacks cloth, arms, powder,
balls, tobacco, rum, or salt, and does not trade personally with the
factories on the beach, he employs one of these dexterous gentry to
effect the barter; and thus both British cotton and Yankee rum ascend
the rivers from the second hands into which they have passed, while
the slave approaches the coast to become the ebony basis of a bill of
exchange!

It has sometimes struck me as odd, how the extremes of society almost
meet on similar principles; and how much some African short-comings
resemble the conceded civilizations of other lands!


FOOTNOTE:

[3] Dr. Lugenbeel's "Sketches of Liberia.": 1853. p. 45, 2d ed.



CHAPTER XVI.


The month of November, 1827, brought the wished-for "dry season;" and
with it came a message from the leader of a caravan, that, at the full
of the moon, he would halt in my village with all the produce he could
impress. The runner represented his master as bearing a missive from
his beloved nephew Ahmah-de-Bellah, and declared that he only lingered
on the path to swell his caravan for the profit of my coffers.

I did not let the day pass before I sent an interpreter to greet my
promised guest with suitable presents; while I took advantage of his
delay to build a neat cottage for his reception, inasmuch as no Fullah
Mahometan will abide beneath the same roof with an infidel. I
furnished the establishment, according to their taste, with green
hides and several fresh mats.

True to his word, Mami-de-Yong made known his arrival in my
neighborhood on the day when the planet attained its full diameter.
The moment the pious Mussulman, from the high hills in the rear of my
settlement, espied the river winding to the sea, he turned to the
east, and raising his arms to heaven, and extending them towards
Mecca, gave thanks for his safe arrival on the beach. After repeated
genuflections, in which the earth was touched by his prostrate
forehead, he arose, and taking the path towards Kambia, struck up a
loud chant in honor of the prophet, in which he was joined by the
interminable procession.

It was quite an imposing sight--this Oriental parade and barbaric
pomp. My native landlord, proud of the occasion, as well as of his
Mahometan progenitors, joined in the display. As the train approached
my establishment, I ordered repeated salutes in honor of the stranger,
and as I had no minstrels or music to welcome the Fullah, I commanded
my master of ceremonies to conceal the deficiency by plenty of smoke
and a dozen more rounds of rattling musketry.

This was the first caravan and the first leader of absolutely royal
pretensions that visited my settlement; so I lined my piazza with
mats, put a body-guard under arms behind me, decorated the front with
fancy flags, and opposite the stool where I took my seat, caused a
pure white sheepskin of finest wool to be spread for the accommodation
of the noble savage. Advancing to the steps of my dwelling, I stood
uncovered as the Fullah approached and tendered me a silver-mounted
gazelle-horn snuff-box--the credential by which Ahmah-de-Bellah had
agreed to certify the mission. Receiving the token with a _salaam_, I
carried it reverently to my forehead, and passed it to Ali-Ninpha,
who, on this occasion, played the part of my scribe. The ceremony
over, we took him by the hands and led him to his allotted sheepskin,
while, with a bow, I returned to my stool.

According to "country custom," Mami-de-Yong then began the _dantica_,
or exposition of purposes, first of all invoking ALLAH to witness his
honor and sincerity. "Not only," said the Mussulman, "am I the bearer
of a greeting from my dear nephew Ahmah-de-Bellah, but I am an envoy
from my royal master the Ali-Mami, of Footha-Yallon, who, at his son's
desire, has sent me with an escort to conduct you on your promised
visit to Timbo. During your absence, my lord has commanded us to dwell
in your stead at Kambia, so that your property may be safe from the
Mulatto Mongo of Bangalang, whose malice towards your person has been
heard of even among our distant hills!"

The latter portion of this message somewhat surprised me, for though
my relations with Mongo John were by no means amicable, I did not
imagine that the story of our rupture had spread so far, or been
received with so much sympathy.

Accordingly, when Mami-de-Yong finished his message, I approached him
with thanks for his master's interest in my welfare; and, placing
Ahmah-de-Bellah's Koran--which I had previously wrapped in a white
napkin--in his hands, as a token of the nephew's friendship, I retired
once more to my seat. As soon as the holy book appeared from the
folds, Mami-de-Yong drew a breath of surprise, and striking his
breast, fell on his knees with his head on the ground, where he
remained for several minutes apparently in rapt devotion. As he
rose--his forehead sprinkled with dust, and his eyes sparkling with
tears--he opened the volume, and pointed out to me and his people his
own handwriting, which he translated to signify that "Mami-de-Yong
gave this word of God to Ahmah-de-Bellah, his kinsman." At the reading
of the sentence, all the Fullahs shouted, "Glory to Allah and Mahomet
his Prophet!" Then, coming forward again to the chief, I laid my hand
on the Koran, and swore by the help of God, to accept the invitation
of the great king of Footha-Yallon.

This terminated the ceremonial reception, after which I hastened to
conduct Mami-de-Yong to his quarters, where I presented him with a
sparkling new kettle and an inkstand, letting him understand,
moreover, I was specially anxious to know that all the wants of his
attendants in the caravan were completely satisfied.

Next morning early, I remembered the joy of his nephew
Ahmah-de-Bellah, when I first treated him to _coffee_; and determined
to welcome the chief, as soon as he came forth from his ablutions to
prayers, with a cup distilled from the fragrant berry. I could not
have hit upon a luxury more gratifying to the old gentleman. Thirty
years before had he drank it in Timbuctoo, where it is used, he said,
by the Moses-people (meaning the Hebrews), with milk and honey; and
its delicious aroma brought the well-remembered taste to his lips ere
they touched the sable fluid.

Long before Mami-de-Yong's arrival, his fame as a learned "book-man"
and extensive traveller preceded him, so that when he mentioned his
travel to Timbuctoo, I begged him to give me some account of that
"capital of capitals," as the Africans call it. The royal messenger
promised to comply as soon as he finished the morning lessons of the
caravan's children. His quarters were filled with a dozen or more of
young Fullahs and Mandingoes squatted around a fire, while the prince
sat apart in a corner with inkstand, writing reeds, and a pile of old
manuscripts. Ali-Ninpha, our backsliding Mahometan, stood by,
pretending devoted attention to Mami's precepts and the Prophet's
versus. The sinner was a scrupulous follower in the presence of the
faithful; but when their backs were turned, I know few who relished a
porker more lusciously, or avoided water with more scrupulous care.
Yet why should I scoff at poor Ali? Joseph and I had done our best to
_civilize_ him!

Mami-de-Yong apologized for the completion of his daily task in my
presence, and went on with his instruction, while the pupils wrote
down notes, on wooden slabs, with reeds and a fluid made of powder
dissolved in water.

I am sorry to say that these Ethiopian Mahometans are but poor
scholars. Their entire instruction amounts to little more than the
Koran, and when they happen to write or receive a letter, its
interpretation is a matter over which many an hour is toilsomely
spent. Mami-de-Yong, however, was superior to most of his countrymen;
and, in fact, I must record him in my narrative as the most erudite
Negro I ever encountered.


HIS TRIP TO TIMBUCTOO.

True to his promise, the envoy came to my piazza, as soon as school
was over, and squatting sociably on our mats and sheepskins, with a
plentiful supply of pipes and tobacco, we formed as pleasant a little
party as was assembled that day on the banks of the Rio Pongo.
Ali-Ninpha acted as interpreter, having prepared himself for the
long-winded task by a preliminary dram from my private locker, out of
sight of the noble Mahometan.

Invoking the Lord's name,--as is usual among Mussulmen,--Mami-de-Yong
took a long whiff at his pipe, and, receiving from his servant a small
bag of fine sand, spread it smoothly on the floor, leaving the mass
about a quarter of an inch in thickness. This was his black-board,
designed to serve for the delineation of his journey. On the
westernmost margin of his sand, he dotted a point with his finger for
the starting at Timbo. As he proceeded with his track over Africa
towards the grand capital, he marked the outlines of the principal
territories, and spotted the remarkable towns through which he passed.
By a thick or thin line, he denoted the large rivers and small streams
that intercepted his path, while he heaved up the sand into heaps to
represent a mountain, or smoothed it into perfect levels to imitate
the broad prairies and savannas of the interior. When he came to a
dense forest, his snuff-box was called in requisition, and a pinch or
two judiciously sprinkled, stood for the monarchs of the wood.

Like all Oriental story-tellers, Mami proved rather prolix. His tale
was nearly as long as his travel. He insisted on describing his
reception at every village. At each river he had his story of
difficulty and danger in constructing rafts or building bridges. He
counted the minutes he lost in awaiting the diminution of floods.
Anon, he would catalogue the various fish with which a famous river
teemed; and, when he got fairly into the woods, there was no end of
adventures and hairbreadth escapes from alligators, elephants,
anacondas, vipers, and the fatal tape snake, whose bite is certain
death. In the mountains he encountered wolves, wild asses, hyænas,
zebras, and eagles.

In fact, the whole morning glided away with a geographical,
zoological, and statistical overture to his tour; so that, when the
hour of prayer and ablution arrived, Mami-de-Yong had not yet reached
Timbuctoo! The double rite of cleanliness and faith required him to
pause in his narrative; and, apologizing for the interruption, he left
a slave to guard the map while he retired to perform his religious
services.

When the noble Fullah got back, I had a nice lunch prepared on a
napkin in the neighborhood of his diagram, so that he could munch his
biscuits and sugar without halting on his path. Before he began,
however, I took the liberty to offer a hint about the precious value
of time in this brief life of ours, whilst I asked a question or two
about the "capital of capitals," to indicate my eagerness to enter
the walls of Timbuctoo. Mami-de-Yong, who was a man of tact as well as
humor, smiled at my insinuation, and apologizing like a Christian for
the natural tediousness of all old travellers, skipped a degree or two
of the wilderness, and at once stuck his buffalo-horn snuff-box into
the eastern margin of the sand, to indicate that he was at his
journey's end.

Mami had visited many of the European colonies and Moorish kingdoms on
the north coast of Africa, so that he enjoyed the advantage of
comparison, and, of course, was not stupefied by the untravelled
ignorance of Africans who consider Timbuctoo a combination of Paris
and paradise. Indeed, he did not presume, like most of the Mandingo
chiefs, to prefer it to Senegal or Sierra Leone. He confessed that the
royal palace was nothing but a vast inclosure of mud walls, built
without taste or symmetry, within whose labyrinthine mesh there were
numerous buildings for the wives, children, and kindred of the
sovereign. If the royal palace of Timbuctoo was of _such_ a
character,--"What," said he, "were the dwellings of nobles and
townsfolk?" The streets were paths;--the stores were shops;--the
suburb of an European colony was _superior_ to their best display! The
markets of Timbuctoo, alone, secured his admiration. Every week they
were thronged with traders, dealers, peddlers and merchants, who
either dwelt in the neighboring kingdoms, or came from afar with
slaves and produce. Moors and Israelites, from the north-east, were
the most eminent and opulent merchants; and among them he counted a
travelling class, crowned with peculiar turbans, whom he called
"Joseph's-people," or, in all likelihood, Armenians.

The prince had no mercy on the government of this influential realm.
Strangers, he said, were watched and taxed. Indeed, he spoke of it
with the peculiar love that we would suppose a Hungarian might bear
towards Austria, or a Milanese to the inquisitorial powers of
Lombardy. In fact, I found that, despite of its architectural
meanness, Timbuctoo was a great central mart for exchange, and that
commercial men as well as the innumerable petty kings, frequented it
not only for the abundant mineral salt in its vicinity, _but because
they could exchange their slaves for foreign merchandise_. I asked
the Fullah why he preferred the markets of Timbuctoo to the
well-stocked stores of regular European settlements on a coast which
was reached with so much more ease than this core of Africa? "Ah!"
said the astute trafficker, "no market is a good one for the genuine
African, in which he cannot openly exchange his _blacks_ for whatever
the original owner or importer can sell without fear! _Slaves, Don
Téodore, are our money!_"

The answer solved in my mind one of the political problems in the
question of African civilization, which I shall probably develope in
the course of this narrative.



CHAPTER XVII.


Having completed the mercantile negotiations of the caravan, and made
my personal arrangements for a protracted absence, I put the noble
Fullah in charge of my establishment, with special charges to my
retainers, clerks, runners, and villagers, to regard the Mami as my
second self. I thought it well, moreover, before I plunged into the
wilderness,--leaving my worldly goods and worldly prospects in charge
of a Mussulman stranger,--to row down to Bangalang for a parting chat
with Mongo John, in which I might sound the veteran as to his feeling
and projects. Ormond was in trouble as soon as I appeared. He was
willing enough that I might perish by treachery on the roadside, yet
he was extremely reluctant that I should penetrate Africa and make
alliances which should give me superiority over the monopolists of the
beach. I saw these things passing through his jealous heart as we
talked together with uncordial civility. At parting I told the Mongo,
for the first time, that I was sure my establishment would not go to
decay or suffer harm in my absence, inasmuch as that powerful Fullah,
the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon had deputed a lieutenant to watch Kambia
while I travelled, and that he would occupy my village with his chosen
warriors. The mulatto started with surprise as I finished, and
abruptly left the apartment in silence.

I slept well that night, notwithstanding the Mongo's displeasure. My
confidence in the Fullah was perfect. Stranger as he was, I had an
instinctive reliance on his protection of my home, and his
guardianship of my person through the wilderness.

At day-dawn I was up. It was a fresh and glorious morning. As nature
awoke in the woods of that primitive world, the mists stole off from
the surface of the water; and, as the first rays shot through the
glistening dew of the prodigious vegetation, a thousand birds sent
forth their songs as if to welcome me into their realm of unknown
paths.

After a hearty breakfast my Spanish clerk was furnished with minute
instructions in writing, and, at the last moment, I presented the
Fullah chief to my people as a temporary master to whom they were to
pay implicit obedience for his generous protection. By ten o'clock, my
caravan was in motion. It consisted of thirty individuals deputed by
Ahmah-de-Bellah, headed by one of his relations as captain. Ten of my
own servants were assigned to carry baggage, merchandise, and
provisions; while Ali-Ninpha, two interpreters, my body-servant, a
waiter, and a hunter, composed my immediate guard. In all, there were
about forty-five persons.

When we were starting, Mami-de-Yong approached to "snap fingers,"
and put in my hands a verse of the Koran in his master's
handwriting,--"hospitality to the wearied stranger is the road to
heaven,"--which was to serve me as a passport among all good
Mahometans. If I had time, no doubt I would have thought how much
more Christian this document was than the formal paper with which
we are fortified by "foreign offices" and "state departments," when
we go abroad from civilized lands;--but, before I could summon so
much sentiment, the Fullah chief stooped to the earth, and filling
his hands with dust, sprinkled it over our heads, in token of a
prosperous journey. Then, prostrating himself with his head on the
ground, he bade us "go our way!"

I believe I have already said that even the best of African roads are
no better than goat-paths, and barely sufficient for the passage of a
single traveller. Accordingly, our train marched off in single file.
Two men, cutlass in hand, armed, besides, with loaded muskets, went
in advance not only to scour the way and warn us of danger, but to cut
the branches and briers that soon impede an untravelled path in this
prolific land. They marched within hail of the caravan, and shouted
whenever we approached bee-trees, ant-hills, hornet-nests, reptiles,
or any of the Ethiopian perils that are unheard of in our American
forests. Behind these pioneers, came the porters with food and
luggage; the centre of the caravan was made up of women, children,
guards, and followers; while the rear was commanded by myself and the
chiefs, who, whips in hand, found it sometimes beneficial to stimulate
the steps of stragglers. As we crossed the neighboring Soosoo towns,
our imposing train was saluted with discharges of musketry, while
crowds of women and children followed their "_cupy_," or "white-man,"
to bid him farewell on the border of the settlement.

For a day or two our road passed through a rolling country,
interspersed with forests, cultivated fields, and African villages, in
which we were welcomed by the generous chiefs with _bungees_, or
trifling gifts, in token of amity. Used to the scant exercise of a
lazy dweller on the coast, whose migrations are confined to a journey
from his house to the landing, and from the landing to his house, it
required some time to habituate me once more to walking. By degrees,
however, I overcame the foot-sore weariness that wrapped me in perfect
lassitude when I sank into my hammock on the first night of travel.
However, as we became better acquainted with each other and with
wood-life, we tripped along merrily in the shadowy silence of the
forest,--singing, jesting, and praising Allah. Even the slaves were
relaxed into familiarity never permitted in the towns; while masters
would sometimes be seen relieving the servants by bearing their
burdens. At nightfall the women brought water, cooked food, and
distributed rations; so that, after four days pleasant wayfaring in a
gentle trot, our dusty caravan halted at sunset before the closed
gates of a fortified town belonging to Ibrahim Ali, the Mandingo chief
of Kya.

It was some time before our shouts and beating on the gates aroused
the watchman to answer our appeal, for it was the hour of prayer, and
Ibrahim was at his devotions. At last, pestered by their dalliance, I
fired my double-barrelled gun, whose loud report I knew was more
likely to reach the ear of a praying Mussulman. I did not reckon
improperly, for hardly had the echoes died away before the great
war-drum of the town was rattled, while a voice from a loophole
demanded our business. I left the negotiation for our entry to the
Fullah chief, who forthwith answered that "the _Ali-Mami's_ caravan,
laden with goods, demanded hospitality;" while Ali-Ninpha informed the
questioner, that Don Téodore, the "white man of Kambia," craved
admittance to the presence of Ibrahim the faithful.

In a short time the wicket creaked, and Ibrahim himself put forth his
head to welcome the strangers, and to admit them, one by one, into the
town. His reception of myself and Ali-Ninpha was extremely cordial;
but the Fullah chief was addressed with cold formality, for the
Mandingoes have but little patience with the well-known haughtiness of
their national rivals.

Ali-Ninpha had been Ibrahim's playmate before he migrated to the
coast. Their friendship still existed in primitive sincerity, and the
chieftain's highest ambition was to honor the companion and guest of
his friend. Accordingly, his wives and females were summoned to
prepare my quarters with comfort and luxury. The best house was chosen
for my lodging. The earthen floor was spread with mats. Hides were
stretched on _adobe_ couches, and a fire was kindled to purify the
atmosphere. Pipes were furnished my companions; and, while a hammock
was slung for my repose before supper, a chosen henchman was
dispatched to seek the fattest sheep for that important meal.

Ibrahim posted sentinels around my hut, so that my slumbers were
uninterrupted, until Ali-Ninpha roused me with the pleasant news that
the bowls of rice and stews were smoking on the mat in the chamber of
Ibrahim himself. Ninpha knew my tastes and superintended the cook. He
had often jested at the "white man's folly," when my stomach turned at
some disgusting dish of the country; so that the pure roasts and
broils of well-known pieces slipped down my throat with the appetite
of a trooper. While these messes were under discussion, the savory
steam of a rich stew with a creamy sauce saluted my nostrils, and,
without asking leave, I plunged my spoon into a dish that stood before
my entertainers, and seemed prepared exclusively for themselves. In a
moment I was invited to partake of the _bonne-bouche_; and so
delicious did I find it, that, even at this distance of time, my mouth
waters when I remember the forced-meat balls of mutton, minced with
roasted ground-nuts, that I devoured that night in the Mandingo town
of Kya.

But the best of feasts is dull work without an enlivening bowl. Water
alone--pure and cool as it was in this hilly region--did not quench
our thirst. Besides this, I recollected the fondness of my landlord,
Ali-Ninpha, for strong distillations, and I guessed that his playmate
might indulge, at least privately, in a taste for similar libations. I
spoke, therefore, of "cordial bitters,"--(a name not unfamiliar even
to the most temperate Christians, in defence of flatulent
stomachs,)--and at the same time producing my travelling canteen of
Otard's best, applied it to the nostrils of the pair.

I know not how it happened, but before I could warn the Mahometans of
the risk they incurred, the lips of the bottle slid from their noses
to their mouths, while upheaved elbows long sustained in air, gave
notice that the flask was relishing and the draft "good for their
complaints." Indeed, so appetizing was the liquor, that another
ground-nut stew was demanded; and, of course, another bottle was
required to allay its dyspeptic qualities.

By degrees, the brandy did its work on the worthy Mahometans. While it
restored Ali-Ninpha to his early faith, and brought him piously to his
knees with prayers to Allah, it had a contrary effect on Ibrahim, whom
it rendered wild and generous. Every thing was mine;--house, lands,
slaves, and children. He dwelt rapturously on the beauty of his wives,
and kissed Ali-Ninpha in mistake for one of them. This only rendered
the apostate more devout than ever, and set him roaring invocations
like a muezzin from a minaret. In the midst of these orgies, I stole
off at midnight, and was escorted by my servant to a delicious
hammock.

It was day-dawn when the caravan's crier aroused me, as he stood on a
house-top calling the faithful to prayer previous to our departure.
Before I could stir, Ali-Ninpha, haggard, sick, and crest-fallen, from
his debauch, rolled into my chamber, and begged the postponement of
our departure, as it was impossible for _Ibrahim Ali_ to appear, being
perfectly vanquished by--"the bitters!" The poor devil hiccoughed
between his words, and so earnestly and with so many bodily gyrations
implored my interference with the Fullah guide, that I saw at once he
was in no condition to travel.

As the caravan was my personal escort and designed exclusively for my
convenience, I did not hesitate to command a halt, especially as I was
in some measure the cause of my landlord's malady. Accordingly, I tied
a kerchief round my head, covered myself with a cloak, and leaning
very lackadaisically on the edge of my hammock, sent for the Fullah
chief.

I moaned with pain as he approached, and, declaring that I was
prostrated by sudden fever, hoped he would indulge me by
countermanding the order for our march. I do not know whether the
worthy Mussulman understood my case or believed my fever, but the
result was precisely the same, for he assented to my request like a
gentleman, and expressed the deepest sympathy with my sufferings. His
next concern was for my cure. True to the superstition and bigotry of
his country, the good-natured Fullah insisted on taking the management
of matters into his own hands, and forthwith prescribed a dose from
the Koran, diluted in water, which he declared was a specific remedy
for my complaint. I smiled at the idea of making a drug of divinity,
but as I knew that homoeopathy was harmless under the circumstances,
I requested the Fullah to prepare his physic on the spot. The chief
immediately brought his Koran, and turning over the leaves attentively
for some time, at last hit on the appropriate verse, which he wrote
down on a board with gunpowder ink, which he washed off into a bowl
with clean water. This was given me to swallow, and the Mahometan left
me to the operation of his religious charm, with special directions to
the servant to allow no one to disturb my rest.

I have no doubt that the Fullah was somewhat of a quiz, and thought a
chapter in his Bible a capital lesson after a reckless debauch; so I
ordered my door to be barricaded, and slept like a dormouse, until
Ibrahim and Ali-Ninpha came thundering at the portal long after
mid-day. They were sadly chopfallen. Penitence spoke from their aching
brows; nor do I hesitate to believe they were devoutly sincere when
they forswore "_bitters_" for the future. In order to allay suspicion,
or quiet his conscience, the Fullah had been presented with a
magnificent ram-goat, flanked by baskets of choicest rice.

When I sallied forth into the town with the suffering sinners, I found
the sun fast declining in the west, and, although my fever had left
me, it was altogether too late to depart from the village on our
journey. I mentioned to Ibrahim a report on the coast that his town
was bordered by a sacred spring known as the DEVIL'S FOUNTAIN, and
inquired whether daylight enough still remained to allow us a visit.
The chief assented; and as in his generous fit last night, he had
offered me a horse, I now claimed the gift, and quickly mounted in
search of the aqueous demon.



CHAPTER XVIII.


Ah! what joy, after so many years, to be once more in the saddle in an
open country, with a steed of fire and spirit bounding beneath my
exhilarated frame! It was long before I could consent to obey the
summons of our guide to follow him on the path. When the gates of Kya
were behind, and the wider roads opened invitingly before me, I could
not help giving rein to the mettlesome beast, as he dashed across the
plain beneath the arching branches of magnificent cotton-woods. The
solitude and the motion were both delightful. Never, since I last
galloped from the _paseo_ to Atares, and from Atares to El Principe,
overlooking the beautiful bay of Havana, and the distant outline of
her purple sea, had I felt so gloriously the rush of joyous blood that
careered through my veins like electric fire. Indeed, I know not how
long I would have traversed the woods had not the path suddenly ended
at a town, where my Arabian turned of his own accord, and dashed back
along the road till I met my wondering companions.

Having sobered both our bloods, I felt rather better prepared for a
visit to the Satanic personage who was the object of our excursion.
About two miles from Kya, we struck the foot of a steep hill, some
three hundred feet in height, over whose shoulder we reached a deep
and tangled dell, watered by a slender stream which was hemmed in by a
profusion of shrubbery. Crossing the brook, we ascended the opposite
declivity for a short distance till we approached a shelving precipice
of rock, along whose slippery side the ledgelike path continued. I
passed it at a bound, and instantly stood within the arched aperture
of a deep cavern, whence a hot and sulphurous stream trickled slowly
towards the ravine. This was the fountain, and the demon who presided
over its source dwelt within the cave.

Whilst I was examining the rocks to ascertain their quality, the guide
apprised me that the impish proprietor of these waters was gifted with
a "multitude of tongues," and, in all probability, would reply to me
in my own, if I thought fit to address him. "Indeed," said the savage,
"he will answer you _word for word_ and that, too, almost before you
can shape your thought in language. Let us see if he is at home?"

I called, in a loud voice, "KYA!" but as no reply followed, I
perceived at once the wit of the imposture, and without waiting for
him to place me, took my own position at a spot inside the cavern,
where I knew the _echoes_ would be redoubled. "Now," said I, "I know
the devil is at home, as well as you do;"--and, telling my people to
listen, I bellowed, with all my might--"_caffra fure!_" "infernal
black one!"--till the resounding rocks roared again with demoniac
responses. In a moment the cavern was clear of every African; so that
I amused myself letting off shrieks, howls, squeals, and pistols,
until the affrighted natives peeped into the mouth of the cave,
thinking the devil in reality had come for me in a double-breasted
garment of thunder and lightning. I came forth, however, with a whole
skin and so hearty a laugh, that the Africans seized my hands in token
of congratulation, and looked at me with wonderment, as something
greater than the devil himself. Without waiting for a commentary, I
leaped on my Arab and darted down the hill.

"And so," said I, when I got back to Kya, "dost thou in truth believe,
beloved Ibrahim, that the devil dwells in those rocks of the sulphur
stream?"

"Why not, brother Theodore? Isn't the water poison? If you drink,
will it not physic you? When animals lick it in the dry season, do
they not die on the margin by scores? Now, a 'book-man' like you, my
brother, knows well enough that _water_ alone can't kill; so that
whenever it does, the devil _must_ be in it; and, moreover, is it not
he who speaks in the cavern?"

"Good," replied I; "but, pry'thee, dear Ibrahim, read me this riddle:
if the devil gets into _water_ and kills, why don't he kill when he
gets into '_bitters_?'"

"Ah!" said the Ali--"you white men are infidels and scoffers!" as he
laughed like a rollicking trooper, and led me, with his arm round my
neck, into supper. "And yet, Don Téodore, don't forget the portable
imp that you carry in that Yankee flask in your pocket!"

We did not dispute the matter further. I had been long enough in
Africa to find out that white men made themselves odious to the
natives and created bitter enemies, by despising or ridiculing their
errors; and as I was not abroad on a mission of civilization, I left
matters just as I found them. When I was among the Mahometans, I was
an excellent Mussulman, while, among the heathen, I affected
considerable respect for their _jujus_, _gree-grees_, _fetiches_,
_snakes_, _iguanas_, _alligators_, and wooden images.

Ere we set forth next morning, my noble host caused a generous meal to
be dispensed among the caravan. The breakfast consisted of boiled rice
dried in the sun, and then boiled again with milk or water after being
pounded finely in a mortar. This nutritive dish was liberally served;
and, as a new Mongo, I was tendered an especial platter, flanked by
copious bowls of cream and honey.

It is true Mandingo etiquette, at the departure of an honored friend,
for the Lord of the Town to escort him on his way to the first brook,
drink of the water with the wayfarer, toast a prompt return, invoke
Allah for a prosperous voyage, shake bands, and snap fingers, in token
of friendly adieu. The host who tarries then takes post in the path,
and, fixing his eyes on the departing guest, never stirs till the
traveller is lost in the folds of the forest, or sinks behind the
distant horizon.

Such was the conduct of my friend Ibrahim on this occasion; nor was
it all. It is a singular habit of these benighted people, to keep
their word whenever they make a promise! I dare say it is one of the
marks of their faint civilization; yet I am forced to record it as a
striking fact. When I sallied forth from the gate of the town, I
noticed a slave holding the horse I rode the day before to the Devil's
fountain, ready caparisoned and groomed as for a journey. Being
accompanied by Ibrahim on foot, I supposed the animal was designed for
his return after our complimentary adieus. But when we had passed at
least a mile beyond the parting brook, I _again_ encountered the
beast, whose leader approached Ali-Ninpha, announcing the horse as a
gift from his master to help me on my way. Ere I backed the blooded
animal, an order was directed to my clerk at Kambia for two muskets,
two kegs of powder, two pieces of blue cotton, and one hundred pounds
of tobacco. I advised my official, moreover, to inclose in the core of
the tobacco the stoutest flask he could find of our fourth proof
"bitters!"



CHAPTER XIX.


The day was cloudy, but our trotting caravan did not exceed twenty
miles in travel. In Africa things are done leisurely, for neither
life, speculation, nor ambition is so exciting or exacting as to make
any one in a hurry. I do not recollect to have ever seen an individual
_in haste_ while I dwelt in the torrid clime. The shortest existence
is long enough, when it is made up of sleep, slave-trade, and
mastication.

       *       *       *       *       *

At sunset no town was in sight; so it was resolved to bivouac in the
forest on the margin of a beautiful brook, where rice, tea, and beef,
were speedily boiled and smoking on the mats. When I was about to
stretch my weary limbs for the night on the ground, my boy gave me
another instance of Ibrahim's true and heedful hospitality, by
producing a grass hammock he had secretly ordered to be packed among
my baggage. With a hammock and a horse I was on velvet in the forest!

Delicious sleep curtained my swinging couch between two splendid
cotton-woods until midnight, when the arm of our Fullah chief was
suddenly laid on my shoulder with a whispered call to prepare for
defence or flight. As I leaped to the ground the caravan was already
afoot, though the profoundest silence prevailed throughout the wary
crowd. The watch announced strangers in our neighborhood, and two
guides had been despatched immediately to reconnoitre the forest.
This was all the information they could give me.

The native party was fully prepared and alert with spears, lances,
bows and arrows. I commanded my own men to re-prime their muskets,
pistols, and rifles; so that, when the guides returned with a report
that the intruders were supposed to form a party of fugitive slaves,
we were ready for our customers.

Their capture was promptly determined. Some proposed we should delay
till daylight; but Ali-Ninpha, who was a sagacious old fighter,
thought it best to complete the enterprise by night, especially as the
savages kept up a smouldering fire in the midst of their sleeping
group, which would serve to guide us.

Our little band was immediately divided into two squads, one under the
lead of the Fullah, and the other commanded by Ali-Ninpha. The Fullah
was directed to make a circuit until he got in the rear of the slaves,
while Ali-Ninpha, at a concerted signal, began to advance towards them
from our camp. Half an hour probably elapsed before a faint call, like
the cry of a child, was heard in the distant forest, upon which the
squad of my landlord fell on all-fours, and crawled cautiously, like
cats, through the short grass and brushwood, in the direction of the
sound. The sleepers were quickly surrounded. The Mandingo gave the
signal as soon as the ends of the two parties met and completed the
circle; and, in an instant, every one of the runaways, except two, was
in the grasp of a warrior, with a cord around his throat. Fourteen
captives were brought into camp. The eldest of the party alleged that
they belonged to the chief of Tamisso, a town on our path to Timbo,
and were bound to the coast for sale. On their way to the _foreign_
factories, which they were exceedingly anxious to reach, their owner
died, so that they came under the control of his brother, who
threatened to change their destination, and sell them in the interior.
In consequence of this they fled; and, as their master would surely
slay them if restored to Tamisso, they besought us with tears not to
take them thither.

Another council was called, for we were touched by the earnest manner
of the negroes. Ali-Ninpha and the Fullah were of opinion that the
spoil was fairly ours, and should be divided in proportion to the men
in both parties. Yet, as our road passed by the objectionable town, it
was impossible to carry the slaves along, either in justice to
ourselves or them. In this strait, which puzzled the Africans sorely,
I came to their relief, by suggesting their dispatch to my factory
with orders for the payment of their value in merchandise.

The proposal was quickly assented to as the most feasible, and our
fourteen captives were at once divided into two gangs, of seven each.
Hoops of bamboo were soon clasped round their waists, while their
hands were tied by stout ropes to the hoops. A long tether was then
passed with a slip-knot through each rattan belt, so that the slaves
were firmly secured to each other, while a small coil was employed to
link them more securely in a band by their necks. These extreme
precautions were needed, because we dared not diminish our party to
guard the gang. Indeed, Ali-Ninpha was only allowed the two
interpreters and four of my armed people as his escort to Kya, where,
it was agreed, he should deliver the captives to Ibrahim, to be
forwarded to my factory, while he hastened to rejoin us at the river
Sanghu, where we designed tarrying.

For three days we journeyed through the forest, passing occasionally
along the beds of dried-up streams and across lonely tracts of wood
which seemed never to have been penetrated, save by the solitary path
we were treading. As we were anxious to be speedily reunited with our
companions, our steps were not hastened; so that, at the end of the
third day, we had not advanced more than thirty miles from the scene
of capture, when we reached a small _Mandingo_ village, recently built
by an upstart trader, who, with the common envy and pride of his
tribe, gave our _Fullah_ caravan a frigid reception. A single hut was
assigned to the chief and myself for a dwelling, and the rage of the
Mahometan may readily be estimated by an insult that would doom him to
sleep beneath the same roof with a Christian!

I endeavored to avert an outburst by apprising the Mandingo that I was
a bosom friend of Ali-Ninpha, his countryman and superior, and begged
that he would suffer the "head-man" of our caravan to dwell in a
house _alone_. But the impudent _parvenu_ sneered at my advice; "he
knew no such person as Ali-Ninpha, and cared not a snap of his finger
for a Fullah chief, or a beggarly white man!"

My body-servant was standing by when this tart reply fell from the
Mandingo's lips, and, before I could stop the impetuous youth, he
answered the trader with as gross an insult as an African can utter.
To this the Mandingo replied by a blow over the boy's shoulders with
the flat of a cutlass; and, in a twinkling, there was a general shout
for "rescue" from all my party who happened to witness the scene.
Fullahs, Mandingoes, and Soosoos dashed to the spot, with spears,
guns, and arrows. The Fullah chief seized my double-barrelled gun and
followed the crowd; and when he reached the spot, seeing the trader
still waving his cutlass in a menacing manner, he pulled both triggers
at the inhospitable savage. Fortunately, however, it was always my
custom on arriving in _friendly_ towns, to remove the copper caps from
my weapons, so that, when the hammers fell, the gun was silent. Before
the Fullah could club the instrument and prostrate the insulter, I
rushed between them to prevent murder. This I was happy enough to
succeed in; but I could not deter the rival tribe from binding the
brute, hand and foot, to a post in the centre of his town, while the
majority of our caravan cleared the settlement at once of its fifty or
sixty inhabitants.

Of course, we appropriated the dwellings as we pleased, and supplied
ourselves with provisions. Moreover, it was thought preferable to wait
in this village for Ali-Ninpha, than to proceed onwards towards the
borders of the Sanghu. When he arrived, on the second day after the
sad occurrence, he did not hesitate to exercise the prerogative of
judgment and condemnation always claimed by superior chiefs over
inferiors, whenever they consider themselves slighted or wronged. The
process in this case was calmly and humanely formed. A regular trial
was allowed the culprit. He was arraigned on three charges:--1. Want
of hospitality; 2. Cursing and maltreating a Fullah chief and a white
Mongo; 3. Disrespect to the name and authority of his countryman and
superior, Ali-Ninpha. On all these articles the prisoner was found
guilty; but, as there were neither slaves nor personal property by
which the ruffian could be mulcted for his crimes, the tribunal
adjudged him to be scourged with fifty lashes, and to have his
"town-fence or stockade destroyed, never to be rebuilt." The blows
were inflicted for the abuse, but the perpetual demolition of his
defensive barrier was in punishment for refused hospitality. Such is
the summary process by which social virtues are inculcated and
enforced among these interior tribes of Africa!

       *       *       *       *       *

It required three days for our refreshed caravan to reach the dry and
precipitous bed of the Sanghu, which I found impossible to pass with
my horse, in consequence of jagged rocks and immense boulders that
covered its channel. But the men were resolved that my convenient
animal should not be left behind. Accordingly, all hands went to work
with alacrity on the trees, and in a day, they bridged the ravine with
logs bound together by ropes made from twisted bark. Across this frail
and swaying fabric I urged the horse with difficulty; but hardly had
he reached the opposite bank, and recovered from his nervous tremor,
when I was surprised by an evident anxiety in the beast to return to
his swinging pathway. The guides declared it to be an instinctive
warning of danger from wild beasts with which the region is filled;
and, even while we spoke, two of the scouts who were in advance
selecting ground for our camp, returned with the carcasses of a deer
and leopard. Though meat had not passed our lips for five days, we
were in no danger of starvation; the villages teemed with fruits and
vegetables. Pine-apples, bananas, and a pulpy globe resembling the
peach in form and flavor, quenched our thirst and satisfied our
hunger.

Besides these, our greedy natives foraged in the wilderness for
nourishment unknown, or at least unused, by civilized folks. They
found comfort in barks of various trees, as well as in buds, berries,
and roots, some of which they devoured raw, while others were either
boiled or made into palatable decoctions with water that gurgled from
every hill. The broad valleys and open country supplied animal and
vegetable "delicacies" which a white man would pass unnoticed. Many a
time, when I was as hungry as a wolf, I found my vagabonds in a nook
of the woods, luxuriating over a mess with the unctuous lips of
aldermen; but when I came to analyze the stew, I generally found it to
consist of a "witch's cauldron," copiously filled with snails,
lizards, iguanas, frogs and alligators!



CHAPTER XX.


A journey to the interior of Africa would be a rural jaunt, were it
not so often endangered by the perils of war. The African may fairly
be characterized as a shepherd, whose pastoral life is varied by a
little agriculture, and the conflicts into which he is seduced, either
by family quarrels, or the natural passions of his blood. His country,
though uncivilized, is not so absolutely wild as is generally
supposed. The gradual extension of Mahometanism throughout the
interior is slowly but evidently modifying the Negro. An African
Mussulman is _still_ a warrior, for the dissemination of faith as well
as for the gratification of avarice; yet the Prophet's laws are so
much more genial than the precepts of paganism, that, within the last
half century, the humanizing influence of the Koran is acknowledged by
all who are acquainted with the interior tribes.

But in all the changes that may come over the spirit of _man_ in
Africa, her magnificent external _nature_ will for ever remain the
game. A little labor teems with vast returns. The climate exacts
nothing but shade from the sun and shelter from the storm. Its
oppressive heat forbids a toilsome industry, and almost enforces
indolence as a law. With every want supplied, without the allurements
of social rivalry, without the temptations of national ambition or
personal pride, what has the African to do in his forest of palm and
cocoa,--his grove of orange, pomegranate and fig,--on his mat of
comfortable repose, where the fruit stoops to his lips without a
struggle for the prize,--save to brood over, or gratify, the electric
passions with which his soul seems charged to bursting!

It is an interesting task to travel through a continent filled with
such people, whose minds are just beginning, here and there, to emerge
from the vilest heathenism, and to glimmer with a faith that bears
wrapped in its unfolded leaves, the seeds of a modified civilization.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I travelled in the "dry season," I did not encounter many of the
discomforts that beset the African wayfarer in periods of rain and
tempest. I was not obliged to flounder through lagoons, or swim
against the current of perilous rivers. We met their traces almost
every day; and, in many places, the soil was worn into parched ravines
or the tracks of dried-up torrents. Whatever affliction I experienced
arose from the wasting depression of heat. We did not suffer from lack
of water or food, for the caravan of the ALI-MAMI commanded implicit
obedience throughout our journey.

In the six hundred miles I traversed, whilst absent from the coast, my
memory, after twenty-six years, leads me, from beginning to end,
through an almost continuous forest-path. We struck a trail when we
started, and we left it when we came home. It was rare, indeed, to
encounter a cross road, except when it led to neighboring villages,
water, or cultivated fields. So dense was the forest foliage, that we
often walked for hours in shade without a glimpse of the sun. The
emerald light that penetrated the wood, bathed every thing it touched
with mellow refreshment. But we were repaid for this partial bliss by
intense suffering when we came forth from the sanctuary into the bare
valleys, the arid _barrancas_, and marshy _savannas_ of an open
region. There, the red eye of the African sun glared with merciless
fervor. Every thing reflected its rays. They struck us like lances
from above, from below, from the sides, from the rocks, from the
fields, from the stunted herbage, from the bushes. All was glare! Our
eyes seemed to simmer in their sockets. Whenever the path followed
the channel of a brook, whose dried torrents left bare the scorched
and broken rocks, our feet fled from the ravine as from heated iron.
Frequently we entered extensive _prairies_, covered with blades of
sword-grass, tall as our heads, whose jagged edges tore us like saws,
though we protected our faces with masks of wattled willows. And yet,
after all these discomforts, how often are my dreams haunted by
charming pictures of natural scenery that have fastened themselves for
ever in my memory!

As the traveller along the coast turns the prow of his canoe through
the surf, and crosses the angry bar that guards the mouth of an
African river, he suddenly finds himself moving calmly onward between
sedgy shores, buried in mangroves. Presently, the scene expands in the
unruffled mirror of a deep, majestic stream. Its lofty banks are
covered by innumerable varieties of the tallest forest trees, from
whoso summits a trailing network of vines and flowers floats down and
sweeps the passing current. A stranger who beholds this scenery for
the first time is struck by the immense size, the prolific abundance,
and gorgeous verdure of every thing. Leaves, large enough for
garments, lie piled and motionless in the lazy air: The bamboo and
cane shake their slender spears and pennant leaves as the stream
ripples among their roots. Beneath the massive trunks of forest trees,
the country opens; and, in vistas through the wood, the traveller sees
innumerable fields lying fallow in grass, or waving with harvests of
rice and _cassava_, broken by golden clusters of Indian corn. Anon,
groups of oranges, lemons, coffee-trees, plantains and bananas, are
crossed by the tall stems of cocoas, and arched by the broad and
drooping coronals of royal palm. Beyond this, capping the summit of a
hill, may be seen the conical huts of natives, bordered by fresh
pastures dotted with flocks of sheep and goats, or covered by numbers
of the sleekest cattle. As you leave the coast, and shoot round the
river-curves of this fragrant wilderness teeming with flowers, vocal
with birds, and gay with their radiant plumage, you plunge into the
interior, where the rising country slowly expands into hills and
mountains.

The forest is varied. Sometimes it is a matted pile of tree vine, and
bramble, obscuring every thing, and impervious save with knife and
hatchet. At others, it is a Gothic temple. The sward spreads openly
for miles on every side, while, from its even surface, the trunks of
straight and massive trees rise to a prodigious height, clear from
every obstruction, till their gigantic limbs, like the capitals of
columns, mingle their foliage in a roof of perpetual verdure.

At length the hills are reached, and the lowland heat is tempered by
mountain freshness. The scene that may be beheld from almost any
elevation, is always beautiful, and sometimes grand. Forest, of
course, prevails; yet, with a glass, and often by the unaided eye,
gentle hills, swelling from the wooded landscape, may be seen covered
with native huts, whose neighborhood is checkered with patches of
sward and cultivation, and inclosed by massive belts of primeval
wildness. Such is commonly the westward view; but north and east, as
far as vision extends, noble outlines of hill and mountain may be
traced against the sky, lapping each other with their mighty folds,
until they fade away in the azure horizon.

When a view like this is beheld at morning, in the neighborhood of
rivers, a dense mist will be observed lying beneath the spectator in a
solid stratum, refracting the light now breaking from the east. Here
and there, in this lake of vapor, the tops of hills peer up like green
islands in a golden sea. But, ere you have time to let fancy run riot,
the "cloud compelling" orb lifts its disc over the mountains, and the
fogs of the valley, like ghosts at cock-crow, flit from the dells they
have haunted since nightfall. Presently, the sun is out in his
terrible splendor. Africa unveils to her master, and the blue sky and
green forest blaze and quiver with his beams.



CHAPTER XXI.


I felt so much the lack of scenery in my narrative, that I thought it
well to group in a few pages the African pictures I have given in the
last chapter. My story had too much of the bareness of the Greek
stage, and I was conscious that landscape, as well as action, was
required to mellow the subject and relieve it from tedium. After our
dash through the wilderness, let us return to the slow toil of the
caravan.

Four days brought us to Tamisso from our last halt. We camped on the
copious brook that ran near the town-walls, and while Ali-Ninpha
thought proper to compliment the chief, Mohamedoo, by a formal
announcement of our arrival, the caravan made ready for reception by
copious, but _needed_, ablutions of flesh and raiment. The women,
especially, were careful in adorning and heightening their charms.
Wool was combed to its utmost rigidity; skins were greased till they
shone like polished ebony; ankles and arms were restrung with beads;
and loins were girded with snowy waist-cloths. Ali-Ninpha knew the
pride of his old Mandingo companions, and was satisfied that Mohamedoo
would have been mortified had we surprised him within the precincts of
his court, squatted, perhaps, on a dirty mat with a female scratching
his head! Ali-Ninpha was a prudent gentleman, and knew the difference
between the private and public lives of his illustrious countrymen!

In the afternoon our interpreters returned to camp with Mohamedoo's
son, accompanied by a dozen women carrying platters of boiled rice,
calabashes filled with delicate sauce, and abundance of _ture_, or
vegetable butter. A beautiful horse was also despatched for my
triumphal entry into town.

The food was swallowed with an appetite corresponding to our recent
penitential fare; the tents were struck; and the caravan was forthwith
advanced towards Tamisso. All the noise we could conveniently make, by
way of _music_, was, of course, duly attempted. Interpreters and
guides went ahead, discharging guns. Half a dozen tom-toms were struck
with uncommon rapidity and vigor, while the unctuous women set up a
chorus of melody that would not have disgraced a band of "Ethiopian
Minstrels."

Half-way to the town our turbulent mob was met by a troop of musicians
sent out by the chief to greet us with song and harp. I was quickly
surrounded by the singers, who chanted the most fulsome praise of the
opulent Mongo, while a court-fool or buffoon insisted on leading my
horse, and occasionally wiping my face with his filthy handkerchief!

Presently we reached the gates, thronged by pressing crowds of curious
burghers. Men, women, and children, had all come abroad to see the
immense _Furtoo_, or white man, and appeared as much charmed by the
spectacle as if I had been a banished patriot. I was forced to
dismount at the low wicket, but here the _empressement_ of my
inquisitive hosts became so great, that the "nation's guest" was
forced to pause until some amiable bailiffs modified the amazement of
their fellow-citizens by staves and whips.

I lost no time in the lull, while relieved from the mob, to pass
onward to "the palace" of Mohamedoo, which, like all royal residences
in Africa, consisted of a mud-walled quadrangular inclosure, with a
small gate, a large court, and a quantity of _adobe_ huts, surrounded
by shady verandahs. The furniture, mats, and couches were of cane,
while wooden platters, brass kettles, and common wash-basins, were
spread out in every direction for show and service.

On a coach, covered with several splendid leopard skins, reclined
Mohamedoo, awaiting my arrival with as much stateliness as if he had
been a scion of civilized royalty. The chief was a man of sixty at
least. His corpulent body was covered with short Turkish trousers, and
a large Mandingo shirt profusely embroidered with red and yellow
worsted. His bald or shaved head was concealed by a light turban,
while a long white beard stood out in relief against his tawny skin,
and hung down upon his breast. Ali-Ninpha presented me formally to
this personage, who got up, shook hands, "snapped fingers," and
welcomed me thrice. My Fullah chief and Mandingo companion then
proceeded to "_make their dantica_," or declare the purpose of their
visit; but when they announced that I was the guest of the Fullah
Ali-Mami, and, accordingly, was _entitled_ to free passage every where
without expense, I saw that the countenance of the veteran instantly
fell, and that his welcome was dashed by the loss of a heavy duty
which he designed exacting for my transit.

The sharp eye of Ali-Ninpha was not slow in detecting Mohamedoo's
displeasure; and, as I had previously prepared him in private, he took
an early opportunity to whisper in the old man's ear, that Don Téodore
knew he was compelled to journey through Tamisso, and, of course, had
not come empty-handed. My object, he said, in visiting this region and
the territory of the Fullah king, was not idle curiosity alone; but
that I was prompted by a desire for liberal trade, and especially for
the purchase of slaves to load the numerous vessels I had lingering on
the coast, with immense cargoes of cloth, muskets, and powder.

The clouds were dispersed as soon as a hint was thrown out about
traffic. The old sinner nodded like a mandarin who knew what he was
about, and, rising as soon as the adroit whisperer had finished, took
me by the hand, and in a loud voice, presented me to the people as his
"_beloved son_!" Besides this, the best house within the royal
inclosure was fitted with fresh comforts for my lodging. When the
Fullah chief withdrew from the audience, Ali-Ninpha brought in the
mistress of Mohamedoo's harem, who acted as his confidential clerk,
and we speedily handed over the six pieces of cotton and an abundant
supply of tobacco with which I designed to propitiate her lord and
master.

Tired of the dust, crowd, heat, confinement and curiosity of an
African town, I was glad to gulp down my supper of broiled chickens
and milk, preparatory to a sleepy attack on my couch of rushes spread
with mats and skins. Yet, before retiring for the night, I thought it
well to refresh my jaded frame by a bath, which the prince had ordered
to be prepared in a small court behind my chamber. But I grieve to
say, that my modesty was put to a sore trial, when I began to unrobe.
Locks and latches are unknown in this free-and-easy region. It had
been noised abroad among the dames of the harem, that the _Furtoo_
would probably perform his ablutions before he slept; so that, when I
entered the yard, my tub was surrounded by as many inquisitive eyes as
the dinner table of Louis the Fourteenth, when sovereigns dined in
public. As I could not speak their language, I made all the pantomimic
signs of graceful supplication that commonly soften the hearts of the
sex on the stage, hoping, by dumb-show, to secure my privacy. But
gestures and grimace were unavailing. I then made hold to take off my
shirt, leaving my nether garments untouched. Hitherto, the dames had
seen only my bronzed face and hands, but when the snowy pallor of my
breast and back was unveiled, many of them fled incontinently,
shouting to their friends to "come and see the _peeled Furtoo_!" An
ancient crone, the eldest of the crew, ran her hand roughly across the
fairest portion of my bosom, and looking at her fingers with disgust,
as if I reeked with leprosy, wiped them on the wall. As displeasure
seemed to predominate over admiration, I hoped this experiment would
have satisfied the inquest, but, as black curiosity exceeds all
others, the wenches continued to linger, chatter, grin and feel, until
I was forced to disappoint their anxiety for further disclosures, by
an abrupt "good night."

We tarried in Tamisso three days to recruit, during which I was
liberally entertained on the prince's hospitable mat, where African
stews of relishing flavor, and tender fowls smothered in snowy rice,
regaled me at least twice in every twenty-four hours. Mohamedoo fed
me with an European silver spoon, which, he said, came from among the
effects of a traveller who, many years before, died far in the
interior. In all his life, he had seen but _four_ of our race within
the walls of Tamisso. Their names escaped his memory; but the last, he
declared, was a poor and clever youth, probably from Senegal, who
followed a powerful caravan, and "read the Koran like a _mufti_."

Tamisso was entirely surrounded by a tall double fence of pointed
posts. The space betwixt the inclosures, which were about seven feet
apart, was thickly planted with smaller spear-headed staves, hardened
by fire. If the first fence was leaped by assailants, they met a cruel
reception from those impaling sentinels. Three gates afforded
admission to different sections of the town, but the passage through
them consisted of zig-zags, with loopholes cut judiciously in the
angles, so as to command every point of access to the narrow streets
of the suburbs.

The parting between Mohamedoo and myself was friendly in the extreme.
Provisions for four days were distributed by the prince to the
caravan, and he promised that my return should be welcomed by an
abundant supply of slaves.



CHAPTER XXII.


As our caravan approached the Fullah country, and got into the higher
lands, where the air was invigorating, I found its pace improved so
much that we often exceeded twenty miles in our daily journey. The
next important place we were to approach was Jallica. For three days,
our path coasted the southern edge of a mountain range, whose
declivities and valleys were filled with rivers, brooks, and
streamlets, affording abundant irrigation to fields teeming with
vegetable wealth. The population was dense. Frequent caravans, with
cattle and slaves, passed us on their way to various marts. Our
supplies of food were plentiful. A leaf of tobacco purchased a fowl; a
charge of powder obtained a basin of milk, or a dozen of eggs; and a
large sheep cost only six cents, or a quart of salt.

Five days after quitting Tamisso, our approach to Jallica was
announced; and here, as at our last resting-place, it was deemed
proper to halt half a day for notice and ablution before entering a
city, whose chief--SUPHIANA--was a kinsman of Ali-Ninpha.

The distance from our encampment to the town was about three miles;
but an hour had hardly elapsed after our arrival, when the deep boom
of the war-drum gave token that our message had been received with
welcome. I was prepared, in some measure, for a display of no ordinary
character at Jallica, because my Mandingo friend, Ali-Ninpha,
inhabited the town in his youth, and had occupied a position which
gave importance to his name throughout Soolimana. The worthy fellow
had been absent many years from Jallica, and wept like a child when he
heard the sound of the war-drum. Its discordant beat had the same
effect on the savage that the sound of their village bells has on the
spirit of returning wanderers in civilized lands. When the rattle of
the drum was over, he told me that for five years he controlled that
very instrument in Jallica, during which it had never sounded a
retreat or betokened disaster. In peace it was never touched, save for
public rejoicing; and the authorities allowed it to be beaten _now_
only because an old commander of the tribe was to be received with the
honors due to his rank and service. Whilst we were still conversing,
Suphiana's lance-bearer made his appearance, and, with a profound
_salaam_, announced that the "gates of Jallica were open to the
Mandingo and his companions."

No _fanda_ or refreshments were sent with the welcome; but when the
caravan got within fifty yards of the walls, a band of shouting
warriors marched forth, and lifting Ali-Ninpha on their shoulders,
bore him through the gates, singing war-songs, accompanied by all
sorts of music and hubbub.

I had purposely lingered with my men in the rear of the great body of
Africans, so that nearly the whole caravan passed the portal before my
complexion--though deeply bronzed by exposure--made me known to the
crowd as a white man.

Then, instantly, the air rang with the sound of--"Furtoo! Furtoo!
Furtoo!"--and the gate was slammed in our faces, leaving us completely
excluded from guide and companions. But, in the midst of his exultant
reception, Ali-Ninpha did not forget the Mongo of Kambia. Hardly had
he attained the end of the street, when he heard the cry of exclusion,
and observed the closing portal. By this time, my Fullah friend had
wrought himself into an examplary fit of Oriental rage with the
inhospitable Mandingoes, so that I doubt very much whether he would
not have knocked the dust from his sandals on the gate of Jallica, had
not Ali-Ninpha rushed through the wicket, and commanding the portal
to be reopened, apologized contritely to the Mahometan and myself.

This unfortunate mistake, or accident, not only caused considerable
delay, but rather dampened the delight of our party as it defiled in
the spacious square of Jallica, and entered the open shed which was
called a "_palaver-house_." Its vast area was densely packed with a
fragrant crowd of old and young, armed with muskets or spears. All
wore knives or cutlasses, slung by a belt high up on their necks;
while, in their midst surrounded by a court of veterans, stood
Suphiana, the prince, waiting our arrival.

In front marched Ali-Ninpha, preceded by a numerous band of shrieking
and twanging minstrels. As he entered the apartment, Suphiana arose,
drew his sword, and embracing the stranger with his left arm, waved
the shining blade over his head, with the other. This peculiar
_accolade_ was imitated by each member of the royal council; while, in
the centre of the square, the war-drum,--a hollowed tree, four feet in
diameter, covered with hides,--was beaten by two savages with
slung-shot, until its thundering reverberations completely deafened
us.

You may imagine my joy and comfort when I saw the Mandingo take a seat
near the prince, as a signal for the din's cessation. This, however,
was only the commencement of another prolonged ceremonial; for now
began the royal review and salute in honor of the returned commander.
During two hours, an uninterrupted procession of all the warriors,
chiefs, and head-men of Jallica, defiled in front of the ancient
drum-major; and, as each approached, he made his obeisance by pointing
a spear or weapon at my landlord's feet. During this I remained on
horseback without notice or relief from the authorities. Ali-Ninpha,
however, saw my impatient discomfort, and once or twice despatched a
sly message to preserve my good humor. The ceremony was one of
absolute compulsion, and could not be avoided without discourtesy to
the prince and his countrymen. As soon as he could escape, however, he
hastened over the court-yard to assist me in dismounting; and dashing
the rude crowd right and left, led me to his kinsman Suphiana. The
prince extended his royal hand in token of amity; Ali-Ninpha declared
me to be his "son;" while the long string of compliments and
panegyrics he pronounced upon my personal qualities, moral virtues,
and _wealth_, brought down a roar of grunts by way of applause from
the toad-eating courtiers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jallica was a fairer town than any I had hitherto encountered in my
travels. Its streets were wider, its houses better, its people more
civil. No one intruded on the friend of Ali-Ninpha, and guest of
Suphiana. I bathed without visits from inquisitive females. My house
was my castle; and, when I stirred abroad, two men preceded me with
rattans to keep my path clear from women and children.

After lounging about quietly for a couple of days, wearing away
fatigue, and getting rid of the stains of travel, I thought it
advisable to drop in one morning, unannounced, after breakfast, at
Suphiana's with the presents that are customary in the east. As the
guest,--during my whole journey,--of the Ali-Mami, or King of
Footha-Yallon, I was entirely exempt by customary law from this
species of tax, nor would my Fullah protector have allowed me to offer
a tribute had he known it;--yet, I always took a secret opportunity to
present a _voluntary gift_, for I wished my memory to smell sweet
along my track in Africa. Suphiana fully appreciated my generosity
under the circumstances, and returned the civility by an invitation to
dinner at the house of his principal wife. When the savory feast with
which he regaled me was over, female singers were introduced for a
concert. Their harps were triangles of wood, corded with fibres of
cane; their banjoes consisted of gourds covered with skin pierced by
holes, and strung like the harps; but, I confess, that I can neither
rave nor go into ecstasies over the combined effect which saluted me
from such instruments or such voices. I was particularly struck,
however, by one of their inventions, which slightly resembles the
_harmonica_ I have seen played by children in this country. A board,
about two feet square, was bordered by a light frame at two ends,
across which a couple of cane strings were tightly stretched. On
these, strips of nicely trimmed bamboo, gradually diminishing in size
from left to right, were placed; whilst beneath them, seven gourds,
also gradually decreasing, were securely fastened to mellow the sound.
The instrument was carried by a strap round the player's neck, and was
struck by two small wooden hammers softened by some delicate
substance.

One of the prettiest girls in the bevy had charge of this African
piano, and was said to be renowned for uncommon skill. Her feet,
hands, wrists, elbows, ankles, and knees, were strung with small
silvery bells; and, as the gay damsel was dancer and singer as well as
musician, she seemed to reek with sound from every pore. Many of her
attitudes would probably have been, at least, more picturesque and
decent for drapery; but, in Jallica, MADOO, the _ayah_, was considered
a Mozart in composition, a Lind in melody, and a Taglioni on the
"light fantastic toe!"

When the performance closed, Suphiana presented her a slave; and, as
she made an obeisance to me in passing, I handed her my _bowie-knife_,
promising to redeem it at my lodgings with _ten pounds of tobacco_!

       *       *       *       *       *

Some superstitious notions about the state of the moon prevented my
Fullah guide from departing as soon as I desired; but while we were
dallying with the planet, Ali-Ninpha became so ill that he was
compelled to halt and end the journey in his favorite Jallica. I
rather suspected the Mandingo to feign more suffering than he really
experienced, and I soon discovered that his malady was nothing but a
sham. In truth, Ali-Ninpha had duped so many Fullah traders on the
beach, and owed them the value of so many slaves, that he found it
extremely inconvenient; if not perilous, to enter the domain of the
ALI-MAMI OF FOOTHA-YALLON!



CHAPTER XXIII.


A messenger was despatched from Jallica, in advance of our departure,
to announce our approach to Timbo. For six days more, our path led
over hill and dale, and through charming valleys, fed by gentle
streamlets that nourished the vigorous vegetation of a mountain land.

As we crossed the last summits that overlooked the territory of
Footha-Yallon, a broad _plateau_, whence a wide range of country might
be beheld, was filled with bands of armed men, afoot and on horseback,
while a dozen animals were held in tether by their gayly dressed
attendants. I dashed to the head of the caravan on my jaded beast, and
reached it just in time to find the sable arms of Ahmah-de-Bellah
opening to greet me! The generous youth, surrounded by his friends and
escorted by a select corps of soldiers and slaves, had come thus far
on the path to offer the prince's welcome!

I greeted the Mahometan with the fervor of ancient love; and, in a
moment, we were all dismounted and on our knees; while, at a signal
from the chief, profound silence reigned throughout the troop and
caravan. Every eye was turned across the distant plain to the east. An
air of profoundest devotion subdued the multitude, and, in a loud
chant, Ahmah-de-Bellah, with outstretched arms and upraised face, sang
forth a psalm of gratitude to Allah for the safety of his "brother."

The surprise of this complimentary reception was not only delightful
as an evidence of African character among these more civilized tribes
of the Mahometan interior, but it gave me an assurance of security and
trade, which was very acceptable to one so far within the bowels of
the land. We were still a day's journey from the capital.
Ahmah-de-Bellah declared it impossible, with all the diligence we
could muster, to reach Timbo without another halt. Nevertheless, as he
was extremely solicitous to bring us to our travel's end, he not only
supplied my personal attendants with fresh horses, but ordered
carriers from his own guard to charge themselves with the entire
luggage of our caravan.

Thus relieved of burden, our party set forth on the path in a brisk
trot, and resting after dark for several hours in a village, we
entered Timbo unceremoniously before daybreak while its inhabitants
were still asleep.

I was immediately conducted to a house specially built for me,
surrounded by a high wall to protect my privacy from intrusion.
Within, I found a careful duplicate of all the humble comforts in my
domicil on the Rio Pongo. Tables, sofas, plates, knives, forks,
tumblers, pitchers, basins,--had all been purchased by my friend, and
forwarded for this establishment, from other factories without my
knowledge; while the centre of the main apartment was decorated with
an "American rocking-chair," which the natives had ingeniously
contrived of rattans and bamboo! Such pleasant evidences of refined
attention were more remarkable and delicate, because most of the
articles are not used by Mahometans. "These, I hope," said
Ahmah-de-Bellah, as he led me to a seat, "will make you comparatively
comfortable while you please to dwell with your brother in Timbo. You
have no thanks to return, because I have not treated you like a
_native_ Mussulman; for you were kind enough to remember all my own
little nationalities when I was your guest on the beach. ALLAH be
praised for your redemption and arrival;--and so, brother, take your
rest in peace within the realm of the Ali-Mami, your father!"

I embraced the generous fellow with as much cordiality as if he had
been a kinsman from the sweet valley of Arno. During his visit to my
factory he was particularly charmed with an old dressing-gown I used
for my siestas, and when I resolved on this journey, I caused an
improved copy of it to be made by one of the most skilful artists on
the river. A flashy pattern of calico was duly cut into rather ampler
form than is usual among our dandies. This was charmingly lined with
sky-blue, and set off at the edges with broad bands of glaring yellow.
The effect of the whole, indeed, was calculated to strike an African
fancy; so that, when I drew the garment from my luggage, and threw it,
together with a fine white ruffled shirt, over the shoulders of "my
brother," I thought the pious Mussulman would have gone wild with
delight. He hugged me a dozen times with the gripe of a tiger, and
probably would have kissed quite as lustily, had I not deprecated any
further ebullitions of bodily gratitude.

A bath erased not only the dust of travel from my limbs, but seemed to
extract even the memory of its toils from my bones and muscles.
Ahmah-de-Bellah intimated that the Ali-Mami would soon be prepared to
receive me without ceremony. The old gentleman was confined by dropsy
in his lower extremities, and probably found it uncomfortable to
sustain the annoyance of public life except when absolutely necessary.
The burden of my entertainment and glorification, therefore, was cast
on the shoulders of his younger kinsfolk, for which, I confess, I was
proportionally grateful. Accordingly, when I felt perfectly refreshed,
I arose from my matted sofa, and dressing for the first time in more
than a month in a perfectly clean suit, I donned a snowy shirt, a pair
of dashing drills, Parisian pumps, and a Turkish _fez_, tipped with a
copious tassel. Our interpreters were clad in fresh Mandingo dresses
adorned with extra embroidery. My body-servant was ordered to appear
in a cast-off suit of my own; so that, when I gave one my
double-barrelled gun to carry, and armed the others with my pistols,
and a glittering regulation-sword,--designed as a gift for the
Ali-Mami,--I presented a very respectable and picturesque appearance
for a gentleman abroad on his travels in the East. The moment I issued
with my train from the house, a crowd of Fullahs was ready to receive
me with exclamations of chattering surprise; still I was not annoyed,
as elsewhere, by the unfailing concourse that followed my footsteps or
clogged my pathway.

The "palace" of the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon, like all African
palaces in this region, was an _adobe_ hovel, surrounded by its
portico shed, and protected by a wall from the intrusion of the common
herd. In front of the dwelling, beneath the shelter of the verandah,
on a fleecy pile of sheepskin mats, reclined the veteran, whose
swollen and naked feet were undergoing a cooling process from the
palm-leaf fans of female slaves. I marched up boldly in front of him
with my military _suite_, and, making a profound _salaam_, was
presented by Ahmah-de-Bellah as his "white brother." The Ali at once
extended both hands, and, grasping mine, drew me beside him on the
sheepskin. Then, looking intently over my face and into the very depth
of my eyes, he asked gently with a smile--"what was my name?"

"AHMAH-DE-BELLAH!" replied I, after the fashion of the country. As I
uttered the Mahometan appellation, for which I had exchanged my own
with his son at Kambia, the old man, who still held my hands, put one
of his arms round my waist, and pressed me still closer to his
side;--then, lifting both arms extended to heaven, he repeated several
times,--"God is great! God is great! God is great!--and Mahomet is his
Prophet!"

This was followed by a grand inquest in regard to myself and history.
Who was my father? Who was my mother? How many brothers had I? Were
they warriors? Were they "book-men?" Why did I travel so far? What
delay would I make in Footha-Yallon? Was my dwelling comfortable? Had
I been treated with honor, respect and attention on my journey? And,
last of all, the prince sincerely hoped that I would find it
convenient to dwell with him during the whole of the "rainy season."

Several times, in the midst of these interrogations, the patriarch
groaned, and I could perceive, from the pain that flitted like a
shadow over the nerves and muscles of his face, that he was suffering
severely, and, of course, I cut the interview as short as oriental
etiquette would allow. He pressed me once more to his bosom, and
speaking to the interpreter, bade him tell his master, the Furtoo,
that any thing I fancied in the realm was mine. Slaves, horses,
cattle, stuffs,--all were at my disposal. Then, pointing to his son,
he said: "Ahmah-de-Bellah, the white man is our guest; his brother
will take heed for his wants, and redress every complaint."

The prince was a man of sixty at least. His stature was noble and
commanding, if not absolutely gigantic,--_being several inches over
six feet_,--while his limbs and bulk were in perfect proportion. His
oval head, of a rich mahogany color, was quite bald to the temples,
and covered by a turban, whose ends depended in twin folds along his
cheeks. The contour of his features was remarkably regular, though his
lips were rather full, and his nose somewhat flat, yet free from the
disgusting depression and cavities of the negro race. His forehead was
high and perpendicular, while his mouth glistened with ivory when he
spoke or smiled. I had frequent opportunities to talk with the king
afterwards, and was always delighted by the affectionate simplicity of
his demeanor. As it was the country's custom to educate the first-born
of royalty for the throne, the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon had been
brought up almost within the precincts of the mosque. I found the
prince, therefore, more of a meditative "book-man" than warrior; while
the rest of his family, and especially his younger brothers, had never
been exempt from military duties, at home or abroad. Like a good
Mussulman, the sovereign was a quiet, temperate gentleman, never
indulging in "bitters" or any thing stronger than a drink fermented
from certain roots, and sweetened to resemble _mead_. His intercourse
with me was always affable and solicitous for my comfort; nor did he
utter half a dozen sentences without interlarding them with fluent
quotations from the Koran. Sometimes, in the midst of a pleasant chat
in which he was wondering at my curiosity and taste for information
about new lands, he would suddenly break off because it was his hour
for prayer; at others, he would end the interview quite as
unceremoniously, because it was time for ablution. Thus, between
praying, washing, eating, sleeping, slave-dealing, and fanning his
dropsical feet, the life of the Ali-Mami passed monotonously enough
even for an oriental prince; but I doubt not, the same childish
routine is still religiously pursued, unless it has pleased Allah to
summon the faithful prince to the paradise of "true believers." I
could never make him understand how a ship might be built large enough
to hold provisions for a six months' voyage; and, as to the _sea_, "it
was a mystery that none but God and a white man could solve!"

As I was to breakfast on the day of my arrival at the dwelling of
Ahmah-de-Bellah's mother, after my presentation to the prince her
husband, I urged the footsteps of my companion with no little
impatience as soon as I got out of the royal hearing. My fast had been
rather longer than comfortable, even in obedience to royal etiquette.
However, we were soon within the court-yard of her sable ladyship, who,
though a dame of fifty at least, persisted in hiding her charms of face
and bosom beneath a capacious cloth. Nevertheless, she welcomed me
quite tenderly. She called me "Ahmah-de-Bellah-Theodoree,"--and, with
her own hands, mixed the dainties on which we were to breakfast while
cosily squatted on the mats of her verandah. Our food was simple enough
for the most dyspeptic homoeopathist. Milk and rice were alternated
with bonney-clabber and honey, seasoned by frequent words of hospitable
encouragement. The frugal repast was washed down by calabashes of cool
water, which were handed round by naked damsels, whose beautiful limbs
might have served as models for an artist.

When the meal was finished, I hoped that the day's ceremonial was
over, but, to my dismay, I discovered that the most formal portion of
my reception was yet to come.

"We will now hasten," said Ahmah-de-Bellah, as I _salaamed_ his mamma,
"to the palaver-ground, where I am sure our chiefs are, by this time,
impatient to see you." Had I been a feeble instead of a robust
campaigner, I would not have resisted the intimation, or desired a
postponement of the "palaver;" so I "took my brother's" arm, and,
followed by my _cortège_, proceeded to the interview that was to take
place beyond the walls, in an exquisite grove of cotton-wood and
tamarind-trees, appropriated to this sort of town-meeting. Here I
found a vast assemblage of burghers; and in their midst, squatted on
sheepskins, was a select ring of _patres conscripti_, presided by
Sulimani-Ali, son of the king, and brother of my companion.

As the Fullah presented me to his warrior-kinsman, he rose with a
profound salutation, and taking my hand, led me to a rock, covered
with a white napkin,--the seat of honor for an eminent stranger. The
moment I was placed, the chiefs sprang up and each one grasped my
hand, bidding me welcome _thrice_. Ahmah-de-Bellah stood patiently
beside me until this ceremony was over, and each noble resumed his
sheepskin. Then, taking a long cane from the eldest of the group, he
stepped forward, saluted the assembly three times, thrice invoked
Allah, and introduced me to the chiefs and multitude as his "brother."
I came, he said, to Footha-Yallon on his invitation, and by the
express consent of his beloved king and father, and of his beloved
elder brother, Sulimani. He hoped, therefore, that every "head-man"
present would see the rites of hospitality faithfully exercised to his
white brother while he dwelt in Footha. There were many reasons that
he could give why this should be done; but he would rest content with
stating only three. First of all: I was nearly as good a Mussulman as
many Mandingoes, and he knew the fact, because _he had converted me
himself_! Secondly: I was entitled to every sort of courtesy from
Fullahs, because I was a _rich_ trader from the Rio Pongo. And,
thirdly: I had penetrated even to this very heart of Africa to
purchase slaves for most liberal prices.

It is the custom in African "palavers," as well as among African
religionists, to give token of assent by a sigh, a groan, a slight
exclamation, or a shout, when any thing affecting, agreeable, or
touching is uttered by a speaker. Now, when my Fullah brother informed
his friends of my arrival, my name, my demand for hospitality, and my
wealth, the grunts and groans of the assembly augmented in number and
volume as he went on; but when they heard of my design "to purchase
_slaves_" a climax was reached at once, and, as with one voice, they
shouted, "May the Lord of heaven be praised!"

I smothered a laugh and strangled a smile as well as I could, when my
interpreters expounded the "stump speech" of Ahmah-de-Bellah; and I
lost no time in directing them to display the presents which some of
my retainers, in the meanwhile, had brought to the grove. They
consisted of several packages of blue and white calicoes, ten yards of
brilliant scarlet cloth, six kegs of powder, three hundred pounds of
tobacco, two strings of amber beads, and six muskets. On a beautiful
rug, I set aside the gilded sword and _a package of cantharides_,
designed for the king.

When my arrangement was over, Sulimani took the cane from his brother,
and stepping forward, said that the gifts to which he pointed proved
the truth of Ahmah-de-Bellah's words, and that a rich man, indeed, had
come to Footha-Yallon. Nay, more;--the rich man wanted slaves! Was I
not generous? I was their guest, and owed them no tribute or duties;
and yet, had I not _voluntarily_ lavished my presents upon the chiefs?
Next day, his father would personally distribute my offering; but,
whilst I dwelt in Footha, a bullock and ten baskets of rice should
daily be furnished for my caravan's support; and, as every chief would
partake my bounty, each one should contribute to my comfort.

This speech, like the former, was hailed with grunts; but I could not
help noticing that the vote of supplies was not cheered half as
lustily as the announcement of my _largesse_.

The formalities being over, the inquisitive head-men crowded round the
presents with as much eagerness as aspirants for office at a
presidential inauguration. The merchandise was inspected, felt,
smelled, counted, measured, and set aside. The rug and the sword,
being royal gifts, were delicately handled. But when the vials of
cantharides were unpacked, and their contents announced, each of the
chieftains insisted that his majesty should not monopolize the coveted
stimulant. A sharp dispute on the subject arose between the princes
and the councillors, so that I was forced to interfere through the
interpreters, who could only quiet the rebels by the promise of a
dozen additional flasks for their private account.

In the midst of the wrangling, Sulimani and Ahmah ordered their
father's slaves to carry the gifts to the Ali-Mami's palace; and,
taking me between them, we marched, arm in arm, to my domicil. Here I
found Abdulmomen-Ali, another son of the king, waiting for his
brothers to present him to the Mongo of Kambia. Abdulmomen was
introduced as "a learned divine," and began at once to talk Koran in
the most _mufti_-like manner. I had made such sorry improvement in
Mahometanism since Ahmah-de-Bellah's departure from the Rio Pongo,
that I thought it safest to sit silent, as if under the deepest fervor
of Mussulman conviction. I soon found that Abdulmomen, like many more
clergymen, was willing enough to do all the preaching, whenever he
found an unresisting listener. I put on a look of very intelligent
assent and thankfulness to all the arguments and commentaries of my
black brother, and in this way I avoided the detection of my
ignorance, as many a better man has probably done before me!



CHAPTER XXIV.


Timbo lies on a rolling plain. North of it, a lofty mountain range
rises at the distance of ten or fifteen miles, and sweeps eastwardly
to the horizon. The landscape, which declines from these slopes to the
south, is in many places bare; yet fields of plentiful cultivation,
groves of cotton-wood, tamarind and oak, thickets of shrubbery and
frequent villages, stud its surface, and impart an air of rural
comfort to the picturesque scene.

I soon proposed a gallop with my African kindred over the
neighborhood; and, one fine morning, after a plentiful breakfast of
stewed fowls, boiled to rags with rice, and seasoned with delicious
"palavra sauce," we cantered off to the distant villages. As we
approached the first brook, but before the fringe of screening bushes
was passed, our cavalcade drew rein abruptly, while Ahmah-de-Bellah
cried out: "Strangers are coming!" A few moments after, as we slowly
crossed the stream, I noticed several women crouched in the underwood,
having fled from the bath. This warning is universally given, and
enforced by law, to guard the modesty of the gentler sex.

In half an hour we reached the first suburban village; but fame had
preceded us with my character, and as the settlement was cultivated
either by serfs or negroes liable to be made so, we found the houses
bare. The poor wretches had learned, on the day of my reception, that
the principal object of my journey was to obtain slaves, and, of
course, they imagined that the only object of my foray in their
neighborhood, was to seize the gang and bear it abroad in bondage.
Accordingly, we tarried only a few minutes in Findo, and dashed off to
Furo; but here, too, the blacks had been panic struck, and escaped so
hurriedly that they left their pots of rice, vegetables, and meat
boiling in their sheds. Furo was absolutely stripped of inhabitants;
the veteran chief of the village did not even remain to do the honors
for his affrighted brethren. Ahmah-de-Bellah laughed heartily at the
terror I inspired; but I confess I could not help feeling sadly
mortified when I found my presence shunned as a pestilence.

The native villages through which I passed on this excursion
manifested the great comfort in which these Africans live throughout
their prolific land, when unassailed by the desolating wars that are
kept up for slave-trade. It was the height of the dry season, when
every thing was parched by the sun, yet I could trace the outlines of
fine plantations, gardens, and rice-fields. Every where I found
abundance of peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and
cassava; while tasteful fences were garlanded with immense vines and
flowers. Fowls, goats, sheep, and oxen, stalked about in innumerable
flocks, and from every domicil depended a paper, inscribed with a
charm from the Koran to keep off thieves and witches.

My walks through Timbo were promoted by the constant efforts of my
entertainers to shield me from intrusive curiosity. Whenever I sallied
forth, two townsfolk in authority were sent forward to warn the public
that the Furtoo desired to promenade without a mob at his heels. These
lusty criers stationed themselves at the corners with an iron
triangle, which they rattled to call attention to the king's command;
and, in a short time, the highways were so clear of people, who feared
a _bastinado_, that I found my loneliness rather disagreeable than
otherwise. _Every person I saw, shunned me._ When I called the
children or little girls,--they fled from me. My reputation as a
slaver in the villages, and the fear of a lash in the town, furnished
me much more solitude than is generally agreeable to a sensitive
traveller.

Towards nightfall I left my companions, and wrapping myself closely in
a Mandingo dress, stole away through bye-ways to a brook which runs by
the town-walls. Thither the females resort at sunset to draw water;
and, choosing a screened situation, where I would not be easily
observed, I watched, for more than an hour, the graceful children,
girls, and women of Timbo, as they performed this domestic task of
eastern lands.

I was particularly impressed by the general beauty of the sex, who, in
many respects, resembled the Moor rather than the negro. Unaware of a
stranger's presence, they came forth as usual in a simple dress which
covers their body from waist to knee, and leaves the rest of the
figure entirely naked. Group after group gathered together on the
brink of the brook in the slanting sunlight and lengthening shadows of
the plain. Some rested on their pitchers and water vessels; some
chatted, or leaned on each other gracefully, listening to the chat of
friends; some stooped to fill their jars; others lifted the brimming
vessels to their sisters' shoulders--while others strode homeward
singing, with their charged utensils poised on head or hand. Their
slow, stately, swinging movement under the burden, was grace that
might be envied on a Spanish _paseo_. I do not think the forms of
these Fullah girls,--with their complexions of freshest bronze,--are
exceeded in symmetry by the women of any other country. There was a
slender delicacy of limb, waist, neck, hand, foot, and bosom, which
seemed to be the type that moulded every one of them. I saw none of
the hanging breast; the flat, expanded nostrils; the swollen lips, and
fillet-like foreheads, that characterize the Soosoos and their sisters
of the coast. None were deformed, nor were any marked by traces of
disease. I may observe, moreover, that the male Fullahs of Timbo are
impressed on my memory by a beauty of form, which almost equals that
of the women; and, in fact, the only fault I found with them was their
minute resemblance to the feminine delicacy of the other sex. They
made up, however, in courage what they lacked in form, for their manly
spirit has made them renowned among all the tribes they have so long
controlled by distinguished bravery and perseverance.

The patriarchal landscape by the brook, with the Oriental girls over
their water-jars, and the lowing cattle in the pastures, brought
freshly to my mind many a Bible scene I heard my mother read when I
was a boy at home; and I do not know what revolution might have been
wrought on my spirit had I not suddenly become critical! A stately
dame passed within twenty feet of my thicket, whose _coiffure_ excited
my mirth so powerfully that I might have been detected as a spy, had
not a bitten lip controlled my laughter. Her ladyship belonged,
perhaps, to the "upper-ten" of Timbo, whose heads had hitherto been
hidden from my eyes by the jealous _yashmacks_ they constantly wear in
a stranger's presence. In this instance, however, the woman's head,
like that of the younger girls, was uncovered, so that I had a full
view of the stately preparation. Her lower limbs were clad in ample
folds of blue and white cotton, knotted in an immense mass at the
waist, while her long crisp hair had been combed out to its fullest
dimensions and spliced with additional wool. The ebony fleece was then
separated in strands half an inch in diameter, and plaited all over
her skull in a countless number of distinct braids. This quill-like
structure was then adorned with amber beads, and copiously anointed
with vegetable butter, so that the points gleamed with fire in the
setting sunlight, and made her look as if she had donned for a
bewitching headdress a porcupine instead of a "bird of paradise."

       *       *       *       *       *

My trip to Timbo, I confess, was one of business rather than pleasure
or scientific exploration. I did not make a record, at the moment, of
my "impressions de voyage," and never thought that, a quarter of a
century afterwards, I would feel disposed to chronicle the journey in
a book, as an interesting _souvenir_ of my early life. Had I supposed
that the day would come when I was to turn author, it is likely I
might have been more inquisitive; but, being only "a slaver," I found
Ahmah, Sulimani, Abdulmomen, the Ali-Mami, and all the quality and
amusements of Timbo, dull enough, _when my object was achieved_.
Still, while I was there, I thought I might as well see all that was
visible. I strolled repeatedly through the town. I became excessively
familiar with its narrow streets, low houses, mud walls, cul-de-sacs,
and mosques. I saw no fine bazaars, market-places, or shops. The chief
wants of life were supplied by peddlers. Platters, jars, and baskets
of fruit, vegetables, and meat, were borne around twice or thrice
daily. Horsemen dashed about on beautiful steeds towards the fields in
the morning, or came home at nightfall at a slower pace. _I never saw
man or woman bask lazily in the sun._ Females were constantly busy
over their cotton and spinning wheels when not engaged in household
occupations; and often have I seen an elderly dame quietly crouched in
her hovel at sunset reading the Koran. Nor are the men of Timbo less
thrifty. Their city wall is said to hem in about ten thousand
individuals, representing all the social industries. They weave
cotton, work in leather, fabricate iron from the bar, engage
diligently in agriculture, and, whenever not laboriously employed,
devote themselves to reading and writing, of which they are
excessively fond.

These are the faint sketches, which, on ransacking my brain, I find
resting on its tablets. But I was tired of Timbo; I was perfectly
refreshed from my journey; and I was anxious to return to my factory
on the beach. Two "moons" only had been originally set apart for the
enterprise, and the third was already waxing towards its full. I
feared the Ali-Mami was not yet prepared with _slaves_ for my
departure, and I dreaded lest objections might be made if I approached
his royal highness with the flat announcement. Accordingly, I schooled
my interpreters, and visited that important personage. I made a long
speech, as full of compliments and blarney as a Christmas pudding is
of plums, and concluded by touching the soft part in African royalty's
heart--_slaves!_ I told the king that a vessel or two, with abundant
freights, would be waiting me on the river, and that I must hasten
thither with his choicest gangs if he hoped to reap a profit.

The king and the royal family were no doubt excessively grieved to
part with the Furtoo Mongo, but they were discreet persons and
"listened to reason." War parties and scouts were forthwith despatched
to blockade the paths, while press-gangs made recruits among the
villages, and even in Timbo. Sulimani-Ali, himself, sallied forth,
before daybreak, with a troop of horse, and at sundown, came back with
forty-five splendid fellows, captured in Findo and Furo!

The personal dread of me in the town itself, was augmented. If I had
been a Pestilence before, I was Death now! When I took my usual
morning walk the children ran from me screaming. Since the arrival of
Sulimani with his victims, all who were under the yoke thought their
hour of exile had come. The poor regarded me as the devil incarnate.
Once or twice, I caught women throwing a handful of dust or ashes
towards me, and uttering an invocation from the Koran to avert the
demon or save them from his clutches. Their curiosity was merged in
terror. _My popularity was over!_

It was not a little amusing that in the midst of the general dismay,
caused by the court of Timbo and myself, my colored brother
Ahmah-de-Bellah, and his kinsman Abdulmomen, lost no chance of
lecturing me about my soul! We kidnapped the Africans all day and
spouted Islamism all night! Our religion, however, was more
speculative than practical. It was much more important, they thought,
that we should embrace the faith of their peculiar theology, than that
we should trouble ourselves about human rights that interfered with
profits and pockets. We spared Mahometans and enslaved _only_ "_the
heathen_;" so that, in fact, we were merely obedient to the behests of
Mahomet when we subdued "the infidel!"

This process of proselytism, however, was not altogether successful.
As I was already a rather poor Christian, I fear that the Fullah did
not succeed in making me a very good Mussulman. Still, I managed to
amuse him with the hope of my _future_ improvement in his creed, so
that we were very good friends when the Ali-Mami summoned us for a
final interview.

The parting of men is seldom a maudlin affair. The king's relations
presented me bullocks, cows, goats, and sheep. His majesty sent me
five slaves. Sulimani-Ali offered a splendid white charger. The king's
wife supplied me with an African quilt ingeniously woven of red and
yellow threads unravelled from Manchester cottons; while
Ahmah-de-Bellah, like a gentleman of taste, despatched for my
consolation, the two prettiest handmaidens he could buy or steal in
Timbo!



CHAPTER XXV.


I shall not weary the reader with a narrative of my journey homeward
over the track I had followed on my way to Timbo. A grand Mahometan
service was performed at my departure, and Ahmah-de-Bellah accompanied
me as far as Jallica, whence he was recalled by his father in
consequence of a serious family dispute that required his presence.
Ali-Ninpha was prepared, in this place, to greet me with a welcome,
and a copious supply of gold, wax, ivory, and slaves. At Tamisso, the
worthy Mohamedoo had complied with his promise to furnish a similar
addition to the caravan; so that when we set out for Kya, our troop
was swelled to near a thousand strong, counting men, women, children
and ragamuffins.

At Kya I could not help tarrying four days with my jolly friend
Ibrahim, who received the tobacco, charged with "bitters," during my
absence, and was delighted to furnish a nourishing drop after my long
abstinence. As we approached the coast, another halt was called at a
favorable encampment, where Ali-Ninpha divided the caravan in four
parts, reserving the best portion of slaves and merchandise for me.
The division, before arrival, was absolutely necessary, in order to
prevent disputes or disastrous quarrels in regard to the merchantable
quality of negroes on the beach.

I hoped to take my people by surprise at Kambia; but when the factory
came in sight from the hill-tops back of the settlement, I saw the
Spanish flag floating from its summit, and heard the cannon booming
forth a welcome to the wanderer. Every thing had been admirably
conducted in my absence. The Fullah and my clerk preserved their
social relations and the public tranquillity unimpaired. My factory
and warehouse were as neat and orderly as when I left them, so that I
had nothing to do but go to sleep as if I had made a day's excursion
to a neighboring village.

Within a week I paid for the caravan's produce, despatched
Mami-de-Yong, and made arrangements with the captain of a slaver in
the river for the remainder of his merchandise. But the Fullah chief
had not left me more than a day or two, when I was surprised by a
traveller who dashed into my factory, with a message from
Ahmah-de-Bellah at Timbo, whence he had posted in twenty-one days.

Ahmah was in trouble. He had been recalled, as I said, from Jallica by
family quarrels. When he reached the paternal mat, he found his sister
Beeljie bound hand and foot in prison, with orders for her prompt
transportation to my factory as a slave. These were the irrevocable
commands of his royal father, and of her half-brother, Sulimani. All
his appeals, seconded by those of his mother, were unheeded. She must
be _shipped_ from the Rio Pongo; and no one could be trusted with the
task but the Ali-Mami's son and friend, the Mongo Téodor!

To resist this dire command, Ahmah charged the messenger to appeal to
my heart by our brotherly love _not_ to allow the maiden to be sent
over sea; but, by force or stratagem, to retain her until he arrived
on the beach.

The news amazed me. I knew that African Mahometans never sold their
caste or kindred into foreign slavery, unless their crime deserved a
penalty severer than death. I reflected a while on the message,
because I did not wish to complicate my relations with the leading
chiefs of the interior; but, in a few moments, natural sensibility
mastered every selfish impulse, and I told the envoy to hasten back on
the path of the suffering brother, and assure him I would shield his
sister, even at the risk of his kindred's wrath.

About a week afterwards I was aroused one morning by a runner from a
neighboring village over the hill, who stated that a courier reached
his town the night before from Sulimani-Ali,--a prince of
Timbo,--conducting a Fullah girl, who was to be sold by me
_immediately_ to a Spanish slaver. The girl, he said, resisted with
all her energy. She refused to walk. For the last four days she had
been borne along in a litter. She swore never to "see the ocean;" and
threatened to dash her skull against the first rock in her path, if
they attempted to carry her further. The stanch refusal embarrassed
her Mahometan conductor, inasmuch as his country's law forbade him to
use extraordinary compulsion, or degrade the maiden with a whip.

I saw at once that this delay and hesitation afforded an opportunity
to interfere judiciously in behalf of the spirited girl, whose sins or
faults were still unknown to me. Accordingly, I imparted the tale to
Ali-Ninpha; and, with his consent, despatched a shrewd dame from the
Mandingo's _harem_, with directions for her conduct to the village.
Woman's tact and woman's sympathy are the same throughout the world,
and the proud ambassadress undertook her task with pleased alacrity. I
warned her to be extremely cautious before the myrmidons of Sulimani,
but to seize a secret moment when she might win the maiden's
confidence, to inform her that I was the sworn friend of
Ahmah-de-Bellah, and would save her _if she followed my commands
implicitly_. She must cease resistance at once. She must come to the
river, which was fresh water, and not salt; and she must allow her
jailers to fulfil all the orders they received from her tyrannical
kinsmen. Muffled in the messenger's garments, I sent the manuscript
Koran of Ahmah-de-Bellah as a token of my truth, and bade the dame
assure Beeljie that her brother was already far on his journey to
redeem her in Kambia.

The mission was successful, and, early next day, the girl was brought
to my factory, _with a rope round her neck_.

The preliminaries for her purchase were tedious and formal. As her
sale was compulsory, there was not much question as to quality or
price. Still, I was obliged to promise a multitude of things I did not
intend to perform. In order to disgrace the poor creature as much as
possible, her sentence declared she should be "sold for salt,"--the
most contemptuous of all African exchanges, and used in the interior
for the purchase of _cattle_ alone.

Poor Beeljie stood naked and trembling before us while these
ceremonies were performing. A scowl of indignation flitted like a
shadow over her face, as she heard the disgusting commands. Tenderly
brought up among the princely brood of Timbo, she was a bright and
delicate type of the classes I described at the brook-side. Her limbs
and features were stained by the dust of travel, and her expression
was clouded with the grief of sensible degradation: still I would have
risked more than I did, when I beheld the mute appeal of her face and
form, to save her from the doom of Cuban exile.

When the last tub of salt was measured, I cut the rope from Beeljie's
neck, and, throwing over her shoulders a shawl,--in which she
instantly shrank with a look of gratitude,--called the female who had
borne my cheering message, to take the girl to her house and treat her
as the sister of my Fullah brother.

As I expected, this humane command brought the emissary of Sulimani to
his feet with a bound. He insisted on the restitution of the woman! He
swore I had deceived him; and, in fact, went through a variety of
African antics which are not unusual, even among the most civilized of
the tribes, when excited to extraordinary passion.

It was my habit, during these outbursts of native ire, to remain
perfectly quiet, not only until the explosion was over, but while the
smoke was disappearing from the scene. I fastened my eye, therefore,
silently, but intensely, on the tiger, following him in all his
movements about the apartment, till he sank subdued and panting, on
the mat. I then softly told him that this excitement was not only
unbecoming a Mahometan gentleman, and fit for a savage alone, but that
it was altogether wasted on the present occasion, _inasmuch as the
girl should be put on board a slaver in his presence_. Nevertheless, I
continued while the sister of Ahmah was under my roof, her blood must
be respected, and she should be treated in every respect as a royal
person.

I was quite as curious as the reader may be to know the crime of
Beeljie, for, up to that moment, I had not been informed of it.
Dismissing the Fullah as speedily as possible, I hastened to
Ali-Ninpha's dwelling and heard the sufferer's story.

The Mahometan princess, whose age surely did not exceed eighteen, had
been promised by the king and her half-brother, Sulimani, to an old
relative, who was not only accused of cruelty to his harem's inmates,
but was charged by Mussulmen with the heinous crime of eating "unclean
flesh." The girl, who seemed to be a person of masculine courage and
determination, resisted this disposal of her person; but, while her
brother Ahmah was away, she was forced from her mother's arms and
given to the filthy dotard.

It is commonly supposed that women are doomed to the basest obedience
in oriental lands; yet, it seems there is a Mahometan law,--or, at
least, a Fullah custom,--which saves the purity of an unwilling bride.
The delivery of Beeljie to her brutal lord kindled the fire of an
ardent temper. She furnished the old gentleman with specimens of
violence to which his harem had been a stranger, save when the master
himself chose to indulge in wrath. In fact, the Fullah damsel--half
acting, half in reality--played the virago so finely, that her
husband, after exhausting arguments, promises and supplications, sent
her back to her kindred _with an insulting message_.

It was a sad day when she returned to the paternal roof in Timbo. Her
resistance was regarded by the dropsical despot as rebellious
disobedience to father and brother; and, as neither authority nor love
would induce the outlaw to repent, her barbarous parent condemned her
to be "_a slave to Christians_."

Her story ended, I consoled the poor maiden with every assurance of
protection and comfort; for, now that the excitement of sale and
journey was over, her nerves gave way, and she sank on her mat,
completely exhausted. I commended her to the safeguard of my landlord
and the especial kindness of his women. Esther, too, stole up at night
to comfort the sufferer with her fondling tenderness, for she could
not speak the Fullah language;--and in a week, I had the damsel in
capital condition ready for a daring enterprise that was to seal her
fate.

When the Spanish slaver, whose cargo I had just completed, was ready
for sea, I begged her captain to aid me in the shipment of "_a
princess_" who had been consigned to my wardship by her royal
relations in the interior, but whom I dared not put on board his
vessel _until she was beyond the Rio Pongo's bar_. The officer
assented; and when the last boat-load of slaves was despatched from my
_barracoon_, he lifted his anchor and floated down the stream till he
got beyond the furthest breakers. Here, with sails loosely furled, and
every thing ready for instant departure, he again laid to, awaiting
the royal _bonne-bouche_.

In the mean time, I hurried Beeljie with her friends and Fullah jailer
to the beach, so that when the slaver threw his sails aback and
brought his vessel to the wind, I lost not a moment in putting the
girl in a canoe, with five Kroomen to carry her through the boiling
surf.

"Allah be praised!" sighed the Fullah, as the boat shot ahead into the
sea; while the girls of the harem fell on the sand with wails of
sorrow. The Kroomen, with their usual skill, drove the buoyant skiff
swiftly towards the slaver; but, as they approached the breakers south
of the bar, a heavy roller struck it on the side, and instantly, its
freight was struggling in the surge.

In a twinkling, the Fullah was on the earth, his face buried in the
sand; the girls screamed and tore their garments; Ali-Ninpha's wife
clung to me with the grasp of despair; while I, stamping with rage,
cursed the barbarity of the maiden's parent, whose sentence had
brought her to this wretched fate.

I kicked the howling hypocrite beneath me, and bade him hasten with
the news to Timbo, and tell the wicked patriarch that the Prophet
himself had destroyed the life of his wretched child, sooner than
suffer her to become a Christian's slave.

The Spanish vessel was under full sail, sweeping rapidly out to sea,
and the Kroomen swam ashore without their boat, as the grieving group
slowly and sadly retraced their way along the river's bank to Kambia.

[Illustration: THE SHIPPING OF BEELJIE.]

There was wailing that night in the village, and there was wailing in
Timbo when the Fullah returned with the tragic story. In fact, such
was the distracted excitement both on the sea-shore and in the
settlement, that none of my companions had eyes to observe an episode
of the drama which had been played that evening without rehearsal.

Every body who has been on the coast of Africa, or read of its people,
knows that Kroomen are altogether unaware of any difference between a
smooth river and the angriest wave. They would as willingly be upset
in the surf as stumble against a rock. I took advantage of this
amphibious nature, to station a light canoe immediately on the edge of
the breakers, and to order the daring swimmers it contained to grasp
the girl the moment her canoe was _purposely upset_! I promised the
divers a liberal reward if they lodged her in their boat, or swam with
her to the nearest point of the opposite beach; and so well did they
perform their secret task, that when they drew ashore her fainting
body, it was promptly received by a trusty Bager, who was in waiting
on the beach. Before the girl recovered her senses she was safely
afloat in the fisherman's canoe. His home was in a village on the
coast below; and, perhaps, it still remains a secret to this day, how
it was that, _for years after, a girl, the image of the lost Beeljie,
followed the footsteps of Ahmah, the Fullah of Timbo_!



CHAPTER XXVI.


After my toilsome journey to the interior, my despatch of a slaver,
and my adventurous enterprise in behalf of a Fullah princess, I
thought myself entitled to a long _siesta_; but my comfortable desires
and anticipations were doomed to disappointment. I was suddenly
stirred from this willing lethargy by a salute of twenty-one guns in
the offing. Our wonder was almost insupportable as to the character of
the ceremonious stranger who wasted powder so profusely, while a boy
was despatched to the top of the look-out tree to ascertain his
character. He reported a schooner anchored opposite Bangalang,
sporting a long pendant at the main, and a white ensign at her peak. I
took it for granted that no man-of-war would _salute_ a native chief,
and so concluded that it was some pretentious Frenchman, unacquainted
with the prudent customs of our demure coast.

The conjecture was right. At nightfall Mr. Ormond--whose humor had
somewhat improved since my return--apprised me that a Gallic slaver
had arrived to his consignment with a rich cargo, and hoped I would
join him at breakfast on board, by invitation of the commander.

Next morning, at sunrise, the Mongo and myself met for the first time
after our rupture with apparent cordiality on the deck of "La
Perouse," where we were welcomed with all that cordiality of grimace
for which a half-bred Frenchman is so justly celebrated. Captain
Brulôt could not speak English, nor could Mr. Ormond express himself
in French; so we wasted the time till breakfast was served in
discussing his cargo and prospects, through my interpretation. Fine
samples of gaudy calicoes, French guns, and superior brandy, were
exhibited and dwelt on with characteristic eloquence; but the Gaul
closed his bewitching catalogue with a shout of joy that made the
cabin ring, as he announced the complement of his cargo to be _five
hundred doubloons_. The scent of gold has a peculiar charm to African
slavers, and it will readily be supposed that our appetite for the
promised _déjeuner_ was not a little stimulated by the Spanish coin.
As rapidly as we could, we summed up the doubloons and his
merchandise; and, estimating the entire cargo at about $17,000,
offered him three hundred and fifty negroes for the lot. The bid was
no sooner made than accepted. Our private boats were sent ashore in
search of canoes to discharge the goods, and, with a relish and spirit
I never saw surpassed, we sat down to a piquant breakfast, spread on
deck beneath the awning.

I will not attempt to remember the dishes which provoked our appetites
and teased our thirst. We were happy already on the delightful claret
that washed down the viands; but, after the substantials were gone,
coffee was served, and succeeded by half a dozen various cordials, the
whole being appropriately capped by the foam of champagne.

When the last bumper was quaffed in honor of "La Perouse" and "belle
France," Captain Brulôt called for his writing-desk; when, at the
instant, four men sprung up as if by enchantment behind the Mongo and
myself, and grasping our arms with the gripe of a vice, held us in
their clutches till the carpenter riveted a shackle on our feet.

The scene passed so rapidly,--the transition from gayety to outrage
was so sharp and violent, that my bewildered mind cannot now declare
with certainty, whether mirth or anger prevailed at the clap-trap
trick of this dramatic _denouement_. I am quite sure, however, that if
I laughed at first, I very soon swore; for I have a distinct
recollection of dashing my fist in the poltroon's face before he could
extemporize an explanation.

When our limbs were perfectly secure, the French scoundrel
recommenced his shrugs, bows, grins and congées; and approaching Mr.
Ormond with a sarcastic simper, apprised him that the _petite comedie_
in which he took part, had been enacted for the collection of a
trifling debt which his excellency the Mongo owed a beloved brother,
who, alas! was no longer on earth to collect it for himself!

_Monsieur le Mongo_, he said, would have the kindness to remember
that, several years ago, his brother had left some _two hundred
slaves_ in his hands until called for; and he would also please to
take the trouble to recollect, that the said slaves had been twice
sent for, and twice refused. _Monsieur le Mongo_ must know, he
continued, that there was not much law on the coast of Africa; and
that, as he had Monsieur le Mongo's promissory note, or due-bill, for
the negroes, he thought this charming little _ruse_ would be the most
amiable and practical mode of enforcing it! Did his friend, _le
Mongo_, intend to honor this draft? It was properly endorsed, he would
see, in favor of the bearer; and if the _esclaves_ were quickly
forthcoming, the whole affair would pass off as agreeably and quickly
as the bubbles from a champagne glass.

By this time Ormond was so perfectly stupefied by drink, as well as
the atrocity, that he simply burst into a maudlin laugh, when I looked
at him for an explanation of the charge. _I_, surely, was not
implicated in it; yet, when I demanded the cause of the assault upon
_my_ person, in connection with the affair, Brulôt replied, with a
shrug, that as I was Ormond's clerk when the note was signed, I _must_
have had a finger in the pie; and, inasmuch as I now possessed a
factory of my own, it would doubtless be delightful to aid my ancient
patron in the liquidation of a debt that I knew to be lawful.

It was altogether useless to deny my presence in the factory, or
knowledge of the transaction, which, in truth, had occurred long
before my arrival on the Rio Pongo, during the clerkship of my
predecessor. Still, I insisted on immediate release. An hour flew by
in useless parley. But the Frenchman was firm, and swore that nothing
would induce him to liberate either of us without payment of the bill.
While we were talking, a crowd of canoes was seen shoving off from
Bangalang, filled with armed men; whereupon the excited Gaul ordered
his men to quarters, and double-shotted his guns.

As the first boat came within striking distance, a ball was fired
across her bows, which not only sent back the advance, but made the
entire fleet tack ship and steer homeward in dismay. Soon after,
however, I heard the war-drum beating in Bangalang, and could see the
natives mustering in great numbers along the river banks; yet, what
could undisciplined savages effect against the skinned teeth of our
six-pounders? At sunset, however, my clerk came off, with a white
flag, and the captain allowed him to row alongside to receive our
orders in his presence. Ormond was not yet in a state to consult as to
our appropriate means of rescue from the trickster's clutches; so I
directed the young man to return in the morning with changes of
raiment; but, in the mean while, to desire the villagers of both
settlements to refrain from interference in our behalf. An excellent
meal, with abundance of claret, was served for our entertainment, and,
on a capital mattress, we passed a night of patient endurance in our
iron stockings.

At daylight, water and towels were served for our refreshment. After
coffee and cigars were placed on the board, Brulôt put by his
sarcasm, and, in an off-hand fashion, demanded whether we had come to
our senses and intended to pay the debt? My Italian blood was in a
fever, and I said nothing. Ormond, however,--now entirely sober, and
who was enjoying a cigar with the habitual _insouciance_ of a
mulatto,--replied quietly that he could make no promises or
arrangements whilst confined on board, but if allowed to go ashore,
he would fulfil his obligation in two or three days. An hour was
spent by the Frenchman in pondering on the proposal; when it was
finally agreed that the Mongo should be set at liberty, provided he
left, as hostages, four of his children and two of the black chiefs
who visited him in my boat. The compact was sealed by the hoisting of
a flag under the discharge of a blank cartridge; and, in an hour, the
pledges were in the cabin, under the eye of a sentry, while the Mongo
was once more in Bangalang.

These negotiations, it will be perceived, did not touch _my_ case,
though I was in no manner guilty; yet I assented to the proposal
because I thought that Ormond would be better able than myself to find
the requisite number of slaves at that moment. I ordered my clerk,
however, to press all the indifferent and useless servants in my
factory, and to aid the Mongo with every slave at present in my
_barracoon_.

Before sunset of that day, this young man came aboard with fifty
negroes from my establishment, and demanded my release. It was
refused. Next day forty more were despatched by the Mongo; but still
my liberty was denied. I upbraided the scoundrel with his meanness,
and bade him look out for the day of retribution. But he snapped his
fingers at my threat as he exclaimed: "_Cher ami, ce n'est que la
fortune de guerre!_"

It was a task of difficulty to collect the remaining one hundred and
ten slaves among factories which had been recently drained by Cuban
vessels. Many domestic menials escaped to the forest when the story
became known, as they did not wish to take the place of their betters
in the "French service."

Thrice had the sun risen and set since I was a prisoner. During all
the time, my blood tingled for revenge. I was tricked, humbled and
disgraced. Never did I cease to pray for the arrival of some
well-armed _Spanish slaver_; and, towards evening of the fourth day,
lo! the boon was granted! That afternoon, a boat manned by negroes,
passed with the Spanish flag; but, as there was no white man aboard,
Brulôt took it for a _ruse_ of the Mongo, designed to alarm him into
an unconditional release of his captives.

I must do the Gaul the justice to declare, that during my confinement,
he behaved like a gentleman, in supplies from the pantry and
spirit-room. Neither was he uncivil or unkind in his general demeanor.
Indeed, he several times regretted that this was the only means in his
power "to collect a promissory note on the coast of Africa;" yet, I
was not Christian enough to sympathize with the sheriff, or to return
his compliments with any thing but a curse. But, now that a Spaniard
was within hail, I felt a sudden lifting of the weight that was on my
heart. I shouted for champagne! The steward brought it with alacrity,
and poured with trembling hand the bumpers I drained to Saint Jago and
old Spain. The infection soon spread. They began to believe that a
rescue was at hand. The news was heard with dismay in the forecastle.
Brulôt alone stood obstinate, but indecisive.

Presently, I called him to join me in a glass, and, as we drank the
foaming liquid, I pledged him to another "within twenty-four hours
beneath the Spanish flag." The Gaul feigned a sort of hectic hilarity
as he swallowed the wine and the toast, but he could not stand the
flash of revenge in my eye and burning cheek, and retired to consult
with his officers.



CHAPTER XXVII.


I slept soundly that night; but the sun was not clear of the forest
when I hobbled on deck in my shackles, and was searching the seaward
horizon for my beloved Castilian. Presently the breeze began to
freshen, and the tall, raking masts of a schooner were seen gliding
above the tops of the mangroves that masked the Rio Pongo's mouth.
Very soon the light wind and tide drifted her clear of the bends, and
an anchor was let go within musket shot of my prison, while springs
were run out to the bushes to give range to her broadside. I saw at
once, from her manoeuvres, that Ormond had communicated with the
craft during the night.

Brulôt felt that his day was over. The Spaniard's decks were crowded
with an alert, armed crew; four charming little bull-dogs showed their
muzzles from port holes; while a large brass swivel, amidships, gave
token of its readiness to fight or salute. For a minute or two the
foiled Frenchman surveyed the scene through his glass; then, throwing
it over his shoulder, ordered the mate to strike off my "darbies." As
the officer obeyed, a voice was heard from the Spaniard, commanding a
boat to be sent aboard, under penalty of a shot if not instantly
obeyed. The boat was lowered; but who would man her? The chief officer
refused; the second declined; the French sailors objected; the
Creoles and mulattoes from St. Thomas went below; so that no one was
left to fulfil the slaver's order but Brulôt or myself.

"_Bien!_" said my crest-fallen cock, "it's your turn to crow, Don
Téodore. Fortune seems on your side, and you are again free. Go to the
devil, if you please, _mon camarade_, and send your imps for the
slaves as soon as you want them!"

By this time the Spaniard had lighted his matches, levelled his guns,
and, under the aim of his musketry, repeated the order for a boat.
Seeing the danger of our party, I leaped to the bulwarks, and hailing
my deliverer in Spanish, bade him desist. The request was obeyed as I
threw myself into the yawl, cut the rope, and, alone, sculled the
skiff to the slaver.

A shout went up from the deck of my deliverer as I jumped aboard and
received the cordial grasp of her commander. Ali-Ninpha, too, was
there to greet and defend me with a chosen band of his people. While I
was absorbed in the joy of welcome and liberation, the African stole
with his band to the Frenchman's boat, and was rapidly filling it to
board the foe, when my clerk apprised me of the impending danger. I
was fortunate enough to control the enraged savage, else I know not
what might have been the fate of Brulôt and the officers during the
desertion of his mongrel and cowardly crew.

The captain desired his mates to keep an eye on the Gaul while we
retired to the cabin for consultation; and here I learned that I was
on board the "Esperanza," consigned to me from Matanzas. In turn, I
confirmed the account they had already heard of my mishap from the
Mongo's messengers; but hoped the Cuban captain would permit me to
take pacific revenge after my own fashion, inasmuch as my
captor--barring the irons--had behaved with uncommon civility. I had
no trouble, of course, in obtaining the commander's assent to this
request, though he yielded it under the evident displeasure of his
crew, whose Spanish blood was up against the Frenchman, and would
willingly have inflicted a signal punishment on this neutral ground.

After these preliminaries, Captain Escudero and myself returned to
the "La Perouse" with two boat-loads of armed followers, while our
approach was covered by the cannons and small arms of the "Esperanza."
Brulôt received us in moody silence on the quarter-deck. His officers
sat sulkily on a gun to leeward, while two or three French seamen
walked to and fro on the forecastle.

My first command was to spike the vessel's guns. Next, I decreed and
superintended the disembarkation of the stolen slaves; and, lastly, I
concluded the morning call with a request that Brulôt would _produce
the five hundred doubloons and his "promissory note" for two hundred
slaves_!

The fatal document, duly indorsed, was quickly delivered, but no
persuasion or threat induced the angry Gaul to show his gold, or a
manifest of the cargo.

After ample indulgence, I despatched a man to seek his writing-desk,
and discovered that six hundred doubloons had in reality been shipped
in St. Thomas. Of course, their production was imperiously demanded;
but Brulôt swore they had been landed, with his supercargo, in the
neighboring Rio Nunez. I was near crediting the story, when a slight
sneer I perceived flickering over the steward's face, put me on the
_qui vive_ to request an inspection of the log-book, which,
unfortunately for my captor, did not record the disembarkation of the
cash. This demonstrated Brulôt's falsehood, and authorized a demand
for his trunk. The knave winced as the steward descended to bring it;
and he leaped with rage as I split it with a hatchet, and counted two
hundred and fifty Mexican doubloons on the deck. _His cargo, however,
proved to be a sham of samples._

Turning innocently to Escudero, I remarked that he must have been put
to considerable trouble in rescuing me from this outlaw, and hoped he
would suffer his men to be recompensed for their extra toil under the
rays of an African sun. I would not venture to judge the value of such
devoted services; but requested him to fix his own price and receive
payment on the spot.

Escudero very naturally supposed that _about_ two hundred and fifty
Mexican ounces would compensate him to a fraction, and, accordingly,
the two hundred and fifty shiners, glistening on the deck, forthwith
returned to their bag and went overboard into his boat.

"_Adieu! mon cher_," said I, as I followed the gold; "_la fortune de
guerre_ has many phases, you see; how do you like this one? The next
game you play on the coast of Africa, my chicken, recollect that
though a _knave_ can take a trick, yet the _knave may be trumped
before the hand is played out_!"



CHAPTER XXVIII.


La Esperanza discharged her cargo rapidly, but, before I was ready to
send back a living freight, poor Escudero fell a victim to African
fever.

I had seen much of the country; I had made some money; my clerk was a
reliable fellow; I was growing somewhat anxious for a change of scene;
and, in fact, I only wanted a decent excuse to find myself once more
aboard a "skimmer of the seas," for a little relaxation after the
oppressive monotony of a slaver's life. Escudero's death seemed to
offer the desired opportunity. His mate was an inexperienced seaman;
his officers were unacquainted with the management of a slave cargo;
and, upon a view of the whole field of interests, I thought it best to
take charge of the schooner and pay a visit to my friends in Cuba. In
the mean time, however, a Danish brig arrived for negroes, so that it
became necessary for me, with my multiplied duties, to bestir myself
in the collection of slaves.

Whilst I was dining one afternoon at Ormond's factory with the Danish
captain of the trader, the boom of a gun, followed rapidly by two or
three more, announced the arrival of another craft. We drank a toast
to his advent, and were beginning to condole a little over our
difficulty in procuring blacks, when the look-out ran into our room
with the report that my Spaniard was firing into the Dane. We rushed
to the piazza whence the scene of action might be beheld, and another
shot from my vessel seemed to indicate that she was the aggressor. The
Dane and myself hurried aboard our respective schooners, but when I
reached the Esperanza, my crew were weighing anchor, while the
quarter-deck was strewn with fire-arms. The mate stood on the heel of
the bowsprit, urging his men to alacrity; the sailors hove at the
windlass with mingled shouts of passion and oaths of revenge; on a
mattress lay the bleeding form of my second officer, while a seaman
groaned beside him with a musket ball in his shoulder.

My arrival was the signal for a pause. As quickly as possible, I
inquired into the affray, which had originated like many a sailor's
dispute, on a question of precedence at the watering place in a
neighboring brook. The Danes were seven, and we but three. Our
Spaniards had been driven off, and my second mate, in charge of the
yawl, received a _trenchant_ blow from an oar-blade, which cut his
skull and felled him senseless on the sand.

Of course, "the watering" was over for the day, and both boats
returned to their vessels to tell their stories. The moment the Danes
got on board, they imprudently ran up their ensign; and, as this act
of apparent defiance occurred just as the Esperanza was receiving the
lifeless form of her officer, my excited crew discharged a broadside
in reply to the warlike token. Gun followed gun, and musketry rattled
against musketry. The Dane miscalculated the range of the guns, and
his grape fell short of my schooner, while our snarling sixes made sad
havoc with his bulwarks and rigging.

I had hardly learned the facts of the case and thought of a truce,
when the passionate Northman sent a round-shot whistling over my head.
Another and another followed in its wake, but they aimed too high for
damage. At twenty-four our blood is not so diplomatically pacific as
in later years, and this second aggression rekindled the lava in my
Italian veins. There was no longer question of a white flag or a
parley. In a twinkling, I slipped my cable and ran up the jib and
mainsail, so as to swing the schooner into a raking position at short
quarters; and before the Dane could counteract my manoeuvre, I gave
him a dose of grape and cannister which tore his ensign to ribbons and
spoiled the looks of his hull materially. My second shot splintered
the edge of his mast; but while I was making ready for a third, to
tickle him betwixt wind and water, down tumbled his impertinent
pendant and the day was won.

For a while there was a dead silence between the warriors. Neither
hailed nor sent a boat on board of the other. Ormond perceived this
cessation of hostilities from his piazza at Bangalang, and coming out
in a canoe, rowed to the Dane after hearing my version of the battle.

I waited anxiously either for his return or a message, but as I was
unadvised of the Mongo's views and temper in regard to the affray, I
thought it well, before dark, to avoid treachery by quitting the river
and placing my schooner in a creek with her broadside to the shore.
Special charge was then given to the mate and men to be alert all
night long; after which, I went on shore to protect the rear by
placing my factory in a state of defence.

But my precautions were needless. At daylight the guard brought us
news of the Dane's departure, and when I descended the river to
Bangalang, Ormond alleged that the slaver had sailed for Sierra Leone
to seek succor either from a man-of-war or the British government.

It may be supposed that I was not so "green" in Africa as to believe
this story. No vessel, equipped for a slave cargo, would dare to enter
the imperial colony. Yet the Northman had bitter cause for grief and
anger. His vessel was seriously harmed by my grape-shot; his carpenter
was slain during the action; and three of his seaman were lingering
with desperate wounds. In a few days, however, he returned to the Rio
Pongo from his airing on the Atlantic, where his wrath had probably
been somewhat cooled by the sea-breeze. His craft was anchored higher
up the river than my Spaniard, and thus our crews avoided intercourse
for the future.

But this was not the case with the captains. The Mongo's table was a
sort of neutral ground, at which we met with cold salutations but
without conversation. Ormond and the Dane, however, became exceedingly
intimate. Indeed, the mulatto appeared to exhibit a degree of
friendship for the Margaritan I had never seen him bestow on any one
else. This singularity, together with his well-known insincerity, put
me on my guard to watch his proceedings with increased caution.

Personal observation is always a safe means of self-assurance; yet I
have sometimes found it to be "a way of the world,"--not to be
altogether scorned or disregarded,--to _purchase_ the good will of
"confidential" persons. Accordingly, I made it "worth the while" of
Ormond's body-servant to sift the secret of this sudden devotion; and
in a few days the faithless slave, who spoke English remarkably well,
told me that the Dane, by dint of extra pay and the secret delivery of
all his spare provisions and the balance of his cargo, had induced the
Mongo to promise the delivery of his slaves before mine.

Now, Ormond, by a specific contract,--made and paid for before the
Dane's arrival,--owed me two hundred negroes on account of the
Esperanza's cargo. The Dane knew this perfectly, but my severe
chastisement rankled in his heart, and made him seek revenge in the
most effectual way on the coast of Africa. He was bent upon depriving
me of one hundred negroes, in the hands of Mr. Ormond.

I said nothing of my discovery, nor did I make any remarks on the
astonishing love that existed between these Siamese twins; still, I
kept my eye on Ormond's _barracoon_ until I found his stock had
gradually augmented to three hundred. Thereupon, I dropped in one
morning unceremoniously, and, in a gentle voice, told him of his
treacherous design. My ancient patron was so degraded by debauchery,
that he not only avoided a passionate outburst when I made the charge,
but actually seemed to regard it as a sort of capital joke, or
recompense for the damage I had inflicted on the Dane! We did not
dream of arguing the propriety or impropriety of his conduct; nor did
I think of upbraiding him with baseness, as I would have done any one
who had dipped only his finger-tips in fraud. Still, ever and anon, I
saw a glimmer of former spirit in the wretch, and thought I would
attempt a counter-mine of interest, which Ormond might probably
understand and grasp. I resolved, in fact, to _outbid_ the Dane, for I
thought I possessed a card that could take him. Accordingly, I offered
to surrender a bond for one hundred slaves he owed me on account of
the Esperanza; I promised, moreover, one hundred and fifty negroes, to
be delivered that evening,--and I tendered _Brulôt's promissory note
for the missing two hundred darkies_,--if he would pledge himself _to
load the Dane during the succeeding night_!

Ormond took the hint like tinder, and grasped my hand on the bargain.
The Dane was ordered to prepare his vessel to receive cargo without
delay, and was specially desired _to drop down about fifteen miles
towards the bar, so as to be off the moment his slaves were under
hatches_!

For the next six hours there was not a busier bee on the Rio Pongo
than Don Téodore. My schooner was put in ship-shape for cargo. The
mate was ordered to have his small arms and cutlasses in perfect
condition. Our pivot gun was double-loaded with chain-shot. My factory
was set in order, and written directions given the clerk in
anticipation of a four months' absence. Ali-Ninpha was put in charge
of the territorial domain, while my Spaniard was intrusted with the
merchandise.

It was encouraging to see, in the course of the afternoon, that my
northern rival had swallowed the bait, for he borrowed a kedge to aid
him, as he said, in descending the river against the tide, in order to
"_get a better berth_." He found the trees and air uncomfortable
sixteen miles from the bar, and wanted to approach it to be "nearer
the sea-breeze!" The adroitness of his excuse made me laugh in my
sleeve, as the clumsy trickster shot past me with his sails unbent.

Well,--night came on, with as much darkness as ever robes the star-lit
skies of Africa when the moon is obscured. My long boat was quickly
filled with ten men, armed with pistol and cutlass; and in a short
time, the canoes from Bangalang hove in sight with their sable burden.
I boarded the first one myself, commanding the rowers to pull for my
Spaniard. The second was seized by the mate, who followed in my wake.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth, shared the same fate in rapid
succession; so that, in an hour, three hundred and seventy-five
negroes were, safe beneath the Esperanza's deck. Thereupon, I
presented the head-man of each canoe a document acknowledging the
receipt of his slaves, _and wrote an order on the Mongo in favor of
the Dane, for the full amount of the darkies I had borrowed_!

The land wind sprang up and the tide turned when daylight warned me it
was time to be off; and, as I passed the Dane snugly at anchor just
inside the bar, I called all hands to give three cheers, and to wish
him happiness in the "enjoyment of his sea-breeze."



CHAPTER XXIX.


When the land-breeze died away, it fell entirely calm, and the sea
continued an unruffled mirror for three days, during which the
highlands remained in sight, like a faint cloud in the east. The
glaring sky and the reflecting ocean acted and reacted on each other
until the air glowed like a furnace. During night a dense fog
enveloped the vessel with its clammy folds. When the vapor lifted on
the fourth morning, our look-out announced a sail from the mast-head,
and every eye was quickly sweeping the landward horizon in search of
the stranger. Our spies along the beach had reported the coast clear
of cruisers when I sailed, so that I hardly anticipated danger from
men-of-war; nevertheless, we held it discreet to avoid intercourse,
and accordingly, our double-manned sweeps were rigged out to impel us
slowly towards the open ocean. Presently, the mate went aloft with his
glass, and, after a deliberate gaze, exclaimed: "It is only the
Dane,--I see his flag." At this my crew swore they would sooner fight
than sweep in such a latitude; and, with three cheers, came aft to
request that I would remain quietly where I was until the Northman
overhauled us.

We made so little headway with oars that I thought the difference
trifling, whether we pulled or were becalmed. Perhaps, it might be
better to keep the hands fresh, if a conflict proved inevitable. I
passed quickly among the men, with separate inquiries as to their
readiness for battle, and found all--from the boy to the
mate--anxious, at every hazard, to do their duty. Our breakfast was as
cold as could be served in such a climate, but I made it palatable
with a case of claret.

When a sail on the coast of Africa heaves in sight of _a slaver_, it
is always best for the imperilled craft, especially if gifted with
swift hull and spreading wings, to take flight without the courtesies
that are usual in mercantile sea-life. At the present day, fighting
is, of course, out of the question, and the valuable prize is
abandoned by its valueless owners. At all times, however,--and as a
guard against every risk, whether the cue be to fight or fly,--the
prudent slaver, as soon as he finds himself in the neighborhood of
unwholesome canvas, puts out his fire, nails his forecastle, sends his
negroes below, and secures the gratings over his hatches.

All these preparations were quietly made on board the Esperanza; and,
in addition, I ordered a supply of small arms and ammunition on deck,
where they were instantly covered with blankets. Every man was next
stationed at his post, or where he might be most serviceable. The
cannons were sponged and loaded with care; and, as I desired to
deceive our new acquaintance, I ran up the Portuguese flag. The calm
still continued as the day advanced;--indeed, I could not perceive a
breath of air by our dog-vane, which veered from side to side as the
schooner rolled slowly on the lazy swell. The stranger did not
approach, nor did we advance. There we hung--

    "A painted ship upon a painted ocean!"

I cannot describe the fretful anxiety which vexes a mind under such
circumstances. Slaves below; a blazing sun above; the boiling sea
beneath; a withering air around; decks piled with materials of death;
escape unlikely; a phantom in chase behind; the ocean like an
unreachable eternity before; uncertainty every where; and, within your
skull, a feverish mind, harassed by doubt and responsibility, yet
almost craving for any act of desperation that will remove the spell.
It is a living nightmare, from which the soul pants to be free.

With torments like these, I paced the deck for half an hour beneath
the awning, when, seizing a telescope and mounting the rigging, I took
deliberate aim at the annoyer. He was full seven or eight miles away
from us, but very soon I saw, or fancied I saw, a row of ports, which
the Dane had not: then sweeping the horizon a little astern of the
craft, I distinctly made out three boats, fully manned, making for us
with ensigns flying.

Anxious to avoid a panic, I descended leisurely, and ordered the
sweeps to be spread once more in aid of the breeze, which, within the
last ten minutes, had freshened enough to fan us along about a knot an
hour. Next, I imparted my discovery to the officers; and, passing once
more among the men to test their nerves, I said it was likely they
would have to encounter an angrier customer than the Dane. In fact, I
frankly told them our antagonist was unquestionably a British cruiser
of ten or twelve guns, from whose clutches there was no escape, unless
we repulsed the boats.

I found my crew as confident in the face of augmented risk as they had
been when we expected the less perilous Dane. Collecting their votes
for fight or surrender, I learned that all _but two_ were in favor of
resistance. I had no doubt in regard _to the mates_, in our
approaching trials.

By this time the breeze had again died away to utter calmness, while
the air was so still and fervent that our sweltering men almost sank
at the sweeps. I ordered them in, threw overboard several water-casks
that encumbered the deck, and hoisted our boat to the stern-davits to
prevent boarding in that quarter. Things were perfectly ship-shape all
over the schooner, and I congratulated myself that her power had been
increased by two twelve pound carronades, the ammunition, and part of
the crew of a Spanish slaver, abandoned on the bar of Rio Pongo a week
before my departure. We had in all seven guns, and abundance of
musketry, pistols and cutlasses, to be wielded and managed by
thirty-seven hands.

By this time the British boats, impelled by oars alone, approached
within half a mile, while the breeze sprang up in cat's-paws all round
the eastern horizon, but without fanning us with a single breath.
Taking advantage of one of these slants, the cruiser had followed her
boats, but now, about five miles off, was again as perfectly becalmed
as _we_ had been all day. Presently, I observed the boats converge
within the range of my swivel, and lay on their oars as if for
consultation. I seized this opportunity, while the enemy was huddled
together, to give him the first welcome; and, slewing the schooner
round with my sweeps, I sent him a shot from my swivel. But the ball
passed over their heads, while, with three cheers, they
separated,--the largest boat making directly for our waist, while the
others steered to cross our bow and attack our stern.

During the chase my weapons, with the exception of the pivot gun, were
altogether useless, but I kept a couple of sweeps ahead and a couple
astern to play the schooner, and employed that loud-tongued instrument
as the foe approached. The larger boat, bearing a small carronade, was
my best target, yet we contrived to miss each other completely until
my sixth discharge, when a double-headed shot raked the whole bank of
starboard oar-blades, and disabled the rowers by the severe
concussion. This paralyzed the launch's advance, and allowed me to
devote my exclusive attention to the other boats; yet, before I could
bring the schooner in a suitable position, a signal summoned the
assailants aboard the cruiser to repair damages. I did not reflect
until this moment of reprieve, that, early in the day, I had hoisted
the Portuguese ensign _to deceive the Dane_, and imprudently left it
aloft in the presence of _John Bull_! I struck the false flag at once,
unfurled the Spanish, and refreshing the men with a double allowance
of grog and grub, put them again to the sweeps. When the cruisers
reached their vessels, the men instantly re-embarked, while the boats
were allowed to swing alongside, which convinced me that the assault
would be renewed as soon as the rum and roast-beef of Old England had
strengthened the heart of the adversary. Accordingly, noon had not
long passed when our pursuers again embarked. Once more they
approached, divided as before, and again we exchanged ineffectual
shots. I kept them at bay with grape and musketry until I hear three
o'clock, when a second signal of retreat was hoisted on the cruiser,
and answered by exultant _vivas_ from my crew. It grieved me, I
confess, not to mingle my voice with these shouts, for I was sure that
the lion retreated to make a better spring, nor was I less
disheartened when the mate reported that nearly all the ammunition for
our cannons was exhausted. Seven kegs of powder were still in the
magazine, though not more than a dozen rounds of grape, cannister, or
balls, remained in the locker. There was still an abundance of
cartridges for pistols and musketry, but these were poor defences
against resolute Englishmen whose blood was up and who would
unquestionably renew the charge with reinforcements of vigorous men.
Fore and aft, high and low, we searched for missiles. Musket balls
were crammed in bags; bolts and nails were packed in cartridge paper;
slave shackles were formed with rope-yarns into chain-shot; and, in an
hour, we were once more tolerably prepared to pepper the foe.

When these labors terminated, I turned my attention to the relaxed
crew, portions of whom refused wine, and began to sulk about the
decks. As yet only two had been slightly scratched by spent musket
balls; but so much discontent began to appear among the
passenger-sailors of the wrecked slaver, that my own hands could with
difficulty restrain them from revolt. I felt much difficulty in
determining how to act, but I had no time for deliberation. Violence
was clearly not my _rôle_, but persuasion was a delicate game in such
straits among men whom I did not command with the absolute authority
of a master. I cast my eye over the taffrail, and seeing that the
British boats were still afar, I followed my first impulse, and
calling the whole gang to the quarter-deck, tried the effect of
African palaver and Spanish gold. I spoke of the perils of capture and
of the folly of surrendering _a slaver_ while there was the slightest
_hope_ of escape. I painted the unquestionable result of being taken
after such resistance as had already been made. I drew an accurate
picture of a tall and dangerous instrument on which piratical
gentlemen have sometimes been known to terminate their lives; and
finally, I attempted to improve the rhythm of my oratory by a couple
of golden ounces to each combatant, and the promise of a slave apiece
at the end of our _successful_ voyage.

My suspense was terrible, as there,--on the deck of a slaver, amid
calm, heat, battle, and mutiny, with a volcano of three hundred and
seventy-five imprisoned devils below me,--I awaited a reply, which,
favorable or unfavorable, I must hear without emotion. Presently,
three or four came forward and accepted my offer. I shrugged my
shoulders, and took half a dozen turns up and down the deck. Then,
turning to the crowd, I _doubled my bounty_, and offering a boat to
take the recusants on board the enemy, swore that I would stand by the
Esperanza with my unaided crew in spite of the _dastards_!

The offensive word with which I closed the harangue seemed to touch
the right string of the Spanish guitar, and in an instant I saw the
dogged heads spring up with a jerk of mortified pride, while the
steward and cabin-boy poured in a fresh supply of wine, and a shout of
union went up from both divisions. I lost no time in confirming my
converts; and, ramming down my eloquence with a wad of doubloons,
ordered every man to his post, for the enemy was again in motion.

But he did not come alone. New actors had appeared on the scene during
my engagement with the crew. The sound of the cannonade had been heard,
it seems, by a consort of his Britannic Majesty's brig * * * *;[E]
and, although the battle was not within her field of vision, she
despatched another squadron of boats under the guidance of the reports
that boomed through the silent air.

The first division of my old assailants was considerably in advance of
the reinforcement; and, in perfect order, approached us in a solid
body, with the apparent determination of boarding on the same side.
Accordingly, I brought all my weapons and hands to that quarter, and
told both gunners and musketeers not to fire without orders. Waiting
their discharge I allowed them to get close; but the commander of the
launch seemed to anticipate my plan by the reservation of his fire
till he could draw mine, in order to throw his other boat-loads on
board under the smoke of his swivel and small arms. It was odd to
witness our mutual forbearance, nor could I help laughing, even in the
midst of danger, at the mutual checkmate we were trying to prepare.
However, my Britons did not avoid pulling, though they omitted firing,
so that they were already rather perilously close when I thought it
best to give them the contents of my pivot, which I had crammed almost
to the muzzle with bolts and bullets. The discharge paralyzed the
advance, while my carronades flung a quantity of grape into the
companion boats. In turn, however, they plied us so deftly with balls
from swivels and musketry, that five of our most valuable defenders
writhed in death on the deck.

The rage of battle at closer quarters than heretofore, and the screams
of bleeding comrades beneath their feet, roused to its fullest extent
the ardent nature of my Spanish crew. They tore their garments;
stripped to their waists; called for rum; and swore they would die
rather than yield!

By this time the consort's reinforcement was rapidly approaching; and,
with hurrah after hurrah, the five fresh boats came on in double
column. As they drew within shot, each cheer was followed with a fatal
volley, under which several more of our combatants were prostrated,
while a glancing musket ball lacerated my knee with a painful wound.
For five minutes we met this onset with cannon, muskets, pistols, and
enthusiastic shouts; but in the despairing confusion of the hour, the
captain of our long gun rammed home his ball before the powder, so
that when the priming burnt, the most reliable of our weapons was
silent forever! At this moment a round shot from the launch dismounted
a carronade;--our ammunition was wasted;--and in this disabled state,
the Britons prepared to board our crippled craft. Muskets, bayonets,
pistols, swords, and knives, for a space kept them at bay, even at
short quarters; but the crowded boats tumbled their enraged fighters
over our forecastle like surges from the sea, and, cutlass in hand,
the victorious furies swept every thing before them. The cry was to
"spare no one!" Down went sailor after sailor, struggling with the
frenzied passion of despair. Presently an order went forth to split
the gratings and release the slaves. I clung to my post and cheered
the battle to the last; but when I heard this fatal command, which, if
obeyed, might bury assailant and defender in common ruin, I ordered
the remnant to throw down their arms, while I struck the flag and
warned the rash and testy Englishman to beware.

The senior officer of the boarding party belonged to the division from
the cruiser's consort. As he reached the deck, his element eye fell
sadly on the scene of blood, and he commanded "quarter" immediately.
It was time. The excited boarders from the repulsed boats had mounted
our deck brimming with revenge. Every one that opposed was cut down
without mercy; and in another moment, it is likely I would have joined
the throng of the departed.

All was over! There was a hushed and panting crowd of victors and
vanquished on the bloody deck, when the red ball of the setting sun
glared through a crimson haze and filled the motionless sea with
liquid fire. For the first time that day I became sensible of personal
sufferings. A stifling sensation made me gasp for air as I sat down on
the taffrail of my captured schooner, and felt that I was--a prisoner!


FOOTNOTE:

[E] It will be understood by the reader, hereafter, why I omit the
cruiser's name.



CHAPTER XXX.


After a brief pause, the commanding officers of both divisions
demanded my papers, which, while I acknowledged myself _his_ prisoner,
I yielded to the _senior_ personage who had humanely stopped the
massacre. I saw that this annoyed the other, whom I had so frequently
repulsed; yet I thought the act fair as well as agreeable to my
feelings, for I considered my crew competent to resist the _first
division successfully_, had it not been succored by the consort's
boats.

But my decision was not submitted to by the defeated leader without a
dispute, which was conducted with infinite harshness, until the senior
ended the quarrel by ordering his junior to tow the prize within reach
of the corvette * * * *. My boat, though somewhat riddled with balls,
was lowered, and I was commanded to go on board the captor, with my
papers and servant under the escort of a midshipman. The captain stood
at the gangway as I approached, and, seeing my bloody knee, ordered me
not to climb the ladder, but to be hoisted on deck and sent below for
the immediate care of my wound. It was hardly more than a severe
laceration of flesh, yet was quite enough to prevent me from bending
my knee, though it did not deny locomotion with a stiff leg.

The dressing over,--during which I had quite a pleasant chat with the
amiable surgeon,--I was summoned to the cabin, where numerous
questions were put, all of which I answered frankly and _truly_.
Thirteen of my crew were slain, and nearly all the rest wounded. My
papers were next inspected, and found to be Spanish. "How was it,
then," exclaimed the commander, "that you fought under the Portuguese
flag?"

Here was the question I always expected, and for which I had in vain
taxed my wit and ingenuity to supply a reasonable excuse! I had
nothing to say for the daring violation of nationality; so I resolved
to tell the truth boldly about my dispute with the Dane, and my desire
to deceive him early in the day, but I cautiously omitted the
adroitness with which I had deprived him of his darkies. I confessed
that I forgot the flag when I found I had a different foe from the
Dane to contend with, and I flattered myself with the hope that, had I
repulsed the first unaided onset, I would have been able to escape
with the usual sea-breeze.

The captain looked at me in silence a while, and, in a sorrowful
voice, asked if I was aware that my defence under the Portuguese
ensign, no matter what tempted its use, could only be construed as an
act of _piracy_!

A change of color, an earnest gaze at the floor, compressed lips and
clenched teeth, were my only replies.

This painful scrutiny took place before the surgeon, whose looks and
expressions strongly denoted his cordial sympathy with my situation.
"Yes," said Captain * * * *, "it is a pity for a sailor who fights as
bravely as you have done, in defence of what he considers his
property, to be condemned for a combination of mistakes and
forgetfulness. However, let us not hasten matters; you are hungry and
want rest, and, though we are navy-men, and on the coast of Africa, we
are not savages." I was then directed to remain where I was till
further orders, while my servant came below with an abundant supply of
provisions. The captain went on deck, but the doctor remained.
Presently, I saw the surgeon and the commander's steward busy over a
basket of biscuits, meat and bottles, to the handle of which a cord,
several yards in length, was carefully knotted. After this was
arranged, the doctor called for a lamp, and unrolling a chart, asked
whether I knew the position of the vessel. I replied affirmatively,
and, at his request, measured the distance, and noted the course to
the nearest land, which was Cape Verga, about thirty-seven miles off.

"Now, Don Téodore, if I were in your place, with the prospect of a
noose and tight-rope dancing before me, I have not the slightest
hesitation in saying that I would make an attempt to know what Cape
Verga is made of before twenty-four hours were over my head! And see,
my good fellow, how Providence, accident, or fortune favors you! First
of all, your own boat _happens_ to be towing astern beneath these very
cabin windows; secondly, a basket of provisions, water and brandy,
stands packed on the transom, almost ready to slip into the boat by
itself; next, your boy is in the neighborhood to help you with the
skiff; and, finally, it is pitch dark, perfectly calm, and there isn't
a sentry to be seen aft the cabin door. Now, good night, my clever
fighter, and let me never have the happiness of seeing your face
again!"

As he said this, he rose, shaking my hand with the hearty grasp of a
sailor, and, as he passed my servant, slipped something into his
pocket, which proved to be a couple of sovereigns. Meanwhile, the
steward appeared with blankets, which he spread on the locker; and,
blowing out the lamp, went on deck with a "good night."

It was very still, and unusually dark. There was dead silence in the
corvette. Presently, I crawled softly to the stern window, and lying
flat on my stomach over the transom, peered out into night. There,
in reality, was my boat towing astern by a slack line! As I gazed,
some one on deck above me drew in the rope with softest motion,
until the skiff lay close under the windows. Patiently, slowly,
cautiously,--fearing the sound of his fall, and dreading almost the
rush of my breath in the profound silence,--I lowered my boy into
the boat. The basket followed. The negro fastened the boat-hook to
the cabin window, and on this, lame as I was, I followed the
basket. Fortunately, not a plash, a crack, or a footfall disturbed
the silence. I looked aloft, and no one was visible on the
quarter-deck. A slight jerk brought the boat-rope softly into the
water, and I drifted away into the darkness.



CHAPTER XXXI.


I drifted without a word or motion, and almost without breathing,
until the corvette was perfectly obliterated against the hazy horizon.
When every thing was dark around me, save the guiding stars, I put out
the oars and pulled quietly towards the east. At day-dawn I was
apparently alone on the ocean.

My appetite had improved so hugely by the night's exercise, that my
first devotion was to the basket, which I found crammed with bologña
sausages, a piece of salt junk, part of a ham, abundance of biscuit,
four bottles of water, two of brandy, a pocket compass, a jack-knife,
and a large table-cloth or sheet, which the generous doctor had no
doubt inserted to serve as a sail.

The humbled _slaver_ and the _slave_, for the first time in their
lives, broke bread from the same basket, and drank from the same
bottle! Misfortune had strangely and suddenly levelled us on the basis
of common humanity. The day before, he was the most servile of
menials; to-day he was my equal, and, probably, my superior in certain
physical powers, without which I would have perished!

As the sun ascended in the sky, my wound became irritated by exercise,
and the inflammation produced a feverish torment in which I groaned as
I lay extended in the stern-sheets. By noon a breeze sprang up from
the south-west, so that the oars and table-cloth supplied a square
sail which wafted us about three miles an hour, while my boy rigged
an awning with the blankets and boat-hooks. Thus, half reclining, I
steered landward till midnight, when I took in the sail and lay-to on
the calm ocean till morning. Next day the breeze again favored us;
and, by sundown, I came up with the coasting canoe of a friendly
Mandingo, into which I at once exchanged my quarters, and falling
asleep, never stirred till he landed me on the Islands de Loss.

My wound kept me a close and suffering prisoner in a hut on the isles
for ten days during which I despatched a native canoe some thirty five
or forty miles to the Rio Pongo with news of my disaster, and orders
for a boat with an equipment of comforts. As my clerk neglected to
send a suit of clothes, I was obliged to wear the Mandingo habiliments
till I reached my factory, so that during my transit, this dress
became the means of an odd encounter. As I entered the Rio Pongo, a
French brigantine near the bar was the first welcome of civilization
that cheered my heart for near a fortnight. Passing her closely, I
drifted alongside, and begged the commander for a bottle of claret. My
brown skin, African raiment, and savage companions satisfied the
skipper that I was a native, so that, with a sneer, he, of course,
became very solicitous to know "where I drank claret _last_?" and
pointing to the sea, desired me to quench my thirst with brine!

It was rather hard for a suffering Italian to be treated so cavalierly
by a Gaul; but I thanked the fellow for his civility in such excellent
French, that his tone instantly changed, and he asked--"_au nom de
Dieu_, where I had learned the language!" It is likely I would have
rowed off without detection, had I not just then been recognized by
one of his officers who visited my factory the year before.

In a moment the captain was in my boat with a bound, and grasping my
hands with a thousand pardons, insisted I should not ascend the river
till I had dined with him. He promised a plate of capital soup;--and
where, I should like to know, is the son of France or Italy who is
ready to withstand the seduction of such a provocative? Besides this,
he insisted on dressing me from his scanty wardrobe; but as he
declined all subsequent remuneration, I confined my bodily improvement
to a clean shirt and his wiry razors.

While the _bouillon_ was bubbling in the coppers, I got an insight
into the condition of Rio Pongo concerns since my departure. The Dane
was off after a quarrel with Ormond, who gave him but a hundred
negroes for his cargo; and a Spanish brig was waiting my arrival,--for
the boy I sent home from the Isles de Loss had reported my engagement,
capture, and escape.

_La soupe sur la table_, we attacked a smoking tureen of _bouillon
gras_, while a heaping dish of toasted bread stood in the middle. The
captain loaded my plate with two slices of this sunburnt material,
which he deluged with a couple of ladles of savory broth. A long fast
is a good sauce, and I need not assert that I began _sans façon_. My
appetite was sharp, and the vapor of the liquid inviting. For a while
there was a dead silence, save when broken by smacking and relishing
lips. Spoonful after spoonful was sucked in as rapidly as the heat
allowed; and, indeed, I hardly took time to bestow a blessing on the
cook. Being the guest of the day, my plate had been the first one
served, and of course, was the first one finished. Perhaps I rather
hurried myself, for lenten diet made me greedy and I was somewhat
anxious to anticipate the calls of my companions on the tureen.
Accordingly, I once more ballasted my plate with toast, and, with a
charming bow and a civil "_s'il vous plait_," applied, like Oliver
Twist, "for more."

As the captain was helping me to the second ladle, he politely
demanded whether I was "fond of the thick;" and as I replied in the
affirmative, he made another dive to the bottom and brought up the
instrument with a heaping mass in whose centre was a diminutive
African skull, face upwards, gaping at the guests with an infernal
grin!

My plate fell from my hand at the tureen's edge. The boiling liquid
splashed over the table. I stood fascinated by the horrible apparition
as the captain continued to hold its dreadful bones in view. Presently
my head swam; a painful oppression weighed at my heart; I was ill;
and, in a jiffy, the appalling spectre was laid beneath the calm
waters of the Rio Pongo.

Before sundown I made a speedy retreat from among the _anthropophagi_;
but all their assurances, oaths, and protestations, could not satisfy
me that the broth did not owe its substance to something more human
than an African _baboon_.



CHAPTER XXXII.


There was rejoicing that night in Kambia among my people, for it is
not necessary that a despised slaver should always be a cruel master.
I had many a friend among the villagers, both there and at Bangalang,
and when the "barker" came from the Isles _de Loss_ with the news of
my capture and misery, the settlement had been keenly astir until it
was known that Mongo Téodore was safe and sound among his protectors.

I had a deep, refreshing sleep after a glorious bath. Poor Esther
stole over the palisades of Bangalang to hear the story from my own
lips; and, in recompense for the narrative, gave me an account of the
river gossip during my adventure. Next morning, bright and early, I
was again in my boat, sweeping along towards the "FELIZ" from
Matanzas, which was anchored within a bowshot of Bangalang. As I
rounded a point in sight of her, the Spanish flag was run up, and as I
touched the deck, a dozen cheers and a gun gave token of a gallant
reception in consequence of my battle with the British, which had been
magnified into a perfect Trafalgar.

The Feliz was originally consigned to me from Cuba, but in my absence
from the river her commander thought it best not to intrust so
important a charge to my clerk, and addressed her to Ormond. When my
arrival at the Isles _de Loss_ was announced on the river, his
engagement with the Mongo had neither been entirely completed, nor
had any cargo been delivered. Accordingly, the skipper at once taxed
his wit for a contrivance by which he could escape the bargain. In
Africa such things are sometimes done with ease on small pretexts, so
that when I reached Kambia my one-hundred-and-forty-ton brig was ready
for her original consignee.

I found that remittances in money and merchandise covered the value of
three hundred and fifty slaves, whom I quickly ordered from different
traders;--but when I applied to the Mongo to furnish his share, the
gentleman indignantly refused under the affront of his recalled
assignment. I tried to pacify and persuade him; yet all my efforts
were unavailing. Still, the results of this denial did not affect the
Mongo personally and alone. When a factor either declines or is unable
to procure trade at an African station, the multitude of hangers-on,
ragamuffins, servants and villagers around him suffer, at least, for a
time. They cannot understand and are always disgusted when "trade is
refused." In this case the people of Bangalang seemed peculiarly
dissatisfied with their Mongo's obstinacy. They accused him of
indolent disregard of their interests. They charged him with culpable
neglect. Several free families departed forthwith to Kambia. His
brothers, who were always material sufferers in such cases, upbraided
him with arrogant conceit. His women, headed by Fatimah,--who supplied
herself and her companions with abundant presents out of every fresh
cargo,--rose in open mutiny, and declared they would run off unless he
accepted a share of the contract. Fatimah was the orator of the harem
on this as well as on all other occasions of display or grievance, and
of course she did not spare poor Ormond. Age and drunkenness had made
sad inroads on his constitution and looks during the last half year.
His fretful irritability sometimes amounted almost to madness, when
thirty female tongues joined in the chorus of their leader's assault.
They boldly charged him, singly and in pairs, with every vice and
fault that injured matrimony habitually denounces; and as each item of
this abusive litany was screamed in his ears, the chorus responded
with a deep "amen!" They boasted of their infidelities, lauded their
lovers, and producing their children, with laughs of derision, bade
him note the astounding resemblance!

The poor Mongo was sorely beset by these African witches, and
summoned his villagers to subdue the revolt; but many of the
town-folks were pets of the girls, so that no one came forth to obey
his bidding.

I visited Ormond at his request on the evening of this rebellion, and
found him not only smarting with the morning's insult, but so drunk as
to be incapable of business. His revengeful eye and nervous movements
denoted a troubled mind. When our hands met, I found the Mongo's cold
and clammy. I refused wine under a plea of illness; and when, with
incoherent phrases and distracted gestures, he declared his
willingness to retract his refusal and accept a share of the Felix's
cargo, I thought it best to adjourn the discussion until the following
day. Whilst on the point of embarking, I was joined by the faithless
servant, whom I bribed to aid me in my affair with the Dane, and was
told that Ormond _had drugged the wine in anticipation of my arrival_!
He bade me be wary of the Mongo, who in his presence had threatened my
life. That morning, he said, while the women were upbraiding him, my
name had been mentioned by one with peculiar favor,--when Ormond burst
forth with a torrent of passion, and accusing me as the cause of all
his troubles, felled the girl to the earth with his fist.

That night I was roused by my watchman to see a stranger, and found
Esther at my gate with three of her companions. Their tale was brief.
Soon after dark, Ormond entered the harem with loaded pistol, in
search of Fatimah and Esther; but the wretch was so stupefied by
liquor and rage, that the women had little trouble to elude his grasp
and escape from Bangalang. Hardly had I bestowed them for the night,
when another alarm brought the watchman once more to my chamber, with
the news of Ormond's death. He had shot himself through the heart!

I was in no mood for sleep after this, and the first streak of dawn
found me at Bangalang. There lay the Mongo as he fell. No one
disturbed his limbs or approached him till I arrived. He never stirred
after the death-wound.

It seems he must have forgotten that the bottle had been specially
medicated for me, as it was found nearly drained; but the last thing
distinctly known of him by the people, was his murderous entrance into
the harem to despatch Esther and Fatimah. Soon after this the crack of
a pistol was heard in the garden; and there, stretched among the
cassava plants, with a loaded pistol grasped in his left, and a
discharged one at a short distance from his right hand, laid Jack
Ormond, the mulatto! His left breast was pierced by a ball, the wad of
which still clung to the bloody orifice.

Bad as this man was, I could not avoid a sigh for his death. He had
been my first friend in Africa, and I had forfeited his regard through
no fault of mine. Besides this, there are so few on the coast of
Africa in these lonely settlements among the mangrove swamps, who have
tasted European civilization, and can converse like human beings, that
the loss even of the worst is a dire calamity. Ormond and myself had
held each other for a long time at a wary distance; yet business
forced us together now and then, and during the truce, we had many a
pleasant chat and joyous hour that would henceforth be lost for ever.

It is customary in this part of Africa to make the burial of a _Mongo_
the occasion of a _colungee_, or festival, when all the neighboring
chiefs and relations send gifts of food and beverage for the orgies of
death. Messengers had been despatched for Ormond's brothers and
kinsfolk, so that the native ceremony of interment was postponed till
the third day; and, in the interval, I was desired to make all the
preparations in a style befitting the suicide's station. Accordingly,
I issued the needful orders; directed a deep grave to be dug under a
noble cotton-wood tree, aloof from the village; gave the body in
charge to women, who were to watch it until burial, with cries of
sorrow,--and then retired to Kambia.

On the day of obsequies I came back. At noon a salute was fired by the
guns of the village, which was answered by minute guns from the Feliz
and my factory. Seldom have I heard a sadder sound than the boom of
those cannons through the silent forest and over the waveless water.

Presently, all the neighboring chiefs, princes and kings came in with
their retainers, when the body was brought out into the shade of a
grove, so that all might behold it. Then the procession took up its
line of march, while the thirty wives of the Mongo followed the
coffin, clad in rags, their heads shaven, their bodies lacerated with
burning iron, and filling the air with yells and shrieks until the
senseless clay was laid in the grave.

I could find no English prayer-book or Bible in the village, from
which I might read the service of his church over Ormond's remains,
but I had never forgotten the _Ave Maria_ and _Pater Noster_ I learned
when an infant, and, while I recited them devoutly over the self
murderer, I could not help thinking they were even more than
sufficient for the savage surroundings.

The brief prayer was uttered; but it could not be too brief for the
impatient crowd. Its _amen_ was a signal for _pandemonium_. In a
twinkling, every foot rushed back to the dwelling in Bangalang. The
grove was alive with revelry. Stakes and rocks reeked with roasting
bullocks. Here and there, kettles steamed with boiling rice. Demijohn
after demijohn of _rum_, was served out. Very soon a sham battle was
proposed, and parties were formed. The divisions took their grounds;
and, presently, the scouts appeared, crawling like reptiles on the
earth till they ascertained each other's position, when the armies
rallied forth with guns, bows, arrows, or lances, and, after firing,
shrieking and shouting till they were deaf, retired with captives, and
the war was done. Then came a reinforcement of rum, and then a dance,
so that the bewildering revel continued in all its delirium till rum
and humanity gave out together, and reeled to the earth in drunken
sleep! Such was the requiem of

    THE MONGO OF BANGALANG!



CHAPTER XXXIII.


Slaves dropped in slowly at Kambia and Bangalang, though I still had
half the cargo of the Feliz to make up. Time was precious, and there
was no foreigner on the river to aid me. In this strait, I suddenly
resolved on a foray among the natives on my own account; and equipping
a couple of my largest canoes with an ample armament, as well as a
substantial store of provisions and merchandise, I departed for the
Matacan river, a short stream, unsuitable for vessels of considerable
draft. I was prepared for the purchase of fifty slaves.

I reached my destination without risk or adventure, but had the
opportunity of seeing some new phases of Africanism on my arrival.
Most of the coast negroes are wretchedly degraded by their
superstitions and _sauvagerie_, and it is best to go among them with
power to resist as well as presents to purchase. Their towns did not
vary from the river and bush settlements generally. A house was given
me for my companions and merchandise; yet such was the curiosity to
see the "white man," that the luckless mansion swarmed with sable bees
both inside and out, till I was obliged to send for his majesty to
relieve my sufferings.

After a proper delay, the king made his appearance in all the
paraphernalia of African court-dress. A few fathoms of check girded
his loins, while a blue shirt and red waistcoat were surmounted by a
dragoon's cap with brass ornaments. His countenance was characteristic
of Ethiopia and royalty. A narrow forehead retreated rapidly till it
was lost in the crisp wool, while his eyes were wide apart, and his
prominent cheek-bones formed the base of an inverted cone, the apex of
which was his braided beard, coiled up under his chin. When earnest in
talk, his gestures were mostly made with his head, by straining his
eyes to the rim of their sockets, stretching his mouth from ear to
ear, grinning like a baboon, and throwing out his chin horizontally
with a sudden jerk. Notwithstanding these personal oddities, the
sovereign was kind, courteous, hospitable, and disposed for trade.
Accordingly, I "dashed," or presented him and his head-men a few
pieces of cottons, with some pipes, beads, and looking-glasses, by way
of whet for the appetite of to-morrow.

But the division of this gift was no sportive matter. "The spoils"
were not regulated upon principles of superiority, or even of
equality; but fell to the lot of the stoutest scramblers. As soon as
the goods were deposited, the various gangs seized my snowy cottons,
dragging them right and left to their several huts, while they
shrieked, yelled, disputed, and fought in true African fashion. Some
lucky dog would now and then leap between two combatants who had
possession of the ends of a piece, and whirling himself rapidly around
the middle, slashed the sides with his jack-knife and was off to the
bush. The pipes, beads, and looking-glasses, were not bestowed more
tenderly, while the tobacco was grabbed and appropriated by leaves or
handfuls.

Next day we proceeded to formal business. His majesty called a regular
"palaver" of his chiefs and head-men, before whom I stated my
_dantica_ and announced the terms. Very soon several young folks were
brought for sale, who, I am sure, never dreamed at rising from last
night's sleep, that they were destined for Cuban slavery! My
merchandise revived the memory of peccadilloes that had been long
forgotten, and sentences that were forgiven. Jealous husbands, when
they tasted my rum, suddenly remembered their wives' infidelities, and
sold their better halves for more of the oblivious fluid. In truth I
was exalted into a magician, unroofing the village, and baring its
crime and wickedness to the eye of _justice_. Law became profitable,
and virtue had never reached so high a price! Before night the town
was in a turmoil, for every man cudgelled his brain for an excuse to
kidnap his neighbor, so as to share my commerce. As the village was
too small to supply the entire gang of fifty, I had recourse to the
neighboring settlements, where my "barkers," or agents, did their work
in a masterly manner. Traps were adroitly baited with goods to lead
the unwary into temptation, when the unconscious pilferer was caught
by his ambushed foe, and an hour served to hurry him to the beach as a
slave for ever. In fact, five days were sufficient to stamp my image
permanently on the Matacan settlements, and to associate my memory
with any thing but blessings in at least fifty of their families!

       *       *       *       *       *

I had heard, on the Rio Pongo, of a wonderful wizard who dwelt in this
region, and took advantage of the last day of my detention to inquire
his whereabouts. The impostor was renowned for his wonderful tricks of
legerdemain, as well as for cures, necromancy, and fortune-telling.
The ill came to him by scores; credulous warriors approached him with
valuable gifts for _fetiches_ against musket balls and arrows; while
the humbler classes bought his charms against snakes, alligators,
sharks, evil spirits, or sought his protection for their unborn
children.

My interpreter had already visited this fellow, and gave such charming
accounts of his skill, that all my people wanted their fates divined,
for which I was, of course, obliged to advance merchandise to purchase
at least a gratified curiosity. When they came back I found every one
satisfied with his future lot, and so happy was the chief of my
Kroomen that he danced around his new _fetiche_ of cock's feathers and
sticks, and snapped his fingers at all the sharks, alligators, and
swordfish that swam in the sea.

By degrees these reports tickled my own curiosity to such a degree,
that, incontinently, I armed myself with a quantity of cotton cloth, a
brilliant bandanna, and a lot of tobacco, wherewith I resolved to
attack the soothsayer's den. My credulity was not involved to the
expedition, but I was sincerely anxious to comprehend the ingenuity or
intelligence by which a negro could control the imagination of African
multitudes.

The wizard chose his abode with skilful and romantic taste. Quitting
the town by a path which ascended abruptly from the river, the
traveller was forced to climb the steep by a series of dangerous
zig-zags among rocks and bushes, until he reached a deep cave in an
elevated cliff that bent over the stream. As we approached, my
conductor warned the inmate of our coming by several whoops. When we
reached the entrance I was directed to halt until the demon announced
his willingness to receive us. At length, after as much delay as is
required in the antechamber of a secretary of state, a growl, like the
cry of a hungry crocodile, gave token of the wizard's coming.

As he emerged from the deep interior, I descried an uncommonly tall
figure, bearing in his arms a young and living leopard. I could not
detect a single lineament of his face or figure, for he was covered
from head to foot in a complete dress of monkey skins, while his face
was hidden by a grotesque white mask. Behind him groped a delicate
blind boy.

We seated ourselves on hides along the floor, when, at my bidding, the
interpreter, unrolling my gifts, announced that I came with full hands
to his wizardship, for the purpose of learning my fortune.

The impostor had trained his tame leopard to fetch and carry like a
dog, so that, without a word, the docile beast bore the various
presents to his master. Every thing was duly measured, examined, or
balanced in his hands to ascertain its quality and weight. Then,
placing a bamboo between his lips and the blind boy's ear, he
whispered the words which the child repeated aloud. First of all, he
inquired what I wished to know? As one of his follower's boasts was
the extraordinary power he possessed of speaking various languages, I
addressed him in Spanish, but as his reply displayed an evident
ignorance of what I said, I took the liberty to reprimand him sharply
in his native tongue. He waved me off with an imperious flourish of
his hand, and ordered me to wait, as he perfectly comprehended my
Spanish, but the magic power would not suffer him to answer save in
regular rotation, word by word.

I saw his trick at once, which was only one of prompt and adroit
_repetition_. Accordingly, I addressed him in his native dialect, and
requested a translation of my sentence into Spanish. But this was a
puzzler; though it required but a moment for him to assure me that a
foreign language could only be spoken by wizards of his degree _at the
full of the moon_!

I thought it time to shift the scene to fortune-telling, and begged my
demon to begin the task by relating the past, in order to confirm my
belief in his mastery over the future. But the nonsense he uttered was
so insufferable, that I dropped the curtain with a run, and commanded
"the hereafter" to appear. This, at least, was more romantic. As
usual, I was to be immensely rich. I was to become a great prince. I
was to have a hundred wives; but alas! before six months elapsed, my
factory would be burnt and I should lose a vessel!

Presently, the interpreter proposed an exhibition of legerdemain, and
in this I found considerable amusement to make up for the preceding
buffoonery. He knotted a rope, and untied it with a jerk. He sank a
knife deep in his throat, and poured in a vessel of water. Other
deceptions followed this skilful trick, but the cleverest of all was
the handling of red hot iron, which, after covering his hands with a
glutinous paste, was touched in the most fearless manner. I have seen
this trick performed by other natives, and whenever ignited coals or
ardent metal was used, the hands of the operator were copiously
anointed with the pasty unguent.

A valedictory growl, and a resumption of the leopard, gave token of
the wizard's departure, and closed the evening's entertainments.

If the ease with which a man is amused, surprised, or deluded, is a
fair measure of intellectual grade, I fear that African minds will
take a very moderate rank in the scale of humanity. The task of
self-civilization, which resembles the self-filtering of water, has
done but little for Ethiopia in the ages that have passed
simultaneously over her people and the progressive races of other
lands. It remains to be seen what the _infused_ civilization of
Christianity and Islamism will effect among these benighted nations.
JESUS, MAHOMET, and the FETICHE, will, perhaps, long continue to be
their types of distinctive separation.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


The Esperanza's capture made it absolutely necessary that I should
visit Cuba, so that, when the Feliz was preparing to depart, I began
to put my factory and affairs in such order as would enable me to
embark in her and leave me master of myself for a considerable time. I
may as well record the fact here that the unlucky Esperanza was sent
to Sierra Leone, where she was, of course, condemned as a slaver,
while the officers and crew were despatched by order of the Admiralty,
in irons, to _Lisbon_, where a tribunal condemned them to the galleys
for five years. I understand they were subsequently released by the
clemency of Don Pedro de Braganza when he arrived from Brazil.

Every thing was ready for our departure. My rice was stored and about
to be sent on board; when, about three o'clock in the morning of the
25th of May, 1828, the voice of my servant roused me from pleasant
dreams, to fly for life! I sprang from the cot with a bound to the
door, where the flickering of a bright flame, reflected through the
thick, misty air, gave token of fire. The roof of my house was in a
blaze, and one hundred and fifty kegs of powder were close at hand
beneath a thatch! They could not be removed, and a single spark from
the frail and tinder-like materials might send the whole in an instant
to the skies.

A rapid discharge from a double-barrelled gun brought my people to
the spot with alacrity, and enabled me to rescue the two hundred and
twenty slaves stowed in the _barracoon_, and march them to a
neighboring wood, where they would be secure under a guard. In my
haste to rescue the slaves I forgot to warn my body-servant of his
peril from the powder. The faithful boy made several trips to the
dwelling to save my personal effects, and after removing every thing
he had strength to carry, returned to unchain the bloodhound that
always slept beside my couch in Africa. But the dog was as ignorant of
his danger as the youth. _He knew no friend but myself_, and tearing
the hand that was exposed to save him, he forced his rescuer to fly.
And well was it he did so. Within a minute, a tremendous blast shook
the earth, _and the prediction of the Matacan wizard was
accomplished_! Not even the red coals of my dwelling smouldered on the
earth. Every thing was swept as by the breath of a whirlwind. My
terrified boy, bleeding at nose and ears, was rescued from the ruins
of a shallow well in which he fortunately fell. The bamboo sheds,
barracoons, and hovels,--the _adobe_ dwelling and the comfortable
garden--could all spring up again in a short time, as if by
enchantment,--but my rich stuffs, my cottons, my provisions, my arms,
my ammunition, my capital, were dust.

In a few hours, friends crowded round me, according to African custom,
with proffered services to rebuild my establishment; but the heaviest
loss I experienced was that of the rice designed for the voyage, which
I could not replace in consequence of the destruction of my
merchandise. In my difficulty, I was finally obliged to swap some of
my two hundred and twenty negroes for the desired commodity, which
enabled me to despatch the Feliz, though I was, of course, obliged to
abandon the voyage in her.

My mind was greatly exercised for some time in endeavors to discover
the origin of this conflagration. The blaze was first observed at the
top of one of the gable ends, which satisfied Ali-Ninpha as well as
myself that it was the work of a malicious incendiary. We adopted a
variety of methods to trace or trap the scoundrel, but our efforts
were fruitless, until a strange negro exhibited one of my
double-barrelled guns for sale at a neighboring village, whose chief
happened to recognize it. When the seller was questioned about his
possession of the weapon, he alleged that it was purchased from inland
negroes in a distant town. His replies were so unsatisfactory to the
inquisitive chief, that he arrested the suspected felon and sent him
to Kambia.

I had but little remorse in adopting any means in my power to extort a
confession from the negro, who very soon admitted that my gun was
stolen by a runner from the wizard of Matacan, who was still hanging
about the outskirts of our settlement. I offered a liberal reward and
handsome bribes to get possession of the necromancer himself, but such
was the superstitious awe surrounding his haunt, that no one dared
venture to seize him in his sanctuary, or seduce him within reach of
my revenge. This, however, was not the case in regard to his emissary.
I was soon in possession of the actual thief, and had little
difficulty in securing his execution on the ruins he had made. Before
we launched him into eternity, I obtained his confession after an
obstinate resistance, and found with considerable pain that a brother
of Ormond, the suicide, was a principal mover in the affair. The last
words of the Mongo had been reported to this fellow as an injunction
of revenge against me, and he very soon learned from personal
experience that Kambia was a serious rival, if not antagonist, to
Bangalang. His African simplicity made him believe that the "red cock"
on my roof-tree would expel me from the river. I was not in a position
to pay him back at the moment, yet I made a vow to give the new Mongo
a free passage in irons to Cuba before many moons. But this, like
other rash promises, I never kept.

Sad as was the wreck of my property, the conflagration was fraught
with a misfortune that affected my heart far more deeply than the loss
of merchandise. Ever since the day of my landing at Ormond's factory,
a gentle form had flitted like a fairy among my fortunes, and always
as the minister of kindness and hope. Skilled in the ways of her
double blood, she was my discreet counsellor in many a peril; and,
tender as a well-bred dame of civilized lands, she was ever disposed
to promote my happiness by disinterested offices. But, when we came
to number the survivors of the ruin, ESTHER was nowhere to be found,
nor could I ever trace, among the scattered fragments, the slightest
relic of the Pariah's form!

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course, I had very little beside my domestics to leave in charge of
any one at Kambia, and intrusting them to the care of Ali-Ninpha, I
went in my launch to Sierra Leone, where I purchased a schooner that
had been condemned by the Mixed Commission.

In 1829, vessels were publicly sold, and, with very little trouble,
equipped for the coast of Africa. The captures in that region were
somewhat like playing a hand,--taking the tricks, reshuffling the same
cards, and dealing again to take more tricks! Accordingly, I fitted
the schooner to receive a cargo of negroes immediately on quitting
port. My crew was made up of men from all nations, captured in prizes;
but I guardedly selected my officers from Spaniards exclusively.

We were slowly wafting along the sea, a day or two out of the British
colony, when the mate fell into chat with a clever lad, who was
hanging lazily over the helm. They spoke of voyages and mishaps, and
this led the sailor to declare his recent escape from a vessel, then
in the Rio Nunez, whose mate had poisoned the commander to get
possession of the craft. She had been fitted, he said, at St. Thomas
with the feigned design of coasting; but, when she sailed for Africa,
her register was sent back to the island in a boat to serve some other
vessel, while she ventured to the continent _without_ papers.

I have cause to believe that the slave-trade was rarely conducted upon
the honorable principles between man and man, which, of course, are
the only security betwixt owners, commanders and consignees whose
commerce is exclusively contraband. There were men, it is true,
engaged in it, with whom the "point of honor" was more omnipotent than
the dread of law in regular trade. But innumerable cases have occurred
in which the spendthrifts who appropriated their owners' property on
the coast of Africa, availed themselves of such superior force as
they happened to control, in order to escape detection, or assure a
favorable reception in the West Indies. In fact, the slaver sometimes
ripened into something very like a pirate!

In 1828 and 1829, severe engagements took place between Spanish
slavers and this class of contrabandists. Spaniards would assail
Portuguese when the occasion was tempting and propitious. Many a
vessel has been fitted in Cuba for these adventures, and returned to
port with a living cargo, purchased by cannon-balls and boarding-pikes
exclusively.

Now, I confess that my notions had become at this epoch somewhat
relaxed by my traffic on the coast, so that I grew to be no better
than folks of my cloth. I was fond of excitement; my craft was sadly
in want of a cargo; and, as the mate narrated the helmsman's story,
the Quixotic idea naturally got control of my brain that I was
destined to become the _avenger_ of the poisoned captain. I will not
say that I was altogether stimulated by the noble spirit of justice;
for it is quite possible I would never have thought of the dead man
had not the sailor apprised us that his vessel was half full of
negroes!

As we drifted slowly by the mouth of my old river, I slipped over the
bar, and, while I fitted the schooner with a splendid nine-pounder
amidships, I despatched a spy to the Rio Nunez to report the facts
about the poisoning, as well as the armament of the unregistered
slaver. In ten days the runner verified the tale. She was still in the
stream, with one hundred and eighty-five human beings in her hold, but
would soon be off with an entire cargo of two hundred and twenty-five.

The time was extraordinarily propitious. Every thing favored my
enterprise. The number of slaves would exactly fit my schooner. Such a
windfall could not be neglected; and, on the fourth day, I was
entering the Rio Nunez under the Portuguese flag, which I unfurled by
virtue of a pass from Sierra Leone to the Cape de Verd Islands.

I cannot tell whether my spy had been faithless, but when I reached
Furcaria, I perceived that my game had taken wing from her anchorage.
Here was a sad disappointment. The schooner drew too much water to
allow a further ascent, and, moreover, I was unacquainted with the
river.

As it was important that I should keep aloof from strangers, I
anchored in a quiet spot, and seizing the first canoe that passed,
learned, for a small reward, that the object of my search was hidden
in a bend of the river at the king's town of Kakundy, which I could
not reach without the pilotage of a certain mulatto, who was alone fit
for the enterprise.

I knew this half-breed as soon as his person was described, but I had
little hope of securing his services, either by fair means or promised
recompense. He owed me five slaves for dealings that took place
between us at Kambia, and had always refused so strenuously to pay,
that I felt sure he would be off to the woods as soon as he knew my
presence on the river. Accordingly, I kept my canoemen on the schooner
by an abundant supply of "bitters," and at midnight landed half a
dozen, who proceeded to the mulatto's cabin, where he was seized _sans
ceremonie_. The terror of this ruffian was indescribable when he found
himself in my presence,--a captive, as he supposed, for the debt of
flesh. But I soon relieved him, and offered a liberal reward for his
prompt, secret and safe pilotage, to Kakundy. The mulatto was willing,
but the stream was too shallow for my keel. He argued the point so
convincingly, that in half an hour, I relinquished the attempt, and
resolved to make "Mahomet come to the mountain."

The two boats were quickly manned, armed, and supplied with lanterns;
and, with muffled oars, guided by our pilot,--whose skull was kept
constantly under the lee of my pistols--we fell like vampyres on our
prey in the darkness.

With a wild hurrah and a blaze of our pistols in the air, we leaped on
board, driving every soul under hatches without striking a blow!
Sentries were placed at the cabin door, forecastle and hatchway. The
cable was slipped, my launch took her in tow, the pilot and myself
took charge of the helm, and, before daylight, the prize was alongside
my schooner, transhipping one hundred and ninety-seven of her slaves,
with their necessary supplies.

Great was the surprise of the captured crew when they saw their fate;
and great was the agony of the poisoner, when he returned next morning
to the vacant anchorage, after a night of debauch with the king of
Kakundy. First of all, he imagined we were regular cruisers, and that
the captain's death was about to be avenged. But when it was
discovered that they had fallen into the grasp of _friendly slavers_,
five of his seamen abandoned their craft and shipped with me.

We had capital stomachs for breakfast after the night's romance.
Hardly was it swallowed, however, when three canoes came blustering
down the stream, filled with negroes and headed by his majesty. I did
not wait for a salutation, but, giving the warriors a dose of
bellicose grape, tripped my anchor, sheeted home my sails, and was off
like an albatross!

The feat was cleverly achieved; but, since then, I have very often
been taxed by my conscience with doubts as to its strict morality! The
African slave-trade produces singular notions of _meum and tuum_ in
the minds and hearts of those who dwell for any length of time on that
blighting coast; and it is not unlikely that I was quite as prone to
the infection as better men, who perished under the malady, while I
escaped!



CHAPTER XXXV.


It was a sweltering July, and the "rainy season" proved its tremendous
power by almost incessant deluges. In the breathless calms that held
me spell-bound on the coast, the rain came down in such torrents that
I often thought the solid water would bury and submerge our schooner.
Now and then, a south-wester and the current would fan and drift us
along; yet the tenth day found us rolling from side to side in the
longitude of the Cape de Verds.

Day broke with one of its customary squalls and showers. As the cloud
lifted, my look-out from the cross-trees announced a sail under our
lee. It was invisible from deck, in the folds of the retreatingmain,
but, in the dead calm that followed, the distant whistle of a
boatswain was distinctly audible. Before I could deliberate all my
doubts were solved by a shot in our mainsail, and the crack of a
cannon. There could be no question that the unwelcome visitor was a
man-of-war.

It was fortunate that the breeze sprang up after the lull, and enabled
us to carry every thing that could be crowded on our spars. We dashed
away before the freshening wind, like a deer with the unleashed hounds
pursuing. The slaves were shifted from side to side--forward or
aft--to aid our sailing. Head-stays were slackened, wedges knocked off
the masts, and every incumbrance cast from the decks into the sea.
Now and then, a fruitless shot from his bow-chasers, reminded the
fugitive that the foe was still on his scent. At last, the cruiser got
the range of his guns so perfectly, that a well-aimed ball ripped away
our rail and tore a dangerous splinter from the foremast, three feet
from deck. It was now perilous to carry a press of sail on the same
tack with the weakened spar, whereupon I put the schooner about, and,
to my delight, found we ranged ahead a knot faster on this course than
the former. The enemy "went about" as quickly as we did, but her balls
soon fell short of us, and, before noon, we had crawled so nimbly to
windward, that her top-gallants alone were visible above the horizon.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our voyage was uncheckered by any occurrence worthy of recollection,
save the accidental loss of the mate in a dark and stormy night, until
we approached the Antilles. Here, where every thing on a slaver
assumes the guise of pleasure and relief, I remarked not only the
sullenness of my crew, but a disposition to disobey or neglect. The
second mate,--shipped in the Rio Nunez, and who replaced my lost
officer,--was noticed occasionally in close intercourse with the
watch, while his deportment indicated dissatisfaction, if not mutiny.

A slaver's life on shore, as well as at sea, makes him wary when
another would not be circumspect, or even apprehensive. The sight of
land is commonly the signal for merriment, for a well-behaved cargo is
invariably released from shackles, and allowed free intercourse
between the sexes during daytime on deck. Water tanks are thrown open
for unrestricted use. "The cat" is cast into the sea. Strict
discipline is relaxed. The day of danger or revolt is considered over,
and the captain enjoys a new and refreshing life till the hour of
landing. Sailors, with proverbial generosity, share their biscuits and
clothing with the blacks. The women, who are generally without
garments, appear in costume from the wardrobes of tars, petty
officers, mates, and even captains. Sheets, table-cloths, and spare
sails, are torn to pieces for raiment, while shoes, boots, caps,
oilcloths, and monkey-jackets, contribute to the gay masquerade of the
"emigrants."

It was my sincere hope that the first glimpse of the Antilles would
have converted my schooner into a theatre for such a display; but the
moodiness of my companions was so manifest, that I thought it best to
meet rebellion half way, by breaking the suspected officer, and
sending him forward, at the same time that I threw his "dog-house"
overboard.[4]

I was now without a reliable officer, and was obliged to call two of
the youngest sailors to my assistance in navigating the schooner. I
knew the cook and steward--both of whom messed aft--to be trustworthy;
so that, with four men at my back, and the blacks below, I felt
competent to control my vessel. From that moment, I suffered no one to
approach the quarter-deck nearer than the mainmast.

It was a sweet afternoon when we were floating along the shores of
Porto Rico, tracking our course upon the chart. Suddenly, one of my
new assistants approached, with the sociability common among
Spaniards, and, in a quiet tone, asked whether I would take a
_cigarillo_. As I never smoked, I rejected the offer with thanks, when
the youth immediately dropped the twisted paper on my map. In an
instant, I perceived the _ruse_, and discovered that the _cigarillo_
was, in fact, a _billet_ rolled to resemble one. I put it in my mouth,
and walked aft until I could throw myself on the deck, with my head
over the stern, so as to open the paper unseen. It disclosed the
organization of a mutiny, under the lead of the broken mate. Our
arrival in sight of St. Domingo was to be the signal of its rupture,
and for my immediate landing on the island. Six of the crew were
implicated with the villain, and the boatswain, who was ill in the
slave-hospital, was to share my fate.

My resolution was promptly made. In a few minutes, I had cast a hasty
glance into the arm-chest, and seen that our weapons were in order.
Then, mustering ten of the stoutest and cleverest of my negroes on the
quarter-deck, I took the liberty to invent a little strategic fib, and
told them, in the Soosoo dialect, that there were bad men on board,
who wanted to run the schooner ashore among rocks and drown the slaves
while below. At the same time, I gave each a cutlass from the
arm-chest, and supplying my trusty whites with a couple of pistols and
a knife apiece, without saying a word, I seized the ringleader and his
colleagues! Irons and double-irons secured the party to the mainmast
or deck, while a drum-head court-martial, composed of the officers,
and presided over by myself, arraigned and tried the scoundrels in
much less time than regular boards ordinarily spend in such
investigations. During the inquiry, we ascertained beyond doubt that
the death of the mate was due to false play. He had been wilfully
murdered, as a preliminary to the assault on me, for his colossal
stature and powerful muscles would have made him a dangerous adversary
in the seizure of the craft.

There was, perhaps, a touch of the old-fashioned Inquisition in the
mode of our judicial researches concerning this projected mutiny. We
proceeded very much by way of "confession," and, whenever the culprit
manifested reluctance or hesitation, his memory was stimulated by a
"cat." Accordingly, at the end of the trial, the mutineers were
already pretty well punished; so that we sentenced the six accomplices
to receive an additional flagellation, and continue ironed till we
reached Cuba. But the fate of the ringleader was not decided so
easily. Some were in favor of dropping him overboard, as he had done
with the mate; others proposed to set him adrift on a raft, ballasted
with chains; but I considered both these punishments too cruel,
notwithstanding his treachery, and kept his head beneath the pistol of
a sentry till I landed him in shackles on Turtle Island, with three
days food and abundance of water.


FOOTNOTE:

[4] The forecastle and cabin of a slaver are given up to the living
freight, while officers sleep on deck in kennels, technically known as
"dog-houses."



CHAPTER XXXVI.


After all these adventures, I was very near losing the schooner before
I got to land, by one of the perils of the sea, for which I blame
myself that I was not better prepared.

It was the afternoon of a fine day. For some time, I had noticed on
the horizon a low bank of white cloud, which rapidly spread itself
over the sky and water, surrounding us with an impenetrable fog. I
apprehended danger; yet, before I could make the schooner snug to meet
the squall, a blast--as sudden and loud as a thunderbolt--prostrated
her nearly on her beam. The shock was so violent and unforeseen, that
the unrestrained slaves, who were enjoying the fine weather on deck,
rolled to leeward till they floundered in the sea that inundated the
scuppers. There was no power in the tiller to "keep her away" before
the blast, for the rudder was almost out of water; but, fortunately,
our mainsail burst in shreds from the bolt-ropes, and, relieving us
from its pressure, allowed the schooner to right under control of the
helm. The West Indian squall abandoned us as rapidly as it assailed,
and I was happy to find that our entire loss did not exceed two
slave-children, who had been carelessly suffered to sit on the rail.

       *       *       *       *       *

The reader knows that my voyage was an _impromptu_ speculation,
without papers, manifest, register, consignees, or destination. It
became necessary, therefore, that I should exercise a very unusual
degree of circumspection, not only in landing my human cargo, but in
selecting a spot from which I might communicate with proper persons. I
had never been in Cuba, save on the occasion already described, nor
were my business transactions extended beyond the Regla association,
by which I was originally sent to Africa.

The day after the "white squall" I found our schooner drifting with a
leading breeze along the southern coast of Cuba, and as the time
seemed favorable, I thought I might as well cut the Gordian knot of
dilemma by landing my cargo in a secluded cove that indented the beach
about nine miles east of Sant' Iago. If I had been consigned to the
spot, I could not have been more fortunate in my reception. Some sixty
yards from the landing I found the comfortable home of a _ranchero_
who proffered the hospitality usual in such cases, and devoted a
spacious barn to the reception of my slaves while his family prepared
an abundant meal.

As soon as the cargo was safe from the grasp of cruisers, I resolved
to disregard the flagless and paperless craft that bore it safely from
Africa, and being unacquainted in Sant' Iago, to cross the island
towards the capital, in search of a consignee. Accordingly I mounted a
spirited little horse, and with a _montero_ guide, turned my face once
more towards the "ever faithful city of Havana."

My companion had a thousand questions for "the captain," all of which
I answered with so much _bonhommie_, that we soon became the best
friends imaginable, and chatted over all the scandal of Cuba. I
learned from this man that a cargo had recently been "run" in the
neighborhood of Matanzas, and that its disposal was most successfully
managed by a Señor * * *, from Catalonia.

I slapped my thigh and shouted _eureka_! It flashed through my mind to
trust this man without further inquiry, and I confess that my decision
was based exclusively upon his _sectional_ nationality. I am partial
to the Catalans.

Accordingly, I presented myself at the counting-room of my future
consignee in due time, and "made a clean breast" of the whole
transaction, disclosing the destitute state of my vessel. In a very
short period, his Excellency the Captain-General was made aware of my
arrival and furnished a list of "the Africans,"--by which name the
Bosal slaves are commonly known in Cuba. Nor was the captain of the
port neglected. A convenient blank page of his register was inscribed
with the name of my vessel as having sailed from the port six months
before, and this was backed by a register and muster-roll, in order to
secure my unquestionable entry into a harbor.

Before nightfall every thing was in order with Spanish despatch when
stimulated either by doubloons or the smell of African blood;--and
twenty-four hours afterwards, I was again at the landing with a suit
of clothes and blanket for each of my "domestics." The schooner was
immediately put in charge of a clever pilot, who undertook the formal
duty and _name_ of her commander, in order to elude the vigilance of
all the minor officials whose conscience had not been lulled by the
golden anodyne.

In the meanwhile every attention had been given to the slaves by my
hospitable _ranchero_. The "head-money" once paid, no body,--civil,
military, foreign, or Spanish--dared interfere with them. Forty-eight
hours of rest, ablution, exercise and feeding, served to recruit the
gang and steady their gait. Nor had the sailors in charge of the party
omitted the performance of their duty as "_valets_" to the gentlemen
and "_ladies' maids_" to the females; so that when the march towards
Sant' Iago began, the procession might have been considered as
"respectable as it was numerous."

The brokers of the southern emporium made very little delay in finding
purchasers at retail for the entire venture. The returns were, of
course, in cash; and so well did the enterprise turn out, that I
forgot the rebellion of our mutineers, and allowed them to share my
bounty with the rest of the crew. In fact, so pleased was I with the
result on inspecting the balance-sheet, that I resolved to divert
myself with the _dolce far niente_ of Cuban country life for a month
at least.

But while I was making ready for this delightful repose, a slight
breeze passed over the calmness of my mirror. I had given, perhaps
imprudently, but certainly with generous motives, a double pay to my
men in recompense of their perilous service on the Rio Nunez. With the
usual recklessness of their craft, they lounged about Havana, boasting
of their success, while a Frenchman of the party,--who had been
swindled of his wages at cards,--appealed to his Consul for relief. By
dint of cross questions the Gallic official extracted the tale of our
voyage from his countryman, and took advantage of the fellow's
destitution to make him a witness against a certain Don Téodore Canot,
who _was alleged to be a native of France_! Besides this, the
punishment of my mate was exaggerated by the recreant Frenchman into a
most unjustifiable as well as cruel act.

Of course the story was promptly detailed to the Captain-General, who
issued an order for my arrest. But I was too wary and flush to be
caught so easily by the guardian of France's lilies. No person bearing
my name could be found in the island; and as the schooner had entered
port with Spanish papers, Spanish crew, and was regularly sold, it
became manifest to the stupefied Consul that the sailor's "yarn" was
an entire fabrication. That night a convenient press-gang, in want of
recruits for the royal marine, seized the braggadocio crew, and as
there were no witnesses to corroborate the Consul's complaint, it was
forthwith dismissed.

Things are managed very cleverly in Havana--_when you know how_!



CHAPTER XXXVII.


Before I went to sea again, I took a long holiday with full pockets,
among my old friends at Regla and Havana. I thought it possible that a
residence in Cuba for a season, aloof from traders and their
transactions, might wean me from Africa; but three months had hardly
elapsed, before I found myself sailing out of the harbor of St. Jago
de Cuba to take, in Jamaica, a cargo of merchandise for the coast, and
then to return and refit for slaves in Cuba.

My voyage began with a gale, which for three days swept us along on a
tolerably good course, but on the night of the third, after snapping
my mainmast on a lee shore, I was forced to beach the schooner in
order to save our lives and cargo from destruction. Fortunately, we
effected our landing with complete success, and at dawn I found my
gallant little craft a total wreck on an uninhabited key. A large tent
or pavilion was quickly built from our sails, sweeps, and remaining
spars, beneath which every thing valuable and undamaged was stored
before nightfall. Parties were sent forth to reconnoitre, while our
remaining foremast was unshipped, and planted on the highest part of
the sandbank with a signal of distress. The scouts returned without
consolation. Nothing had been seen except a large dog, whose neck was
encircled with a collar; but as he could not be made to approach by
kindness, I forbade his execution. Neither smoke nor tobacco freed us
of the cloudy swarms of mosquitoes that filled the air after sunset,
and so violent was the irritation of their innumerable stings, that a
delicate boy among the crew became utterly insane, and was not
restored till long after his return to Cuba.

Several sad and weary days passed over us on this desolate key, where
our mode of life brought to my recollection many a similar hour spent
by me in company with Don Rafael and his companions. Vessel after
vessel passed the reef, but none took notice of our signal. At last,
on the tenth day of our imprisonment, a couple of small schooners
fanned their way in a nonchalant manner towards our island, and
knowing that we were quite at their mercy, refused our rescue unless
we assented to the most extravagant terms of compensation. After a
good deal of chaffering, it was agreed that the salvors should land us
and our effects at Nassau, New Providence, where the average should be
determined by the lawful tribunal. The voyage was soon accomplished,
and our amiable liberators from the mosquitoes of our island prison
obtained a judicial award of seventy per cent. for their extraordinary
trouble!

The wreck and the wreckers made so formidable an inroad upon my
finances, that I was very happy when I reached Cuba once more, to
accept the berth of sailing-master in a slave brig which was fitting
out at St. Thomas's, under an experienced Frenchman.

My new craft, the SAN PABLO, was a trim Brazil-built brig, of rather
more than 300 tons. Her hold contained sixteen twenty-four carronades,
while her magazine was stocked with abundance of ammunition, and her
kelson lined, fore and aft, with round shot and grape. Captain * * *,
who had been described as a Tartar and martinet, received me with much
affability, and seemed charmed when I told him that I conversed
fluently not only in French but in English.

I had hardly arrived and begun to take the dimensions of my new
equipage, when a report ran through the harbor that a Danish cruiser
was about to touch at the island. Of course, every thing was instantly
afloat, and in a bustle to be off. Stores and provisions were tumbled
in pell-mell, tanks were filled with water during the night; and,
before dawn, fifty-five ragamuffins of all castes, colors, and
countries, were shipped as crew. By "six bells," with a coasting flag
at our peak, we were two miles at sea with our main-topsail aback,
receiving six kegs of specie and several chests of clothing from a
lugger.

When we were fairly on "blue water" I discovered that our voyage,
though a slaver's, was not of an ordinary character. On the second
day, the mariners were provided with two setts of uniform, to be worn
on Sundays or when called to quarters. Gold-laced caps, blue coats
with anchor buttons, single epaulettes, and side arms were distributed
to the officers, while a brief address from the captain on the
quarter-deck, apprised all hands that if the enterprise resulted well,
_a bounty_ of one hundred dollars would be paid to each adventurer.

That night our skipper took me into council and developed his plan,
which was to load in a port in the Mozambique channel. To effect his
purpose with more security, he had provided the brig with an armament
sufficient to repel a man-of-war of equal size--(a fancy I never gave
way to)--and on all occasions, except in presence of a French cruiser,
he intended to hoist the Bourbon lilies, wear the Bourbon uniform, and
conduct the vessel in every way as if she belonged to the royal navy.
Nor were the officers to be less favored than the sailors in regard to
double salary, certificates of which were handed to me for myself and
my two subordinates. A memorandum book was then supplied, containing
minute instructions for each day of the ensuing week, and I was
specially charged, as second in command, to be cautiously punctual in
all my duties, and severely just towards my inferiors.

I took some pride in acquitting myself creditably in this new military
phase of a slaver's life. Very few days sufficed to put the rigging
and sails in perfect condition; to mount my sixteen guns; to drill the
men with small arms as well as artillery; and by paint and sea-craft,
to disguise the Saint Paul as a very respectable cruiser.

In twenty-seven days we touched at the Cape de Verds for provisions,
and shaped our way southward without speaking a single vessel of the
multitude we met, until off the Cape of Good Hope we encountered a
stranger who was evidently bent upon being sociable. Nevertheless, our
inhospitable spirit forced us to hold our course unswervingly, till
from peak and main we saw the white flag and pennant of France
unfurled to the wind.

Our drum immediately beat to quarters, while the flag chest was
brought on deck. Presently, the French _transport_ demanded our
private signal; which out of our ample supply, was promptly answered,
and the royal ensign of Portugal set at our peak.

As we approached the Frenchman every thing was made ready for all
hazards;--our guns were double-shotted, our matches lighted, our small
arms distributed. The moment we came within hail, our captain,--who
claimed precedence of the lieutenant of a transport,--spoke the
Frenchman; and, for a while, carried on quite an amiable chat in
Portuguese. At last the stranger requested leave to send his boat
aboard with letters for the Isle of France; to which we consented with
the greatest pleasure, though our captain thought it fair to inform
him that we dared not prudently invite his officers on deck, inasmuch
as there were "several cases of small-pox among our crew, contracted,
in all likelihood, at Angola!"

The discharge of an unexpected broadside could not have struck our
visitor with more dismay or horror. The words were hardly spoken when
her decks were in a bustle,--her yards braced sharply to the
wind,--and her prow boiling through the sea, without so much as the
compliment of a "_bon voyage_!"

Ten days after this _ruse d'esclave_ we anchored at Quillimane, among
a lot of Portuguese and Brazilian slavers, whose sails were either
clewed up or unbent as if for a long delay. We fired a salute of
twenty guns and ran up the French flag. The salvo was quickly
answered, while our captain, in the full uniform of a naval commander,
paid his respects to the Governor. Meantime orders were given me to
remain carefully in charge of the ship; to avoid all intercourse with
others; to go through the complete routine and show of a man-of-war;
to strike the yards, haul down signal, and fire a gun at sunset; but
especially to get underway and meet the captain at a small beach off
the port, the instant I saw a certain flag flying from the fort.

I have rarely seen matters conducted more skilfully than they were by
this daring Gaul. Next morning early the Governor's boat was sent for
the specie; the fourth day disclosed the signal that called us to the
beach; the fifth, sixth, and seventh, supplied us with _eight hundred
negroes_; and, on the ninth, we were underway for our destination.

The success of this enterprise was more remarkable because fourteen
vessels, waiting cargoes, were at anchor when we arrived, some of
which had been detained in port over fifteen months. To such a pitch
had their impatience risen, that the masters made common cause against
all new-comers, and agreed that each vessel should take its turn for
supply according to date of arrival. But the astuteness of my veteran
circumvented all these plans. His anchorage and non-intercourse as _a
French man-of-war_ lulled every suspicion or intrigue against him, and
he adroitly took advantage of his kegs of specie to win the heart of
the authorities and factors who supplied the slaves.

But wit and cleverness are not all in this world. Our captain returned
in high spirits to his vessel; but we hardly reached the open sea
before he was prostrated with an ague which refused to yield to
ordinary remedies, and finally ripened into fever, that deprived him
of reason. Other dangers thickened around us. We had been several days
off the Cape of Good Hope, buffeting a series of adverse gales, when
word was brought me after a night of weary watching, that several
slaves were ill of small-pox. Of all calamities that occur in the
voyage of a slaver, this is the most dreaded and unmanageable. The
news appalled me. Impetuous with anxiety I rushed to the captain, and
regardless of fever or insanity, disclosed the dreadful fact. He
stared at me for a minute as if in doubt; then opening his bureau and
pointing to a long coil of combustible material, said that it
communicated through the decks with the powder magazine, and ordered
me to--"_blow up the brig!_"

The master's madness sobered his mate. I lost no time in securing
both the dangerous implement and its perilous owner, while I called
the officers into the cabin for inquiry and consultation as to our
desperate state.

The gale had lasted nine days without intermission, and during all
this time with so much violence that it was impossible to take off the
gratings, release the slaves, purify the decks, or rig the wind-sails.
When the first lull occurred, a thorough inspection of the eight
hundred was made, and _a death announced_. As life had departed during
the tempest, a careful inspection of the body was made, and it was
this that first disclosed the pestilence in our midst. The corpse was
silently thrown into the sea, and the malady kept secret from crew and
negroes.

When breakfast was over on that fatal morning, I determined to visit
the slave deck myself, and ordering an abundant supply of lanterns,
descended to the cavern, which still reeked horribly with human vapor,
even after ventilation. But here, alas! I found nine of the negroes
infected by the disease. We took counsel as to the use of laudanum in
ridding ourselves speedily of the sufferers,--a remedy that is seldom
and secretly used in _desperate_ cases to preserve the living from
contagion. But it was quickly resolved that it had already gone too
far, when nine were prostrated, to save the rest by depriving them of
life. Accordingly, these wretched beings were at once sent to the
forecastle as a hospital, and given in charge to the vaccinated or
innoculated as nurses. The hold was then ventilated and limed; yet
before the gale abated, our sick list was increased to thirty. The
hospital could hold no more. Twelve of the sailors took the infection,
and fifteen corpses had been cast in the sea!

All reserve was now at an end. Body after body fed the deep, and still
the gale held on. At last, when the wind and waves had lulled so much
as to allow the gratings to be removed from our hatches, our
consternation knew no bounds when we found that nearly all the slaves
were dead or dying with the distemper. I will not dwell on the scene
or our sensations. It is a picture that must gape with all its horrors
before the least vivid imagination. Yet there was no time for languor
or sentimental sorrow. Twelve of the stoutest survivors were ordered
to drag out the dead from among the ill, and though they were
constantly drenched with rum to brutalize them, still we were forced
to aid the gang by reckless volunteers from our crew, who, arming
their hands with tarred mittens, flung the foetid masses of
putrefaction into the sea!

One day was a counterpart of another; and yet the love of life, or,
perhaps, the love of gold, made us fight the monster with a courage
that became a better cause. At length death was satisfied, but not
until the eight hundred beings we had shipped in high health had
dwindled to four hundred and ninety-seven skeletons!



CHAPTER XXXVIII.


The San Pablo might have been considered entitled to a "clean bill of
health" by the time she reached the equator. The dead left space,
food, and water for the living, and very little restraint was imposed
on the squalid remnant. None were shackled after the outbreak of the
fatal plague, so that in a short time the survivors began to fatten
for the market to which they were hastening. But such was not the fate
of our captain. The fever and delirium had long left him, yet a
dysenteric tendency,--the result of a former malady,--suddenly
supervened, and the worthy gentleman rapidly declined. His nerves gave
way so thoroughly, that from fanciful weakness he lapsed into helpless
hypochondria. One of his pet ideas was that a copious dose of calomel
would ensure his restoration to perfect health. Unfortunately,
however, during the prevalence of the plague, our medicine chest had
one day been accidentally left exposed, and our mercury was
abstracted. Still there was no use to attempt calming him with the
assurance that his _nostrum_ could not be had. The more we argued the
impossibility of supplying him, the more was he urgent and imperative
for the sanative mineral.

In this dilemma I ordered a bright look-out to be kept for merchantmen
from whom I hoped to obtain the desirable drug. At last a sail was
reported two points under our lee, and as her canvas was both patched
and dark, I considered her a harmless Briton who might be approached
with impunity.

It proved to be a brig from Belfast, in Ireland; but when I overhauled
the skipper and desired him to send a boat on board, he declined the
invitation and kept his course. A second and third command shared the
same fate. I was somewhat nettled by this disregard of my flag,
pennant, and starboard epaulette, and ordering the brig to be run
alongside, I made her fast to the recusant, and boarded with ten men.

Our reception was, of course, not very amicable, though no show of
resistance was made by officers or crew. I informed the captain that
my object in stopping him was entirely one of mercy, and repeated the
request I had previously made through the speaking trumpet. Still, the
stubborn Scotchman persisted in denying the medicine, though I offered
him payment in silver or gold. Thereupon, I commanded the mate to
produce his log-book, and, under my dictation, to note the visit of
the San Pablo, my request, and its churlish denial. This being done to
my satisfaction, I ordered two of my hands to search for the medicine
chest, which turned out to be a sorry receptacle of stale drugs,
though fortunately containing an abundance of calomel. I did not
parley about appropriating a third of the mineral, for which I counted
five silver dollars on the cabin table. But the metal was no sooner
exhibited than my Scotchman refused it with disdain. I handed it,
however, to the mate, and exacted a receipt, which was noted in the
log-book.

As I put my leg over the taffrail, I tried once more to smooth the
bristles of the terrier, but a snarl and a snap repaid me for my good
humor. Nevertheless, I resolved "to heap coals of fire on the head" of
the ingrate; and, before I cast off our lashings, threw on his deck a
dozen yams, a bag of frijoles, a barrel of pork, a couple of sacks of
white Spanish biscuits,--and, with a cheer, bade him adieu.

But there was no balm in calomel for the captain. Scotch physic could
not save him. He declined day by day; yet the energy of his hard
nature kept him alive when other men would have sunk, and enabled him
to command even from his sick bed.

It was always our Sabbath service to drum the men to quarters and
exercise them with cannons and small arms. One Sunday, after the
routine was over, the dying man desired to inspect his crew, and was
carried to the quarter-deck on a mattress. Each sailor marched in
front of him and was allowed to take his hand; after which he called
them around in a body, and announced his apprehension that death would
claim him before our destination was reached. Then, without previously
apprising us of his design, he proceeded to make a verbal testament,
and enjoined it upon all as a duty to his memory to obey implicitly.
If the San Pablo arrived safely in port, he desired that every officer
and mariner should be paid the promised bounty, and that the proceeds
of cargo should be sent to his family in Nantz. But, if it happened
that we were attacked by a cruiser, and the brig was saved by the risk
and valor of a defence,--then, he directed that one half the voyage's
avails should be shared between officers and crew, while one quarter
was sent to his friends in France, and the other given to me. His
sailing-master and Cuban consignees were to be the executors of this
salt water document.

We were now well advanced north-westwardly on our voyage, and in every
cloud could see a promise of the continuing trade-wind, which was
shortly to end a luckless voyage. From deck to royal,--from flying-jib
to ring-tail, every stitch of canvas that would draw was packed and
crowded on the brig. Vessels were daily seen in numbers, but none
appeared suspicious till we got far to the westward, when my glass
detected a cruising schooner, jogging along under easy sail. I ordered
the helmsman to keep his course; and taughtening sheets, braces, and
halyards, went into the cabin to receive the final orders of our
commander.

He received my story with his usual bravery, nor was he startled when
a boom from the cruiser's gun announced her in chase. He pointed to
one of his drawers and told me to take out its contents. I handed him
three flags, which he carefully unrolled, and displayed the ensigns of
Spain, Denmark, and Portugal, in each of which I found a set of papers
suitable for the San Pablo. In a feeble voice he desired me to select
a nationality; and, when I chose the Spanish, he grasped my hand,
pointed to the door, and bade me not to surrender.

When I reached the deck, I found our pursuer gaining on us with the
utmost speed. She outsailed us--two to one. Escape was altogether out
of the question; yet I resolved to show the inquisitive stranger our
mettle, by keeping my course, firing a gun, and hoisting my Spanish
signals at peak and main.

At this time the San Pablo was spinning along finely at the rate of
about six knots an hour, when a shot from the schooner fell close to
our stern. In a moment I ordered in studding-sails alow and aloft, and
as my men had been trained to their duty in man-of-war fashion, I
hoped to impose on the cruiser by the style and perfection of the
manoeuvre. Still, however, she kept her way, and, in four hours
after discovery, was within half gun-shot of the brig.

Hitherto I had not touched my armament, but I selected this moment to
load under the enemy's eyes, and, at the word of command, to fling
open the ports and run out my barkers. The act was performed to a
charm by my well-drilled gunners; yet all our belligerent display had
not the least effect on the schooner, which still pursued us. At last,
within hail, her commander leaped on a gun, and ordered me to "heave
to, or take a ball!"

Now, I was prepared for this arrogant command, and, for half an hour,
had made up my mind how to avoid an engagement. A single discharge of
my broadside might have sunk or seriously damaged our antagonist, but
the consequences would have been terrible if he boarded me, which I
believed to be his aim.

Accordingly, I paid no attention to the threat, but taughtened my
ropes and surged ahead. Presently, my racing chaser came up _under my
lee_ within pistol-shot, when a reiterated command to heave to or be
fired on, was answered for the first time by a faint "_no
intiendo_,"--"I don't understand you,"--while the man-of-war shot
ahead of me.

_Then I had him!_ Quick as thought, I gave the order to "square away,"
and putting the helm up, struck the cruiser near the bow, carrying
away her foremast and bowsprit. Such was the stranger's surprise at my
daring trick that not a musket was fired or boarder stirred, till we
were clear of the wreck. It was then too late. The loss of my jib-boom
and a few rope-yarns did not prevent me from cracking on my
studding-sails, and leaving the lubber to digest his stupid
_forbearance_!

This adventure was a fitting epitaph for the stormy life of our poor
commander, who died on the following night, and was buried under a
choice selection of the flags he had honored with his various
nationalities. A few days after the blue water had closed over him for
ever, our cargo was safely ensconced in the _hacienda_ nine miles east
of St. Jago de Cuba, while the San Pablo was sent adrift and burnt to
the water's edge.



CHAPTER XXXIX.


The beneficent disposition of my late commander, though not a regular
testament, was carried out in Cuba, and put me in possession of twelve
thousand dollars as my share of the enterprise. Yet my restless spirit
did not allow me to remain idle. Our successful voyage had secured me
scores of friends among the Spanish slavers, and I received daily
applications for a fresh command.

But the plans of my French friend had so bewitched me with a desire
for imitation, that I declined subordinate posts and aspired to
ownership. Accordingly, I proposed to the proprietor of a large
American clipper-brig, that we should fit her on the same system as
the San Pablo; yet, wishing to surpass my late captain in commercial
success, I suggested the idea of fighting for our cargo, or, in
plainer language, of relieving another slaver of her living freight, a
project which promptly found favor with the owner of "LA CONCHITA."
The vessel in question originally cost twelve thousand dollars, and I
proposed to cover this value by expending an equal sum on her outfit,
in order to constitute me half owner.

The bargain was struck, and the armament, sails, additional spars,
rigging, and provisions went on board, with prudential secrecy.
Inasmuch as we could not leave port without some show of a cargo,
merchandise _in bond_ was taken from the public warehouses, and,
after being loaded in our hold during day, was smuggled ashore again
at night. As the manoeuvre was a trick of my accomplice, who
privately gained by the operation, I took no notice of what was
delivered or taken away.

Finally, all was ready. Forty-five men were shipped, and the Conchita
cleared. Next day, at daybreak, I was to sail with the land-breeze.

A sailor's last night ashore is proverbial, and none of the customary
ceremonies were omitted on this occasion. There was a parting supper
with plenty of champagne; there was a visit to the _café_; a farewell
call here, another there, and a bumper every where. In fact, till two
in the morning, I was busy with my adieus; but when I got home at
last, with a thumping headache, I was met at the door by a note from
my partner, stating that our vessel was seized, and an order issued
for my arrest. He counselled me to keep aloof from the _alguaziles_,
till he could arrange the matter with the custom-house and police.

I will not enlarge this chapter of disasters. Next day, my accomplice
was lodged in prison for his fraud, the vessel confiscated, her outfit
sold, and my purse cropped to the extent of twelve thousand dollars. I
had barely time to escape before the officers were in my lodgings; and
I finally saved myself from an acquaintance with the interior of a
Cuban prison, by taking another name, and playing _ranchero_ among the
hills for several weeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

My finances were at low-water mark, when I strolled one fine morning
into Matanzas, and, after some delay, again obtained command of a
slaver, through the secret influence of my old and trusty friends. The
new craft was a dashing schooner, of one hundred and twenty tons,
fresh from the United States, and intended for Ayudah on the Gold
Coast. It was calculated that we might bring home at least four
hundred and fifty slaves, for whose purchase, I was supplied
plentifully with rum, powder, English muskets, and rich cottons from
Manchester.

In due time we sailed for the Cape de Verds, the usual "port of
despatch" on such excursions; and at Praya, exchanged our flag for the
Portuguese, before we put up our helm for the coast. A British cruiser
chased us fruitlessly for two days off Sierra Leone, and enabled me
not only to test the sailing qualities, but to get the _sailing trim_
of the "Estrella," in perfection. So confident did I become of the
speed and bottom of my gallant clipper, that I ventured, with a
leading wind, to chase the first vessel I descried on the horizon, and
was altogether deceived by the tri-color displayed at her peak.
Indeed, I could not divine this novel nationality, till the speaking
trumpet apprised us that the lilies of France had taken triple hues in
the hands of Louis Philippe! Accordingly, before I squared away for
Ayudah, I saluted the _royal republican_, by lowering my flag thrice
to the new divinity.

       *       *       *       *       *

I consigned the Estrella to one of the most remarkable traders that
ever expanded the African traffic by his genius.

Señor Da Souza,--better known on the coast and interior as
Cha-cha,--was said to be a native mulatto of Rio Janeiro, whence he
emigrated to Dahomey, after deserting the arms of his imperial master.
I do not know how he reached Africa, but it is probable the fugitive
made part of some slaver's crew, and fled from his vessel, as he had
previously abandoned the military service in the delicious clime of
Brazil. His parents were poor, indolent, and careless, so that Cha-cha
grew up an illiterate, headstrong youth. Yet, when he touched the soil
of Africa, a new life seemed infused into his veins. For a while, his
days are said to have been full of misery and trouble, but the
Brazilian slave-trade happened to receive an extraordinary impetus
about that period; and, gradually, the adventurous refugee managed to
profit by his skill in dealing with the natives, or by acting as
broker among his countrymen. Beginning in the humblest way, he stuck
to trade with the utmost tenacity till he ripened into an opulent
factor. The tinge of native blood that dyed his complexion, perhaps
qualified him peculiarly for this enterprise. He loved the customs of
the people. He spoke their language with the fluency of a native. He
won the favor of chief after chief. He strove to be considered a
perfect African among Africans; though, among whites, he still
affected the graceful address and manners of his country. In this way,
little by little, Cha-cha advanced in the regard of all he dealt with,
and secured the commissions of Brazil and Cuba, while he was regarded
and protected as a prime favorite by the warlike king of Dahomey.
Indeed, it is alleged that this noted sovereign formed a sort of
devilish compact with the Portuguese factor, and supplied him with
every thing he desired during life, in consideration of inheriting his
wealth when dead.

But Cha-cha was resolved, while the power of enjoyment was still
vouchsafed him, that all the pleasures of human life, accessible to
money, should not be wanting in Ayudah. He built a large and
commodious dwelling for his residence on a beautiful spot, near the
site of an abandoned Portuguese fort. He filled his establishment with
every luxury and comfort that could please the fancy, or gratify the
body. Wines, food, delicacies and raiment, were brought from Paris,
London, and Havana. The finest women along the coast were lured to his
settlement. Billiard tables and gambling halls spread their wiles, or
afforded distraction for detained navigators. In fine, the mongrel
Sybarite surrounded himself with all that could corrupt virtue,
gratify passion, tempt avarice, betray weakness, satisfy sensuality,
and complete a picture of incarnate slavery in Dahomey.

When he sallied forth, his walk was always accompanied by considerable
ceremony. An officer preceded him to clear the path; a fool or buffoon
hopped beside him; a band of native musicians sounded their discordant
instruments, and a couple of singers screamed, at the top of their
voices, the most fulsome adulation of the mulatto.

Numbers of vessels were, of course, required to feed this African
nabob with doubloons and merchandise. Sometimes, commanders from Cuba
or Brazil would be kept months in his perilous nest, while their craft
cruised along the coast, in expectation of human cargoes. At such
seasons, no expedient was left untried for the entertainment and
pillage of wealthy or trusted idlers. If Cha-cha's board and wines
made them drunkards, it was no fault of his. If _rouge et noir_, or
_monte_, won their doubloons and freight at his saloon, he regretted,
but dared not interfere with the amusements of his guests. If the
sirens of his harem betrayed a cargo for their favor over cards, a
convenient fire destroyed the frail warehouse after its merchandise
was secretly removed!

Cha-cha was exceedingly desirous that I should accept his hospitality.
As soon as I read my invoice to him,--for he could not do it
himself,--he became almost irresistible in his _empressement_. Yet I
declined the invitation with firm politeness, and took up my quarters
on shore, at the residence of a native _manfuca_, or broker. I was
warned of his allurements before I left Matanzas, and resolved to keep
myself and property so clear of his clutches, that our contract would
either be fulfilled or remain within my control. Thus, by avoiding his
table, his "hells," and the society of his dissipated sons, I
maintained my business relations with the slaver, and secured his
personal respect so effectually, that, at the end of two months, four
hundred and eighty prime negroes were in the bowels of La Estrella.[5]


FOOTNOTE:

[5] Da Souza died in May, 1849. Commander Forbes, R. N., in his book
on Dahomey, says that a boy and girl were decapitated and buried with
him, and that three men were sacrificed on the beach at Whydah. He
alleges that, although this notorious slaver died in May, the funeral
honors to his memory were not yet closed in October. "The town," he
says, "is still in a ferment. Three hundred of the Amazons are daily
in the square, firing and dancing; bands of Fetiche people parade the
streets, headed by guinea-fowls, fowls, ducks, goats, pigeons, and
pigs, on poles, alive, for sacrifice. Much rum is distributed, and all
night there is shouting, firing and dancing."--_Dahomey and the
Dahomans_, vol. i, 49.



CHAPTER XL.


If I had dreamed that these recollections of my African career would
ever be made public, it is probable I should have taxed my memory with
many events and characteristic anecdotes, of interest to those who
study the progress of mankind, and the singular manifestations of
human intellect in various portions of Ethiopia.

During my travels on that continent, I always found the negro a
believer in some superior creative and controlling power, except among
the marshes at the mouth of the Rio Pongo, where the Bagers, as I
already stated, imagine that death is total annihilation. The
Mandingoes and Fullahs have their Islamism and its Koran; the Soosoo
has his good spirits and bad; another nation has its "pray-men" and
"book-men," with their special creeds; another relies on the
omnipotence of _juju_ priests and _fetiche_ worship;[6] some believe
in the immortality of spirit; while others confide in the absolute
translation of body. The Mahometan tribes adore the Creator, with an
infinitude of ablutions, genuflexions, prayers, fasts, and by strictly
adhering to the laws of the Prophet; while the heathen nations resort
to their adroit priests, who shield them from the devil by charms of
various degree, which are exclusively in their gift, and may
consequently be imposed on the credulous for enormous prices.

At Ayudah I found the natives addicted to a very grovelling species
of idolatry. It was their belief that the Good as well as the Evil
spirit existed in living Iguanas. In the home of the _manfuca_, with
whom I dwelt, several of these animals were constantly fed and
cherished as _dii penates_, nor was any one allowed to interfere with
their freedom, or to harm them when they grew insufferably offensive.
The death of one of these crawling deities is considered a calamity in
the household, and grief for the reptile becomes as great as for a
departed parent.

Whilst I tarried at Ayudah, an invitation came from the King of
Dahomey, soliciting the presence of Cha-cha and his guests at the
yearly sacrifice of human beings, whose blood is shed not only to
appease an irritated god but to satiate the appetite of departed
kings. I regret that I did not accompany the party that was present at
this dreadful festival. Cha-cha despatched several of the captains who
were waiting cargoes, under the charge of his own interpreters and the
royal _manfucas_; and from one of these eye-witnesses, whose curiosity
was painfully satiated, I received a faithful account of the horrid
spectacle.

For three days our travellers passed through a populous region, fed
with abundant repasts prepared in the native villages by Cha-cha's
cooks, and resting at night in hammocks suspended among the trees. On
the fourth day the party reached the great capital of Abomey, to which
the king had come for the bloody festival from his residence at
Cannah. My friends were comfortably lodged for repose, and next
morning presented to the sovereign. He was a well-built negro, dressed
in the petticoat-trowsers of a Turk, with yellow morocco boots, while
a profusion of silk shawls encircled his shoulders and waist, and a
lofty _chapeau_, with trailing plumes, surmounted his wool. A vast
body-guard of _female_ soldiers or amazons, armed with lances and
muskets, surrounded his majesty. Presently, the _manfucas_ and
interpreters, crawling abjectly on their hands and knees to the royal
feet, deposited Cha-cha's tribute and the white men's offering. The
first consisted of several pieces of crape, silks, and taffeta, with a
large pitcher and basin of silver; while the latter was a trifling
gift of twenty muskets and one hundred pieces of blue _dungeree_. The
present was gracefully accepted, and the donors welcomed to the
sacrifice, which was delayed on account of the scarcity of victims,
though orders had been given to storm a neighboring tribe to make up
three hundred slaves for the festival. In the mean while, a spacious
house, furnished in European style, and altogether better than the
ordinary dwellings of Africa, was assigned to the strangers. Liberty
was also given them to enter wherever they pleased, and take what they
wished, inasmuch as all his subjects, male and female, were slaves
whom he placed at the white men's disposal.

The sixth of May was announced as the beginning of the sacrificial
rites, which were to last five days. Early in the morning, two hundred
females of the amazonian guard, naked to the waist, but richly
ornamented with beads and rings at every joint of their oiled and
glistening limbs, appeared in the area before the king's palace, armed
with blunt cutlasses. Very soon the sovereign made his appearance,
when the band of warriors began their manoeuvres, keeping pace, with
rude but not unmartial skill, to the native drum and flute.

A short distance from the palace, within sight of the square, a fort
or inclosure, about nine feet high, had been built of _adobe_, and
surrounded by a pile of tall, prickly briers. Within this barrier,
secured to stakes, stood fifty captives who were to be immolated at
the opening of the festival. When the drill of the amazons and the
royal review were over, there was, for a considerable time, perfect
silence in the ranks and throughout the vast multitude of spectators.
Presently, at a signal from the king, one hundred of the women
departed at a run, brandishing their weapons and yelling their
war-cry, till, heedless of the thorny barricade, they leaped the
walls, lacerating their flesh in crossing the prickly impediment. The
delay was short. Fifty of these female demons, with torn limbs and
bleeding faces, quickly returned, and offered their howling victims to
the king. It was now the duty of this personage to begin the sacrifice
with his royal hand. Calling the female whose impetuous daring had led
her foremost across the thorns, he took a glittering sword from her
grasp, and in an instant the head of the first victim fell to the
dust. The weapon was then returned to the woman, who, handing it to
the white men, desired them to unite in the brutal deed! The
strangers, however, not only refused, but, sick at heart, abandoned
the scene of butchery, which lasted, they understood, till noon, when
the amazons were dismissed to their barracks, reeking with rum and
blood.

I have limited the details of this barbarity to the initial cruelties,
leaving the reader's imagination to fancy the atrocities that followed
the second blow. It has always been noticed that the sight of blood,
which appals a civilized man, serves to excite and enrage the savage,
till his frantic passions induce him to mutilate his victims, even as
a tiger becomes furious after it has torn the first wound in its prey.
For five days the strangers were doomed to hear the yells of the
storming amazons as they assailed the fort for fresh victims. On the
sixth the sacrifice was over:--the divinity was appeased, and quiet
reigned again in the streets of Abomey.

Our travellers were naturally anxious to quit a court where such
abominations were regarded as national and religious duties; but
before they departed, his majesty proposed to accord them a parting
interview. He received the strangers with ceremonious politeness, and
called their attention to the throne or royal seat upon which he had
coiled his limbs. The chair is said to have been an heir-loom of at
least twenty generations. Each leg of the article rests on the skull
of some native king or chief, and such is the fanatical respect for
the brutal usages of antiquity, that every three years the people of
Dahomey are obliged to renew the steadiness of the stool by the fresh
skulls of some noted princes!

       *       *       *       *       *

I was not long enough at Ayudah to observe the manners and customs of
the natives with much care, still, as well as I now remember, there
was great similarity to the habits of other tribes. The male lords it
over the weaker sex, and as a man is valued according to the quantity
of his wives; polygamy, even among civilized residents, is carried to
a greater excess than elsewhere. Female chastity is not insisted on as
in the Mandingo and Soosoo districts, but the husband contents himself
with the seeming continence of his mistresses. Sixty or seventy miles
south of Ayudah, the adulterous wife of a chief is stabbed in the
presence of her relations. Here, also, superstition has set up the
altar of human sacrifice, but the divinity considers the offering of a
single virgin sufficient for all its requirements.

Some years after my visit to Ayudah, it happened that my traffic
called me to Lagos at the season of this annual festival, so that I
became an unwilling witness of the horrid scene.

When the slender crescent of the November moon is first observed, an
edict goes forth from the king that his _Juju-man_, or high-priest,
will go his annual round through the town, and during his progress it
is strictly forbidden for any of his subjects to remain out of doors
after sunset. Such is the terror with which the priests affect to
regard the sacred demon, that even the fires are extinguished in their
houses.

Towards midnight the _Juju-man_ issued from a sacred _gree-gree_ bush
or grove, the entrance to which is inhibited to all negroes who do not
belong to the religious brotherhood. The costume of the impostor is
calculated to inspire his countrymen with fear. He was clad in a
garment that descended from his waist to his heels like a petticoat or
skirt, made of long black fur; a cape of the same material was clasped
round his neck and covered his elbows; a gigantic hood which bristled
with all the ferocity of a grenadier's cap, covered his head; his
hands were disguised in tiger's paws, while a frightful mask, with
sharp nose, thin lips, and white color, concealed his face. He was
accompanied by ten stout barbarians, dressed and masked like himself,
each sounding some discordant instrument. Every door, by law, is
required to be left ajar for the free access of the _Juju_, but as
soon as the horrid noise is heard approaching from the _tabooed
grove_, each inhabitant falls to the ground, with eyes in the dust, to
avoid even a look from the irritated spirit.

A victim is always agreed upon by the priests and the authorities
before they leave the _gree-gree bush_, yet to instil a greater
degree of superstitious terror, the frightful _Juju_, as if in doubt,
promenades the town till daylight, entering a house now and then, and
sometimes committing a murder or two to augment the panic. At dawn the
home of the victim,--who, of course, is always the handsomest virgin
in the settlement,--is reached, and the _Juju_ immediately seizes and
carries her to a place of concealment. Under pain of death her parents
and friends are denied the privilege of uttering a complaint, or even
of lifting their heads from the dust. Next day the unfortunate mother
must seem ignorant of her daughter's doom, or profess herself proud of
the _Juju's_ choice. Two days pass without notice of the victim. On
the third, at the river side, the king meets his fanatical subjects,
clad in their choicest raiment, and wearing their sweetest smiles. A
hand of music salutes the sovereign, and suddenly the poor victim, _no
longer a virgin and perfectly denuded_, is brought forward by a
wizard, who is to act the part of executioner. The living sacrifice
moves slowly with measured steps, but is no more to be recognized even
by her nearest relatives, for face, body, and limbs, are covered
thickly with chalk. As soon as she halts before the king, her hands
and feet are bound to a bench near the trunk of a tree. The
executioner then takes his stand, and with uplifted eyes and arms,
seems to invoke a blessing on the people, while with a single blow of
his blade, her head is rolled into the river. The bleeding trunk, laid
carefully on a mat, is placed beneath a large tree to remain till a
spirit shall bear it to the land of rest, and at night it is secretly
removed by the priesthood.

It is gratifying to know that these _Jujus_, who in Africa assume the
prerogatives of divinity, are only the principals of a religious
fraternity who from time immemorial have constituted a secret society
in this part of Ethiopia, for the purpose of sustaining their kings
and ruling the people through their superstition. By fear and
fanaticism these brutal priests exact confessions from ignorant
negroes, which, in due time, are announced to the public as
divinations of the oracle. The members of the society are the
depositories of many secrets, tricks, and medical preparations, by
which they are enabled to paralyze the body as well as affect the mind
of their victim. The king and his chiefs are generally supreme in this
brotherhood of heathen superstition, and the purity of the sacrificed
virgin, in the ceremony just described was unquestionably yielded to
her brutal prince.


FOOTNOTE:

[6] From the Portuguese _feitiço_--witchcraft.



CHAPTER XLI.


I have always regretted that I left Ayudah on my homeward voyage
without interpreters to aid in the necessary intercourse with our
slaves. There was no one on board who understood a word of their
dialect. Many complaints from the negroes that would have been
dismissed or satisfactorily adjusted, had we comprehended their
vivacious tongues and grievances, were passed over in silence or
hushed with the lash. Indeed, the whip alone was the emblem of La
Estrella's discipline; and in the end it taught me the saddest of
lessons.

From the beginning there was manifest discontent among the slaves. I
endeavored at first to please and accommodate them by a gracious
manner; but manner alone is not appreciated by untamed Africans. A few
days after our departure, a slave leaped overboard in a fit of
passion, and another choked himself during the night. These two
suicides, in twenty-four hours, caused much uneasiness among the
officers, and induced me to make every preparation for a revolt.

We had been at sea about three weeks without further disturbance, and
there was so much merriment among the gangs that were allowed to come
on deck, that my apprehensions of danger began gradually to wear away.
Suddenly, however, one fair afternoon, a squall broke forth from an
almost cloudless sky; and as the boatswain's whistle piped all hands
to take in sail, a simultaneous rush was made by the confined slaves
at all the after-gratings, and amid the confusion of the rising gale,
they knocked down the guard and poured upon deck. The sentry at the
_fore-hatch_ seized the cook's axe, and sweeping it round him like a
scythe, kept at bay the band that sought to emerge from below him.
Meantime, the women in the cabin were not idle. Seconding the males,
they rose in a body, and the helmsman was forced to stab several with
his knife before he could drive them below again.

About forty stalwart devils, yelling and grinning with all the savage
ferocity of their wilderness, were now on deck, armed with staves of
broken water-casks, or billets of wood, found in the hold. The
suddenness of this outbreak did not appal me, for, in the dangerous
life of Africa, a trader must be always admonished and never off his
guard. The blow that prostrated the first white man was the earliest
symptom I detected of the revolt; but, in an instant, I had the
arm-chest open on the quarter-deck, and the mate and steward beside me
to protect it. Matters, however, did not stand so well forward of the
mainmast. Four of the hands were disabled by clubs, while the rest
defended themselves and the wounded as well as they could with
handspikes, or whatever could suddenly be clutched. I had always
charged the cook, on such an emergency, to distribute from his coppers
a liberal supply of scalding water upon the belligerents; and, at the
first sign of revolt, he endeavored to baptize the heathen with his
steaming slush. But dinner had been over for some time, so that the
lukewarm liquid only irritated the savages, one of whom laid the
unfortunate "doctor" bleeding in the scuppers.

All this occurred in perhaps less time than I have taken to tell it;
yet, rapid as was the transaction, I saw that, between the squall with
its flying sails, and the revolt with its raving blacks, we would soon
be in a desperate plight, unless I gave the order _to shoot_.
Accordingly, I told my comrades _to aim low and fire at once_.

Our carabines had been purposely loaded with buck-shot, to suit such
an occasion, so that the first two discharges brought several of the
rebels to their knees. Still, the unharmed neither fled or ceased
brandishing their weapons. Two more discharges drove them forward
amongst the mass of my crew, who had retreated towards the bowsprit;
but, being reinforced by the boatswain and carpenter, we took command
of the hatches so effectually, that a dozen additional discharges
among the ebony legs, drove the refractory to their quarters below.

It was time; for sails, ropes, tacks, sheets, and blocks, were
flapping, dashing, and rolling about the masts and decks, threatening
us with imminent danger from the squall. In a short time, every thing
was made snug, the vessel put on our course, and attention paid to the
mutineers, who had begun to fight among themselves in the hold!

I perceived at once, by the infuriate sounds proceeding from below,
that it would not answer to venture in their midst by descending
through the hatches. Accordingly, we discharged the women from their
quarters under a guard on deck, and sent several resolute and
well-armed hands to remove a couple of boards from the bulk-head, that
separated the cabin from the hold. When this was accomplished, a party
entered, on hands and knees, through the aperture, and began to press
the mutineers forward towards the bulk-head of the forecastle. Still,
the rebels were hot for fight to the last, and boldly defended
themselves with their staves against our weapons.

By this time, our lamed cook had rekindled his fires, and the water
was once more boiling. The hatches were kept open but guarded, and all
who did not fight were suffered to come singly on deck, where they
were tied. As only about sixty remained below engaged in conflict, or
defying my party of sappers and miners, I ordered a number of
auger-holes to be bored in the deck, as the scoundrels were forced
forward near the forecastle, when a few buckets of boiling water,
rained on them through the fresh apertures, brought the majority to
submission. Still, however, two of the most savage held out against
water as well as fire. I strove as long as possible to save their
lives, but their resistance was so prolonged and perilous, that we
were obliged to disarm them _for ever_ by a couple of pistol shots.

So ended the sad revolt of "La Estrella," in which two of my men were
seriously wounded, while twenty-eight balls and buck-shot were
extracted, with sailors' skill, from the lower limbs of the slaves.
One woman and three men perished of blows received in the conflict;
but none were deliberately slain except the two men, who resisted unto
death.

I could never account for this mutiny, especially as the blacks from
Ayudah and its neighborhood are distinguished for their humble manners
and docility. There can be no doubt that the entire gang was not
united or concerned in the original outbreak, else we should have had
harder work in subduing them, amid the risk and turmoil of a West
Indian squall.



CHAPTER XLII.


There was very little comfort on board La Estrella, after the
suppression of this revolt. We lived with a pent-up volcano beneath
us, and, day and night, we were ceaselessly vigilant. Terror reigned
supreme, and the lash was its sceptre.

At last, we made land at Porto Rico, and were swiftly passing its
beautiful shores, when the inspector called my attention to the
appearance of one of our attendant slaves, whom we had drilled as a
sort of cabin-boy. He was a gentle, intelligent child, and had won the
hearts of all the officers.

His pulse was high, quick and hard; his face and eyes red and swollen;
while, on his neck, I detected half a dozen rosy pimples. He was sent
immediately to the forecastle, free from contact with any one else,
and left there, cut off from the crew, till I could guard against
pestilence. It was small-pox!

The boy passed a wretched night of fever and pain, developing the
malady with all its horrors. It is very likely that I slept as badly
as the sufferer, for my mind was busy with his _doom_. Daylight found
me on deck in consultation with our veteran boatswain, whose
experience in the trade authorized the highest respect for his
opinion. Hardened as he was, the old man's eyes filled, his lips
trembled, and his voice was husky, as he whispered the verdict in my
ear. I guessed it before he said a word; yet I hoped he would have
counselled against the dread alternative. As we went aft to the
quarter-deck, all eyes were bent upon us, for every one conjectured
the malady and feared the result, yet none dared ask a question.

I ordered a general inspection of the slaves, yet when a _favorable_
report was made, I did not rest content, and descended to examine each
one personally. It was true; the child was _alone_ infected!

For half an hour, I trod the deck to and fro restlessly, and caused
the crew to subject themselves to inspection. But my sailors were as
healthy as the slaves. There was no symptom that indicated approaching
danger. I was disappointed again. A single case--a single sign of
peril in any quarter, would have spared the poison!

That evening, in the stillness of night, a trembling hand stole
forward to the afflicted boy with a potion that knows no waking. In a
few hours, all was over. Life and the pestilence were crushed
together; for a necessary murder had been committed, and the poor
victim was beneath the blue water!

       *       *       *       *       *

I am not superstitious, but a voyage attended with such calamities
could not end happily. Incessant gales and head winds, unusual in this
season and latitude, beset us so obstinately, that it became doubtful
whether our food and water would last till we reached Matanzas. To add
to our risks and misfortunes, a British corvette espied our craft, and
gave chase off Cape Maize. All day long she dogged us slowly, but, at
night, I tacked off shore, with the expectation of eluding my pursuer.
Day-dawn, however, revealed her again on our track, though this time
we had unfortunately fallen to leeward. Accordingly, I put La Estrella
directly before the wind, and ran till dark with a fresh breeze, when
I again dodged the cruiser, and made for the Cuban coast. But the
Briton seemed to scent my track, for sunrise revealed him once more in
chase.

The wind lulled that night to a light breeze, yet the red clouds and
haze in the east betokened a gale from that quarter before meridian. A
longer pursuit must have given considerable advantage to the enemy, so
that my best reliance, I calculated, was in making the small harbor
near St. Jago, now about twenty miles distant, where I had already
landed two cargoes. The corvette was then full ten miles astern.

My resolution to save the cargo and lose the vessel was promptly
made;--orders were issued to strike from the slaves the irons they had
constantly worn since the mutiny; the boats were made ready; and every
man prepared his bag for a rapid launch.

On dashed the cruiser, foaming at the bows, under the impetus of the
rising gale, which struck him some time before it reached us. We were
not more than seven miles apart when the first increased pressure on
our sails was felt, and every thing was set and braced to give it the
earliest welcome. Then came the tug and race for the beach, three
miles ahead. But, under such circumstances, it was hardly to be
expected that St. George could carry the day. Still, every nerve was
strained to effect the purpose. Regardless of the gale, reef after
reef was let out while force pumps moistened his sails; yet nothing
was gained. Three miles against seven were too much odds;--and, with a
slight move of the helm, and "letting all fly," as we neared the line
of surf, to break her headway, La Estrella was fairly and safely
_beached_.

The sudden shock snapped her mainmast like a pipe-stem, but, as no one
was injured, in a twinkling the boats were overboard, crammed with
women and children, while a stage was rigged from the bows to the
strand, so that the males, the crew and the luggage were soon in
charge of my old _haciendado_.

Prompt as we were, we were not sufficiently so for the cruiser. Half
our cargo was ashore when she backed her topsails off the mouth of the
little bay, lowered her boats, filled them with boarders, and steered
towards our craft. The delay of half a mile's row gave us time to
cling still longer to the wreck, so that, when the boats and corvette
began to fire, we wished them joy of their bargain over the remnant of
our least valuable negroes. The rescued blacks are now, in all
likelihood, citizens of Jamaica; but, under the influence of the gale,
La Estrella made a very picturesque bonfire, as we saw it that night
from the _azotéa_ of our landlord's domicile.



CHAPTER XLIII.


Disastrous as was this enterprise, both on the sea and in the
counting-house, a couple of months found me on board a splendid
clipper,--born of the famous waters of the Chesapeake,--delighting in
the name of "AGUILA DE ORO," or "Golden Eagle," and spinning out of
the Cape de Verds on a race with a famous West Indian privateer.

The "Montesquieu" was the pride of Jamaica for pluck and sailing, when
folks of her character were not so unpopular as of late among the
British Islands; and many a banter passed between her commander and
myself, while I was unsuccessfully waiting till the governor resolved
his conscientious difficulties about the _exchange of flags_. At last
I offered a bet of five hundred dollars against an equal sum; and next
day a bag with the tempting thousand was tied to the end of my
mainboom, with an invitation for the boaster to "follow and take." It
was understood that, once clear of the harbor, the "Aguila" should
have five minutes' start of the Montesquieu, after which we were to
crowd sail and begin the race.

The contest was quickly noised throughout the port, and the captains
smacked their lips over the _déjeuner_ promised by the boaster out of
the five hundred dollars won from the "Yankee nutshell." Accordingly,
when all was ready and the breeze favored, the eastern cliffs of the
Isle were crowded with spectators to witness the regatta.

As we were first at sea and clear of the harbor, we delayed for our
antagonist; and without claiming the conceded start of five minutes,
did not shoot ahead till our rival was within musket shot. But _then_
the tug began with a will; and as the Aguila led, I selected her most
favorable trim and kept her two points free. The Montesquieu did the
same, but confident of her speed, did not spread all her canvas that
would draw. The error, however, was soon seen. Our Chesapeake clipper
crawled off as if her opponent was at anchor; and in a jiffy every
thing that could be carried was sheeted home and braced to a hair. The
breeze was steady and strong. Soon the island was cleared entirely;
and by keeping away another point, I got out of the Aguila her utmost
capacity as a racer. As she led off, the Montesquieu followed,--but
glass by glass, and hour by hour, the distance between us increased,
till at sunset the boaster's hull was below the horizon, and my bag
taken in as a lawful prize.

I did not return to Praya after this adventure, but keeping on towards
the coast, in four days entered the Rio Salum, an independent river
between the French island of Goree and the British possessions on the
Gambia. No slaver had haunted this stream for many a year, so that I
was obliged to steer my mosquito pilot-boat full forty miles in the
interior, through mangroves and forests, till I struck the trading
ground of "the king."

After three days' parley I had just concluded my bargain with his
breechless majesty, when a "barker" greeted me with the cheerless
message that the "Aguila" was surrounded by man-of-war boats! It was
true; but the mate refused an inspection of his craft _on neutral
ground_, and the naval folks departed. Nevertheless, a week after,
when I had just completed my traffic, I was seized by a gang of the
treacherous king's own people; delivered to the second lieutenant of a
French corvette--"La Bayonnaise;"--and my lovely little Eagle caged as
her lawful prey!

I confess I have never been able to understand the legal merits of
this seizure, so far as the act of the French officers was concerned,
as no treaty existed between France and Spain for the suppression of
slavery. The reader will not be surprised to learn, therefore, that
there was a very loud explosion of wrath among my men when they found
themselves prisoners; nor was their fury diminished when our whole
band was forced into a dungeon at Goree, which, for size, gloom, and
closeness, vied with the celebrated black hole of Calcutta.

For three days were we kept in this filthy receptacle, in a burning
climate, without communication with friends or inhabitants, and on
scanty fare, till it suited the local authorities to transfer us to
San Luis, on the Senegal, in charge of a file of marines, _on board
our own vessel_!

San Luis is the residence of the governor and the seat of the colonial
tribunal, and here again we were incarcerated in a military _cachôt_,
till several merchants who knew me on the Rio Pongo, interfered, and
had us removed to better quarters in the military hospital. I soon
learned that there was trouble among the natives. A war had broken out
among some of the Moorish tribes, some two hundred miles up the
Senegal, and my Aguila was a godsend to the Frenchmen, who needed just
such a light craft to guard their returning flotilla with merchandise
from Gatam. Accordingly, the craft was armed, manned, and despatched
on this expedition _without waiting the decree of a court as to the
lawfulness of her seizure_!

Meanwhile, the sisters of charity--those angels of devoted mercy, who
do not shun even the heats and pestilence of Africa,--made our prison
life as comfortable as possible; and had we not seen gratings at the
windows, or met a sentinel when we attempted to go out, we might have
considered ourselves valetudinarians instead of convicts.

A month oozed slowly away in these headquarters of suffering, before a
military sergeant apprised us that he had been elevated to the dignity
of the long-robe, and appointed our counsel in the approaching trial.
No other lawyer was to be had in the colony for love or money, and,
perhaps, our military man might have acquitted himself as well as the
best, had not his superiors often imposed silence on him during the
argument.

By this time the nimble Aguila had made two most serviceable trips
under the French officers, and proved so valuable to the Gallic
government that no one dreamed of recovering her. The colonial
authorities had two alternatives under the circumstances,--either to
pay for or condemn her,--and as they knew I would not be willing to
take the craft again after the destruction of my voyage, the formality
of a trial was determined to legalize the condemnation. It was
necessary, however, even in Africa, to show that I had violated the
territory of the French colony by trading in slaves, and that the
Aguila had been caught in the act.

I will not attempt a description of the court scene, in which my
military friend was browbeaten by the prosecutor, the prosecutor by
the judge, and the judge by myself. After various outrages and
absurdities, a Mahometan _slave_ was allowed to be sworn as a witness
against me; whereupon I burst forth with a torrent of argument,
defence, abuse, and scorn, till a couple of soldiers were called to
keep my limbs and tongue in forensic order.

But the deed was done. The foregone conclusion was formally announced.
The Aguila de Oro became King Louis Philippe's property, while my men
were condemned to two, my officers to five, and Don Téodor himself, to
ten years' confinement in the central prisons of _la belle France_!

Such was the style of colonial justice in the reign of _le roi
bourgeois_!

My sentence aroused the indignation of many respectable merchants at
San Luis; and, of course, I did not lack kindly visits in the
stronghold to which I was reconducted. It was found to be entirely
useless to attack the sympathy of the tribunal, either to procure a
rehearing of the cause or mitigation of the judgment. Presently, a
generous friend introduced _a saw_ suitable to discuss the toughness
of iron bars, and hinted that on the night when my window gratings
were severed, a boat might be found waiting to transport me to the
opposite shore of the river, whence an independent chief would convey
me on camels to Gambia.

I know not how it was that the government got wind of my projected
flight, but it certainly did, and we were sent on board a station ship
lying in the stream. Still my friends did not abandon me. I was
apprised that a party,--bound on a shooting frolic down the river on
the first _foggy_ morning,--would visit the commander of the hulk,--a
noted _bon vivant_,--and while the vessel was surrounded by a crowd of
boats, I might slip overboard amid the confusion. Under cover of the
dense mist that shrouds the surface of an African river at dawn, I
could easily elude even a ball if sent after me, and when I reached
the shore, a canoe would be ready to convey me to a friendly ship.

The scheme was peculiarly feasible, as the captain happened to be a
good fellow, and allowed me unlimited liberty about his vessel.
Accordingly, when the note had been duly digested, I called my
officers apart, and proposed their participation in my escape. The
project was fully discussed by the fellows; but the risk of swimming,
even in a fog, under the muzzles of muskets, was a danger they feared
encountering. I perceived at once that it would be best to free myself
entirely from the encumbrance of such chicken-hearted lubbers, so I
bade them take their own course, but divided three thousand francs in
government bills among the gang, and presented my gold pocket
chronometer to the mate.

Next morning an impervious fog laid low on the bosom of the Senegal,
but through its heavy folds I detected the measured beat of
approaching oars, till five boats, with a sudden rush, dashed
alongside us with their noisy and clamorous crews.

Just at this very moment a friendly hand passed through my arm, and a
gentle tone invited me to a quarter-deck promenade. It was our
captain!

There was, of course, no possibility of declining the proffered
civility, for during the whole of my detention on board, the commander
had treated me with the most assiduous politeness.

"_Mon cher Canot_," said he, as soon as we got aft,--"you seem to take
considerable interest in these visitors of ours, and I wish from the
bottom of my heart that you could join the sport; _but, unfortunately
for you, these gentlemen will not effect their purpose_!"

As I did not entirely comprehend,--though I rather guessed,--his
precise meaning, I made an evasive answer; and, arm in arm I was led
from the deck to the cabin. When we were perfectly alone, he pointed
to a seat, and frankly declared that I had been betrayed by a Judas to
his sergeant of marines! I was taken perfectly aback, as I imagined
myself almost free, yet the loss of liberty did not paralyze me as
much as the perfidy of my men. Like a stupid booby, I stood gazing
with a fixed stare at the captain, when the cabin door burst open, and
with a shout of joyous merriment the hunters rushed in to greet their
comrade.

My dress that morning was a very elaborate _negligé_. I had purposely
omitted coat, braces, stockings and shoes, so that my privateer
costume of trowsers and shirt was not calculated for the reception of
strangers. It was natural, therefore, that the first sally of my
friendly liberators should be directed against my toilette; I parried
it, however, as adroitly as my temper would allow, by reproaching them
with their "unseasonable visit, before I could complete the _bath_
which they saw I was prepared for!"

The hint was understood; but the captain thought proper to tell the
entire tale. No man, he said, would have been happier than he, had I
escaped before the treachery. My friends were entreated not to risk
further attempts, which might subject me to severe restraints; and my
base comrades were forthwith summoned to the cabin, where, in presence
of the merchants, they were forced to disgorge the three thousand
francs and the chronometer.

"But this," said Captain Z----, "is not to be the end of the
comedy,--_en avant, messieurs_!" as he led the way to the mess-room,
where a sumptuous _déjeuner_ was spread for officers and huntsmen, and
over its fragrant fumes my disappointment was, for a while, forgotten.



CHAPTER XLIV.


For fifteen days more the angry captive bit his thumbs on the taffrail
of the guard-ship, and gazed either at vacancy or the waters of the
Senegal. At the end of that period, a gunboat transferred our convict
party to the frigate Flora, whose first lieutenant, to whom I had been
privately recommended, separated me immediately from my men. The
scoundrels were kept close prisoners during the whole voyage to
France, while my lot was made as light as possible, under the severe
sentence awarded at San Luis.

The passage was short. At Brest, they landed me privately, while my
men and officers were paraded through the streets at mid-day, under a
file of _gens d'armes_. I am especially grateful to the commander of
this frigate, who alleviated my sufferings by his generous demeanor in
every respect, and whose representations to the government of France
caused my sentence to be subsequently modified to simple imprisonment.

I have so many pleasant recollections of this voyage as a convict in
the Flora, that I am loth to recount the following anecdote; yet I
hardly think it ought to be omitted, for it is characteristic in a
double aspect. It exhibits at once the chivalric courtesy and the
coarse boorishness of some classes in the naval service of France, at
the period I am describing.

On board our frigate there were two Sisters of Charity, who were
returning to their parent convent in France, after five years of
colonial self-sacrifice in the pestilential marshes of Africa. These
noble women lodged in a large state-room, built expressly for their
use and comfort on the lower battery-deck, and, according to the
ship's rule, were entitled to mess with the lieutenants in their
wardroom. It so happened, that among the officers, there was one of
those vulgar dolts, whose happiness consists in making others as
uncomfortable as possible, both by bullying manners and lewd
conversation. He seemed to delight in losing no opportunity to offend
the ladies while at table, by ridiculing their calling and piety; yet,
not content with these insults, which the nuns received with silent
contempt, he grew so bold on one occasion, in the midst of dinner, as
to burst forth with a song so gross, that it would have disgraced the
orgies of a _cabaret_. The Sisters instantly arose, and, next morning,
refused their meals in the wardroom, soliciting the steward to supply
them a sailor's ration in their cabin, where they might be free from
dishonor.

But the charitable women were soon missed from mess, and when the
steward's report brought the dangerous idea of a court-martial before
the terrified imagination of the vulgarians, a prompt resolve was made
to implore pardon for the indecent officer, before the frigate's
captain could learn the outrage. It is needless to add that the
surgeon--who was appointed ambassador--easily obtained the mercy of
these charitable women, and that, henceforth, our lieutenants'
wardroom was a model of social propriety.


THE PRISON OF BREST.

I was not very curious in studying the architecture of the strong
stone lock-up, to which they conducted me in the stern and ugly old
rendezvous of Brest. I was sick as soon as I beheld it from our deck.
The entrance to the harbor, through the long, narrow, rocky strait,
defended towards the sea by a frowning castle, and strongly fortified
towards the land, looked to me like passing through the throat of a
monster, who was to swallow me for ever. But I had little time for
observation or reflection on external objects,--my business was with
_interiors_: and when the polite midshipman with whom I landed bade
farewell, it was only to transfer me to the _concièrge_ of a prison
within the royal arsenal. Here I was soon joined by the crew and
officers. For a while, I rejected their penitence; but a man who is
suddenly swept from the wild liberty of Africa, and doomed for ten
years to penitential seclusion, becomes wonderfully forgiving when
loneliness eats into his heart, and eternal silence makes the sound of
his own voice almost insupportable. One by one, therefore, was
restored at least to sociability; so that, when I embraced the
permission of our keeper to quit my cell, and move about the prison
bounds, I found myself surrounded by seventy or eighty marines and
seamen, who were undergoing the penalties of various crimes. The whole
establishment was under the _surveillance_ of a naval commissary,
subject to strict regulations. In due time, two spacious rooms were
assigned for my gang, while the jailer, who turned out to be an
amphibious scamp,--half sailor, half soldier,--assured us, "on the
honor of a _vieux militaire_," that his entire jurisdiction should be
our limits so long as we behaved with propriety.

Next day I descended to take exercise in a broad court-yard, over
whose lofty walls the fresh blue sky looked temptingly; and was
diligently chewing the cud of bitter fancies, when a stout elderly
man, in shabby uniform, came to a military halt before me, and,
abruptly saluting in regulation style, desired the favor of a word.

"_Pardon, mon brâve!_" said the intruder, "but I should be charmed if
_Monsieur le capitaine_ will honor me by the information whether it
has been his lot to enjoy the accommodations of a French prison, prior
to the unlucky mischance which gives us the delight of his society!"

"No," said I, sulkily.

"_Encore_," continued the questioner, "will it be disagreeable, if I
improve this opportunity, by apprising Monsieur _le capitaine_, on
the part of our companions and comrades, of the regulations of this
royal institution?"

"By no means," returned I, somewhat softer.

"Then, _mon cher_, the sooner you are initiated into the mysteries of
the craft the better, and no one will go through the ceremony more
explicitly, briefly and satisfactorily, than myself--_le Caporal
Blon_. First of all, _mon brâve_, and most indispensable, as your good
sense will teach you, it is necessary that every new comer is bound to
pay his footing among the '_government boarders_;' and as you,
Monsieur le capitaine, seem to be the honored _chef_ of this charming
little squadron, I will make bold to thank you for a _Louis d'or_, or
a _Napoleon_, to insure your welcome."

The request was no sooner out than complied with.

"_Bien!_" continued the corporal, "_c'est un bon enfant, parbleu!_
Now, I have but one more _mystère_ to impart, and that is a regulation
which no clever chap disregards. We are companions in misery; we sleep
beneath one roof; we eat out of one kettle;--in fact, _nous sommes
frères_, and the _secrets of brothers are sacred, within these walls,
from jailers and turnkeys_!"

As he said these words, he pursed up his mouth, bent his eyes
scrutinizingly into mine, and laying his finger on his lip, brought
his right hand once more, with a salute, to the oily remnant of a
military cap.

I was initiated. I gave the required pledge for my party, and, in
return, was assured that, in any enterprise undertaken for our
escape,--which seemed to be the great object and concern of every
body's prison-life,--we should be assisted and protected by our
fellow-sufferers.

Most of this day was passed in our rooms, and, at dark, after being
mustered and counted, we were locked up for the night. For some time
we moped and sulked, according to the fashion of all _new_ convicts,
but, at length, we sallied forth in a body to the court-yard,
determined to take the world as it went, and make the best of a bad
bargain.

I soon fell into a pleasant habit of chatting familiarly with old
Corporal Blon, who was grand chamberlain, or master of ceremonies, to
our penal household, and turned out to be a good fellow, though a
frequent offender against "_le coq de France_." Blon drew me to a seat
in the sunshine, which I enjoyed, after shivering in the cold
apartments of the prison; and, stepping off among the prisoners, began
to bring them up for introduction to Don Téodor, separately. First of
all, I had the honor of receiving Monsieur Laramie, a stout, stanch,
well-built marine, who professed to be _maître d'armes_ of our "royal
boarding-house," and tendered his services in teaching me the use of
rapier and broadsword, at the rate of a _franc_ per week. Next came a
burly, beef-eating bully, half sailor, half lubber, who approached
with a swinging gait, and was presented as _frère_ Zouche, teacher of
single stick, who was also willing to make me skilful in my encounters
with footpads for a reasonable salary. Then followed a dancing-master,
a tailor, a violin-teacher, a shoemaker, a letter-writer, a barber, a
clothes-washer, and various other useful and reputable tradespeople or
professors, all of whom expressed anxiety to inform my mind, cultivate
my taste, expedite nay correspondence, delight my ear, and improve my
appearance, for weekly stipends.

I did not, at first, understand precisely the object of all their
ceremonious appeals to my purse, but I soon discovered from Corporal
Blon,--_who desired an early discount of his note_,--that I was looked
on as a sort of Don Magnifico from Africa, who had saved an immense
quantity of gold from ancient traffic, all of which I could command,
in spite of imprisonment.

So I thought it best not to undeceive the industrious wretches, and,
accordingly, dismissed each of them with a few kind words, and
promised to accept their offers when I became a little more familiar
with my quarters.

After breakfast, I made a tour of the corridors, to see whether the
representations of my morning courtiers were true; and found the
shoemakers and tailors busy over toeless boots and patchwork garments.
One alcove contained the violinist and dancing-master, giving lessons
to several scapegraces in the _terpsichorean_ art; in another was the
letter-writer, laboriously adorning a sheet with cupids, hearts,
flames, and arrows, while a love-lorn booby knelt beside him,
dictating a message to his mistress; in a hall I found two pupils of
Monsieur Laramie at _quart_ and _tièrce_; in the corridors I came upon
a string of tables, filled with cigars, snuff, writing-paper, ink,
pens, wax, wafers, needles and thread; while, in the remotest cell, I
discovered a pawnbroker and gambling-table. Who can doubt that a real
Gaul knows how to kill time, when he is unwillingly converted into a
"government boarder," and transfers the occupations, amusements, and
vices of life, to the recesses of a prison!

       *       *       *       *       *

Very soon after my incarceration at Brest, I addressed a memorial to
the Spanish consul, setting forth the afflictions of twenty-two of his
master's subjects, and soliciting the interference of our ambassador
at Paris. We were promptly visited by the consul and an eminent
lawyer, who asserted his ability to stay proceedings against the
ratification of our sentence; but, as the Spanish minister never
thought fit to notice our misfortunes, the efforts of the lawyer and
the good will of our consul were ineffectual. Three months glided by,
while I lingered at Brest; yet my heart did not sink with hope
delayed, for the natural buoyancy of my spirit sustained me, and I
entered with avidity upon all the schemes and diversions of our
stronghold.

Blon kept me busy discounting his twenty _sous_ notes, which I
afterwards always took care to lose to him at cards. Then I patronized
the dancing-master; took two months' lessons with Laramie and Zouche;
caused my shoes to be thoroughly mended; had my clothes repaired and
scoured; and, finally, patronized all the various industries of my
comrades, to the extent of two hundred francs.

Suddenly, in the midst of these diversions, an order came for our
immediate transfer to the _civil prison_ of Brest, a gloomy tower in
the walled _chateau_ of that detestable town.



CHAPTER XLV.


I was taken from one prison to the other in a boat, and once more
spared the mortification of a parade through the streets, under a
guard of soldiers.

A receipt was given for the whole squad to the _brigadier_ who
chaperoned us. My men were summarily distributed by the jailer among
the cells already filled with common malefactors; but, as the
appearance of the _officers_ indicated the possession of cash, the
turnkey offered "_la salle de distinction_" for our use, provided we
were satisfied with a monthly rent of ten _francs_. I thought the
French government was bound to find suitable accommodations for an
involuntary guest, and that it was rather hard to imprison me first,
and make me pay board afterwards; but, on reflection, I concluded to
accept the offer, hard as it was, and, accordingly, we took possession
of a large apartment, with two grated windows looking upon a narrow
and sombre court-yard.

We had hardly entered the room, when a buxom woman followed with the
deepest curtseys, and declared herself "most happy to have it in her
power to supply us with beds and bedding, at ten sous per day." She
apprised us, moreover, that the daily prison fare consisted of two
pounds and a half of black bread, with water _à discretion_, but if we
wished, she might introduce the _vivandière_ of the regiment,
stationed in the chateau, who would supply our meals twice a day from
the mess of the petty officers.

My money had not been seriously moth-eaten during our previous
confinement, so that I did not hesitate to strike a bargain with
Madame Sorret, and to request that _la vivandière_ might make her
appearance on the theatre of action as soon as possible. Presently,
the door opened again, and the dame reappeared accompanied by two
Spanish women, wives of musicians in the corps, who had heard that
several of their countrymen had that morning been incarcerated, and
availed themselves of the earliest chance to visit and succor them.

For the thousandth time I blessed the noble heart that ever beats in
the breast of a Spanish woman when distress or calamity appeals, and
at once proceeded to arrange the diet of our future prison life. We
were to have two meals a day of three dishes, for each of which we
were to pay fifteen _sous in advance_. The bargain made, we sat down
on the floor for a chat.

My brace of Catalan visitors had married in this regiment when the
Duke d'Angoulême marched his troops into Spain; and like faithful
girls, followed their husbands in all their meanderings about France
since the regiment's return. As two of my officers were Catalonians by
birth, a friendship sprang up like wildfire between us, and from that
hour, these excellent women not only visited us daily, but ran our
errands, attended to our health, watched us like sisters, and procured
all those little comforts which the tender soul of the sex can alone
devise.

I hope that few of my readers have personal knowledge of the treatment
or fare of civil prisons in the provinces of France during the
republican era of which I am writing. I think it well to set down a
record of its barbarity.

As I before said, the _regular ration_ consisted exclusively of black
bread and water. Nine pounds of straw were allowed weekly to each
prisoner for his _lair_. Neither blankets nor covering were furnished,
even in the winter, and as the cells are built without stoves or
chimneys, the wretched convicts were compelled to huddle together in
heaps to keep from perishing. Besides this, the government denied all
supplies of fresh raiment, so that the wretches who were destitute of
friends or means, were alive and hideous with vermin in a few days
after incarceration. No amusement was allowed in the fresh air save
twice a week, when the prisoners were turned out on the flat roof of
the tower, where they might sun themselves for an hour or two under
the muzzle of a guard.

Such was the treatment endured by twelve of my men during the year
they continued in France. There are some folks who may be charitable
enough to remark--_that slavers deserved no better!_

I believe that convicts in the central prisons of France, where they
were either made or allowed to work, fared better in every respect
than in the provincial lock-ups on the coast. There is no doubt,
however, that the above description at the epoch of my incarceration,
was entirely true of all the smaller jurisdictions, whose culprits
were simply doomed to confinement without labor.

Often did my heart bleed for the poor sailors, whom I aided to the
extent of prudence from my slender means, when I knew not how long it
might be my fate to remain an inmate of the chateau. After these
unfortunate men had disposed of all their spare garments to obtain now
and then a meagre soup to moisten their stony loaves, they were nearly
a year without tasting either meat or broth! Once only,--on the
anniversary of ST. PHILIPPE,--the Sisters of Charity gave them a pair
of bullock's heads to make a _festival_ in honor of the Good King of
the French!



CHAPTER XLVI.


As the apartment rented by us from the jailer was the only one in the
prison he had a right to dispose of for his own benefit, several other
culprits, able to pay for comfortable lodgings, were from time to time
locked up in it. These occasional visitors afforded considerable
entertainment for our seclusion, as they were often persons of quality
arrested for petty misdemeanors or political opinions, and sometimes
_chevaliers d'industrie_, whose professional careers were rich with
anecdote and adventure.

It was probably a month after we began our intimacy with this
"government boarding-house" that our number was increased by a
gentleman of cultivated manners and foppish costume. He was, perhaps,
a little too much over-dressed with chains, trinkets, and perfumed
locks, to be perfectly _comme il faut_, yet there was an intellectual
power about his forehead and eyes, and a bewitching smile on his lips,
that insinuated themselves into my heart the moment I beheld him. He
was precisely the sort of man who is considered by nine tenths of the
world as a very "fascinating individual."

Accordingly, I welcomed the stranger most cordially in French, and was
still more bewitched by the retiring shyness of his modest demeanor.
As the jailer retired, a wink signified his desire to commune with me
apart in his office, where I learned that the new comer had been
arrested under a charge of _counterfeiting_, but on account of his
genteel appearance and blood, was placed in our apartment. I had no
doubt that neither appearance nor blood had been the springs of
sympathy in the jailer's heart, but that the artificial money-maker
had judiciously used certain lawful coins to insure better quarters.
Nevertheless, I did not hesitate to approve the turnkey's disposal of
the suspected felon, and begged him to make no apologies or give
himself concern as to the quality of the article that could afford us
a moment's amusement in our dreary den.

I next proceeded to initiate my gentleman into the mysteries of the
_chateau_; and as dinner was about serving, I suggested that the most
important of our domestic rites on such occasions, imperatively
required three or four bottles of first-rate claret.

By this time we had acquired a tolerable knack of "slaughtering the
evening." Our Spanish girls supplied us with guitars and violins,
which my comrades touched with some skill. We were thus enabled to
give an occasional _soirée dansante_, assisted by la Vivandière, her
companions Dolorescita, Concha, Madame Sorret, and an old maid who
passed for her sister. The arrival of the counterfeiter enabled us to
make up a full cotillon without the musicians. Our _soirées_,
enlivened by private contributions and a bottle or two of wine, took
place on Thursdays and Sundays, while the rest of the week was passed
in playing cards, reading romances, writing petitions, flirting with
the girls, and cursing our fate and the French government. Fits of
wrath against the majesty of Gaul were more frequent in the early
morning, when the pleasant sleeper would be suddenly roused from happy
dreams by the tramp of soldiers and grating bolts, which announced the
unceremonious entrance of our inspector to count his cattle and sound
our window gratings.

But time wastes one's cash as well as one's patience in prison. The
more we grumbled, danced, drank, and eat, the more we spent or
lavished, so that my funds looked very like a thin sediment at the
bottom of the purse, when I began to reflect upon means of
replenishing. I could not beg; I was master of no handicraft; nor was
I willing to descend among the vermin of the common chain-gang. Shame
prevented an application to my relatives in France or Italy; and when
I addressed my old partner or former friends in Cuba, I was not even
favored with a reply. At last, my little trinkets and gold chronometer
were sacrificed to pay the lawyer for a _final memorial_ and to
liquidate a week's lodging in advance.

"Now, _mon enfant_," said Madame Sorret, as she took my
money,--trimming her cap, and looking at me with that thrifty interest
that a Frenchwoman always knows how to turn to the best
account;--"now, mon enfant,--this is your last _franc_ and your last
week in my apartment, you say;--your last week in a room where you and
I, and Babette, Dolorescita, and Concha, and _Monsieur_, have had such
good times! _Mais pourquoi, mon cher?_ why shall it be your last week?
Come let us think a bit. Won't it be a thousand times better; won't it
do you a vast deal more good,--if instead of _sacré-ing le bon Louis
Philippe_,--paying lawyers for memorials that are never read,--hoping
for letters from the Spanish envoy which never come, and eating your
heart up in spite and bitterness--you look the matter plump in the
face like a man, and not like a _polisson_, and turn to account those
talents which it has pleased _le bon Dieu_ to give you? Voyez vous,
_Capitaine Téodore_,--you speak foreign languages like a native; and
it was no longer than yesterday that Monsieur Randanne, your advocate,
as he came down from the last interview with you, stopped at my
bureau, and--'Ah! Madame Sorret,' said he, 'what a linguist poor Canot
is,--how delightfully he speaks English, and how glad I should be if
he had any place in which he could teach my sons the noble tongue of
the great SKATSPEER!'

"Now, _mon capitaine_," continued she, "what the good Randanne said,
has been growing in my mind ever since, like the salad seed in the box
that is sunned in our prison yard. In fact, I have fixed the matter
perfectly. You shall have my bed-room for a schoolhouse; and, if you
will, you may begin to-morrow with my two sons for pupils, at fifteen
_francs_ a month!"

Did I not bless the wit and heart of woman again and again in my joy
of industrial deliverance! The heart of woman--that noble heart! burn
it in the fire of Africa; steep it in the snow of Sweden; lap it in
the listless elysium of Indian tropics; cage it in the centre of
dungeons, as the palpitating core of that stony rind,--yet every where
and always, throughout my wild career, has it been the last
sought--but surest, sweetest, and truest of devoted friends!

_Aide toi, et Dieu t'aidera!_--was my motto from that moment. For
years it was the first lesson of intellectual power and self-reliance
that had checkered a life of outlawry, in which adventurous impatience
preferred the gambling risks of fortune to the slow accretions of
regular toil. I was a schoolmaster!

Madame Sorret's plan was perfectly successful. In less than a week I
was installed in her chamber, with a class formed of my lady's lads, a
son and friend of my lawyer, and a couple of sons of officers in the
chateau; the whole producing a monthly income of fifty francs. As I
assumed my vocation with the spirit of a needy professor, I gained the
good will of all the parents by assiduous instruction of their
children. Gradually I extended the sphere of my usefulness, by adding
penmanship to my other branches of tuition; and so well did I please
the parents, that they volunteered a stipend of eighteen _francs_
more.

I would not dare affirm, that my pupils made extraordinary progress;
yet I am sure the children not only acquired cleverly, but loved me as
a companion. My scheme of instruction was not modelled upon that of
other pedagogues; for I simply contented myself, in the small class,
with reasoning out each lesson thoroughly, and never allowing the boys
to depart till they comprehended every part of their task. After this,
it was my habit to engage their interest _in language_, by familiar
dialogues, which taught them the names of furniture, apparel,
instruments, implements, animals, occupations, trades; and thus I led
them insensibly from the most simple nomenclature to the most
abstract. I deprived the interview, as much as I could, of task-like
formality; and invariably closed the school with a story from my
travels or adventures. I may not have ripened my scholars into
classical Anglo-Saxons, but I have the happiness to know that I earned
an honest living, supported my companions, and obtained the regard of
my pupils to such a degree, that the little band accompanied me with
tears to the ship, when, long afterwards, I was sent a happy exile
from France.



CHAPTER XLVII.


I have said that our genteel felon was not only refined in manners but
shy towards his new companions; nor, for several weeks, could all our
efforts rub off his reserve. I was not surprised that he kept aloof
from the coarser inmates, but I was not prepared to find that all my
own advances to confidence and companionship, were repulsed with even
more decision than those of my officers. At last, some passing event
disclosed my _true_ character to him, when I learned for the first
time that he had mistaken me for _a government spy_; inasmuch as he
could not otherwise account for my intimacy with Madame Sorret and her
spouse.

Our first move towards confidence was owing to the following
circumstance. I had been engaged one forenoon in writing a letter to
my mother, when Madame Sorret sent for me to see the Sisters of
Charity, who were making their rounds with a few comforts for the
convicts. I made my toilette and repaired to the parlor, where the
charitable women, who heard many kind things of me from the landlady,
bestowed a liberal donation of books. Returning quickly to my letter,
which I had left open on the table, confident that no one in the room
read Italian, I again took up my pen to finish a paragraph. But, as I
observed the page, it seemed that I had not written so much, yet the
sheet was nearly full of words, and all in my handwriting. I
reperused the document and found several lines, which, though in
perfect keeping with the sense and context of the composition, were
certainly not in my natural style. I was sure I had not used the
complimentary language, to which I am always so averse. Still I read
the page again--again--and again! I got up; walked about the room;
took the paper to the window; put it down; walked about again, and
then reperused the letter. For my life, I could not detect the precise
difficulty that puzzled me. The paper was, perhaps, bewitched! It was
mine, and yet it was not! In my dilemma, I rolled out a round Spanish
_carramba_ or two; and, with an _Ave Maria_ of utter bewilderment,
begun to put up my writing materials.

My companions, who had been huddled in a corner, watching my actions,
could stand it no longer, but bursting into peals of hearty laughter,
announced that Monsieur Germaine had taken the liberty to add a
postscript, while I was deep in literature with the Sisters of
Charity!

The ice was broken! Monsieur Germaine was not yet convicted, so we
gave him the benefit of the British law, and resolving to "consider
the fellow innocent till proved to be guilty," we raised him to the
dignity of companionship. His education was far superior to mine, and
his conversational powers were wonderful. He seemed perfectly familiar
with Latin and Greek, and had a commanding knowledge of history,
theology, mathematics, and astronomy. I never met his equal in
penmanship, drawing, and designing.

A few days of sociability sufficed to win a mutual confidence, and to
demand the mutual stories of our lives.

Germaine was born so high up on those picturesque borders of Piedmont,
that it was difficult to say whether the Swiss or Italian predominated
in his blood. The troubles and wars of the region impoverished his
parents, who had been gentlefolks in better times; yet they managed to
bestow the culture that made him the accomplished person I have
described. No opportunity offered, however, for his advancement as he
reached maturity, and it was thought best that he should go abroad in
search of fortune. For a while the quiet and modest youth was
successful in the humbler employments to which he stooped for bread;
but his address and talents, and especially his skill in designing and
penmanship, attracted the notice of a sharper, with whom he
accidentally became intimate; so that, before he knew it, the adroit
scrivener was both _used_ and _compromised_ by the knave. In truth, I
do not suppose that Germaine's will was made of stern and tough
materials. Those soft and gentle beings are generally disposed to
grasp the pleasures of life without labor; and whenever a relaxed
conscience has once allowed its possessor to tamper with crime, its
success is not only a stimulant but a motive for farther enterprise.
Germaine was soon a successful forger. He amassed twenty or thirty
thousand _francs_ by practices so perfect in their execution, that he
never dreamed of detection. But, at last, a daring speculation made
him our companion in the tower.

Three days before his introduction to the _chateau_ of Brest, and a
few hours before the regular departure of the Paris mail, Germaine
called on an exchange broker with seventeen thousand _francs_ in gold,
with which he purchased a sight draft on the capital. Soon after he
called a second time on the broker, and exhibiting a letter of orders,
bearing a regular post-mark, from his principals, who were alleged to
be oil merchants at Marseilles, desired to countermand the
transaction, and receive back his gold for the bill of exchange which
he tendered. The principal partner of the brokers did not happen to be
within at the moment, and the junior declined complying till his
return. _En attendant_, Monsieur Germaine sallied forth, and offered a
neighboring broker an additional half per cent, on the current value
of gold for the cash. He expressed, as the cause of this sacrifice,
extreme anxiety to depart by the four o'clock _diligence_, but the
urgency aroused the broker's suspicion, and led him to request
Germaine's return in half an hour, which he required to collect the
specie.

The incautious forger went off to his hotel with the promise in his
ear, while the wary broker dropped in on the drawers of the draft to
compare notes. The result of the interview was a visit to the _bureau
de police_, whence a couple of officers were despatched to Germaine's
hotel. They entered the dandy's room in disguise, but they were not
quick enough to save from destruction several _proof impressions_ of
blank drafts, which the counterfeiter cast into the fire the moment he
heard a knock at his door. In his trunks, they found engraving tools,
a small press, various acids and a variety of inks; all of which were
duly noted and preserved, while Monsieur Germaine was committed to the
_chateau_.

In those days there were no electric wires, and as the weather became
thick and cloudy, the old-fashioned semaphore or telegraph was useless
in giving notice to the Parisian police to stop the payment of a
suspected draft, and arrest the forger's accomplice in the capital.

Soon after the mail _of that day_ from Brest reached the metropolis, a
lady of most respectable appearance, clad in mourning, presented
herself at the counter of the broker's Parisian correspondent, and
exhibiting an unquestionable draft, drew seventeen thousand francs.
From the rapidity with which the whole of this adroit scheme was
accomplished in Brest and Paris, it seems that Germaine required but
four hours to copy, engrave, print and fill up the forged bill; and
yet, so perfectly did he succeed, that when the discharged draft came
back to Brest, neither drawers, brokers, nor police could distinguish
between the true one and the false! No one had seen Germaine at work,
or could prove complicity with the lady. The mourning dame was nowhere
to be found in Paris, Brest or Marseilles; so that when I finally
quitted the _chateau_, the adroit _chevalier_ was still an inmate, but
detained only _on suspicion_!



CHAPTER XLVIII.


This charming young soldier of fortune was our room-mate for nine
months, and engaged in several of our enterprises for escape. But
Germaine was more a man of _finesse_ than action, and his imprisonment
was the first mishap of that nature in his felonious career; so that I
cannot say I derived much advantage, either from his contrivances or
suggestions.

       *       *       *       *       *

I always cultivated a sneaking fondness for the sex, and was, perhaps,
especially devoted to those who _might_ aid me if they pleased, when I
got into difficulties. Into this category, under existing
circumstances, fell that very worthy person, Mademoiselle Babette,
whom I have heretofore rather ungallantly reported as an "antique
virgin." It is true that Babette was, perhaps, not as young as she had
been; but an unmarried Frenchwoman is unquestionably possessed of an
elixir against age,--some _eau restoratif_,--with which she defies
time, preserves her outlines, and keeps up that elastic gayety of
heart, which renders her always the most delightful of companions.
Now, I do not pretend, when I flirted with Babette, and sometimes made
downright love to the damsel, that I ever intended leading her to any
of the altars of Brest, when it should please the "king of the
barricades" to release me from prison. No such design ever possessed
my mind, at the age of twenty-seven, towards a maid of thirty. Yet, I
confess that Babette bewitched the sting and memory from many an hour
of prison-life, and played the comedy of love _à la Francaise_ to such
perfection, that I doubt not her heart rebounded from the encounter as
scarless as my own.

Germaine joked me very often about the tender passion, the danger of
trifling with youthful hearts, and the risk I ran from encounters with
such glittering eyes; till, one day, he suggested that we should take
advantage of the flirtation, by turning it to our benefit in flight.
Sorret and his wife often went out in the afternoon, and left the gate
and the keys solely in charge of Babette, who improved their absence
by spending half the time in our apartment. Now, Germaine proposed
that, during one of these absences, I should, in my capacity as
teacher, feign some excuse to leave our room, and, if I found the
lieutenant porteress unwilling to yield the keys to my passionate
entreaty, we would unhesitatingly seize, gag, and muffle the damsel so
securely, that, with the keys in our possession, we might open the
gates, and pass without question the only sentinels who guarded the
exterior corridor. Germaine was eloquent upon the merit of his scheme,
while, to my mind, it indicated the bungling project of a beginner,
and was promptly rejected, because I would not injure with violence
the innocent girl I had trifled with, and because I would not dishonor
the kindness of Sorret and his wife, by compromising their _personal_
vigilance.

Next morning, Germaine turned over to me long before daylight, and
whispered his delight that I had discarded his scheme, for it "never
could have been perfected without passports to quit the town!" This
deficiency, he said, had absorbed his mind the livelong night, and, at
last, a bright thought suggested the supply.

"Babette," continued the forger, "is _not_ to be molested in any way,
so you may make your mind easy about your sweetheart, though I am
afraid she will not be able to accompany us in our enterprise. First
and foremost, we must have a visit from our Spanish girls to-morrow,
and, as you enjoy more influence than I, it will be best for you to
prepare them. Dolores, who is by far the cleverest of the party, is to
go with Concha boldly to the prefecture of police, and demand
passports for Paris. These, in all likelihood, will be furnished
without question. The passports once in hand, our _demoiselles_ must
be off to an apothecary's for such acids as I shall prescribe; and
then, _mon capitaine_, leave the rest to me!"

I turned the matter over in my mind, pretending to finish a morning
nap, and, while we were dressing, assented. The Spanish women, who
never refused their countrymen a favor, daringly obtained the
passports, and smuggled them into prison with the required acids.
Before night the deed was done; the gender of the documents was
changed; Germaine was metamorphosed into "_Pietro Nazzolini_" a
tailor, and I was turned into a certain "_Dominico Antonetti_," by
trade a carpenter!

How to escape was our next concern. This could not be effected without
breaking prison,--a task of some enterprise, as our apartment was
above a store-room, always closed, barred, and locked. The door of our
room opened on a long passage, broken at intervals by several iron
gates before the main portal was reached; so that our only hope was
the single window, that illuminated our apartment and looked into a
small yard, guarded after sunset by a sentinel. This court, moreover,
was entirely hemmed in by a wall, which, if successfully escaladed,
would lead us to the parade ground of the _chateau_.

Days passed, while my dull brain and the kindled fancy of the new
Nazzolini were inventing plans. Pietro had schemes enough, for his
imagination was both vivid and ceaseless; but whenever he came to
reduce them to words, it was always found that they required a little
more "_polishing_ in certain links," which he forthwith retired to
perform.

One of our greatest difficulties was, how to deal with my officers,
who had proved so false on the Senegal. We debated the matter for a
long time; but, considering that they were sick of long confinement
and bereft of future comfort without my labor we resolved to let them
partake our flight, though, once outside the chateau, we would
abandon them to their own resources.

Accordingly, we imparted our scheme, which was eagerly embraced; and,
through the kindness of our Spanish girls, we secretly despatched all
our spare garments, so that we might not issue bare into the
censorious world.

All being prepared, it was proposed by _Signore Pietro_ that New Year,
which was at hand, should be signalized by our enterprise. As I had
carefully kept and secreted the saw received from my Goree friends, we
possessed a most valuable implement; so that it was resolved to attack
a bar the moment we had been mustered and locked up on that auspicious
night. At eleven, a descent into the court beneath the window was to
be commenced, and, if this proved successful, there was no doubt we
could reach the beach across the parade. But the sentinel still
required "polishing" out of the court-yard! This was a tremendous
obstacle; still, Germaine once more put on his fancy-wings, and
recommended that our fair Catalans, whose occupation made them
familiar with the whole regiment, should ascertain the sentinels for
the night in question, and, as it was a festival, they might easily
insinuate a few bottles of brandy into the guard-house, and prepare
the soldiery for sleep instead of vigilance. But the success and merit
of this plan were considered so doubtful, that another scheme was kept
in reserve to silence the soldier whose duty required a continual
march beneath our window. If the women failed to accomplish our wishes
with liquor, and if the sentry persisted in a vigilant promenade, it
was proposed, as soon as the bar parted, to drop the noose of a _lazo_
quietly over his head, and dragging him with a run to the window-sill,
knock out his brains, if necessary, with the iron.

The last days of December were at hand; every body was busy with hope
or preparation; the women carried off our garments; then they brought
us an abundance of fishing lines, hidden beneath their petticoats;
and, finally, a rope, strong enough to hang a man, was spun in
darkness by the whole detachment.

The wished-for day at length came, with the jollity, merriment, and
drunkenness, that attend it almost universally throughout _la belle
France_. But there was not so sober a party in the kingdom as that
which was anxiously gathered together over a wineless meal in the
chateau of Brest. We trembled lest a word, a traitor, or an accident,
should frustrate our hope of life and freedom.

In the afternoon, our Spanish women, gay with fresh apparel, dashing
ribbons, and abundant claret, visited their fluttering birds in the
cage, and _assured_ success. The sergeant of the guard was married to
one of their intimate friends, and, _in her_ company, they were
confident, on such a night, of reaching the guard-room. A long
embrace, perhaps a kiss, and a most affectionate farewell!

Supper was over. Muster passed. Oh! how slowly was drawn the curtain
of darkness over that shortest of days. Would night _never_ come? It
did. By eight o'clock the severed bar hung by threads, while the
well-greased _lazo_ lay coiled on the sill. Nine o'clock brought the
sentinel, who began his customary tramp with great regularity, but
broke forth in a drinking song as soon as the sergeant was out of
hearing.

So impatient were my comrades for escape, that they declined waiting
till the appointed hour of eleven, and, at ten, ranged themselves
along the floor, with the end of the rope firmly grasped, ready for a
strong and sudden pull, while the intrepid Germaine stood by, bar in
hand, ready to strike, if necessary. At a signal from me, after I had
dropped the _lazo_, they were to haul up, make fast, and follow us
through the aperture by a longer rope, which was already fastened for
our descent.

Softly the sash was opened, and, stretching my neck into the darkness,
I distinctly saw, by a bright star-light, the form of the sentinel,
pacing, with staggering strides, beneath the casement. Presently, he
came to a dead halt, at the termination of a _roulade_ in his song,
and, in a wink, the _lazo_ was over him. A kick with my heel served
for signal to the halliards, and up flew the pendant against the
window-sill. But, alas! it was not the sentinel. The noose had not
slipped or caught with sufficient rapidity, and escaping the soldier's
neck, it only grasped and secured his _chako_ and musket. In an
instant, I saw the fatal misfortune, and, clearing the weapon, dropped
it, _plumb_, on the head of the tipsy and terrified guardsman. Its
fall must have stunned and prostrated the poor fellow, for not a word
or groan escaped from the court-yard.



CHAPTER XLIX.


Silent as was the sentinel after the restoration of his musket, it
was, nevertheless, unanimously voted that our enterprise was a
failure. Accordingly, the bar was replaced, the window closed, our
implements stowed in the mattresses, and ourselves packed beneath the
blankets, in momentary expectation of a visit from the jailer and
military commander. We passed the night in feverish expectation, but
our bolts remained undrawn.

Bright and early, with a plenteous breakfast, appeared our spirited
Spaniards, and, as the turnkey admitted and locked them in, they burst
into a fit of uproarious laughter at our maladroit adventure. The poor
sentinel, they said, was found, at the end of his watch, stretched on
the ground in a sort of fainting fit and half frozen. He swore, in
accounting for a bleeding skull, that an invisible hand from the
store-room beneath us, had dealt him a blow that felled him to the
earth! His story was so silly and maudlin, that the captain of the
guard, who remembered the festival and knew the tipsiness of the
entire watch, gave no heed to the tale, but charged it to the account
of New Year and _eau de vie_. We were sadly jeered by the lasses for
our want of pluck, in forsaking the advantage fortune had thrown in
our way, and I was specially charged to practise my hand more
carefully with the _lazo_, when I next got a chance on the
plantations of Cuba, or among the _vaqueros_ of Mexico.

As we expected the daily visit from the punctual inspector, to try our
bars with his iron rod, we hastened to secure our window, and stuffing
all the fissures with straw and rags, so as almost to exclude light,
we complained bitterly to the official of the cold wind to which the
apertures exposed us, and thus prevented him from touching the sash.
Besides this precaution, we thought it best to get rid of our tools
and cord in the same way we received them; and thus terminated our
project of escape.

Soon after, I heard from a relative in Paris, that my petition had
been presented to Louis Philippe, whose reception of it encouraged a
hope for my pardon. The news somewhat restored us to the good humor
that used to prevail in our party, but which had been sadly dashed
since our failure. Even Monsieur Germaine, saw in our anticipated
liberation, a phantom of encouragement for himself, and began to talk
confidentially of his plans. He fancied that I had been gradually
schooled _into a taste for misdemeanor_, so that he favored me with
innumerable anecdotes of swindling, and countless schemes of future
robbery. By making me an incipient accomplice, he thought to secure my
aid either for his escape or release.

I will take the liberty to record a single specimen of Germaine's
prolific fancy in regard to the higher grades of elegant felony, and
will leave him to the tender mercy of the French government, which
allows no _bail_ for such _chevaliers_ but chastises their crime with
an iron hand.

We had scarcely recovered from our trepidation, when the forger got up
one morning, with a radiant face, and whispered that the past night
was fruitful to his brain, for he had planned an enterprise which
would yield a fortune for _any two_ who were wise and bold enough to
undertake it.

Germaine was a philosophic felon. It was perhaps the trick of an
intellect naturally astute, and of a spirit originally refined, to
reject the vulgar baseness of common pilfering. Germaine never stole
or defrauded;--he only outwitted and outgeneralled. If he spoke of the
world, either in politics or trade, he insisted that shams,
forgeries, and counterfeits were quite as much played off in the
language, address and dealings of statesmen, merchants, parsons,
doctors, and lawyers, as they were by himself and his accomplices. The
only difference between the felon and the jury, he alleged, existed in
the fact that the jury was in the majority and the felon in the
vocative. He advocated the worst forms of liberty and equality; he was
decidedly in favor of a division of property, which he was sure would
end what _the law called_ crime, because all would be supplied on the
basis of a common balance. Whenever he told his ancient exploits or
suggested new ones, he glossed them invariably with a rhetorical
varnish about the laws of nature, social contracts, human rights,
_meum and tuum_; and concluded, to his perfect satisfaction, with a
favorite axiom, that "he had quite as much _right_ to the world's
goods as they who possessed them."

A hypocritical farrago of this character always prefaced one of
Germaine's tales, so that I hardly ever interrupted the rogue when he
became fluent about social theories, but waited patiently, in
confidence that I was shortly to be entertained with an adventure or
enterprise.

The forger began his story on this occasion with a most fantastical
and exaggerated account of the celebrated _Santissima Casa_ of
Loretto, which he imagined was still endowed with all the treasures it
possessed anterior to its losses during the pontificate of Pius VI. He
asserted that it was the richest tabernacle in Europe, and that the
adornments of the altar were valued at several millions of
crowns,--the votive offerings and legacies of devotees during a long
period of time.

This holy and opulent shrine, the professor of
politico-economico-equality proposed to rob at some convenient period;
and, to effect it, he had "polished" the following plan during the
watches of the night.

On some stormy day of winter, he proposed to leave Ancona, as a
traveller from South America, and approaching the convent attached to
the church of the Madonna of Loretto, demand hospitality for a
penitent who had made the tiresome pilgrimage on a vow to the Virgin.
There could be no doubt of his admission. For three days he would
most devoutly attend _matins_ and vespers, and crave permission to
serve as an _acolyte_ at the altar, the duties of which he perfectly
understood. When the period of his departure arrived, he would be
seized with sudden illness, and, in all likelihood, the brethren would
lodge him in their infirmary. As his malady increased, he would call a
confessor, and, pouring into the father's credulous ear a tale of
woes, sorrows, superstition and humbug, he would make the convent a
donation of _all his estates in South America_, and pray for a
remission of his sins!

When this comedy was over, convalescence should supervene; but he
would adhere with conscientious obstinacy to his dying gift, and
produce documents showing the immense value of the bequeathed
property. Presently, he would be suddenly smitten with a love for
monastic life; and, on his knees, the Prior was to be interceded for
admission to the brotherhood. All this, probably, would require time,
as well as playacting of the adroitest character; yet he felt
confident he could perform the drama.

At last, when a vow had sealed his novitiate, no one of the fraternity
should exceed him in fervent piety and bodily mortification. Every
hour would find him at the altar before the Virgin, missal in hand,
_and eyes intent on the glittering image_. This incessant and
unwatched devotion, he calculated, would enable him in two months to
take an impression of all the locks in the _sacristy_; and, as his
confederate would call every market-day at the convent gate, in the
guise of a pedler, he could easily cause the keys to be fabricated in
different villages by common locksmiths.

Germaine considered it indispensable that his colleague in this
enterprise should be _a sailor_; for the flight with booty was to be
made over sea from Ancona. As soon, therefore, as the keys were
perfected, and in the hands of the impostor, the mariner was to cause
a _felucca_, to cruise off shore, in readiness for immediate
departure. Then, at a fixed time, the pedler should lurk near the
convent, with a couple of mules; and, in the dead of night, the
sacrilege would be accomplished.

When he finished his story, the pleasant villain, rubbed his hands
with glee, and skipping about the floor like a dancing-master, began
to whistle "_La Marsellaise_." That night, he retired earlier than
usual, "to polish," as he said; but before dawn he again aroused me,
with a pull, and whispered a sudden fear that his "Loretto
masterpiece" would prove an abortion!

"I have considered," said he, "that the Virgin's jewels are probably
nothing but false stones and waxen pearls in pinchbeck gold! Surely,
those cunning monks would never leave such an amount of property idle,
simply to adorn a picture or statue! No, I am positive they must have
sold the gems, substituted imitations, and bought property for their
opulent convents!"--As I felt convinced of this fact, and had some
inkling of a recollection about losses during a former reign, I was
happy to hear that the swindler's fancy had "polished" the crime to
absolute annihilation.

And now that I am about to leave this forging philosopher in prison,
to mature, doubtless, some greater act of villany, I will merely add,
that when I departed, he was constructing a new scheme, in which the
Emperor of Russia was to be victim and paymaster. As my liberation
occurred before the finishing touches were given by the artist, I am
unable to say how it fared with Nicholas; but I doubt, exceedingly,
whether the galleys of Brest contained a greater scoundrel, both in
deeds and imaginings, than the metaphysical dandy--Monsieur
Germaine.[7]

At length, my pardon and freedom came; but this was the sole
reparation I received at the hands of Louis Philippe, for the unjust
seizure and appropriation of my vessel in the neutral waters of
Africa. When Sorret rushed in, followed by his wife, Babette, and the
children, to announce the glorious news, the good fellow's emotion
was so great, that he stood staring at me like a booby, and for a long
while could not articulate. Then came La Vivandière Dolores, and my
pretty Concha. Next arrived Monsieur Randanne, with the rest of my
pupils; so that, in an hour, I was overwhelmed with sunshine and
tears. I can still feel the grasp of Sorret's hand, as he led me
beyond the bolts and bars, to read the act of royal grace. May we not
feel a _spasm_ of regret at leaving even a prison?

Next day, an affectionate crowd of friends and pupils followed the
emancipated slaver to a vessel, which, by order of the king, was to
bear me, a willing exile, from France for ever.


FOOTNOTE:

[7] I know not what was his fate; but he has probably long since
realized his dream of equality, though, in all likelihood, it was the
equality described by old Patris of Caen:

    "Ici tous sont egaux; je ne te dois plus rien:
    Je suis sur mon _fumier_ comme toi sur le tien!"



CHAPTER L.


I said, at the end of the last chapter, that my friends bade adieu on
the quay of Brest to an "emancipated _slaver_;" for _slaver_ I was
determined to continue, notwithstanding the capture of my vessel, and
the tedious incarceration of my body. Had the seizure and sentence
been justly inflicted for a violation of local or international law, I
might, perhaps, have become penitent for early sins, during the long
hours of reflection afforded me in the _chateau_. But, with all the
fervor of an ardent and thwarted nature, I was much more disposed to
rebel and revenge myself when opportunity occurred, than to confess my
sins with a lowly and obedient heart. Indeed, most of my time in
prison had been spent in cursing the court and king, or in reflecting
how I should get back to Africa in the speediest manner, if I was ever
lucky enough to elude the grasp of the model monarch.

The vessel that bore me into perpetual banishment from France, was
bound to Lisbon; but, delaying in Portugal only long enough to procure
a new passport, under an assumed name, I spat upon Louis Philippe's
"eternal exile," and took shipping for his loyal port of Marseilles!
Here I found two vessels fitting for the coast of Africa; but, in
consequence of the frightful prevalence of cholera, all mercantile
adventures were temporarily suspended. In fact, such was the panic,
that no one dreamed of despatching the vessel in which I was promised
a passage, until the pestilence subsided. Till this occurred, as my
means were of the scantiest character, I took lodgings in an humble
hotel.

The dreadful malady was then apparently at its height, and nearly all
the hotels were deserted, for most of the regular inhabitants had
fled; while the city was unfrequented by strangers except under
pressing duty. It is altogether probable that the lodging-houses and
hotels would have been closed entirely, so slight was their patronage,
had not the prefect issued an order, depriving of their licenses, for
the space of two years, all who shut their doors on strangers.
Accordingly, even when the scourge swept many hundred victims daily to
their graves, every hotel, café, grocery, butcher shop, and bakery,
was regularly opened in Marseilles; so that a dread of famine was not
added to the fear of cholera.

Of course, the lowly establishment where I dwelt was not thronged at
this epoch; most of its inmates or frequenters had departed for the
country before my arrival, and I found the house tenanted alone by
three boarders and a surly landlord, who cursed the authorities for
their compulsory edict. My reception, therefore, was by no means
cordial. I was told that the proclamation had not prevented the _cook_
from departing; and that I must be content with whatever the master of
the house could toss up for my fare.

A sailor--especially one fresh from the _chateau_ of Brest,--is not
apt to be over nice in the article of cookery, and I readily
accompanied my knight of the rueful countenance to his _table d'hôte_,
which I found to be a long oval board, three fourths bare of cloth and
guests, while five human visages clustered around its end.

I took my seat opposite a trim dashing brunette, with the brightest
eyes and rosiest cheeks imaginable. Her face was so healthily
refreshing in the midst of malady and death, that I altogether forgot
the cholera under the charm of her ardent gaze. Next me sat a comical
sort of fellow, who did not delay in scraping an acquaintance, and
jocularly insisted on introducing all the company.

"It's a case of emergency," said the droll, "we have no time to lose
or to stand on the ceremony of fashionable etiquette. Here to-day,
gone to-morrow--is the motto of Marseilles! _Hola!_ _Messieurs_, shall
we not make the most of new acquaintances when they may be so brief?"

I thanked him for his hospitality. I had so little to lose in this
world, either of property or friends, that I feared the cholera quite
as slightly as any of the company. "A thousand thanks," said I,
"Monsieur, for your politeness; I'll bury you to-morrow, if it is the
cholera's pleasure, with ten times more pleasure now that I have had
the honor of an introduction. A fashionable man hardly cares to be
civil to a stranger--even if he happens to be a corpse!"

There was so hearty a cheer at this sally, that, in spite of the
shallow soundings of my purse, I called for a fresh bottle, and
pledged the party in a bumper all round.

"And now," continued my neighbor, "as it may be necessary for some one
of us to write your epitaph in a day or two, or, at least, to send a
message of condolence and sympathy to your friends; pray let us know a
bit of your history, and what the devil brings you to Marseilles when
the cholera thermometer is up to 1000 degrees per diem?"

Very few words were necessary to impart such a name and tale as I
chose to invent for the company's edification. "Santiago Ximenes," and
my tawny skin betokened my nationality and profession, while my
threadbare garments spoke louder than words that I was at suit with
Fortune.

Presently, after a lull in the chat, a dapper little prig of a dandy,
who sat on my left, volunteered to inform me that he was no less a
personage than _le Docteur_ Du Jean, a medical practitioner fresh from
Metropolitan hospitals, who, in a spirit of the loftiest philanthropy,
visited this provincial town at his own expense to succor the poor.

"_C'est une belle dame, notre vis à vis, n'est elle pas mon cher?_"
said he pointing to our patron saint opposite.

I admitted without argument that she was the most charming woman I
ever saw out of Cuba.

"_C'est ma chère amie_," whispered he confidentially in my ear,
strongly emphasizing the word "friend" and nodding very knowingly
towards the lady herself. "At the present moment the dear little
creature is exclusively under my charge and protection, for she is _en
route_ to join her husband, a captain in the army at Algiers; but,
alas! _grâce à Dieu_, there's no chance of a transport so long as this
cursed pestilence blockades Marseilles! Do you know the man on your
right?--No! _Bien!_ that's the celebrated S----, the oratorical
advocate about whom the papers rang when Louis Philippe began his
assault on the press. He's on his way to Algiers too, and will be more
successful in liberalizing the Arabs than the French. That old chap
over yonder with the snuffy nose, the snuffy wig, and snuffy coat, is
a grand speculator in horses, on his way to the richest cavalry corps
of the army; and, as for our _maître d'hotel_ at the head of this
segment, _pauvre diable_, you see what he is without a revelation. The
pestilence has nearly used him up. He sits half the day in his bureau
on the stairs looking for guests who never come, reading the record
which adds no name, cursing the cholera, counting a penitential _ave_
and _pater_ on his rosary, and flying from the despair of silence and
desertion to his pans to stew our wretched fare. _Voila mon cher, la
carte de la table! le Cholera et ses Convives!_"

If there is a creature I detest in the world it is a flippant,
intrusive, voluntary youth who thrusts his conversation and affairs
upon strangers, and makes bold to monopolize their time with his
unasked confidence. Such persons are always silly and vulgar
pretenders; and before Doctor Du Jean got through his description of
the lady, I had already classified him among my particular aversions.

When the doctor nodded so patronizingly to the dame, and spoke of his
friendly protectorate, I thought I saw that the quick-witted woman not
only comprehended his intimation, but denied it by the sudden glance
she gave me from beneath her thin and arching eyebrows. So, when
dinner was over, without saying a word to the doctor, I made a slight
inclination of the head to Madame Duprez, and rising before the other
guests, passed to her side and tendered my arm for a promenade on the
balcony.

"_Mon docteur_," said I as we left the room, "life, you know, is too
short and precarious to suffer a monopoly of such blessings,"--looking
intently into the lady's eyes,--"besides which, we sailors, in
defiance of you landsmen, go in for the most 'perfect freedom of the
seas.'"

Madame Duprez declared I was entirely right; that I was no
pirate.--"Mais, mon capitaine," said the fair one, as she leaned with
a fond pressure on my arm, "I'd have no objection if you were, so that
you'd capture me from that frightful gallipot! Besides, you sailors
are always so gallant towards the ladies, and tell us such delightful
stories, and bring us such charming presents when you come home, and
love us so much while you're in port, because you see so few when you
are away! Now isn't that a delightful _catalogue raisonné_ of
arguments why women should love _les mâtelots_?"

"Pity then, madame," said I, "that you married a _soldier_."

"Ah!" returned the ready dame, "_I_ didn't;--that was my mother's
match. In France, you know, the old folks marry us; but we take the
liberty to _love_ whomsoever we please!"

"But, what of _Monsieur le capitaine_, in the present instance?"
interrupted I inquiringly.

"Ah! _fi donc!_" said Madame, "what bad taste to speak of an _absent_,
husband when you have the liberty to talk with a _present_ wife!"

In fact, the lovely Helen of this tavern-Troy was the dearest of
coquettes, whose fence of tongue was as beautiful a game of thrust and
parry as I ever saw played with Parisian foils. Du Jean had been
horribly mortified by the contemptuous manner in which the threadbare
Spaniard bore off his imaginary prize; and would probably have
assailed me on the spot, before he knew my temper or quality, had not
the lawyer drawn him aside on a plea of medical advice and given his
inflamed honor time to cool.

But the wit of Madame Duprez was not so satisfied by a single specimen
of our mutual folly, as to allow the surgeon to resume the undisputed
post of _cavaliere serviente_ which he occupied before my arrival. It
was her delight to see us at loggerheads for her favor, and though we
were both aware of her arrant coquetry, neither had moral courage
enough, in that dismal time, to desist from offering the most servile
courtesies. We mined and counter-mined, marched and counter-marched,
deceived and re-deceived, for several days, without material advantage
to either, till, at last, the affair ended in a battle.

The prefecture's bulletin announced at dinner-time twelve hundred
deaths! but, in spite of the horror, or perhaps to drown its memory,
our undiminished party called for several more bottles, and became
uproariously gay.

The conversation took a physiological turn; and gradually the modern
science of phrenology, which was just then becoming fashionable, came
on the carpet. Doctor Du Jean professed familiarity with its
mysteries. Spurzheim, he said, had been his professor in Paris. He
could read our characters on our skulls as if they were written in a
book. Powers, passions, propensities, and even thoughts, could not be
hidden from him;--and, "who dared try his skill?"

"_C'est moi!_" said Madame Duprez, as she drew her chair to the centre
of the room, and accepting the challenge, cast loose her beautiful
hair, which fell in a raven torrent over snowy neck and shoulders,
heightening tenfold every charm of face and figure.

Du Jean was nothing loth to commence his tender manipulation of the
charming head, whose wicked mouth and teasing eyes shot glances of
defiance at me. Several organs were disclosed and explained to the
company; but then came others which he ventured to whisper in her ears
alone, and, as he did so, I noticed that his mouth was pressed rather
deeper than I thought needful among the folds of her heavy locks. I
took the liberty to hint rather jestingly that the doctor "_cut quite
too deep_ with his lips;" but the coquette at once saw my annoyance,
and persisted with malicious delight in making Du Jean whisper--heaven
knows what--in her ear. In fact, she insisted that some of the organs
should be repeated to her three or four times over, while, at each
rehearsal, the doctor grew bolder in his dives among the curls, and
the lady louder and redder in her merriment.

At last, propriety required that the scene should be closed, and no
one knew better than this arch coquette the precise limit of decency's
bounds. Next came the lawyer's cranium; then followed the horse-jockey
and tavern-keeper; and finally, it was _my_ turn to take the stool.

I made every objection I could think of against submitting to
inspection, for I was sure the surgeon had wit enough not to lose so
good a chance of quizzing or ridiculing me; but a whispered word from
Madame forced an assent, with the stipulation that Du Jean should
allow _me_ to examine his skull afterwards, pretending that if he had
studied with Spurzheim, I had learned the science from Gall.

The doctor accepted the terms and began his lecture. First of all my
Jealousy was enormous, and only equalled by my Conceit and Envy. I was
altogether destitute of Love, Friendship, or the Moral sentiments. I
was an immoderate wine-bibber; extremely avaricious; passionate,
revengeful, and blood-thirsty; in fine, I was a monstrous conglomerate
of every thing devilish and dreadful. The first two or three essays of
the doctor amused the company and brought down a round of laughter;
but as he grew coarser and coarser, I saw the increasing disgust of
our comrades by their silence, though I preserved my temper most
admirably till he was done. Then I rose slowly from the seat, and
pointing the doctor silently to the vacant chair,--for I could not
speak with rage,--I took my stand immediately in front of him, gazing
intently into his eyes. The company gathered eagerly round, expecting
I would retaliate wittily, or pay him back in his coin of abuse.

After a minute's pause I regained my power of speech, and inquired
whether the phrenologist was ready. He replied affirmatively;
whereupon my right hand discovered the bump of impudence with a
tremendous slap on his left cheek, while my left hand detected the
organ of blackguardism with equal prominence on his right!

It was natural that this new mode of scientific investigation was as
novel and surprising as it was disagreeable to poor Du Jean; for, in
an instant, we were exchanging blows with intense zeal, and would
probably have borrowed a couple of graves from the cholera, had not
the boarders interfered. All hands, however, were unanimous in my
favor, asserting that Du Jean had provoked me beyond endurance; and,
as _la belle Duprez_ joined heartily in the verdict, the doctor gave
up the contest, and, ever after, "cut" the lady.



CHAPTER LI.


In the first lull of the pestilence, the French merchantman was
despatched from Marseilles, and, in twenty-seven days, I had the
pleasure to shake hands with the generous friends, who, two years
before, labored so hard for my escape. The colonial government soon
got wind of my presence notwithstanding my disguise, and warning me
from Goree, cut short the joys of an African welcome.

I reached Sierra Leone in time to witness the arbitrary proceeding of
the British government towards Spanish traders and coasters, by virtue
of the treaty for the suppression of the slave-trade. _Six months_
after this compact was signed and ratified in London and Madrid, it
was made known with the proverbial despatch of Spain, in the Islands
of Cuba and Porto Rico. Its stipulations were such as to allow very
considerable latitude of judgment in captures; and when prizes were
once within the grasp of the British lion, that amiable animal was
neither prompt to release nor anxious to acquit. Accordingly, when I
reached Sierra Leone, I beheld at anchor under government guns, some
thirty or forty vessels seized by cruisers, several of which I have
reason to believe were captured in the "Middle Passage," bound from
Havana to Spain, but entirely free from the taint or design of
slavery.

I was not so inquisitive or patriotic in regard to treaty rights and
violations, as to dally from mere curiosity in Sierra Leone. My chief
object was employment. At twenty-eight, after trials, hazards, and
chances enough to have won half a dozen fortunes, I was utterly
penniless. The Mongo of Kambia,--the Mahometan convert of
Ahmah-de-Bellah,--the pet of the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon,--the
leader of slave caravans,--the owner of barracoons,--and the bold
master of clippers that defied the British flag, was reduced to the
humble situation of coast-pilot and interpreter on board an American
brig bound to the celebrated slave mart of Gallinas! We reached our
destination safely; but I doubt exceedingly whether the "Reaper's"
captain knows to this day that his brig was guided by a marine
adventurer, who knew nothing of the coast or port save the little he
gleaned in half a dozen chats with a Spaniard, who was familiar with
this notorious resort and its surroundings.

In the history of African servitude, no theatre of Spanish,
Portuguese, British, or American action has been the scene of more
touching, tragic, and _profitable_ incidents than the one to which
fortune had now directed my feet.

Before the generous heart and far-seeing mind of America perceived _in
Colonization_, the true secret of Africa's hope, the whole of its
coast, from the Rio Gambia to Cape Palmas, without a break except at
Sierra Leone, was the secure haunt of daring slavers. The first
impression on this lawless disposal of full fifteen hundred miles of
beach and continent, was made by the bold establishment of Liberia;
and, little by little has its power extended, until treaty, purchase,
negotiation, and influence, drove the trade from the entire region.
After the firm establishment of this colony, the slave-trade on the
windward coast, north and west of Cape Palmas, was mainly confined to
Portuguese settlements at Bissaos, on the Rios Grande, Nunez, and
Pongo, at Grand and Little Bassa, New Sestros and Trade-town; but the
lordly establishment at Gallinas was the heart of the slave marts, to
which, in fact, Cape Mesurado was only second in importance.

Our concern is now with Gallinas. Nearly one hundred miles north-west
of Monrovia, a short and sluggish river, hearing this well-known name,
oozes lazily into the Atlantic; and, carrying down in the rainy season
a rich alluvion from the interior, sinks the deposit where the tide
meets the Atlantic, and forms an interminable mesh of spongy islands.
To one who approaches from sea, they loom up from its surface, covered
with reeds and mangroves, like an immense field of _fungi_, betokening
the damp and dismal field which death and slavery have selected for
their grand metropolis. A spot like this, possessed, of course, no
peculiar advantages for agriculture or commerce; but its dangerous
bar, and its extreme desolation, fitted it for the haunt of the outlaw
and slaver.

Such, in all likelihood, were the reasons that induced Don Pedro
Blanco, a well-educated mariner from Malaga, to select Gallinas as the
field of his operations. Don Pedro visited this place originally in
command of a slaver; but failing to complete his cargo, sent his
vessel back with one hundred negroes, whose value was barely
sufficient to pay the mates and crew. Blanco, however, remained on the
coast with a portion of the Conquistador's cargo, and, on its basis,
began a trade with the natives and slaver-captains, till, four years
after, he remitted his owners the product of their merchandise, and
began to flourish on his own account. The honest return of an
investment long given over as lost, was perhaps the most active
stimulant of his success, and for many years he monopolized the
traffic of the Vey country, reaping enormous profits from his
enterprise.

Gallinas was not in its prime when I came thither, yet enough of its
ancient power and influence remained to show the comprehensive mind
of Pedro Blanco. As I entered the river, and wound along through the
labyrinth of islands, I was struck, first of all, with the vigilance
that made this Spaniard stud the field with look-out seats, protected
from sun and rain, erected some seventy-five or hundred feet above
the ground, either on poles or on isolated trees, from which the
horizon was constantly swept by telescopes, to announce the approach
of cruisers or slavers. These telegraphic operators were the keenest
men on the islands, who were never at fault, in discriminating
between friend and foe. About a mile from the river's mouth we found
a group of islets, on each of which was erected the factory of some
particular slave-merchant belonging to the grand confederacy.
Blanco's establishments were on several of these marshy flats. On
one, near the mouth, he had his place of business or trade with
foreign vessels, presided over by his principal clerk, an astute and
clever gentleman. On another island, more remote, was his residence,
where the only white person was a sister, who, for a while, shared
with Don Pedro his solitary and penitential domain. Here this man of
education and refined address surrounded himself with every luxury
that could be purchased in Europe or the Indies, and dwelt in a sort
of oriental but semi-barbarous splendor, that suited an African
prince rather than a Spanish grandee. Further inland was another
islet, devoted to his seraglio, within whose recesses each of his
favorites inhabited her separate establishment, after the fashion of
the natives. Independent of all these were other islands, devoted to
the barracoons or slave-prisons, ten or twelve of which contained
from one hundred to five hundred slaves in each. These barracoons
were made of rough staves or poles of the hardest trees, four or six
inches in diameter, driven five feet in the ground, and clamped
together by double rows of iron bars. Their roofs were constructed of
similar wood, strongly secured, and overlaid with a thick thatch of
long and wiry grass, rendering the interior both dry and cool. At the
ends, watch-houses--built near the entrance--were tenanted by
sentinels, with loaded muskets. Each barracoon was tended by two or
four Spaniards or Portuguese; but I have rarely met a more wretched
class of human beings, upon whom fever and dropsy seemed to have
emptied their vials.

Such were the surroundings of Don Pedro in 1836, when I first saw his
slender figure, swarthy face, and received the graceful welcome, which
I hardly expected from one who had passed fifteen years without
crossing the bar of Gallinas! Three years after this interview, he
left the coast for ever, with a fortune of near a million. For a
while, he dwelt in Havana, engaged in commerce; but I understood that
family difficulties induced him to retire altogether from trade; so
that, if still alive, he is probably a resident of "Geneva la
Superba," whither he went from the island of Cuba.

The power of this man among the natives is well-known; it far exceeded
that of Cha-cha, of whom I have already spoken. Resolved as he was to
be successful in traffic, he left no means untried, with blacks as
well as whites, to secure prosperity. I have often been asked what was
the character of a mind which could voluntarily isolate itself for
near a lifetime amid the pestilential swamps of a burning climate,
trafficking in human flesh, exciting wars, bribing and corrupting
ignorant negroes; totally without society, amusement, excitement, or
change; living, from year to year, the same dull round of seasons and
faces; without companionship, save that of men at war with law; cut
loose from all ties except those which avarice formed among European
outcasts who were willing to become satellites to such a luminary as
Don Pedro? I have always replied to the question, that this African
enigma puzzled _me_ as well as those orderly and systematic persons,
who would naturally be more shocked at the tastes and prolonged career
of a resident slave-factor in the marshes of Gallinas.

I heard many tales on the coast of Blanco's cruelty, but I doubt them
quite as much as I do the stories of his pride and arrogance. I have
heard it said that he shot a sailor for daring to ask him for
permission to light his cigar at the _puro_ of the Don. Upon another
occasion, it is said that he was travelling the beach some distance
from Gallinas, near the island of Sherbro, where he was unknown, when
he approached a native hut for rest and refreshment. The owner was
squatted at the door, and, on being requested by Don Pedro to hand him
fire to light his cigar, deliberately refused. In an instant Blanco
drew back, seized a carabine from one of his attendants, and slew the
negro on the spot. It is true that the narrator apologized for Don
Pedro, by saying, that to deny a Castilian _fire for his tobacco_ was
the gravest insult that can be offered him; yet, from my knowledge of
the person in question, I cannot believe that he carried etiquette to
so frightful a pitch, even among a class whose lives are considered of
trifling value _except in market_. On several occasions, during our
subsequent intimacy, I knew him to chastise with rods, even to the
brink of death, servants who ventured to infringe the sacred limits of
his _seraglio_. But, on the other hand, his generosity was
proverbially ostentatious, not only among the natives, whom it was his
interest to suborn, but to the whites who were in his employ, or
needed his kindly succor. I have already alluded to his mental
culture, which was decidedly _soigné_ for a Spaniard of his original
grade and time. His memory was remarkable. I remember one night, while
several of his _employés_ were striving unsuccessfully to repeat the
Lord's prayer in Latin, upon which they had made a bet, that Don Pedro
joined the party, and taking up the wager, went through the petition
without faltering. It was, indeed, a sad parody on prayer to hear its
blessed accents fall perfectly from such lips on a bet; but when it
was won, the slaver insisted on receiving _the slave which was the
stake_, and immediately bestowed him in charity on a captain, who had
fallen into the clutches of a British cruiser!

Such is a rude sketch of the great man merchant of Africa, the
Rothschild of slavery, whose bills on England, France, or the United
States, were as good as gold in Sierra Leone and Monrovia!



CHAPTER LII.


The day after our arrival within the realm of this great spider,--who,
throned in the centre of his mesh, was able to catch almost every fly
that flew athwart the web,--I landed at one of the minor factories,
and sold a thousand quarter-kegs of powder to Don José Ramon. But,
next day, when I proceeded in my capacity of interpreter to the
establishment of Don Pedro, I found his Castilian plumage ruffled,
and, though we were received with formal politeness, he declined to
purchase, because we had failed to address _him_ in advance of any
other factor on the river.

The folks at Sierra Leone dwelt so tenderly on the generous side of
Blanco's character, that I was still not without hope that I might
induce him to purchase a good deal of our rum and tobacco, which would
be drugs on our hands unless he consented to relieve us. I did not
think it altogether wrong, therefore, to concoct a little _ruse_
whereby I hoped to touch the pocket through the breast of the Don. In
fact, I addressed him a note, in which I truly related my recent
mishaps, adventures, and imprisonments; but I concluded the narrative
with a hope that he would succor one so destitute and unhappy, by
allowing him to win an honest _commission_ allowed by the American
captain on any sales I could effect. The bait took; a prompt, laconic
answer returned; I was bidden to come ashore with the invoice of our
cargo; and, _for my sake_, Don Pedro purchased from the Yankee brig
$5000 worth of rum and tobacco, all of which was paid by drafts on
London, _of which slaves were, of course, the original basis_! My
imaginary commissions, however, remained in the purse of the owners.

An accident occurred in landing our merchandise, which will serve to
illustrate the character of Blanco. While the hogsheads of tobacco
were discharging, our second mate, who suffered from _strabismus_ more
painfully than almost any cross-eyed man I ever saw, became
excessively provoked with one of the native boatmen who had been
employed in the service. It is probable that the negro was insolent,
which the mate thought proper to chastise by throwing staves at the
Krooman's head. The negro fled, seeking refuge on the other side of
his canoe; but the enraged officer continued the pursuit, and, in his
double-sighted blundering, ran against an oar which the persecuted
black suddenly lifted in self-defence. I know not whether it was rage
or blindness, or both combined, that prevented the American from
seeing the blade, but on he dashed, rushing impetuously against the
implement, severing his lip with a frightful gash, and knocking four
teeth from his upper jaw.

Of course, the luckless negro instantly fled to "the bush;" and, that
night, in the agony of delirium, caused by fever and dreaded
deformity, the mate terminated his existence by laudanum.

The African law condemns the man who _draws blood_ to a severe fine in
slaves, proportioned to the harm that may have been inflicted.
Accordingly, the culprit Krooman, innocent as he was of premeditated
evil, now lay heavily loaded with irons in Don Pedro's barracoon,
awaiting the sentence which the whites in his service already declared
_should be death_. "He struck a white!" they said, and the wound he
inflicted was reported to have caused that white man's ruin. But,
luckily, before the sentence was executed, _I_ came ashore, and, as
the transaction occurred in my presence, I ventured to appeal from the
verdict of public opinion to Don Pedro, with the hope that I might
exculpate the Krooman. My simple and truthful story was sufficient.
An order was instantly given for the black's release, and, in spite of
native chiefs and grumbling whites, who were savagely greedy for the
fellow's blood, Don Pedro persisted in his judgment and sent him back
on board the "Reaper."

The character manifested by Blanco on this occasion, and the admirable
management of his factory, induced me to seize a favorable moment to
offer my services to the mighty trader. They were promptly accepted,
and in a short time I was employed as _principal_ in one of Don
Pedro's branches.

The Vey natives on this river and its neighborhood were not numerous
before the establishment of Spanish factories, but since 1813, the
epoch of the arrival of several Cuban vessels with rich, merchandise,
the neighboring tribes flocked to the swampy flats, and as there was
much similarity in the language and habits of the natives and
emigrants, they soon intermarried and mingled in ownership of the
soil.

In proportion as these upstarts were educated in slave-trade under the
influence of opulent factors, they greedily acquired the habit of
hunting their own kind and abandoned all other occupations but war and
kidnapping. As the country was prolific and the trade profitable, the
thousands and tens of thousands annually sent abroad from Gallinas,
soon began to exhaust the neighborhood; but the appetite for plunder
was neither satiated nor stopped by distance, when it became necessary
for the neighboring natives to extend their forays and hunts far into
the interior. In a few years war raged wherever the influence of this
river extended. The slave factories supplied the huntsmen with powder,
weapons, and enticing merchandise, so that they fearlessly advanced
against ignorant multitudes, who, too silly to comprehend the benefit
of alliance, fought the aggressors singly, and, of course, became
their prey.

Still, however, the demand increased. Don Pedro and his satellites had
struck a vein richer than the gold coast. His flush barracoons became
proverbial throughout the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and his
look-outs were ceaseless in their signals of approaching vessels. New
factories were established, as branches, north and south of the
parent den. Mana Rock, Sherbro, Sugarei, Cape Mount, Little Cape
Mount, and even Digby, at the door of Monrovia, all had depots and
barracoons of slaves belonging to the whites of Gallinas.

But this prosperity did not endure. The torch of discord, in a civil
war which was designed for revengeful murder rather than slavery, was
kindled by a black Paris, who had deprived his uncle of an Ethiopian
Helen. Every bush and hamlet contained its Achilles and Ulysses, and
every town rose to the dignity of a Troy.

The geographical configuration of the country, as I have described
it, isolated almost every family of note on various branches of the
river, so that nearly all were enabled to fortify themselves within
their islands or marshy flats. The principal parties in this family
feud were the Amarars and Shiakars. Amarar was a native of Shebar,
and, through several generations, had Mandingo blood in his
veins;--Shiakar, born on the river, considered himself a noble of the
land, and being aggressor in this conflict, disputed his prize with
the wildest ferocity of a savage. The whites, who are ever on the
watch for native quarrels, wisely refrained from partisanship with
either of the combatants, but continued to purchase the prisoners
brought to their factories by both parties. Many a vessel bore across
the Atlantic two inveterate enemies shackled to the same bolt, while
others met on the same deck a long-lost child or brother who had been
captured in the civil war.

I might fill a volume with the narrative of this horrid conflict
before it was terminated by the death of Amarar. For several months
this savage had been blockaded in his stockade by Shiakar's warriors.
At length a sortie became indispensable to obtain provisions, but the
enemy were too numerous to justify the risk. Upon this, Amarar called
his soothsayer, and required him to name a propitious moment for the
sally. The oracle retired to his den, and, after suitable
incantations, declared that the effort should be made as soon as the
hands of Amarar were stained in the blood of his own son. It is said
that the prophet intended the victim to be a youthful son of Amarar,
who had joined his mother's family, and was then distant; but the
impatient and superstitious savage, seeing a child of his own, two
years old, at hand, when the oracle announced the decree, snatched the
infant from his mother's arms, threw it into a rice mortar, and, with
a pestle, mashed it to death!

The sacrifice over, a sortie was ordered. The infuriate and starving
savages, roused by the oracle and inflamed by the bloody scene, rushed
forth tumultuously. Amarar, armed with the pestle, still warm and
reeking with his infant's blood, was foremost in the onset. The
besiegers gave way and fled; the town was re-provisioned; the
fortifications of the enemy demolished, and the soothsayer rewarded
with a slave for his barbarous prediction!

At another time, Amarar was on the point of attacking a strongly
fortified town, when doubts were intimated of success. Again the
wizard was consulted, when the mysterious oracle declared that the
chief "_could not conquer till he returned once more to his mother's
womb_!" That night Amarar committed the blackest of incests; but his
party was repulsed, and the false prophet stoned to death!

These are faint incidents of a savage drama which lasted several
years, until Amarar, in his native town, became the prisoner of
Shiakar's soldiery. Mana, his captor, caused him to be decapitated;
and while the blood still streamed from the severed neck, the
monster's head was thrust into the fresh-torn bowels of his mother!



CHAPTER LIII.


The first expedition upon which Don Pedro Blanco despatched me
revealed a new phase of Africa to my astonished eyes. I was sent in a
small Portuguese schooner to Liberia for tobacco; and here the trader
who had never contemplated the negro on the shores of his parent
country except as a slave or a catcher of slaves, first beheld the
rudiments of an infant state, which in time may become the wedge of
Ethiopian civilization. The comfortable government house, neat public
warerooms, large emigration home, designed for the accommodation of
the houseless; clean and spacious streets, with brick stores and
dwellings; the twin churches with their bells and comfortable
surroundings; the genial welcome from well dressed negroes; the
regular wharves and trim craft on the stocks, and last of all, a visit
from a colored collector with a _printed_ bill for twelve dollars
"anchor dues," all convinced me that there was, in truth, something
more in these ebony frames than an article of commerce and labor. I
paid the bill eagerly,--considering that a document _printed in Africa
by Negroes_, under North American influence, would be a curiosity
among the infidels of Gallinas!

My engagements with Blanco had been made on the basis of familiarity
with the slave-trade in all its branches, but my independent spirit
and impatient temper forbade, from the first, the acceptance of any
subordinate position at Gallinas. Accordingly, as soon as I returned
from the new Republic, Don Pedro desired me to prepare for the
establishment of a branch factory, under my exclusive control, at New
Sestros, an independent principality in the hands of a Bassa chief.

I lost no time in setting forth on this career of comparative
independence, and landed with the trading cargo provided for me, at
the Kroomen's town, where I thought it best to dwell till a factory
could be built.

An African, as well as a white man, must be drilled into the traffic.
It is one of those things that do not "come by nature:" yet its
mysteries are acquired, like the mysteries of commerce generally, with
much more facility by some tribes than others. I found this signally
illustrated by the prince and people of New Sestros, and very soon
detected their great inferiority to the Soosoos, Mandingoes, and Veys.
For a time their conduct was so silly, arrogant, and trifling, that I
closed my chests and broke off communication. Besides this, the slaves
they offered were of an inferior character and held at exorbitant
prices. Still, as I was commanded to purchase rapidly, I managed to
collect about seventy-five negroes of medium grades, all of whom I
designed sending to Gallinas in the schooner that was tugging at her
anchor off the beach.

At the proper time I sent for the black prince _to assist me in
shipping the slaves_, and to receive the head-money which was his
export duty on my cargo. The answer to my message was an illustration
of the character and insolence of the ragamuffins with whom I had to
deal. "The prince," returned my messenger, "don't like your sauciness,
Don Téodore, _and won't come till you beg his pardon by a present_!"

It is very true that after my visit to their republic, I began to
entertain a greater degree of respect than was my wont, for black men,
yet my contempt for the original, unmodified race was so great, that
when the prince's son, a boy of sixteen, delivered this reply on
behalf of his father, I did not hesitate to cram it down his throat by
a back-handed blow, which sent the sprig of royalty bleeding and
howling home.

It may be easily imagined what was the condition of the native town
when the boy got back to the "palace," and told his tale of Spanish
boxing. In less than ten minutes, another messenger arrived with an
order for my departure from the country "before next day at noon;"--an
order which, the envoy declared, would be _enforced_ by the outraged
townsfolk unless I willingly complied.

Now, I had been too long in Africa to tremble before a negro prince,
and though I really hated the region, I determined to disobey in order
to teach the upstart a lesson of civilized manners. Accordingly, I
made suitable preparations for resistance, and, when my hired servants
and _barracooniers_ fled in terror at the prince's command, I landed
some whites from my schooner, to aid in protecting our slaves.

By this time, my house had been constructed of the frail bamboos and
matting which are exclusively used in the buildings of the Bassa
country. I had added a cane verandah or piazza to mine, and protected
it from the pilfering natives, by a high palisade, that effectually
excluded all intruders. Within the area of this inclosure was slung my
hammock, and here I ate my meals, read, wrote, and received "Princes"
as well as the mob.

At nightfall, I loaded twenty-five muskets, and placed them _inside my
sofa_, which was a long trade-chest. I covered the deal table with a
blanket, beneath whose pendent folds I concealed a keg of powder _with
the head out_. Hard by, under a broad-brimmed _sombrero_, lay a pair
of double-barrelled pistols. With these dispositions of my volcanic
armory, I swung myself asleep in the hammock, and leaving the three
whites to take turns in watching, never stirred till an hour after
sunrise, when I was roused by the war-drum and bells from the village,
announcing the prince's approach.

In a few minutes my small inclosure of palisades was filled with armed
and gibbering savages, while his majesty, in the red coat of a British
drummer, but without any trowsers, strutted pompously into my
presence. Of course, I assumed an air of humble civility, and leading
the potentate to one end of the guarded piazza, where he was
completely isolated from his people, I stationed myself between the
table and the _sombrero_. Some of the prince's relations attempted to
follow him within my inclosure, but, according to established rules,
they dared not advance beyond an assigned limit.

When the formalities were over, a dead silence prevailed for some
minutes. I looked calmly and firmly into the prince's eyes, and waited
for him to speak. Still he was silent. At last, getting tired of
dumb-show, I asked the negro if he had "come to assist me in shipping
my slaves; the sun is getting rather high," said I, "and we had better
begin without delay!"

"Did you get my message?" was his reply, "and why haven't you gone?"

"Of course I received your message," returned I, "but as I came to New
Sestros at my leisure, I intend to go away when it suits me. Besides
this, Prince Freeman, I have no fear that you will do me the least
harm, especially as I shall be _before_ you in any capers of that
sort."

Then, by a sudden jerk, I threw off the blanket that hid the exposed
powder, and, with pistols in hand, one aimed at the keg and the other
at the king, I dared him to give an order for my expulsion.

It is inconceivable how _moving_ this process proved, not only to
Freeman, but to the crowd comprising his body-guard. The poor
blusterer, entirely cut off from big companions, was in a laughable
panic. His tawny skin became ashen, as he bounded from his seat and
rushed to the extremity of the piazza; and, to make a long story
short, in a few minutes he was as penitent and humble as a dog.

I was, of course, not unforgiving, when Freeman advanced to the rail,
and warning the blacks that he had "changed his mind," ordered the
odorous crowd out of my inclosure. Before the negroes departed,
however, I made him swear eternal fidelity and friendship in their
presence, after which I sealed the compact with a couple of demijohns
of New England rum.

Before sunset, seventy-five slaves were shipped for me in his canoes,
and ever after, Prince Freeman was a model monument of the virtues of
gunpowder physic!



CHAPTER LIV.


The summary treatment of this ebony potentate convinced the Kroo and
Fishmen of New Sestros that they would find my breakfast parties no
child's play. Bold _bravado_ had the best effect on the adjacent
inland as well as the immediate coast. The free blacks not only
treated my person and people with more respect, but began to supply me
with better grades of negroes; so that when Don Pedro found my success
increasing, he not only resolved to establish a permanent factory, but
enlarged my commission to ten slaves for every hundred I procured.
Thereupon, I at once commenced the erection of buildings suitable for
my personal comfort and the security of slaves. I selected a pretty
site closer to the beach. A commodious two-story house, surrounded by
double verandahs, was topped by a look-out which commanded an
ocean-view of vast extent, and flanked by houses for all the
necessities of a first-rate factory. There were stores, a private
kitchen, a rice house, houses for domestic servants, a public
workshop, a depot for water, a slave-kitchen, huts for single men, and
sheds under which gangs were allowed to recreate from time to time
during daylight. The whole was surrounded by a tall hedge-fence,
thickly planted, and entered by a double gate, on either side of which
were long and separate _barracoons_ for males and females. The
entrance of each slave-pen was commanded by a cannon, while in the
centre of the square, I left a vacant space, whereon I have often
seen seven hundred slaves, guarded by half a dozen musketeers,
singing, drumming and dancing, after their frugal meals.

It is a pleasant fancy of the natives, who find our surnames rather
difficult of pronunciation, while they know very little of the
Christian calendar, to baptize a new comer with some title, for which,
any chattel or merchandise that strikes their fancy, is apt to stand
godfather. My exploit with the prince christened me "Powder" on the
spot; but when they saw my magnificent establishment, beheld the
wealth of my warehouse, and heard the name of "store," I was forthwith
whitewashed into "_Storee_."

And "_Storee_," without occupying a legislative seat in Africa, was
destined to effect a rapid change in the motives and prospects of that
quarter. In a few months, New Sestros was alive. The isolated beach,
which before my arrival was dotted with half a dozen Kroo hovels, now
counted a couple of flourishing towns, whose inhabitants were supplied
with merchandise and labor in my factory. The neighboring princes and
chiefs, confident of selling their captives, struggled to the
sea-shore through the trackless forest; and in a very brief period,
Prince Freeman, who "no likee war" over my powder-keg, sent expedition
after expedition against adjacent tribes, to redress imaginary
grievances, or to settle old bills with his great-grandfather's
debtors. There was no absolute idea of "extending the area of freedom,
or of territorial annexation," but it was wonderful to behold how keen
became the sovereign's sensibility to national wrongs, and how
patriotically he labored to vindicate his country's rights. It is
true, this African metamorphosis was not brought about without some
sacrifice of humanity; still I am confident that during my stay,
greater strides were made towards modern civilization than during the
visit of any other factor. When I landed among the handful of savages
I found them given up to the basest superstition. All classes of males
as well as females, were liable to be accused upon any pretext by the
_juju-men_ or priests, and the dangerous _saucy-wood_ potion was
invariably administered to test their guilt or innocence. It
frequently happened that accusations of witchcraft or evil practices
were purchased from these wretches in order to get rid of a sick wife,
an imbecile parent, or an opulent relative; and, as the poisonous
draught was mixed and graduated by the _juju-man_, it rarely failed to
prove fatal when the drinker's death was necessary.[F] Ordeals of this
character occurred almost daily in the neighboring country, of course
destroying numbers of innocent victims of cupidity or malice. I very
soon observed the frequency of this abominable crime, and when it was
next attempted in the little settlement that clustered around my
factory, I respectfully requested that the accused might be locked up
_for safety in my barracoon_, till the fatal liquid was prepared and
the hour for its administration arrived.

It will be readily understood that the saucy-wood beverage, like any
other, may be prepared in various degrees of strength, so that the
operator has entire control of its noxious qualities. If the accused
has friends, either to pay or tamper with the medicator, the draft is
commonly made weak enough to insure its harmless rejection from the
culprit's stomach; but when the victim is friendless, time is allowed
for the entire venom to exude, and the drinker dies ere he can drink
the second bowl.

Very soon after the offer of my _barracoon_ as a prison for the
accused, a Krooman was brought to it, accused of causing his nephew's
death by fatal incantations. The _juju_ had been consulted and
confirmed the suspicion; whereupon the luckless negro was seized,
ironed, and delivered to my custody.

Next day early the _juju-man_ ground his bark, mixed it with water,
and simmered the potion over a slow fire to extract the poison's
strength. As I had reason to believe that especial enmity was
entertained against the imprisoned uncle, I called at the _juju's_
hovel while the medication was proceeding, and, with the bribe of a
bottle, requested him to impart triple power to the noxious draught.
My own _juju_, I said, had nullified his by pronouncing the accused
innocent, and I was exceedingly anxious to test the relative truth of
our soothsayers.

The rascal promised implicit compliance, and I hastened back to the
_barracoon_ to await the fatal hour. Up to the very moment of the
draught's administration, I remained alone with the culprit, and
administering a double dose of tartar-emetic just before the gate was
opened, I led him forth loaded with irons. The daring negro, strong in
his truth, and confident of the white man's superior witchcraft,
swallowed the draught without a wink, and in less than a minute, the
rejected venom established his innocence, and covered the African
wizard with confusion.

This important trial and its results were of course noised abroad
throughout so superstitious and credulous a community. The released
Krooman told his companions of the "white-man-saucy-wood,"
administered by me in the _barracoon_; and, ever afterwards, the
accused were brought to my sanctuary where the conflicting charm of my
emetic soon conquered the native poison and saved many a useful life.
In a short time the malicious practice was discontinued altogether.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the favorable season, I had been deprived of three vessels by
British cruisers, and, for as many months, had not shipped a single
slave,--five hundred of whom were now crowded in my _barracoons_, and
demanded our utmost vigilance for safe keeping. In the gang, I found a
family consisting of a man, his wife, three children and a sister, all
sold under an express obligation of exile and slavery among
Christians. The luckless father was captured by my blackguard friend
Prince Freeman in person, and the family had been secured when the
parents' village was subsequently stormed. Barrah was an outlaw and an
especial offender in the eyes of an African, though his faults were
hardly greater than the deeds that bestowed honor and knighthood in
the palmy days of our ancestral feudalism. Barrah was the discarded
son of a chief in the interior, and had presumed to blockade the
public path towards the beach, and collect duties from transient
passengers or caravans. This interfered with Freeman and his revenues;
but, in addition to the pecuniary damage, the alleged robber ventured
on several occasions to defeat and plunder the prince's vagabonds, so
that, in time, he became rich and strong enough to build a town and
fortify it with a regular stockade, _directly on the highway_! All
these offences were so heinous in the sight of my beach prince, that
no foot was suffered to cool till Barrah was captured. Once within his
power, Freeman would not have hesitated to kill his implacable enemy
as soon as delivered at New Sestros; but the interference of friends,
and, perhaps, the laudable conviction that a live negro was worth more
than a dead one, induced his highness to sell him under pledge of
Cuban banishment.

Barrah made several ineffectual attempts to break my _barracoon_ and
elude the watchfulness of my guards, so that they were frequently
obliged to restrict his liberty, deprive him of comforts, or add to
his shackles. In fact, he was one of the most formidable savages I
ever encountered, even among the thousands who passed in terrible
procession before me in Africa. One day he set fire to the
bamboo-matting with which a portion of the _barracoon_ was sheltered
from the sun, for which he was severely lashed; but next day, when
allowed, under pretence of ague, to crawl with his heavy irons to the
kitchen fire, he suddenly dashed a brand into the thatch, and, seizing
another, sprang towards the powder-house, which his heavy shackles did
not allow him to reach before he was felled to the earth.

Freeman visited me soon afterwards, and, in spite of profit and
liquor, insisted on taking the brutal savage back; but, in the mean
time, the Bassa chief, to whom my prince was subordinate, heard of
Barrah's attempt on my magazine, and demanded the felon to expiate his
crime, according to the law of his country, at the stake. No argument
could appease the infuriate judges, who declared that a cruel death
would alone satisfy the people whose lives had been endangered by the
robber. Nevertheless, I declined delivering the victim for such a
fate, so that, in the end, we compromised the sentence by shooting
Barrah in the presence of all the slaves and townsfolk,--the most
unconcerned spectators among whom were his wife and sister!


FOOTNOTE:

[F] _Saucy-wood_ is the reddish bark of the _gedu_ tree, which when
ground and mixed with water, makes a poisonous draught, believed to be
infallible in the detection of crime. It is, in fact, "a trial by
ordeal;" if the drinker survives he is innocent, if he perishes,
guilty.



CHAPTER LV.


There is no river at the New Sestros settlement, though geographers,
with their usual accuracy in African outlines, have often projected
one on charts and maps. Two miles from the short and perilous beach
where I built my _barracoons_, there was a slender stream, which, in
consequence of its shallow bed, and narrow, rock-bound entrance, the
natives call "Poor River;" but my factory was at New Sestros _proper_;
and there, as I have said, there was no water outlet from the
interior; in fact, nothing but an embayed strand of two hundred yards,
flanked by dangerous cliffs. Such a beach, open to the broad ocean and
for ever exposed to the fall rage of its storms, is of course more or
less dangerous at all times for landing; and, even when the air is
perfectly calm, the common surf of the sea pours inward with
tremendous and combing waves, which threaten the boats of all who
venture among them without experienced skill. Indeed, the landing at
New Sestros would be impracticable were it not for the dexterous
Kroomen, whose canoes sever and surmount the billows in spite of their
terrific power.

Kroomen and Fishmen are different people from the Bushmen. The two
former classes inhabit the sea-shore exclusively, and living apart
from other African tribes, are governed by their elders under a
somewhat democratic system. The Bushmen do not suffer the Kroos and
Fishes to trade with the interior; but, in recompense for the
monopoly of traffic with the strongholds of Africa's heart, these
expert boatmen maintain despotic sway along the beach in trade with
the shipping. As European or Yankee boats cannot live in the surf I
have described, the Kroo and Fishmen have an advantage over their
brothers of the Bush, as well as over the whites, which they are not
backward in using to their profit. In fact, the Bushmen fight, travel,
steal and trade, while the Kroos and Fishes, who for ages have fringed
at least seven hundred miles of African coast, constitute the
mariners, without whose skill and boldness slaves would be drugs in
caravans or _barracoons_. And this is especially the case since
British, French, and American cruisers have driven the traffic from
every nook and corner of the west coast that even resembled _a
harbor_, and forced the slavers to lay in wait in open roadsteads for
their prey.

The Kroo canoe, wedge-like at both ends, is hollowed from the solid
trunk of a tree to the thickness of an inch. Of course they are so
light and buoyant that they not only lie like a feather on the surface
of the sea, so as to require nothing but freedom from water for their
safety, but a canoe, capable of containing four people, may be borne
on the shoulders of one or two to any reasonable distance.
Accordingly, Kroomen and Fishmen are the prime pets of all slavers,
traders, and men-of-war that frequent the west coast of Africa; while
no one dwelling on the shore, engaged in commerce, is particularly
anxious to merit or receive their displeasure.

When I landed at New Sestros, I promptly supplied myself with a little
fleet of these amphibious natives; and, as the news of my liberality
spread north and south along the shore, the number of my retainers
increased with rapidity. Indeed, in six months a couple of rival
towns,--one of Kroos and the other of Fishes,--hailed me severally as
their "Commodore" and "Consul." With such auxiliaries constantly at
hand, I rarely feared the surf when the shipment of slaves was
necessary. At Gallinas, under the immediate eye of Don Pedro, the most
elaborate care was taken to secure an ample supply of these people and
their boats, and I doubt not that the multitude employed in the
establishment's prime, could, at a favorable moment, despatch at least
a thousand slaves within the space of four hours. Yet I have heard
from Kroomen at Gallinas the most harrowing tales of disaster
connected with the shipment of negroes from that perilous bar. Even in
the dry season, the mouth of this river is frequently dangerous, and,
with all the adroitness they could display, the Kroos could not save
boat-load after boat-load from becoming food for the ravenous sharks!

       *       *       *       *       *

I was quite afloat at New Sestros on the tide of success, when the
cruiser that for a while had annoyed me with a blockade, became short
of food, and was obliged to bear away for Sierra Leone. My well paid
spy--a Krooman who had been employed by the cruiser--soon apprised me
of the brig's departure and its cause; so that in an hour the beach
was in a bustle, despatching a swift canoe to Gallinas with a message
to Don Pedro:--"The coast is clear:--send me a vessel:--relieve my
plethora!"

Forty-eight hours were hardly over when the twin masts of a clipper
brig were seen scraping along the edge of the horizon, with the
well-known signal for "embarkation." I was undoubtedly prepared to
welcome my guest, for Kroos, Fishes, Bushmen, Bassas and all, had been
alert since daybreak, ready to hail the craft and receive their fees.
There had been a general embargo on all sea-going folks for a day
before, so that there was not a fish to be had for love or money in
the settlement. Minute precautions like these are absolutely necessary
for all prudent slavers, for it was likely that the cruiser kept a spy
in her pay among _my_ people, as well as I did among _hers_!

All, therefore, was exceedingly comfortable, so far as ordinary
judgment could foresee; but alas! the moon was full, and the African
surf at such periods is fearfully terrific. As I listened from my
piazza or gazed from my _bellevue_, it roared on the strand like the
charge of interminable cavalry. My watchful enemy had been several
days absent, and I expected her return from hour to hour. The
shipment, though extremely perilous, was, therefore indispensable; and
four short hours of daylight alone remained to complete it. I saw the
risk, yet, taking counsel with the head Kroo and Fishmen, I persuaded
them, under the provocation of triple reward, to attempt the
enterprise with the smallest skiffs and stoutest rowers, while a band
of lusty youths stood by to plunge in whenever the breakers capsized a
canoe.

We began with females, as the most difficult cargo for embarkation,
and seventy reached the brig safely. Then followed the stronger sex;
but by this time a sea-breeze set in from the south-west like a young
gale, and driving the rollers with greater rapidity, upset almost
every alternate cockleshell set adrift with its living freight. It was
fortunate that our sharks happened that evening to be on a frolic
elsewhere, so that negro after negro was rescued from the brine,
though the sun was rapidly sinking when but two thirds of my slaves
were safely shipped.

I ran up and down the beach, in a fever of anxiety, shouting,
encouraging, coaxing, appealing, and _refreshing_ the boatmen and
swimmers; but as the gangs came ashore, they sank exhausted on the
beach, refusing to stir. Rum, which hitherto roused them like
electricity, was now powerless. Powder they did not want, nor muskets,
nor ordinary trade stuff, for they never engaged in kidnapping or
slave wars.

As night approached the wind increased. _There_ was the brig with
topsails aback, signalling impatiently for despatch; but never was
luckless factor more at fault! I was on the eve of giving up in
despair, when a bright flash brought to recollection a quantity of
Venetian beads of mock coral which I had stowed in my chest. They
happened, at that moment, to be the rage among the girls of our beach,
and were of course irresistible keys to the heart of every belle. Now
the smile of a lip has the same magical power in Africa as elsewhere;
and the offer of a coral bunch for each head embarked, brought all the
dames and damsels of Sestros to my aid. Such a shower of chatter was
never heard out of a canary cage. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives,
sweethearts, took charge of the embarkation by coaxing or commanding
their respective gentlemen; and, before the sun's rim dipped below the
horizon, a few strands of false coral, or the kiss of a negro wench,
sent one hundred more of the Africans into Spanish slavery.

But this effort exhausted my people. The charm of beads and beauty
was over: Three slaves found a tomb in the sharks, or a grave in the
deep, while the brig took flight in the darkness without the remaining
one hundred and twenty I had designed for her hold.

Next morning the cruiser loomed once more in the offing, and, in a fit
of impetuous benevolence, I hurried a Krooman aboard, with the offer
of my compliments, and a _sincere_ hope that I could render some
service!



CHAPTER LVI.


About this time, a Spanish vessel from the Canaries, laden with fruit,
the greater part of which had been sold at Goree, Sierra Leone,
Gallinas, and Cape Mesurado, dropped anchor opposite my little
roadstead with a letter from Blanco. The Spaniard had been chartered
by the Don to bring from the Grain Coast a cargo of rice, which he was
to collect under my instructions.

My _barracoons_ happened to be just then pretty bare, and as the
season did not require my presence in the factory for trade, it struck
me that I could not pass a few weeks more agreeably, and ventilate my
jaded faculties more satisfactorily, than by throwing my carpet-bag on
the Brilliant, and purchasing the cargo myself.

In the prosecution of this little adventure, I called along the coast
with cash at several English factories, where I obtained rice; and on
my return anchored off the river to purchase sea-stores. Here I found
Governor Findley, chief of the colony, laboring under a protracted
illness which refused yielding to medicine, but might, probably, be
relieved by a voyage, even of a few days, in the pure air of old
Neptune. Slaver as I was, I contrived never to omit a civility to
gentlemen on the coast of Africa; and I confess I was proud of the
honorable service, when Governor Findley accepted the Brilliant for a
trip along the coast. He proposed visiting Monrovia and Bassa; and
after landing at some port in that quarter to await the captain's
return from windward.

I fanned along the coast as slowly as I could, to give the Governor
every possible chance to recruit his enervated frame by change of air;
but, as I looked in at New Sestros in passing, I found three trading
vessels with cargoes of merchandise to my consignment, so that I was
obliged to abandon my trip and return to business. I left the
Governor, however, in excellent hands, and directed the captain to
land him at Bassa, await his pleasure three days, and finally, to bear
him to Monrovia, the last place he desired visiting.

The Rio San Juan or Grand Bassa, is only fourteen miles north-west of
New Sestros, yet it was near nightfall when the Brilliant approached
the river landing. The Spaniard advised his guest not to disembark
till next morning, but the Governor was so restless and anxious about
delay, that he declined our captain's counsel, and went ashore at a
native town, with the design of crossing on foot the two miles of
beach to the American settlement.

As Findley went over the Brilliant's side into the Krooman's canoe,
the jingle of silver was heard in his pocket; and warning was given
him either to hide his money or leave it on board. But the Governor
smiled at the caution, and disregarding it entirely, threw himself
into the African skiff.

Night fell. The curtain of darkness dropped over the coast and sea.
Twice the sun rose and set without word from the Governor. At last, my
delayed mariner became impatient if not anxious, and despatched one of
my servants who spoke English, in search of Mr. Findley at the
American Settlement. _No one had seen or heard of him!_ But, hurrying
homeward from his fruitless errand, my boy followed the winding beach,
and half way to the vessel found a human body, its head gashed with a
deep wound, floating and beating against the rocks. He could not
recognize the features of the battered face; but the well-remembered
garments left no doubt on the servant's mind that the corpse was
Findley's.

The frightful story was received with dismay on the Brilliant, whose
captain, unfamiliar with the coast and its people, hesitated to land,
with the risk of treachery or ambush, even to give a grave to the dust
of his wretched passenger. In this dilemma he thought best to run the
fourteen miles to New Sestros, where he might counsel with me before
venturing ashore.

Whatever personal anxiety may have flashed athwart my mind when I
heard of the death of a colonial governor while enjoying the
hospitality of myself,--a slaver,--the thought vanished as quickly as
it was conceived. In an instant I was busy with detection and revenge.

It happened that the three captains had already landed the cargoes to
my consignment, so that their empty vessels were lying at anchor in
the roads, and the officers ready to aid me in any enterprise I deemed
feasible. My colleagues were from three nations:--one was a Spaniard,
another a Portuguese, and the last American.

Next morning I was early aboard the Spaniard, and sending for the
Portuguese skipper, we assembled the crew. I dwelt earnestly and
heartily on the insult the Castilian flag had received by the murder
of an important personage while protected by its folds. I demonstrated
the necessity there was for prompt chastisement of the brutal crime,
and concluded by informing the crowd, that their captains had resolved
to aid me in vindicating our banner. When I ventured to hope that _the
men_ would not hesitate to back their officers, a general shout went
up that they were ready to land and punish the negroes.

As soon as the enterprise was known on board the American, her captain
insisted on volunteering in the expedition; and by noon, our little
squadron was under way, with fifty muskets in the cabins.

The plan I roughly proposed, was, under the menacing appearance of
this force, to demand the murderer or murderers of Governor Findley,
and to execute them, either on his grave, or the spot where his corpse
was found. Failing in this, I intended to land portions of the crews,
and destroy the towns nearest the theatre of the tragedy.

The sun was still an hour or more high, when we sailed in line past
the native towns along the fatal beach, and displayed our flags and
pennants. Off the Rio San Joan, we tacked in man-of-war fashion, and
returning southward, each vessel took post opposite a different town
as if to command it.

While I had been planning and executing these manoeuvres, the
colonial settlers had heard of the catastrophe, and found poor
Findley's mangled corpse. At the moment of our arrival off the river's
mouth, an anxious council of resolute men was discussing the best
means of chastising the savages. When my servant inquired for the
governor he had spoken of him as a passenger in the Spanish craft, so
that the parade of our vessels alongshore and in front of the native
towns, betokened, they thought, co-operation on the part of the Mongo
of New Sestros.

Accordingly, we had not been long at anchor before Governor Johnson
despatched a Krooman to know whether I was aboard a friendly squadron;
and, if so, he trusted I would land at once, and unite with his forces
in the intended punishment.

In the interval, however, the cunning savages who soon found out that
we had no cannons, flocked to the beach, and as they were beyond
musket shot, insulted us by gestures, and defied a battle.

Of course no movement was made against the blacks that night, but it
was agreed in council at the American settlement, that the expedition,
supported by a field piece, should advance next day by the beach,
where I could reinforce it with my seamen a short distance from the
towns.

Punctual to the moment, the colonial flag, with drum and fife,
appeared on the sea-shore at nine in the morning, followed by some
forty armed men, dragging their cannon. Five boats, filled with
sailors instantly left our vessels to support the attack, and, by this
time, the colonists had reached a massive rock which blocked the beach
like a bulwark, and was already possessed by the natives. My position,
in flank, made my force most valuable in dislodging the foe, and of
course I hastened my oars to open the passage. As I was altogether
ignorant of the numbers that might be hidden and lurking in the dense
jungle that was not more than fifty feet from the water's edge, I kept
my men afloat within musket shot, and, with a few rounds of ball
cartridge purged the rock of its defenders, though but a single savage
was mortally wounded.

Upon this, the colonists advanced to the vacant bulwark, and were
joined by our reinforcement. Wheeler, who commanded the Americans,
proposed that we should march in a compact body to the towns, and give
battle to the blacks if they held out in their dwellings. But his plan
was not executed, for, before we reached the negro huts, we were
assailed from the bushes and jungle. Their object was to keep hidden
within the dense underwood; to shoot and run; while we, entirely
exposed on the ocean shore, were obliged to remain altogether on the
defensive by dodging the balls, or to fire at the smoke of an unseen
enemy. Occasionally, large numbers of the savages would appear at a
distance beyond musket range, and tossing their guns and lances, or
brandishing their cutlasses, would present their naked limbs to our
gaze, slap their shining flanks, and disappear! But this diverting
exercise was not repeated very often. A sturdy colonist, named Bear,
who carried a long and heavy old-fashioned _rifle_, took rest on my
shoulder, and, when the next party of annoying jokers displayed their
personal charms, laid its leader in the dust by a Yankee ball. Our
cannon and blunderbusses were next brought into play to scour the
jungle and expel the marksmen, who, confident in the security of their
impervious screen, began to fire among us with more precision than was
desirable. A Krooman of our party was killed, and a colonist severely
wounded. Small sections of our two commands advanced at a run, and
fired a volley into the bushes, while the main body of the expedition
hastened along the beach towards the towns. By repeating this process
several times, we were enabled, without further loss, to reach the
first settlement.

Here, of course, we expected to find the savages arrayed in force to
defend their roof-trees, but when we entered the place cautiously, and
crept to the first dwelling in the outskirt, it was empty. So with the
second, third, fourth,--until we overran the whole settlement and
found it utterly deserted;--its furniture, stock, implements, and even
_doors_ carried off by the deliberate fugitives. The guardian
_fetiche_ was alone left to protect their abandoned hovels. But the
superstitious charm did not save them. The brand was lighted; and, in
an hour, five of these bamboo confederacies were given to the flames.

We discovered while approaching the towns, that our assault had made
so serious an inroad on the slim supply of ammunition, that it was
deemed advisable to send a messenger to the colony for a
reinforcement. By neglect or mishap, the powder and ball never reached
us; so that when the towns were destroyed, no one dreamed of
penetrating the forest to unearth its vermin with the remnant of
cartridges in our chest and boxes. I never was able to discover the
cause of this unpardonable neglect, or the officer who permitted it to
occur in such an exigency; but it was forthwith deemed advisable to
waste no time in retreating after our partial revenge.

Till now, the Africans had kept strictly on the defensive, but when
they saw our faces turned towards the beach, or colony, every bush and
thicket became alive again with aggressive foes. For a while, the
cannon kept them at bay, but its grape soon gave out; and, while I was
in the act of superintending a fair division of the remaining ball
cartridges, I was shot in the right foot with an iron slug. At the
moment of injury I scarcely felt the wound, and did not halt, but, as
I trudged along in the sand and salt water, my wound grew painful, and
the loss of blood which tracked my steps, soon obliged me to seek
refuge in the canoe of my Kroomen.

The sight of my bleeding body borne to the skiff, was hailed with
shouts and gestures of joy and contempt by the savages. As I crossed
the last breaker and dropped into smooth water, my eyes reverted to
the beach, where I heard the exultant war-drum and war bells, while
the colonists were beheld in full flight, leaving their artillery in
the hands of our foe! It was subsequently reported that the commander
of the party had been panic struck by the perilous aspect of affairs,
and ordered the precipitate and fatal retreat, which that very night
emboldened the negroes to revenge the loss of their towns by the
conflagration of Bassa-Cove.

Next day, my own men, and the volunteers from our Spanish, Portuguese
and American vessels, were sent on board, eight of them bearing marks
of the fray, which fortunately proved neither fatal nor dangerous. The
shameful flight of my comrades not only gave heart to the blacks, but
spread its cowardly panic among the resident colonists. The
settlement, they told me, was in danger of attack, and although my
wound and the disaster both contributed to excite me against the
fugitives, I did not quit the San Juan without reinforcing Governor
Johnson with twenty muskets and some kegs of powder.

I have dwelt rather tediously perhaps on this sad occurrence--but I
have a reason. Governor Findley's memory was, at this time, much
vilified on the coast, because that functionary had accepted the boon
of a passage in the Brilliant, which was falsely declared to be "a
Spanish slaver." There were some among the overrighteous who even went
so far as to proclaim his death "a judgment for venturing on the deck
of such a vessel!"

As no one took the trouble to investigate the facts and contradict the
malicious lie, I have thought it but justice to tell the entire story,
and exculpate a gentleman who met a terrible death in the bold
prosecution of his duty.



CHAPTER LVII.


I took the earliest opportunity to apprise Don Pedro Blanco of the
mishap that had befallen his factor's limb, so that I might receive
the prompt aid of an additional clerk to attend the more active part
of our business. Don Pedro's answer was extremely characteristic. The
letter opened with a draft for five hundred dollars, which he
authorized me to bestow on the widow and orphans of Governor Findley,
if he left a family. The slaver of Gallinas then proceeded to comment
upon my Quixotic expedition; and, in gentle terms, intimated a decided
censure for my immature attempt to chastise the negroes. He did not
disapprove my _motives_; but considered any revengeful assault on the
natives unwise, unless every precaution had previously been taken to
insure complete success. Don Pedro hoped that, henceforth, I would
take things more coolly, so as not to hazard either my life or his
property; and concluded the epistle by superscribing it:

    "To
      "_Señor_ POWDER,
        "_at his Magazine_,
          "NEW SESTROS."

       *       *       *       *       *

The slug that struck the upper part of my foot, near the ankle joint,
tore my flesh and tendons with a painfully dangerous wound, which, for
nine months, kept me a prisoner on crutches. During the long and
wearying confinement which almost broke my restless heart, I had
little to do save to superintend the general fortunes of our factory.
Now and then, an incident occurred to relieve the monotony of my sick
chair, and make me forget, for a moment, the pangs of my crippled
limb. One of these events flashes across my memory as I write, in the
shape of a letter which was mysteriously delivered at my landing by a
coaster, and came from poor Joseph, my ancient partner on the Rio
Pongo. Coomba's spouse was in trouble! and the ungrateful scamp,
though forgetful of my own appeals from the _Chateau of Brest_, did
not hesitate to claim my brotherly aid. Captured in a Spanish slaver,
and compromised beyond salvation, Joseph had been taken into Sierra
Leone, where he was now under sentence of transportation. The letter
hinted that a liberal sum might purchase his escape, even from the
tenacious jaws of the British lion; and when I thought of old times,
the laughable marriage ceremony, and the merry hours we enjoyed at
Kambia, I forgave his neglect. A draft on Don Pedro was readily cashed
at Sierra Leone, notwithstanding the paymaster was a slaver and the
jurisdiction that of St. George and his Cross. The transaction, of
course, was "purely commercial," and, therefore, sinless; so that, in
less than a month, Joseph and the bribed turnkey were on their way to
the Rio Pongo.

By this time the sub-factory of New Sestros was somewhat renowned in
Cuba and Porto Rico. Our dealings with commanders, the character of my
cargoes, and the rapidity with which I despatched a customer and his
craft were proverbial in the islands. Indeed, the third year of my
lodgment had not rolled over, before the slave-demand was so great,
that in spite of rum, cottons, muskets, powder, kidnapping and Prince
Freeman's wars, the country could not supply our demand.

To aid New Sestros, I had established several _nurseries_, or junior
factories, at Little Bassa and Digby; points a few miles from the
limits of Liberia. These "chapels of ease" furnished my parent
_barracoons_ with young and small negroes, mostly kidnapped, I
suppose, in the neighborhood of the beach.

When I was perfectly cured of the injury I sustained in my first
philanthropic fight, I loaded my spacious cutter with a choice
collection of trade-goods, and set sail one fine morning for this
outpost at Digby. I designed, also, if advisable, to erect another
receiving _barracoon_ under the lee of Cape Mount.

But my call at Digby was unsatisfactory. The pens were vacant, and our
merchandise squandered _on credit_. This put me in a very
uncomfortable passion, which would have rendered an interview between
"Mr. Powder" and his agent any thing but pleasant or profitable, had
that personage been at his post. Fortunately, however, for both of us,
he was abroad carousing with "a _king_;" so that I refused landing a
single yard of merchandise, and hoisted sail for the next village.

There I transacted business in regular "ship-shape." Our rum was
plenteously distributed and established an _entente cordiale_ which
would have charmed a diplomatist at his first dinner in a new capital.
The naked blackguards flocked round me like crows, and I clothed their
loins in parti-colored calicoes that enriched them with a plumage
worthy of parrots. I was the prince of good fellows in "every body's"
opinion; and, in five days, nineteen newly-"_conveyed_" darkies were
exchanged for London muskets, Yankee grog, and Manchester cottons!

My cutter, though but twenty-seven feet long, was large enough to stow
my gang, considering that the voyage was short, and the slaves but
boys and girls; so I turned my prow homeward with contented spirit and
promising skies. Yet, before night, all was changed. Wind and sea rose
together. The sun sank in a long streak of blood. After a while, it
rained in terrible squalls; till, finally, darkness caught me in a
perfect gale. So high was the surf and so shelterless the coast, that
it became utterly impossible to make a lee of any headland where we
might ride out the storm in safety. Our best hope was in the cutter's
ability to keep the open sea without swamping; and, accordingly, under
the merest patch of sail, I coasted the perilous breakers, guided by
their roar, till day-dawn. But, when the sun lifted over the
horizon,--peering for an instant through a rent in the storm-cloud,
and then disappearing behind the gray vapor,--I saw at once that the
coast offered no chance of landing our blacks at some friendly town.
Every where the bellowing shore was lashed by surf, impracticable even
for the boats and skill of Kroomen. On I dashed, therefore, driving
and almost burying the cutter, with loosened reef, till we came
opposite Monrovia; where, safe in the absence of cruisers, I crept at
dark under the lee of the cape, veiling my cargo with our useless
sails.

Sunset "killed the wind," enabling us to be off again at dawn; yet
hardly were we clear of the cape, when both gale and current freshened
from the old quarter, holding us completely in check. Nevertheless, I
kept at sea till evening, and then sneaked back to my protecting
anchorage.

By this time, my people and slaves were well-nigh famished, for their
sole food had been a scant allowance of raw _cassava_. Anxiety, toil,
rain, and drenching spray, broke their spirits. The blacks, from the
hot interior, and now for the first time off their mother earth,
suffered not only from the inclement weather, but groaned with the
terrible pangs of sea-sickness. I resolved, therefore, if possible, to
refresh the drooping gang by a hot meal; and, beneath the shelter of a
tarpaulin, contrived to cook a mess of rice. Warm food comforted us
astonishingly; but, alas! the next day was a picture of the past! A
slave--cramped and smothered amid the crowd that soaked so long in the
salt water at our boat's bottom--died during the darkness. Next
morning, the same low, leaden, coffin-lid sky, hung like a pall over
sea and shore. Wind in terrific blasts, and rain in deluging squalls,
howled and beat on us. Come what might, I resolved not to stir! All
day I kept my people beneath the sails, with orders to move their
limbs as much as possible, in order to overcome the benumbing effect
of moisture and packed confinement. The incessant drenching from sea
and sky to which they had been so long subjected, chilled their
slackened circulation to such a degree, that death from torpor seemed
rapidly supervening. Motion, motion, motion, was my constant command;
but I hoarded my alcohol for the last resource.

I saw that no time was to be lost, and that nothing but a bold
encounter of hazard would save either lives or property. Before dark
my mind was made up as to the enterprise. I would land in the
neighborhood of the colony, and cross its territory during the shadow
of night!

I do not suppose that the process by which I threw my stiffened crew
on the beach, and revived them with copious draughts of brandy, would
interest the reader; _but midnight did not strike before my cargo,
under the escort of Kroo guides, was boldly marched through the
colonial town, and safe on its way to New Sestros!_ Fortunately for my
dare-devil adventure, the tropical rain poured down in ceaseless
torrents, compelling the unsuspicious colonists to keep beneath their
roofs. Indeed, no one dreamed of a forced march by human beings on
that dreadful night of tempest, else it might have gone hard had I
been detected in the desecration of colonial soil. Still I was
prepared for all emergencies. I never went abroad without the two
great keys of Africa--gold and fire-arms; and had it been my lot to
encounter a colonist, he would either have learned the value of
silence, or have been carried along, under the muzzle of a pistol,
till the gang was in safety.

While it was still dark, I left the caravan advancing by an interior
path to Little Bassa, where one of my branches could furnish it with
necessaries to cross the other colony of Bassa San Juan, so as to
reach my homestead in the course of three days. Meanwhile I retraced
my way to Monrovia, and, reaching it by sunrise, satisfied the amiable
colonists that I had just taken shelter in their harbor, and was fresh
from my dripping cutter. It is very likely that no one in the colony
to the present day knows the true story of this adventure, or would
believe it unless _confessed_ by me.

It was often my fate in Africa, and elsewhere, to hear gossips declare
that colonists were no better than others who dwelt amid coast
temptations, and that they were sometimes even willing to back a
certain Don Theodore Canot, if not absolutely to share his
slave-trade! I never thought it prudent to exculpate those honorable
emigrants who were consolidating the first colonial lodgments from the
United States; for I believed that _my_ denial would only add
sarcastic venom to the scandal of vilifiers. But now that my African
career is over, and the slave-trade a mere tradition in the
neighborhood of Liberia, I may assure the friends of colonization,
that, in all my negro traffic, no American settler gave assistance or
furnished merchandise which I could not have obtained at the most
loyal establishments of Britain or France. I think it will be granted
by unprejudiced people, that the colonist who sold me a few pieces of
cloth, lodged me in travelling, or gave me his labor for my
flesh-colored gold, participated no more in the African slave-trade
than the European or American supercargo who sold assorted cargoes,
selected with the most deliberate judgment in London, Paris, Boston,
New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore, expressly to suit the well-known
cupidity of my warriors, kidnappers, and slave merchants.

Commerce is sometimes an adroit metaphysican--but a bad moralist!



CHAPTER LVIII.


It was my invariable custom whenever a vessel made her appearance in
the roadstead of New Sestros, to despatch my canoe with "Captain
Canot's compliments;" nor did I omit this graceful courtesy when his
Britannic Majesty's cruisers did me the honor of halting in my
neighborhood to watch or destroy my operations. At such times I
commonly increased the politeness by an offer of my services, and a
tender of provisions, or of any commodity the country could supply!

I remember an interesting rencounter of this sort with the officers of
the brig of war Bonito. My note was forwarded by a trusty Krooman,
even before her sails were furled, but the courteous offer was
respectfully declined "_for the present_." The captain availed
himself, however, of my messenger's return, to announce that the
"commodore in command of the African squadron had specially deputed
the Bonito _to blockade_ New Sestros, for which purpose she was
provisioned for _six months_, and ordered not to budge from her
anchorage till relieved by a cruiser!"

This formidable announcement was, of course, intended to strike me
with awe. The captain hoped in conclusion, that I would see the folly
of prosecuting my abominable traffic in the face of such a disastrous
_vis à vis_; nor could he refrain from intimating his surprise that a
man of my reputed character and ability, would consent to manacle and
starve the unfortunate negroes who were now suffering in my
_barracoons_.

I saw at once from this combined attack of fear and flattery, backed
by blockade, that his majesty's officer had either been grossly
misinformed, or believed that a scarcity of rice prevailed in my
establishment as well as elsewhere along the coast.

The suspicion of _starving blacks in chains_, was not only pathetic
but mortifying! It was part of the sentimental drapery of British
reports and despatches, to which I became accustomed in Africa. I did
not retort upon my dashing captain with a sneer at his ancestors who
had taught the traffic to Spaniards, yet I resolved not to let his
official communications reach the British admiralty with a fanciful
tale about _my_ barracoons and starvation. Accordingly, without more
ado, I sent a second _billet_ to the Bonito, desiring her captain or
any of her officers to visit New Sestros, and ascertain personally the
condition of my establishment.

Strange to tell, my invitation was accepted; and at noon a boat with a
white flag, appeared on the edge of the surf, conveying two officers
to my beach. The surgeon and first lieutenant were my visitors. I
welcomed them most cordially to my cottage, and as soon as the
customary refreshments were despatched, proposed a glance at the
dreadful _barracoons_.

As well as I now remember, there must have been at least five hundred
slaves in my two pens, sleek in flesh, happy in looks, and ready for
the first customer who could outwit the cruiser. I quietly despatched
a notice of our advent to the _barracooniers_, with directions as to
their conduct, so that the moment my naval friends entered the stanch
inclosures, full two hundred and fifty human beings, in each, rose to
their feet and saluted the strangers with long and reiterated
clapping. This sudden and surprising demonstration somewhat alarmed my
guests at its outburst, and made them retreat a pace towards the
door,--perhaps in fear of treachery;--but when they saw the smiling
faces and heard the pleased chatter of my people, they soon came
forward to learn that the compliment was worth a customary _demijohn
of rum_.

The adventure was a fortunate one for the reputation of New Sestros,
Don Pedro my employer, and Don Téodor, his clerk. Our establishment
happened just then to be at a summit of material comfort rarely
exceeded or even reached by others. My pens were full of slaves; my
granary, of rice; my stores, of merchandise.

From house to house,--from hut to hut,--the sailor and saw-bones
wandered with expressions of perfect admiration, till the hour for
dinner approached. I ordered the meal to be administered with minute
attention to all our usual ceremonies. The washing, singing,
distribution of food, beating time, and all the prandial _etceteras_
of comfort, were performed with the utmost precision and cleanliness.
They could not believe that such was the ordinary routine of slave
life in _barracoons_, but ventured to hint that I must have got up the
drama for their special diversion, and that it was impossible for
such to be the ordinary drill and demeanor of Africans. Our dapper
little surgeon, with almost dissective inquisitiveness, pried into
every nook and corner; and at length reached the slave kitchen, where
a caldron was full and bubbling with the most delicious rice. Hard by
stood a pot, simmering with meat and soup, and in an instant the
doctor had a morsel between his fingers and brought his companion to
follow his example.

Now, in sober truth, this was no casual display got up for effect, but
the common routine of an establishment conducted with prudent
foresight, for the profit of its owners as well as the comfort of our
people. And yet, such was the fanatical prepossession of these
Englishmen, whose idea of Spanish _factories_ and _barracoons_ was
formed exclusively from exaggerated reports, that I could not satisfy
them of my truth till I produced our journal, in which I noted
minutely every item of daily expenditure. It must be understood,
however, that it was not my habit to give the slaves _meat_ every day
of the week. Such a diet would not be prudent, because it is not
habitual with the majority of negroes. Two bullocks were slaughtered
each week for the use of my _factory_, while the hide, head, blood,
feet, neck, tail, and entrails, were appropriated for broth in the
_barracoons_. It happened that my visitors arrived on the customary
day of our butchering.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stinging appetite was the natural result of our review, and while
the naval guests were whetting it still more, I took the opportunity
to slip out of my verandah with orders for our harbor-pilot to report
the beach "impracticable for boats,"--a report which no prudent sailor
on the coast ever disregards. Meanwhile, I despatched a Krooman with a
note to the Bonito's captain, notifying that personage of the marine
hazard that prevented his officers' immediate return, and fearing they
might even find it necessary to tarry over night. This little _ruse_
was an _impromptu_ device to detain my inspectors, and make us better
acquainted over the African _cuisine_, which, by this time was smoking
in tureens and dishes flanked by spirited sentinels, in black uniform,
of claret and eau de vie.

Our dinner-chat was African all over: slavery, cruisers, prize-money,
captures, war, negro-trade, and philanthropy! The surgeon melted
enough under the blaze of the bottle to admit, _as a philosopher_,
that Cuffee was happier in the hands of white men than of black, and
that he would even support the institution if it could be carried on
with a little more humanity and less bloodshed. The lieutenant saw
nothing, even through the "Spiritual Medium" of our flagons, save
prize-money and obedience to the Admiral; while Don Téodor became
rather tart on the service, and confessed that his incredulity of
British philanthropy would never cease till England abandoned her
Indian wars, her opium smuggling, and her persecution of the Irish!

In truth, these loyal subjects of the King, and the Spanish slaver
became most excellent friends before bed-time, and ended the evening
by a visit to Prince Freeman, who forthwith got up a negro dance and
jollification for our special entertainment.

I have not much recollection after the end of this savage frolic till
my "look-out" knocked at the door with the news that our brig was
firing for her officers, while a suspicious sail flitted along the
horizon.

All good sailors sleep with one eye and ear open, so that in a
twinkling the lieutenant was afoot making for the beach, and calling
for the surgeon to follow. "A canoe! a canoe! a canoe!" shouted the
gallant blade, while he ran to and fro on the edge of the surf,
beholding signal after signal from his vessel. But alas! for the
British navy,--out of all the Kroo spectators not one stirred hand or
foot for the royal officer. Next came the jingle of dollars, and the
offer of twenty to the boatmen who would launch their skiff and put
them on board. "No savez! No savez! ax Commodore! ax Consul!"

"Curse your Commodore and Consul!" yelled the Lieutenant, as the
surgeon came up with the vociferous group: "put us aboard and be paid,
or I'll----?"

"Stop, stop!" interposed my pacific saw-bones, "no swearing and no
threats, lieutenant. One's just as useless as the other. First of all,
the Bonito's off about her business;--and next, my dear fellow, the
chase she's after is one of Canot's squadron, and, of course, there's
an embargo on every canoe along this beach! The Commodore's altogether
_too cute_, as the Yankees say, to reinforce his enemy with officers!"

During this charming little episode of my _blockade_, I was aloft in
my bellevieu, watching the progress of the chase; and as both vessels
kept steadily northward they soon disappeared behind the land.

By this time it was near breakfast, and, with a good appetite, I
descended to the verandah, with as unconcerned an air as if nothing
had occurred beyond the ordinary routine of factory life. But, not so,
alas! my knight of the single epaulette.

"This is a pretty business, sir;" said the lieutenant, fixing a look
on me which was designed to annihilate; striding up and down the
piazza, "a _very_ pretty business, I repeat! Pray, Commodore, Consul,
Don, Señor, Mister, Monsieur, Theodore Canot, or whatever the devil
else you please to call yourself, how long do you intend to keep
British officers prisoners in your infernal slave den?"

Now it is very likely that some years before, or if I had not
contrived the plot of this little naval _contre temps_, I might have
burst forth in a beautiful rage, and given my petulant and foiled
visitor a specimen of my Spanish vocabulary, which would not have
rested pleasantly in the memory of either party. But as _he_ warmed
_I_ cooled. His rage, in fact, was a fragment of my practical satire,
and I took special delight in beholding the contortions caused by my
physic.

"Sit down, sit down, lieutenant!" returned I very composedly, "we're
about to have coffee, and you are my _guest_. Nothing, lieutenant,
ever permits me to neglect the duties of hospitality in such an
out-of-the-way and solitary place as Africa. Sit down, doctor! Calm
yourselves, gentlemen. Take example by _me_! Your Bonito is probably
playing the devil with one of Don Pedro's craft by this time; but that
don't put me out of temper, or _make me unmannerly_ to gentlemen who
honor my bamboo hut with their presence!" I laid peculiar stress, by
way of accent, on the word "unmannerly," and in a moment I saw the
field was in my hands.

"Yes, gentlemen," continued I, "I comprehend very well both your duty
and responsibility; but, now that I see you are calmer, have the
kindness to say _in what_ I am to blame? Did you not come here to
'blockade' New Sestros, with a brig and provisions for half a year?
And do I prevent your embarkation, if you can find any Krooman willing
to take you on board? Nay, did either of you apprise me, as is
customary when folks go visiting, that you designed leaving my
quarters at so early an hour as to afford me the pleasure of seeing
every thing in order for your accommodation? Come now, my good
fellows, New Sestros is _my_ flagship, as the Bonito is _yours_! No
body stirs from this beach without the wink from its Commodore; and I
shall be much surprised to hear such excellent disciplinarians dispute
the propriety of my rule. Nevertheless, as you feel anxious to be gone
on an independent cruise, you shall be furnished with a canoe
_instanter_!"

"An offer," interjected the surgeon, "which it would be d----d
nonsense to accept! Have done with your infernal sneering, Don Téodor;
strike your flag, Mr. Lieutenant; and let the darkies bring in the
breakfast!"

I have narrated this little anecdote to show that Spanish slavers
sometimes ventured to have a little fun with the British lion, and
that when we got him on his haunches, his month full of beef and his
fore paws in air, he was by no means the unamiable beast he is
described to be, when, in company with the _unicorn_, he goes

    "a-fighting for the crown!"



CHAPTER LIX.


The balance of life vibrated considerably on the African coast.
Sometimes Mr. Bull's scale ascended and sometimes the Slaver's. It was
now the turn of the former to be exalted for a while by way of revenge
for my forced hospitality.

Our friends of the Bonito held on with provoking pertinacity in front
of my factory, so that I was troubled but little with company from
Cuba for several months. At last, however, it became necessary that I
should visit a neighboring colony for supplies, and I took advantage
of a Russian trader along the coast to effect my purpose. But when we
were within sight of our destination, a British cruiser brought us to
and visited the "Galopsik." As her papers were in order, and the
vessel altogether untainted, I took it for granted that Lieutenant
Hill would make a short stay and be off to his "Saracen." Yet, a
certain "slave deck," and an unusual quantity of water-casks, aroused
the officer's suspicions, so that instead of heading for our port, we
were unceremoniously favored with a prize crew, and ordered to Sierra
Leone!

I did not venture to protest against these movements, inasmuch as I
had no interest whatever in the craft, but I ventured to suggest that
"as I was only a _passenger_, there could be no objection to my
landing before the new voyage was commenced."

"By no means, sir," was the prompt reply, "_your presence is a
material fact for the condemnation of the vessel_!" Indeed, I soon
found out that I was recognized by some of the Kroomen on the cruiser,
and my unlucky reputation was a hole in the bottom of our Russian
craft!

At Sierra Leone matters became worse. The Court did not venture to
condemn the Russian, but resolved on ordering her to England; and when
I re-stated my reasonable appeal for release, I was told that I must
accompany the vessel on her visit to Great Britain.

This arbitrary decision of our captors sadly disconcerted my plans. A
voyage to England would ruin New Sestros. My _barracoons_ were alive
with blacks, but I had not a month's provisions in my stores. The
clerk, temporarily in charge, was altogether unfit to conduct a
factory during a prolonged absence,--and all my personal property, as
well as Don Pedro's, was at the hazard of his judgment during a period
of considerable difficulty.

I resolved to take "French leave."

Three men-of-war were anchored astern and on our bows. No boats were
allowed to approach us from shore; at night two marines and four
sailors paraded the deck, so that it was a thing of some peril to
dream of escape in the face of such Arguses. Yet there was no help for
it. I could not afford an Admiralty or Chancery suit in England, while
my _barracoons_ were foodless in Africa.

No one had been removed from the Russian since her seizure, nor were
we denied liberty of motion and intercourse so long as suspicion had
not ripened into legal condemnation. The captain, by birth a Spaniard,
was an old acquaintance, while the steward and boatswain were good
fellows who professed willingness to aid me in any exploit I might
devise for my liberty.

I hit upon the plan of a regular carouse; and at once decided that my
Spanish skipper was bound to keep his birthday with commendable
merriment and abundant grog. There was to be no delay; one day was as
good as another for his festival, while all that we needed, was time
enough to obtain the requisite supplies of food and fluid.

This was soon accomplished, and the "fatted pig" slaughtered for the
feast. As I never left home unprovided with gold, means were not
wanting to stock our pantry with champagne as well as brandy.

Every thing went off to a charm. We fed like gluttons and drank like
old-fashioned squires. Bumper after bumper was quaffed to the captain.
Little by little, the infection spread, as it always does, from the
wardroom to the cabin, and "goodfellowship" was the watchword of the
night. Invitations were given and accepted by our prize crew. Bull and
the Lion again relaxed under the spell of beef and brandy, so that by
sundown every lip had tasted our _eau de vie_, and watered for more.
The "first watch" found every soul on board, with the exception of our
corporal of marines, as happy as lords.

This corporal was a regular "character;" and, from the first, had been
feared as our stumbling-block. He was a perfect martinet; a prim,
precise, black-stock'd, military, Miss Nancy. He neither ate nor
drank, neither talked nor smiled, but paraded the deck with a grim air
of iron severity, as if resolved to preserve his own "discipline" if
he could not control that of any one else. I doubt very much whether
her Majesty has in her service a more dutiful loyalist than Corporal
Blunt, if that excellent functionary has not succumbed to African
malaria.

I hoped that something would occur to melt the corporal's heart during
the evening, and had prepared a little vial in my pocket, which, at
least, would have given him a stirless nap of twenty-four hours. But
nothing broke the charm of his spell-bound sobriety. There he marched,
to and fro, regular as a drum tap, hour after hour, stiff and
inexorable as a ramrod!

But who, after the fall of Corporal Blunt, shall declare that there is
a living man free from the lures of betrayal? And yet, he only
surrendered to an enemy in disguise!

"God bless me, corporal," said our prize lieutenant, "in the name of
all that's damnable, why don't you let out a reef or two from those
solemn cheeks of yours, and drink a bumper to Captain Gaspard and Don
Téodor? You ain't afraid of _cider_, are you?"

"_Cider_, captain?" said the corporal, advancing to the front and
throwing up his hand with a military salute.

"Cider and be d----d to you!" returned the lieutenant. "Cider--of
course, corporal; what other sort of pop can starving wretches like us
drink in Sary-loney?"

"Well, lieutenant," said the corporal, "if so be as how them fizzing
bottles which yonder Spanish gentleman is a-pourin' down is _only
cider_; and if cider ain't agin rules after 'eight bells;' and if you,
lieutenant, orders me to handle my glass,--I don't see what right I
have to disobey the orders of my superior!"

"Oh! blast your sermon and provisos," interjected the lieutenant,
filling a tumbler and handing it to the corporal, who drained it at a
draught. In a moment the empty glass was returned to the lieutenant,
who, instead of receiving it from the subaltern, refilled the tumbler.

"Oh, I'm sure I'm a thousand times obliged, lieutenant," said Blunt,
with his left hand to his cap, "a thousand, thousand times,
lieutenant,--but I'd rather take no more, if it's all the same to your
honor."

"But it ain't, Blunt, by any means; the rule is universal among
gentlemen on ship and ashore, that whenever a fellow's glass is
filled, he must drink it to the dregs, though he may leave a drop in
the bottom to pour out on the table in honor of his sweetheart;--so,
down with the cider! And now Blunt, my boy, that you've calked your
_first_ nail-head, I insist upon a bumper all round to that sweetheart
you were just talking of!"

"_Me_, lieutenant?"

"_You_, corporal!"

"I wasn't talking about any sweetheart, as I remembers,
lieutenant;--'pon the honor of a soldier, I haven't had no such a
thing this twenty years, since one warm summer's afternoon, when
Jane----"

"Now, corporal, you don't pretend to contradict your superior officer,
I hope. You don't intend to be the first man on this ship to show a
mutinous example!"

"Oh! God bless me, lieutenant, the thought never entered my brain!"

But the third tumbler of champagne _did_, in the apple-blossom
disguise of "_cider_;" and, in half an hour, there wasn't an odder
figure on deck than the poor corporal, whose vice-like stock steadied
his neck, though there was nothing that could make him toe the plank
which he pertinaciously insisted on promenading. Blunt the immaculate,
was undeniably drunk!

In fact,--though I say it with all possible respect for her Majesty's
naval officers, _while on duty_,--there was, by this time, hardly a
sober man on deck or in the cabin except myself and the Spanish
captain, who left me to engage the prize-officer in a game of
backgammon or dominoes. The crew was dozing about the decks, or
nodding over the taffrail, while my colleague, the boatswain, prepared
an oar on the forecastle to assist me in reaching the beach.

It was near midnight when I stripped in my state-room, leaving my
garments in the berth, and hanging my watch over its pillow. In a
small bundle I tied a flannel shirt and a pair of duck pantaloons,
which I fastened behind my neck as I stood on the forecastle; and
then, placing the oar beneath my arm, I glided from the bows into the
quiet water.

The night was not only very dark, but a heavy squall of wind and rain,
accompanied by thunder, helped to conceal my escape; and free the
stream from sharks. I was not long in reaching a native town, where a
Krooman from below, who had known me at Gallinas, was prepared for my
reception and concealment.

Next morning, the cabin-boy, who did not find me as usual on deck,
took my coffee to the state-room, where, it was supposed, I still
rested in comfortable oblivion of last night's carouse. But the bird
had flown! There were my trunk, my garments, my watch,--undisturbed as
I left them when preparing for bed. There was the linen of my couch
turned down and tumbled during repose. The inquest had no doubt of my
fate:--_I had fallen overboard during the night_, and was doubtless,
by this time, well digested in the bowels of African sharks! Folks
shook their heads with surprise when it was reported that the
notorious slaver, Canot, had fallen a victim to _mania à potu_!

The _report_ of my death soon reached shore; the British townsfolk
believed it, but I never imagined for a moment that the warm-hearted
tar who commanded the prize had been deceived by such false signals.

During eight days I remained hidden among the friendly negroes, and
from my loophole, saw the Russian vessel sail under the Saracen's
escort. I was not, however, neglected in my concealment by the worthy
tradesmen of the British colony, who knew I possessed money as well as
credit. This permitted me to receive visits and make purchases for the
factory, so that I was enabled, on the eighth day, with a full
equipment of all I desired, to quit the British jurisdiction in a
Portuguese vessel.

On our way to New Sestros, I made the skipper heave his main-yard
aback at Digby, while I embarked thirty-one "darkies," and a couple of
stanch canoes with their Kroomen, to land my human freight in case of
encountering a cruiser.

And well was it for me that I took this precaution. Night fell around
us, dark and rainy,--the wind blowing in squalls, and sometimes dying
away altogether. It was near one o'clock when the watch announced two
vessels on our weather bow; and, of course, the canoes were launched,
manned, filled with twenty of the gang, and set adrift for the coast,
ere our new acquaintances could honor us with their personal
attention. Ten of the slaves still remained on board, and as it was
perilous to risk them in our own launch, we capsized it over the
squad, burying the fellows in its bowels under the lee of a sailor's
pistol to keep them quiet if we were searched.

Our lights had hardly been extinguished in cabin and binnacle, when we
heard the measured stroke of a man-of-war oar. In a few moments more
the boat was alongside, the officer on deck, and a fruitless
examination concluded. The blacks beneath the launch were as silent as
death; nothing was found to render the "Maria" suspicious; and we were
dismissed with a left-handed blessing for rousing gentlemen from their
bunks on so comfortless a night. Next morning at dawn we reached New
Sestros, where my ten lubbers were landed without delay.

But our little comedy was not yet over. Noon had not struck before the
"Dolphin" cast anchor within hail of the "Maria," and made so free as
to claim her for a prize! In the darkness and confusion of shipping
the twenty slaves who were first of all despatched in canoes, one of
them slipped overboard with a paddle, and sustained himself till
daylight, when he was picked up by the cruiser whose jaws we had
escaped during the night! The negro's story of our trick aroused the
ire of her commander, and the poor "Maria" was obliged to pay the
forfeit by revisiting Sierra Leone in custody of an officer.

There were great rejoicings on my return to New Sestros. The coast was
full of odd and contradictory stories about our capture. When the tale
of my death at Sierra Leone by drowning, in a fit of drunkenness, was
told to my patron Don Pedro, that intelligent gentleman denied it
without hesitation, because, in the language of the law, "_it proved
too much_." It was _possible_, he said, that I might have been
drowned; but when they told him I had come to my death by strong
drink, they declared what was not only improbable, but altogether out
of the question. Accordingly, he would take the liberty to discredit
the entire story, being sure that I would turn up before long.

But poor Prince Freeman was not so clever a judge of nature as Don
Pedro. Freeman had heard of my death; and, imbued as he was with the
superstitions of his country, nobody could make him credit my
existence till he despatched a committee to my factory, headed by his
son, to report the facts. But then, on the instant, the valiant prince
paid me a visit of congratulation. As I held out both hands to welcome
him, I saw the fellow shrink with distrust.

"Count your fingers!" said Freeman.

"Well," said I, "what for?--here they are--one--two--three--four--
five--six--seven--eight--nine--ten!"

"Good--good!" shouted the prince, as he clasped my digits. "White men
tell too many lies 'bout the commodore! White man say, John Bull catch
commodore, and cut him fingers all off, so commodore no more can
'makee book' for makee fool of John Bull!" Which, being translated
into English, signifies that it was reported my fingers had been cut
off by my British captors to prevent me from writing letters by which
the innocent natives believed I so often bamboozled and deceived the
cruisers of her Majesty.

During my absence, a French captain, who was one of our most
attentive friends, had left a donkey which he brought from the Cape de
Verds for my especial delectation, by way of an occasional _promenade
à cheval_! I at once resolved to bestow the "long-eared convenience"
on Freeman, not only as a type, but a testimonial; yet, before a week
was over, the unlucky quadruped reappeared at my quarters, with a
message from the prince that it might do well enough for a bachelor
like me, but its infernal voice was enough to cause the miscarriage of
an entire harem, if not of every honest woman throughout his
jurisdiction! The superstition spread like wildfire. The women were up
in arms against the beast; and I had no rest till I got rid of its
serenades by despatching it to Monrovia, where the dames and damsels
were not afraid of donkeys of any dimensions.



CHAPTER LX.


It was my habit to employ at New Sestros a clerk, store-keeper, and
four seamen, all of whom were whites of reliable character, competent
to aid me efficiently in the control of my _barracoons_.

One of these sailors died of dropsy while in my service; and, as I
write, the memory of his death flashes across my mind so vividly, that
I cannot help recording it among the characteristic events of African
coast-life.

Sanchez, I think, was by birth a Spaniard; at least his perfect
familiarity with the language, as well as name and appearance, induced
me to believe that the greater part of his life must have been spent
under the shield of Saint Iago. The poor fellow was ill for a long
time, but in Africa, existence is so much a long-drawn malady, that we
hardly heeded his bloated flesh or cadaverous skin, as he sat, day
after day, musket in hand, at the gate of our barracoon. At last,
however, his confinement to bed was announced, and every remedy within
our knowledge applied for relief. This time, however, the summons was
peremptory; the sentence was final; there was no reprieve.

On the morning of his death, the sufferer desired me to be called,
and, sending away the African nurse and the two old comrades who
watched faithfully at his bedside, explained that he felt his end
approaching, yet could not depart without easing his soul by
_confession_!

"Here, Don Téodor," said he, "are five ounces of gold--all I have
saved in this world,--the lees of my life,--which I want you to take
care of, and when I am dead send to my sister, who is married to ----,
in Matanzas. Will you promise?"

I promised.

"And now, Don Téodor," continued he, "I must _confess_!"

I could not repress a smile as I replied,--"But, José, I am no
_padre_, you know; a _clerigo_ in no part of a slave factory; I cannot
absolve your sins; and, as for my _prayers_, poor fellow, alas! what
can they do for your sins when I fear they will hardly avail for my
own!"

"It's all one, _mi capitan_" answered the dying man; "it makes not the
least difference, Don Téodor, if you are a clergyman or any thing
else; it is the law of our church; and when confession is over, a
man's soul is easier under canvas, even if there's no regular _padre_
at hand to loosen the ropes, and let one's sins fly to the four winds
of heaven. Listen,--it will be short.

"It is many years since I sailed from Havana with that notorious
slaver, Miguel ----, whose murder you may have heard of on the coast.
Our vessel was in capital order for speed as well as cargo, and we
reached Cape Mount after a quick voyage. The place, however, was so
bare of slaves, that we coasted the reefs till we learned from a
Mesurado Krooman that, in less than a month, the supply at Little
Bassa would be abundant. We shipped the savage with his boatman, and
next day reached our destination.

"Miguel was welcomed warmly by the chiefs, who offered a choice lot of
negroes for a portion of our cargo, inviting the captain to tarry with
the rest of his merchandise and establish a factory. He assented; our
brig was sent home with a short cargo, while I and two others landed
with the captain, to aid in the erection and defence of the requisite
buildings.

"It did not take long to set up our bamboo houses and open a trade,
for whose supply Miguel began an intercourse with Cape Mesurado,
paying in doubloons and receiving his merchandise in vessels manned by
American blacks.

"Our captain was no niggard in housekeeping. Bountiful meals every
day supplied his friends and factory. No man went from his door hungry
or dissatisfied. When the colonists came up in their boats with goods,
or walked the beach from the Cape to our settlement, Miguel was always
alert with a welcome. A great intimacy, of course, ensued; and, among
the whole crowd of traffickers, none were higher in our chief's
estimation than a certain T----, who rarely visited the _barracoons_
without a gift from Miguel, in addition to his stipulated pay.

"In due time the brig returned from Havana, with a cargo of rum,
tobacco, powder, and _a box of doubloons_; but she was ordered to the
Cape de Verds to change her flag. In the interval, the Mesurado
colonists picked a quarrel with the Trade-Town chiefs, and, aided by
an American vessel, under Colombian colors, landed a division of
colonial troops and destroyed the Spanish barracoons.[G]

"The ruin of a Spanish factory could not be regarded by our captain
with any other feeling than that of resentment. Still, he manifested
his sensibility by coolness towards the colonists, or by refraining
from that _profitable_ welcome to which they had hitherto been
accustomed. But the Monrovians were not to be rebuffed by disdain.
They had heard, I suppose, of the box of doubloons, and Miguel was 'a
good fellow,' in spite of his frigidity. They were _his_ friends for
ever, and all the harm that had been done his countrymen was
attributable alone to their Colombian foes, and not to the colonists.
Such were the constant declarations of the Monrovians, as they came,
singly and in squads, to visit us after the Trade-Town plunder. T----,
in particular, was loud in his protestations of regard; and such was
the earnestness of his manner, that Miguel, by degrees, restored him
to confidence.

"Thus, for a while, all things went smoothly, till T---- reached our
anchorage, with several passengers in his craft, bound, as they said,
to Grand Bassa. As usual on such visits, the whole party dined with
Miguel at four in the afternoon, and, at six, retired towards their
vessel, with a gift of provisions and liquor for their voyage.

"About eight o'clock, a knocking at our gates--closed invariably at
dark, according to custom--gave notice that our recent guests had
returned. They craved hospitality for the night. They had dallied a
couple of hours on the beach, with the hope of getting off, but the
surf was so perilous that no Kroomen would venture to convey them
through the breakers.

"Such an appeal was, of course, enough for the heart of a courteous
Spaniard,--and, on the coast, you know, it is imperative. Miguel
opened the door, and, in an instant, fell dead on the threshold, with
a ball in his skull. Several guns were discharged, and the house
filled with colonists. At the moment of attack I was busy in the
_barracoon_; but, as soon as I came forth, the assailants approached
in such numbers that I leaped the barriers and hid myself in the
forest till discovered by some friendly natives.

"I remained with these Africans several weeks, while a canoe was
summoned from Gallinas for my rescue. From thence I sailed to Cuba,
and was the first to apprise our owners of the piratical onslaught by
which the factory had been destroyed.

"After this, I made several successful voyages to the coast; and, at
last, sauntering one evening along the _paseo_ at Havana, I met Don
Miguel's brother, who, after a sorrowful chat about the tragedy,
offered me a quarter-master's berth in a brig he was fitting out for
Africa. It was accepted on the spot.

"In a month we were off Mesurado, and cruised for several days from
the cape to Grand Bassa, avoiding every square-rigged vessel that
loomed above the horizon. At length, we espied a small craft beating
down the coast. We bore the stranger company for several hours, till,
suddenly taking advantage of her long tack out to sea, we gave chase
and cut off her return towards land.

"It was a fine afternoon, and the sun was yet an hour in the sky when
we intercepted the schooner. As we ran alongside, I thought I
recognized the faces of several who, in days of old, wore familiar in
our factory,--but what was my surprise, when T---- himself came to
the gangway, and hailed us in Spanish!

"I pointed out the miscreant to my comrade, and, in an instant, he was
in our clutches. We let the sun go down before we contrived a proper
death for the felon. His five companions, double-ironed, were nailed
beneath the hatches in the hold. After this, we riveted the murderer,
in chains, to the mainmast, and, for better security, fastened his
spread arms to the deck by spikes through his hands. Every sail was
then set on the craft, two barrels of tar were poured over the planks,
and a brand was thrown in the midst of the combustible materials. For
a while, the schooner was held by a hawser till we saw the flames
spread from stern to cut-water, and then, with a cheer, _adios_! It
was a beautiful sight,--that _auto-da-fé_, on the sea, in the
darkness!

"My confession, Don Téodor, is over. From that day, I have never been
within a church or alongside a _padre_; but I could not die without
sending the gold to my sister, and begging a mass in some parish for
the rest of my soul!"

I felt very conscious that I was by no means the person to afford
ghostly consolation to a dying man under such circumstances, but while
I promised to fulfil his request carefully, I could not help inquiring
whether he sincerely repented these atrocious deeds?

"Ah! yes, Don Téodor, a thousand times! Many a night, when alone on my
watch at sea, or in yonder stockade, marching up and down before the
_barracoon_, I have wept like a child for the innocent crew of that
little schooner; but, as for the murderer of _Don Miguel_--!" He
stared wildly for a minute into my eyes--shuddered--fell back--was
dead!

I have no doubt the outlaw's story contained exaggerations, or fell
from a wrecked mind that was drifting into eternity on the current of
delirium. I cannot credit his charge against the Monrovian colonists;
yet I recount the narrative as an illustration of many a bloody scene
that has stained the borders of Africa.


FOOTNOTE:

[G] The reader will recollect this is not CANOT'S story, but the
sailor's.



CHAPTER LXI.


During my first visit to Digby, I promised my trading friends--perhaps
rather rashly--that I would either return to their settlement, or, at
least, send merchandise and a clerk to establish a factory. This was
joyous news for the traffickers, and, accordingly, I embraced an early
occasion to despatch, in charge of a clever young sailor, such stuffs
as would be likely to tickle the negro taste.

There were two towns at Digby, governed by cousins who had always
lived in harmony. My mercantile venture, however, was unhappily
destined to be the apple of discord between these relatives. The
establishment of so important an institution as a slave-factory within
the jurisdiction of the younger savage, gave umbrage to the elder. His
town could boast neither of "merchandise" nor a "white man;" there was
no profitable tax to be levied from foreign traffic; and, in a very
short time, this unlucky partiality ripened the noble kinsmen into
bitter enemies.

It is not the habit in Africa for negroes to expend their wrath in
harmless words, so that preparations were soon made in each settlement
for defence as well as hostility. Both towns were stockaded and
carefully watched by sentinels, day and night. At times, forays were
made into each other's suburbs, but as the chiefs were equally
vigilant and alert, the extent of harm was the occasional capture of
women or children, as they wandered to the forest and stream for wood
and water.

This dalliance, however, did not suit the ardor of my angry favorite.
After wasting a couple of months, he purchased the aid of certain
_bushmen_, headed by a notorious scoundrel named Jen-ken, who had
acquired renown for his barbarous ferocity throughout the
neighborhood. Jen-ken and his chiefs were _cannibals_, and never trod
the war-path without a pledge to return laden with human flesh to
gorge their households.

Several assaults were made by this savage and his _bushmen_ on the
dissatisfied cousin, but as they produced no significant results, the
barbarians withdrew to the interior. A truce ensued. Friendly
proposals were made by the younger to the elder, and again, a couple
of months glided by in seeming peace.

Just at this time business called me to Gallinas. On my way thither I
looked in at Digby, intending to supply the displeased chieftain with
goods and an agent if I found the establishment profitable.

It was sunset when I reached the beach; too late, of course, to land
my merchandise, so that I postponed furnishing both places until the
morning. As might fairly be expected, there was abundant joy at my
advent. The neglected rival was wild with satisfaction at the report
that he, too, at length was favored with a "white-man." His "town"
immediately became a scene of unbounded merriment. Powder was burnt
without stint. Gallons of rum were distributed to both sexes; and
dancing, smoking and carousing continued till long after midnight,
when all stole off to maudlin sleep.

About three in the morning, the sudden screams of women and children
aroused me from profound torpor! Shrieks were followed by volleys of
musketry. Then came a loud tattoo of knocks at my door, and appeals
from the negro chief to rise and fly. "The town was besieged:--the
head-men were on the point of escaping:--resistance was vain:--they
had been betrayed--there were no fighters to defend the stockade!"

I was opening the door to comply with this advice, when my Kroomen,
who knew the country's ways even better than I, dissuaded me from
departing, with the confident assurance that our assailants were
unquestionably composed of the rival townsfolk, who had only
temporarily discharged the bushmen to deceive my entertainer. The Kroo
insisted that I had nothing to fear. We might, they said, be seized
and even imprisoned; but after a brief detention, the captors would be
glad enough to accept our ransom. If we fled, we might be slaughtered
by mistake.

I had so much confidence in the sense and fidelity of the band that
always accompanied me,--partly as boatmen and partly as
body-guard,--that I experienced very little personal alarm when I
heard the shouts as the savages rushed through the town murdering
every one they encountered. In a few moments our own door was battered
down by the barbarians, and Jen-ken, torch in hand, made his
appearance, claiming us as prisoners.

Of course, we submitted without resistance, for although fully armed,
the odds were so great in those ante-revolver days, that we would have
been overwhelmed by a single wave of the infuriated crowd. The
barbarian chief instantly selected our house for his headquarters, and
despatched his followers to complete their task. Prisoner after
prisoner was thrust in. At times the heavy mash of a war club and the
cry of strangling women, gave notice that the work of death was not
yet ended. But the night of horror wore away. The gray dawn crept
through our hovel's bars, and all was still save the groans of wounded
captives, and the wailing of women and children.

By degrees, the warriors dropped in around their chieftain. A
_palaver-house_, immediately in front of my quarters, was the general
rendezvous; and scarcely a _bushman_ appeared without the body of
some maimed and bleeding victim. The mangled but living captives were
tumbled on a heap in the centre, and soon, every avenue to the square
was crowded with exulting savages. Rum was brought forth in abundance
for the chiefs. Presently, slowly approaching from a distance, I
heard the drums, horns, and war-bells; and, in less than fifteen
minutes, a procession of women, whose naked limbs were smeared with
chalk and ochre, poured into the palaver-house to join the beastly
rites. Each of these devils was armed with a knife, and bore in her
hand some cannibal trophy. Jen-ken's wife, a corpulent wench of
forty-five,--dragged along the ground, by a single limb, the slimy
corpse of an infant ripped alive from its mother's womb. As her eyes
met those of her husband the two fiends yelled forth a shout of
mutual joy, while the lifeless babe was tossed in the air and caught
as it descended on the point of a spear. Then came the _refreshment_,
in the shape of rum, powder, and blood, which was quaffed by the
brutes till they reeled off, with linked hands, in a wild dance
around the pile of victims. As the women leaped and sang, the men
applauded and encouraged. Soon, the ring was broken, and, with a
yell, each female leaped on the body of a wounded prisoner and
commenced the final sacrifice with the mockery of lascivious
embraces!

In my wanderings in African forests I have often seen the tiger pounce
upon its prey, and, with instinctive thirst, satiate its appetite for
blood and abandon the drained corpse; but these African negresses were
neither as decent nor as merciful as the beast of the wilderness.
Their malignant pleasure seemed to consist in the invention of
tortures, that would agonize but not slay. There was a devilish spell
in the tragic scene that fascinated my eyes to the spot. A slow,
lingering, tormenting mutilation was practised on the living, as well
as on the dead; and, in every instance, the brutality of the women
exceeded that of the men. I cannot picture the hellish joy with which
they passed from body to body, digging out eyes, wrenching off lips,
tearing the ears, and slicing the flesh from the quivering bones;
while the queen of the harpies crept amid the butchery gathering the
brains from each severed skull as a _bonne-bouche_ for the approaching
feast!

After the last victim yielded his life, it did not require long to
kindle a fire, produce the requisite utensils, and fill the air with
the odor of _human flesh_. Yet, before the various messes were half
broiled, every mouth was tearing the dainty morsels with shouts of
joy, denoting the combined satisfaction of revenge and appetite! In
the midst of this appalling scene, I heard a fresh cry of exultation,
as a pole was borne into the apartment, on which was impaled the
living body of the conquered chieftain's wife. A hole was quickly dug,
the stave planted and fagots supplied; but before a fire could be
kindled the wretched woman was dead, so that the barbarians were
defeated in their hellish scheme of burning her alive.

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not know how long these brutalities lasted, for I remember very
little after this last attempt, except that the bush men packed in
plantain leaves whatever flesh was left from the orgie, to be conveyed
to their friends in the forest. This was the first time it had been my
lot _to behold the most savage development of African nature under the
stimulus of war_. The butchery made me sick, dizzy, paralyzed. I sank
on the earth benumbed with stupor; nor was I aroused till nightfall,
when my Kroomen bore me to the conqueror's town, and negotiated our
redemption for the value of twenty slaves.



CHAPTER LXII.


I hope that no one will believe I lingered a moment in Digby, or ever
dealt again with its miscreants, after the dreadful catastrophe I have
described in the last chapter. It is true that this tragedy might
never have happened within the territory of the rival kinsmen had not
the temptations of slave-trade been offered to their passionate
natures; yet the event was so characteristic, not only of slave-war
but of indigenous barbarity, that I dared not withhold it in these
sketches of my life.

Light was not gleaming over the tops of the forest next morning before
I was on the beach ready to embark for Gallinas. But the moon was
full, and the surf so high that my boat could not be launched. Still,
so great were my sufferings and disgust that I resolved to depart at
all hazards; and divesting myself of my outer garments, I stepped into
a native canoe with one man only to manage it, and dashed through the
breakers. Our provisions consisted of three bottles of gin, a jug of
water, and a basket of raw cassava, while a change of raiment and my
accounts were packed in an air-tight keg. Rough as was the sea, we
succeeded in reaching the neighborhood of Gallinas early next morning.
My Spanish friends on shore soon detected me with their excellent
telescopes, by my well-known cruising dress of red flannel shirt and
Panama hat; but, instead of running to the beach with a welcome, they
hoisted the black flag, which is ever a signal of warning to slavers.

My Krooman at once construed the telegraphic despatch as an intimation
that the surf was impassable. Indeed, the fact was visible enough even
to an uninstructed eye, as we approached the coast. For miles along
the bar at the river's mouth, the breakers towered up in tall masses,
whitening the whole extent of beach with foam. As our little canoe
rose on the top of the swell, outside the rollers, I could see my
friends waving their hats towards the southward, as if directing my
movements towards Cape Mount.

In my best days on the coast I often swam in perilous seasons a far
greater distance than that which intervened betwixt my boat and the
shore. My companions at Gallinas well knew my dexterity in the water,
and I could not comprehend, therefore, why they forbade my landing,
with so much earnestness. In fact, their zeal somewhat nettled me, and
I began to feel that dare-devil resistance which often goads us to
acts of madness which make us heroes if successful, but fools if we
fail.

It was precisely this temper that determined me to hazard the bar;
yet, as I rose on my knees to have a better view of the approaching
peril, I saw the black flag thrice lowered in token of adieu.
Immediately afterward it was again hoisted _over the effigy of an
enormous shark_!

In a twinkling, I understood the _real_ cause of danger, which no
alacrity or courage in the water could avoid, and comprehended that my
only hope was in the open sea. A retreat to Cape Mount was a toilsome
task for my weary _Krooman_, who had been incessantly at work for
twenty-four hours. Yet, there were but two alternatives,--either to
await the subsidence of the surf, or the arrival of some friendly
vessel. In the mean time, I eat my last morsel of cassava, while the
_Krooman_ stretched himself in the bottom of the canoe,--half in the
water and half in the glaring sun,--and went comfortably to sleep.

I steered the boat with a paddle, as it drifted along with tide and
current, till the afternoon, when a massive pile of clouds in the
south-east gave warning of one of those tornadoes which deluge the
coast of Africa in the months of March and April. A stout punch in the
Krooman's ribs restored him to consciousness from his hydropathic
sleep; but he shivered as he looked at the sky and beheld a token of
that greatest misfortune that can befall a negro,--a wet skin at sea
from a shower of rain.

We broached our last bottle to battle the chilling element. Had we
been in company with other canoes, our first duty would have been to
lash the skiffs together so as to breast the gusts and chopping sea
with more security; but as I was entirely alone, our sole reliance was
on the expert arm and incessant vigilance of my companion.

I will not detain the reader by explaining the simple process that
carried us happily through the deluge. By keeping the canoe bow on, we
nobly resisted the shock of every wave, and gradually fell back under
the impulse of each undulation. Thus we held on till the heavy clouds
discharged their loads, beating down the sea and half filling the
canoe with rain water. While the Krooman paddled and steered, I
conducted the bailing, and as the African dipper was not sufficient to
keep us free, I pressed my Panama hat into service as an extra hand.

These savage squalls on the African coast, at the beginning of the
rainy season, are of short duration, so that our anxiety quickly left
us to the enjoyment of soaking skins. A twist at my red flannel
relieved it of superabundant moisture, but as the negro delighted in
no covering except his flesh, an additional kiss of the bottle was the
only comfort I could bestow on his shivering limbs.

This last dram was our forlorn hope, but it only created a passing
comfort, which soon went off leaving our bodies more chill and
dejected than before. My head swam with feverish emptiness. I seemed
suddenly possessed by a feeling of wild independence--seeing nothing,
fearing nothing. Presently, this died away, and I fell back in utter
helplessness, wholly benumbed.

I do not remember how long this stupor lasted, but I was aroused by
the Krooman with the report of a land-breeze, and a sail which he
declared to be a cruiser. It cost me considerable effort to shake off
my lethargy, nor do I know whether I would have succeeded had there
not been a medical magic in the idea of a man-of-war, which flashed
athwart my mind a recollection of the slave accounts in our keg!

I had hardly time to throw the implement overboard before the craft
was within hail; but instead of a cruiser she turned out to be a
slaver, destined, like myself, for Gallinas. A warm welcome awaited me
in the cabin, and a comfortable bed with plenty of blankets restored
me for a while to health, though in all likelihood my perilous flight
from Digby and its horrors, will ache rheumatically in my limbs till
the hour of my death.

It was well that I did not venture through the breakers on the day
that the dead shark was hoisted _in terrorem_ as a telegraph. Such was
the swarm of these monsters in the surf of Gallinas, that more than a
hundred slaves had been devoured by them in attempting a shipment a
few nights before!



CHAPTER LXIII.


"Don Pedro Blanco had left Gallinas,--a retired _millionnaire_!" When
I heard this announcement at the factory, I could with difficulty
restrain the open expression of my sorrow. It confirmed me in a desire
that for some time had been strengthening in my mind. Years rolled
over my head since, first of all, I plunged accidentally into the
slave-trade. My passion for a roving life and daring adventure was
decidedly cooled. The late barbarities inflicted on the conquered in a
war of which I was the involuntary cause, appalled me with the
traffic; and humanity called louder and louder than ever for the
devotion of my remaining days to honest industry.

As I sailed down the coast to restore a child to his father,--the King
of Cape Mount,--I was particularly charmed with the bold promontory,
the beautiful lake, and the lovely islands, that are comprised in this
enchanting region. When I delivered the boy to his parent, the old
man's gratitude knew no bounds for his offspring's redemption from
slavery. Every thing was tendered for my recompense; and, as I seemed
especially to enjoy the delicious scenery of his realm, he offered me
its best location as a gift, if I desired to abandon the slave-trade
and establish a _lawful_ factory.

I made up my mind on the spot that the day should come when I would be
lord and master of Cape Mount; and, nestling under the lee of its
splendid headland, might snap my fingers at the cruisers. Still I
could not, at once, retreat from my establishment at New Sestros. Don
Pedro's departure was a sore disappointment, because it left my
accounts unliquidated and my release from the trade dependent on
circumstances. Nevertheless, I resolved to risk his displeasure by
quitting the factory for a time, and visiting him at Havana after a
trip to England.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the summer of 1839 that I arranged my affairs for a long
absence, and sailed for London in the schooner Gil Blas. We had a dull
passage till we reached the chops of the British Channel, whence a
smart south-wester drove us rapidly towards our destination.

Nine at night was just striking from the clocks of Dover when a bustle
on deck, a tramping of feet, a confused sound of alarm, orders,
obedience and anxiety, was followed by a tremendous crash which
prostrated me on the cabin floor, whence I bounded, with a single
spring, to the deck. "A steamer had run us down!" Aloft, towered a
huge black wall, while the intruder's cut-water pressed our tiny craft
almost beneath the tide. There was no time for deliberation. The
steamer's headway was stopped. The Gil Blas, like her scapegrace
godfather, was in peril of sinking; and as the wheels began to revolve
and clear the steamer from our wreck, every one scrambled in the best
way he could on board the destroyer.

Our reception on this occasion by the British lion was not the most
respectful or hospitable that might be imagined. In fact, no notice
was taken of us by these "hearts of oak," till a clever Irish soldier,
who happened to be journeying to Dublin, invited us to the forward
cabin. Our mate, however, would not listen to the proposal, and
hastening to the quarter-deck, coarsely upbraided the steamer's
captain with his misconduct, and demanded suitable accommodations for
his wounded commander and passengers.

In a short time the captain of the Gil Blas and I were conducted to
the "gentlemen's cabin," and as I was still clad in the thin cotton
undress in which I was embarking for the land of dreams when the
accident occurred, a shirt and trowsers were handed me fresh from the
slop-shop. When my native servant appeared in the cabin, a shower of
coppers greeted him from the passengers.

Next morning we were landed at Cowes, and as the steward claimed the
restitution of a pair of slippers in which I had encased my toes, I
was forced to greet the loyal earth of England with bare feet as well
as uncovered head. Our sailors, however, were better off. In the
forecastle they had fallen into the hands of Samaritans. A profusion
of garments was furnished for all their wants, while a subscription,
made up among the soldiers and women, supplied them with abundance of
coin for their journey to London.

       *       *       *       *       *

An economical life in Africa, and a series of rather profitable
voyages, enabled me to enjoy my wish to see London, "above stairs as
well as below."

I brought with me from Africa a body-servant named Lunes, an active
youth, whose idea of city-life and civilization had been derived
exclusively from glimpses of New Sestros and Gallinas. I fitted him
out on my arrival in London as a fashionable "tiger," with red
waistcoat, corduroy smalls, blue jacket and gold band; and trotted him
after me wherever I went in search of diversion. It may be imagined
that I was vastly amused by the odd remarks and the complete
amazement, with which this savage greeted every object of novelty or
interest. After he became somewhat acquainted with the streets of
London, Lunes occasionally made explorations on his own account, yet
he seldom came back without a tale that showed the African to have
been quite as much a curiosity to the cockneys as the cockneys were to
the darkey.

It happened just at this time that "Jim Crow" was the rage at one of
the minor theatres, and as I felt interested to know how the
personification would strike the boy, I sent him one night to the
gallery with orders to return as soon as the piece was concluded. But
the whole night passed without the appearance of my valet. Next
morning I became anxious about his fate, and, after waiting in vain
till noon, I employed a reliable officer to search for the negro,
without disclosing the fact of his servitude.

In the course of a few hours poor Lunes was brought to me in a most
desolate condition. His clothes were in rags, and his gold-lace gone.
It appeared that "Jim Crow" had outraged his sense of African
character so greatly that he could not restrain his passion; but
vented it in the choicest _billingsgate_ with which his vocabulary had
been furnished in the forecastle of the "Gil Blas." His criticism of
the real Jim was by no means agreeable to the patrons of the
fictitious one. In a moment there was a row; and the result was, that
Lunes after a thorough dilapidation of his finery departed in custody
of the police, more, however, for the negro's protection than his
chastisement.

The loss of his dashing waistcoat, and the sound thrashing he received
at the hands of a London mob while asserting the dignity of his
country, and a night in the station house, spoiled my boy's opinion of
Great Britain. I could not induce him afterwards to stir from the
house without an escort, nor would he believe that every policeman was
not specially on the watch to apprehend him. I was so much attached to
the fellow, and his sufferings became so painful, that I resolved to
send him back to Africa; nor shall I ever forget his delight when my
decision was announced. The negro's joy, however, was incomprehensible
to my fellow-lodgers, and especially to the gentle dames, who could
not believe that an African, whose liberty was assured in England,
would _voluntarily_ return to Africa and slavery!

One evening, just before his departure, Lunes was sternly tried on
this subject in my presence in the parlor, yet nothing could make him
revoke his trip to the land of palm-trees and _malaria_. London was
too cold for him;--he hated stockings;--shoes were an abomination!

"Yet, tell me, Lunes," said one of the most bewitching of my fair
friends,--"how is it that you go home to be a slave, when you may
remain in London as a freeman?"

I will repeat his answer--divested of its native gibberish:

"Yes, Madam, I go--because I like my country best; if I am to be a
slave or work, I want to do so for a true _Spaniard_. I don't like
this thing, Miss,"--pointing to his shirt collar,--"it cuts my
ears;--I don't like this thing"--pointing to his trowsers; "I like my
country's fashion better than yours;"--and, taking out a large
handkerchief, he gave the inquisitive dame a rapid demonstration of
African economy in concealing nakedness, by twisting it round those
portions of the human frame which modesty is commonly in the habit of
hiding!

There was a round of applause and a blaze of blushes at this
extemporaneous pantomime, which Lunes concluded with the assurance
that he especially loved his master, because,--"when he grew to be a
proper man, I would give him plenty of wives!"

I confess that my valet's philanthropic audience was not exactly
prepared for this edifying culmination in favor of Africa; but, while
my friends were busy in obliterating the red and the wrinkles from
their cheeks, I took the liberty to enjoy, from behind the shadow of
my tea cup, the manifest disgust they felt for the bad taste of poor
Lunes!



CHAPTER LXIV.


By this time my curiosity was not only satiated by the diversions of
the great metropolis, but I had wandered off to the country and
visited the most beautiful parts of the islands. Two months thus
slipped by delightfully in Great Britain when a sense of duty called
me to Havana; yet, before my departure, I resolved, if possible, to
secure the alliance of some opulent Englishman to aid me in the
foundation and maintenance of lawful commerce at Cape Mount. Such a
person I found in Mr. George Clavering Redman, of London, who owned
the Gil Blas, which, with two other vessels, he employed in trade
between England and Africa.

I had been introduced to this worthy gentleman as "a lawful trader on
the coast," still, as I did not think that business relations ought to
exist between us while he was under so erroneous an impression, I
seized an early opportunity to unmask myself. At the same time, I
announced my unalterable resolution to abandon a slaver's life for
ever; to establish a trading post at some fortunate location; and,
while I recounted the friendship and peculiar bonds between the king
and myself, offered to purchase Cape Mount from its African
proprietor, if such an enterprise should be deemed advisable.

Redman was an enterprising merchant. He heard my proposal with
interest, and, after a few days' consideration, assented to a
negotiation, as soon as I gave proofs of having abandoned the slave
traffic for ever. It was understood that no contract was to be entered
into, or document signed, till I was at liberty to withdraw completely
from Don Pedro Blanco and all others concerned with him. This
accomplished, I was to revisit England and assume my lawful functions.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I landed in the beautiful Queen of the Antilles I found Don Pedro
in no humor to accede to these philanthropic notions. The veteran
slaver regarded me, no doubt, as a sort of cross between a fool and
zealot. An American vessel had been recently chartered to carry a
freight to the coast; and, accordingly, instead of receiving a release
from servitude, I was ordered on board the craft as supercargo of the
enterprise! In fact, on the third day after my arrival at Havana, I
was forced to re-embark for the coast without a prospect of securing
my independence.

The reader may ask why I did not burst the bond, and free myself at a
word from a commerce with which I was disgusted? The question is
_natural_--but the reply is _human_. I had too large an unliquidated
interest at New Sestros, and while it remained so, I was not entitled
to demand from my employer a final settlement for my years of labor.
In other words _I was in his power_, so far as my means were
concerned, and my services were too valuable to be surrendered by him
voluntarily.

A voyage of forty-two days brought me once more to New Sestros,
accompanied by a couple of negro women, who paid their passage and
were lodged very comfortably in the steerage. The elder was about
forty and extremely corpulent, while her companion was younger as well
as more comely.

This respectable dame, after an absence of twenty-four years, returned
to her native Gallinas, on a visit to her father, king Shiakar. At the
age of fifteen, she had been taken prisoner and sent to Havana. A
Cuban confectioner purchased the likely girl, and, for many years,
employed her in hawking his cakes and pies. In time she became a
favorite among the townsfolk, and, by degrees, managed to accumulate
a sufficient amount to purchase her freedom. Years of frugality and
thrift made her proprietor of a house in the city and an egg-stall in
the market, when chance threw in her way a cousin, lately imported
from Africa, who gave her news of her father's family. A quarter of a
century had not extinguished the natural fire in this negro's heart,
and she immediately resolved to cross the Atlantic and behold once
more the savage to whom she owed her birth.

I sent these adventurous women to Gallinas by the earliest trader that
drifted past New Sestros, and learned that they were welcomed among
the islands with all the ceremony common among Africans on such
occasions. Several canoes were despatched to the vessel, with flags,
tom-toms, and horns, to receive and welcome the ladies. On the shore,
a procession was formed, and a bullock offered to the captain in token
of gratitude for his attention.

When her elder brother was presented to the retired egg-merchant, he
extended his arms to embrace his kinswoman; but, to the amazement of
all, she drew back with a mere offer of her hand, refusing every
demonstration of affection _till he should appear dressed with
becoming decency_. This rebuke, of course, kept the rest of her
relatives at bay, for there was a sad deficiency of trowsers in the
gang, and it was the indispensable garment that caused so unsisterly a
reception.

But Shiakar's daughter, travelled as she was, could neither set the
fashions nor reform the tastes of Gallinas. After a sojourn of ten
days, she bade her kindred an eternal adieu, and returned to Havana,
disgusted with the manners and customs of her native land.



CHAPTER LXV.


On my return to New Sestros, I found that the colonial authorities of
Liberia had been feeling the pulse of my African friend, Freeman, in
order to secure the co-operation of that distinguished personage in
the suppression of the slave traffic. Freeman professed his
willingness to conclude a treaty of commerce and amity with Governor
Buchanan, but respectfully declined to molest the factories within his
domain.

Still, Buchanan was not to be thwarted by a single refusal, and
enlisted the sympathy of an officer in command of a United States
cruiser, who accompanied the governor to the anchorage at New Sestros.
As soon as these personages reached their destination, a note was
despatched to the negro potentate, desiring him to expel from his
territory all Spaniards who were possessed of factories. To this, it
is said, the chief returned a short and tart rebuke for the
interference with his independence; whereupon the following singular
missive was immediately delivered to the Spaniards:--

  "U. S. BRIG DOLPHIN,
    "NEW SESTROS, _March 6, 1840_.

"SIR:

"I address you in consequence of having received a note from you a few
evenings since; but I wish it to be understood that this
communication is intended for all or any persons who are now in New
Sestros, engaged in the slave-trade.

"I have received information that you now have, in your establishments
on shore, several hundred negroes confined in barracoons, waiting for
an opportunity to ship them. Whether you are Americans, English,
French, Spaniards, or Portuguese, you are acting in violation of the
established laws of your respective countries, and, therefore, are not
entitled to any protection from your governments. You have placed
yourselves beyond the protection of any civilized nation, as you are
engaged in a traffic which has been made _piracy_ by most of the
Christian nations of the world.

"As I have been sent by my government to root out, if possible, this
traffic on and near our settlements on the coast, I must now give you
notice, that you must break up your establishment at this point, in
two weeks from this date; failing to do so, I shall take such measures
as I conceive necessary to attain this object. I will thank you to
send a reply to this communication immediately, stating your
intentions, and also sending an account of the number of slaves you
have on hand.

  "I am, &c., &c., &c.,
    "CHARLES R. BELL,
      "_Lieut. Com. U. S. Naval Forces, Coast of Africa_.

  "To Mr. A. DEMER and others,
    "NEW SESTROS, _Coast of Africa_."

I do not know what reply was made to this communication, as a copy was
not retained; but when my clerk handed me the original letter from
Lieutenant Bell, on my arrival from Cuba I lost no time in forwarding
the following answer to Col. Hicks, at Monrovia, to be despatched by
him to the American officer:

  "TO CHARLES R. BELL, ESQ.,
    "_Lieut. Com. of the U. S. Forces, Coast of Africa, Monrovia_.
      "NEW SESTROS, _April 2, 1840_.

"SIR:

"Your letter of the 6th March, directed to the white residents of New
Sestros, was handed me on my return to this country, and I am sorry I
can make but the following short answer.

"First, sir, you seem to assume a supremacy over the most civilized
nations of the world, and, under the doubtful pretext of your nation's
authority, threaten to land and destroy our property on these neutral
shores. Next, you are pleased to inform us that all Christian nations
have declared the slave-trade _piracy_, and that we are not entitled
to any protection from our government. Why, then, do the Southern
States of your great confederacy allow slavery, public auctions,
transportation from one State to another,--not only of civilized black
native subjects,--but of nearly white, American, Christian citizens?
Such is the case in your free and independent country; and, though the
slave-trade is carried on in the United States of America with more
brutality than in any other colony, I still hope you are a Christian!

"To your third article, wherein you observe, having 'been sent by your
government to root out this traffic, if possible, near your own
settlements on the coast,'--allow me to have my doubts of such orders.
Your government could not have issued them without previously making
them publicly known;--and, permit me to say, those Christian nations
you are pleased to mention, are not aware that your nation had set up
colonies on the coast of Africa. They were always led to believe that
these Liberian settlements were nothing but Christian beneficial
societies, humanely formed by private philanthropists, to found a
refuge for the poor blacks born in America, who cannot be protected in
their native country by the free and independent laws and institutions
of the United States.

"If my argument cannot convince you that you are not justified in
molesting a harmless people on these desolate shores, allow me to
inform you that, should you put your threats in execution and have the
advantage over us, many factories would suffer by your unjust attack,
which would give them an indisputable right to claim high damages from
your government.

"Most of the white residents here, are, and have been, friendly to
Americans at large; some have been educated in your country, and it
would be the saddest day of their lives, if obliged to oppose by force
of arms the people of a nation they love as much as their own
countrymen. The undersigned, in particular, would wish to observe that
the same spirit that led him to avenge Governor Findley's murder, will
support him in defence of his property, though much against his
inclination.

  "I remain, very respectfully,
    "Your obedient servant,
      "THEODORE CANOT."

This diplomatic encounter terminated the onslaught. Buchanan, who was
over hasty with military display on most occasions, made a requisition
for volunteers to march against New Sestros. But the troops were never
set in motion. In the many years of my residence in the colonial
neighborhood, this was the only occasion that menaced our friendship
or verged upon hostilities.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whilst I was abroad in England and Cuba, my _chargé d'affaires_ at New
Sestros sent off a cargo of three hundred negroes, nearly all of whom
were safely landed in the West Indies, bringing us a profit of nine
thousand dollars. There were, however, still one hundred and fifty in
our _barracoons_ to be shipped; and, as the cargo from the Crawford
was quickly exchanged with the natives for more slaves, in two months'
time, I found my pens surcharged with six hundred human beings. Two
other neighboring factories were also crammed; while, unfortunately,
directly in front of us, a strong reinforcement of British men-of-war
kept watch and ward to prevent our depletion.

No slaver dared show its topsails above the horizon. The season did
not afford us supplies from the interior. Very few coasters looked in
at New Sestros; and, as our stock of grain and provisions began to
fail, the horrors of famine became the sole topic of conversation
among our alarmed factors.

It will readily be supposed that every effort was made, not only to
economize our scanty stores, but to increase them through the
intervention of boats that were sent far and wide to scour the coast
for rice and cassava. Double and triple prices were offered for these
articles, yet our agents returned without the required supplies. In
fact, the free natives themselves were in danger of starvation, and
while they refused to part with their remnants, even under the
temptation of luxuries, they sometimes sent deputations to my
settlement in search of food.

By degrees I yielded to the conviction that I must diminish my mouths.
First of all, I released the old and feeble from the _barracoon_.
This, for a few days, afforded ample relief; but, as I retained only
the staunchest, the remaining appetites speedily reduced our rations
to a single meal _per diem_. At last, the steward reported, that even
this allowance could be continued for little more than a week. In
twelve days, at farthest, my resources would be utterly exhausted.

In this extremity I summoned a council of neighboring chiefs, and
exposing my situation, demanded their opinion as to a fitting course
on the dreaded day. I had resolved to retain my blacks till the last
measure was distributed, and then to liberate them to shift for
themselves.

But the idea of releasing six hundred famishing foemen struck the
beach people with horror. It would, they said, be a certain source of
war and murder; and they implored me not to take such a step till they
made every effort to ease my burden. As a beginning, they proposed at
once relieving the _barracoon_ of a large portion of females and of
all the male youths, who were to be fed and guarded by them, on my
account, till better times.

By this system of colonizing I got rid of the support of two hundred
and twenty-five negroes; and, as good luck would have it, a visit from
a friendly coaster enabled me, within ten days, to exchange my
beautiful cutter "Ruth" for a cargo of rice from the colony at Cape
Palmas.

It was fortunate that in a week after this happy relief the British
cruisers left our anchorage for a few days. No sooner were they off,
than a telegraph of smoke, which, in those days, was quite as useful
on the African coast, as the electric is on ours, gave notice to the
notorious "Volador." There was joy in the teeming factories when her
signal was descried in the offing; and, before the following dawn,
seven hundred and forty-nine human beings, packed within her one
hundred and sixty-five tons, were on their way to Cuba.

_This was the last cargo of slaves I ever shipped!_



CHAPTER LXVI.


When the thought struck me of abandoning the slave-trade, and I had
resolved to follow out the good impulse, I established a store in the
neighborhood of my old _barracoons_ with the design of trafficking in
the produce of industry alone. This concern was intrusted to the
management of a clever young colonist.

It was about this time that the British brig of war Termagant held New
Sestros in permanent blockade, forbidding even a friendly boat to
communicate with my factory. Early one morning I was called to witness
a sturdy chase between my scolding foe and a small sail which was
evidently running for the shore in order to save her crew by beaching.
The British bull-dog, however, was not to be deterred by the perils of
the surf; and, holding on with the tenacity of fate, pursued the
stranger, till he discovered that a large reinforcement of armed
natives was arrayed on the strand ready to protect the fugitives.
Accordingly, the Englishmen refrained from assailing the mariners, and
confined their revenge to the destruction of the craft.

As this affray occurred within gun-shot of my lawful factory, I
hastened to the beach under the belief that some of my _employés_ had
unluckily fallen into a difficulty with the natives. But on my arrival
I was greeted by a well-known emissary from our headquarters at
Gallinas, who bore a missive imparting the Volador's arrival in Cuba
with six hundred and eleven of her people. The letter furthermore
apprised me that Don Pedro, who persisted in sending merchandise to
my slave factory, still declined my resignation as his agent, but
acknowledged a credit in his chest of thirteen thousand dollars for my
commissions on the Volador's slaves. Here, then, were Confidence and
Temptation, both resolutely proffered to lure me back to my ancient
habits!

I was busily engaged on the sands, enforcing from the negroes a
restitution of clothes to the plundered postman, when the crack of a
cannon, higher up the beach, made me fear that an aggression was being
committed against my homestead. Before I could depart, however, two
more shots in the same quarter, left me no room to doubt that the
Termagant was talking most shrewishly with my factory at New Sestros.

I reached the establishment with all convenient speed, only to find it
full of natives, who had been brought to the spot from the interior by
the sound of a cannonade. The following letter from the captain of the
man-of-war, it seems, had been landed in a fishing canoe very soon
after my departure in the morning, and the shots, I suppose, were
discharged to awake my attention to its contents.

  "HER BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S SHIP TERMAGANT,
    "_Off_ NEW SESTROS, _Nov. 5, 1840_.

"SIR:

"The natives or Kroomen of your settlement having this day fired on
the boats of Her B. M. ship under my command, while in chase of a
Spanish boat with seven men going to New Sestros, I therefore demand
the persons who fired on the boats, to answer for the same; and,
should this demand not be complied with, I shall take such steps as I
deem proper to secure satisfaction.

"I have addressed you on this occasion, judging by the interference of
those blacks in your behalf, that they are instigated by you.

"I have the honor to be, sir, your obed't serv't,

  "H. F. SEAGRAM,
    "_Lieut. Com._

  "TO MR. T. CANOT,
    "NEW SESTROS."

When this cartel fell into my hands it lacked but an hour of sunset.
The beach was alive with angry rollers, while the Termagant was still
under easy sail, hovering up and down the coast before my factory,
evidently meditating the propriety of another pill to provoke my
notice.

I sat down at once and wrote a sort of model response, promising to
come on board bodily next morning to satisfy the lieutenant of my
innocence; but when I inquired for a Mercury to bear my message, there
was not a Krooman to be found willing to face either the surf or the
British sailor. Accordingly, there was no alternative but to suffer my
bamboo _barracoons_ and factory to be blown about my ears by the
English vixen, or to face the danger, in person, and become the bearer
of my own message.

The proposal sounded oddly enough in the ears of the Kroomen, who, in
spite of their acquaintance with my hardihood, could scarcely believe
I would thrust my head into the very jaws of the lion. Still, they had
so much confidence in the judgment displayed by white men on the
coast, that I had little difficulty in engaging the boat and services
of a couple of sturdy chaps; and, stripping to my drawers, so as to be
ready to swim in the last emergency, I committed myself to their care.

We passed the dangerous surf in safety, and in a quarter of an hour
were alongside the Termagant, whose jolly lieutenant could not help
laughing at the drenched _uniform_ in which I saluted him at the
gangway. Slaver as I was, he did not deny me the rites of hospitality.
Dry raiment and a consoling glass were speedily supplied; and with the
reassured stamina of my improved condition, it may readily be supposed
I was not long in satisfying the worthy Mr. Seagram that I had no
concern in the encounter betwixt the natives and his boats. To clinch
the argument I assured the lieutenant that I was not only guiltless of
the assault, _but had made up my mind irrevocably to abandon the
slave-trade_!

I suppose there was as much rejoicing that night on board the
Termagant over the redeemed slaver, as there is in most churches over
a rescued sinner. It was altogether too late and too dark for me to
repeat the perils of the surf and sharks, so that I willingly
accepted the offer of a bed, and promised to accompany Seagram in the
morning to the prince.

Loud were the shouts of amazement and fear when the negroes saw me
landing next day, side by side, in pleasant chat, with an officer,
who, eighteen hours before, had been busy about my destruction. It was
beyond their comprehension how an Englishman could visit my factory
under such circumstances, nor could they divine how I escaped, after
my voluntary surrender on board a cruiser. When the prince saw Seagram
seated familiarly under my verandah, he swore that I must have some
powerful _fetiche_ or _juju_ to compel the confidence of enemies; but
his wonder became unbounded when the officer proposed his entire
abandonment of the slave-trade, _and I supported the lieutenant's
proposal_!

I have hardly ever seen a man of any hue or character, so sorely
perplexed as our African was by this singular suggestion. To stop the
slave-trade, unless by compulsion, was, in his eyes, the absolute
abandonment of a natural appetite or function. At first, he believed
we were joking. It was inconceivable that I, who for years had carried
on the traffic so adroitly, could be serious in the idea. For half an
hour the puzzled negro walked up and down the verandah, muttering to
himself, stopping, looking at both of us, hesitating, and
laughing,--till at last, as he afterwards confessed, he concluded that
I was only "_deceiving the Englishman_," and came forward with an
offer to sign a treaty on the spot for the extinction of the traffic.

Now the reader must bear in mind that I allowed the prince to mislead
himself through his natural duplicity on this occasion, as I was
thereby enabled to bring him again in contact with Seagram, and secure
the support of British officers for my own purposes.

In a few days the deed was done. The slave-trade at New Sestros was
formally and for ever abolished by the prince and myself. As I was the
principal mover in the affair, I voluntarily surrendered to the
British officer on the day of signature, one hundred slaves; _in
return for which I was guarantied the safe removal of my valuable
merchandise, and property from the settlement._

It was a very short time after I had made all snug at New Sestros
that misfortune fell suddenly on our parent nest at Gallinas. The Hon.
Joseph Denman, who was senior officer of the British squadron on the
coast, unexpectedly landed two hundred men, and burnt or destroyed all
the Spanish factories amid the lagunes and islets. By this
uncalculated act of violence, the natives of the neighborhood were
enabled to gorge themselves with property that was valued, I
understand, at a very large sum. An event like this could not escape
general notice along the African coast, and in a few days I began to
hear it rumored and discussed among the savages in _my_ vicinity.

For a while it was still a mystery why _I_ escaped while Gallinas
fell; but at length the sluggish mind of Prince Freeman began to
understand my diplomacy, and, of course, to repent the sudden contract
that deprived him of a right to rob me. Vexed by disappointment, the
scoundrel assembled his minor chiefs, and named a day during which he
knew the Termagant would be absent, to plunder and punish me for my
interference with the welfare and "institutions" of his country. The
hostile meeting took place without my knowledge, though it was
disclosed to all my domestics, whose silence the prince had purchased.
Indeed, I would have been completely surprised and cut off, _had it
not been for the friendly warning of the negro whose life I had saved
from the saucy-wood ordeal_.

I still maintained in my service five white men, and four sailors who
were wrecked on the coast and awaited a passage home. With this party
and a few household negroes on whom reliance might be placed, I
resolved at once to defend my quarters. My cannons were loaded, guards
placed, muskets and cartridges distributed, and even the domestics
supplied with weapons; yet, on the very night after the warning, every
slave abandoned my premises, while even Lunes himself,--the companion
of my journey to London, and pet of the ladies,--decamped with my
favorite fowling-piece.

When I went my rounds next morning, I was somewhat disheartened by
appearances; but my spirits were quickly restored by the following
letter from Seagram:

  "HER B. M. BRIG TERMAGANT, OFF TRADE-TOWN,
    "_23d January, 1841_.

"Sir,

"In your letter of yesterday, you request protection for your
property, and inform me that you are in danger from the princes. I
regret, indeed, that such should be the case, more especially as they
have pledged me their words, and signed a '_book_' to the effect that
they would never again engage in the slave traffic. But, _as I find
you have acted in good faith since I commenced to treat with you on
the subject_, I shall afford you every assistance in my power, and
will land an armed party of twenty men before daylight on Monday.

  "I am, Sir, your obt. servt.,
    "H. F. SEAGRAM, Lieut. Com'g."

The Termagant's unlooked-for return somewhat dismayed the prince and
his ragamuffins, though he had contrived to assemble quite two
thousand men about my premises. Towards noon, however, there were
evident signs of impatience for the expected booty; still, a wholesome
dread of my cannon and small-arms, together with the cruiser's
presence, prevented an open attack. After a while I perceived an
attempt to set my stockade on fire, and as a conflagration would have
given a superb opportunity to rob, I made the concerted signal for our
British ally. In a twinkling, three of the cruiser's boats landed an
officer with twenty-five musketeers, and before the savages could make
the slightest show of resistance, I was safe under the bayonets of
Saint George!

It is needless to set forth the details of my rescue. The prince and
his poltroons were panic struck; and in three or four days my large
stock of powder and merchandise was embarked without loss for
Monrovia.



CHAPTER LXVII.


My _barracoons_ and trading establishments were now totally destroyed,
and I was once more afloat in the world. It immediately occurred to me
that no opportunity would, perhaps, be more favorable to carry out my
original designs upon Cape Mount, and when I sounded Seagram on the
subject, he was not only willing to carry me there in his cruiser, but
desired to witness my treaty with the prince for a cession of
territory.

Our adieus to New Sestros were not very painful, and on the evening of
the same day the Termagant hove to off the bold and beautiful hills of
Cape Mount. As the breeze and sun sank together, leaving a brilliant
sky in the west, we descried from deck a couple of tall, raking masts
relieved like cobwebs against the azure. From aloft, still more of the
craft was visible, and from our lieutenant's report after a glance
through his glass, there could be no doubt that the stranger was a
slaver.

Light as was the breeze, not a moment elapsed before the cruiser's jib
was turned towards her natural enemy. For a while an ebb from the
river and the faint night wind off shore, forced us seaward, yet at
daylight we had gained so little on the chase, that she was still full
seven miles distant.

They who are familiar with naval life will appreciate the annoying
suspense on the Termagant when dawn revealed the calm sea, quiet sky,
and tempting but unapproachable prize. The well-known _pluck_ of our
British tars was fired by the alluring vision, and nothing was heard
about decks but prayers for a puff and whistling for a breeze.
Meanwhile, Seagram, the surgeon, and purser were huddled together on
the quarter, cursing a calm which deprived them of prize-money if not
of promotion. Our master's mate and passed midshipman were absent in
some of the brig's boats cruising off Gallinas or watching the
roadstead of New Sestros.

The trance continued till after breakfast, when our officers'
impatience could no longer withstand the bait, and, though short of
efficient boats, the yawl and lieutenant's gig were manned for a
hazardous enterprise. The former was crammed with six sailors, two
marines, and a supernumerary mate; while the gig, a mere fancy craft,
was packed with five seamen and four marines under Seagram himself.
Just as this flotilla shoved off, a rough boatswain begged leave to
fit out my nutshell of a native canoe; and embarking with a couple of
Kroomen, he squatted amidships, armed with a musket and cutlass!

This expedition exhausted our stock of _nautical_ men so completely,
that as Seagram crossed the gangway he commended the purser and
surgeon to _my care, and left Her Majesty's brig in charge of the
reformed slaver_!

No sooner did the chase perceive our manoeuvre, than, running in her
sweeps, she hoisted a Spanish flag and fired a warning cartridge. A
faint hurrah answered the challenge, while our argonauts kept on their
way, till, from deck, they became lost below the horizon. Presently,
however, the boom of another gun, followed by repeated discharges,
rolled through the quiet air from the Spaniard, and the look-out aloft
reported our boats in retreat. Just at this moment, a light breeze
gave headway to the Termagant, so that I was enabled to steer towards
the prize, but before I could overhaul our warriors, the enemy had
received the freshening gale, and, under every stitch of canvas, stood
rapidly to sea.

When Seagram regained his deck, he was bleeding profusely from a wound
in the head received from a handspike while attempting to board.
Besides this, two men were missing, while three had been seriously
wounded by a shot that sunk the yawl. My gallant boatswain, however,
returned unharmed, and, if I may believe the commander of the
"Serea,"--whom I encountered some time after,--this daring sailor did
more execution with his musket than all the marines put together. The
_Kroo_ canoe dashed alongside with the velocity of her class, and, as
a petty officer on the Spaniard bent over to sink the skiff with a
ponderous top-block, our boatswain cleft his skull with a musket ball,
and brought home the block as a trophy! In fact, Seagram confessed
that the Spaniard behaved magnanimously; for the moment our yawl was
sunk, Olivares cut adrift his boat, and bade the struggling swimmers
return in it to their vessel.

I have described this little affray not so much for its interest, but
because it illustrates the vicissitudes of coast-life and the rapidity
of their occurrence. Here was I, on the deck of a British man-of-war,
in charge of her manoeuvres while in chase of a Spaniard, who, for
aught I knew, might have been consigned to me for slaves! I gave my
word to Seagram as he embarked, to manage his ship, and had I attained
a position that would have enabled me to sink the "Serea," I would not
have shrunk from my duty. Yet it afforded me infinite satisfaction to
see the chase escape, for my heart smote me at taking arms against men
who had probably broken bread at my board.



CHAPTER LXVIII.


Next day we recovered our anchorage opposite Cape Mount, and wound our
way eight or ten miles up the river to the town of Toso, which was
honored with the residence of King Fana-Toro. It did not require long
to satisfy his majesty of the benefits to be derived from my plan. The
news of the destruction of Gallinas, and of the voluntary surrender of
my quarters at New Sestros, had spread like wildfire along the coast;
so that when the African princes began to understand they were no
longer to profit by unlawful traffic, they were willing enough not to
lose _all_ their ancient avails, by compromising for a _legal_
commerce, under the sanction of national flags. I explained my
projects to Fana-Toro in the fullest manner, offering him the most
liberal terms. My propositions were forcibly supported by Prince Gray;
and a cession of the Mount and its neighboring territory was finally
made, under a stipulation that the purchase-money should be paid in
presence of the negro's council, and the surrender of title witnessed
by the Termagant's officers.[8]

As soon as the contract was fully signed, sealed, and delivered,
making Mr. Redman and myself proprietors, in fee-simple, of this
beautiful region, I hastened in company with my naval friends to
explore my little principality for a suitable town-site. We launched
our boat on the waters of the noble lake Plitzogee at Toso, and after
steering north-eastwardly for two hours under the pilotage of Prince
Gray, entered a winding creek and penetrated its thickets of mangrove
and palm, till the savage landed us on decayed steps and pavement made
of _English brick_. At a short distance through the underwood, our
conductor pointed out a denuded space which had once served as the
foundation of an _English slave factory_; and when my companions
hesitated to believe the prince's dishonorable charge on their nation,
the negro confirmed it by pointing out, deeply carved in the bark of a
neighboring tree, the name of:--

    T. WILLIAMS,
    1804.

I took the liberty to compliment Seagram and the surgeon on the result
of our exploration; and, after a hearty laugh at the denouement of the
prince's search for a _lawful_ homestead, we plunged still deeper in
the forest, but returned without finding a location to my taste. Next
day we recommenced our exploration by land, and, in order to obtain a
comprehensive view of my dominion, as far as the eye would reach, I
proposed an ascent of the promontory of the Cape which lifts its head
quite twelve hundred feet above the sea. A toilsome walk of hours
brought us to the summit, but so dense was the foliage and so lofty
the magnificent trees, that, even by climbing the tallest, my scope of
vision was hardly increased. As we descended the slopes, however,
towards the strait between the sea and lake, I suddenly came upon a
rich, spacious level, flanked by a large brook of delicious water, and
deciding instantly that it was an admirable spot for intercourse with
the ocean as well as interior, I resolved that it should be the site
of my future home. A tar was at hand to climb the loftiest palm, to
strip its bushy head, and hoist the union-jack. Before sundown, I had
taken solemn territorial possession, and baptized the future town "New
Florence," in honor of my Italian birthplace.

My next effort was to procure laborers, for whom I invoked the aid of
Fana-Toro and the neighboring chiefs. During two days, forty negroes,
whom I hired for their food and a _per diem_ of twenty cents, wrought
faithfully under my direction; but the constant task of felling trees,
digging roots, and clearing ground, was so unusual for savages, that
the entire gang, with the exception of a dozen, took their pay in rum
and tobacco and quitted me. A couple of days more, devoted to such
endurance, drove off the remaining twelve, so that on the fifth day of
my philanthropic enterprise I was left in my solitary hut with a
single attendant. I had, alas! undertaken a task altogether unsuited
to people whose idea of earthly happiness and duty is divided between
palm-oil, concubinage, and sunshine!

I found it idle to remonstrate with the king about the indolence of
his subjects. Fana-Toro entertained very nearly the same opinion as
his slaves. He declared,--and perhaps very sensibly,--that white men
were fools to work from sunrise to sunset every day of their lives;
nor could he comprehend how negroes were expected to follow their
example; nay, it was not the "fashion of Africa;" and, least of all,
could his majesty conceive how a man possessed of so much merchandise
and property, would voluntarily undergo the toils I was preparing for
the future!

The king's censure and surprise were not encouraging; yet I had so
long endured the natural indolence of negrodom, that I hardly expected
either a different reply or influential support, from his majesty.
Nevertheless, I was not disheartened. I remembered the old school-boy
maxim, _non vi sed sæpe cadendo_, and determined to effect by degrees
what I could not achieve at a bound. For a while I tried the effect of
higher wages; but an increase of rum, tobacco, and coin, could not
string the nerves or cord the muscles of Africa. Four men's labor was
not equivalent to one day's work in Europe or America. The negro's
philosophy was both natural and self-evident:--_why should he work for
pay when he could live without it?_--_labor could not give him more
sunshine, palm-oil, or wives; and, as for grog and tobacco, they might
be had without the infringement of habits which had almost the
sacredness of religious institutions._

With such slender prospects of prosperity at New Florence, I left a
man in charge of my hut, and directing him to get on as well as he
could, I visited Monrovia, to look after the merchandise that had been
saved from the wreck of New Sestros.


FOOTNOTE:

[8] As the document granting this beautiful headland and valuable
trading post is of some interest, I have added a copy of the
instrument:

"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, FANA-TORO, King of Cape Mount
and its rivers, in the presence, and with the full consent and
approbation of my principal chiefs in council assembled, in
consideration of a mutual friendship existing between GEORGE CLAVERING
REDMAN, THEODORE CANOT & CO., British subjects, and myself, the
particulars whereof are under-written, do, for myself, my heirs and
successors, give and grant unto the said George Clavering Redman,
Theodore Canot & Co., their heirs and assigns in perpetuity, all land
under the name of CAPE MOUNT, extending, on the south and east sides,
to _Little Cape Mount_, and on the north-west side to _Sugarei River_,
comprised with the islands, lakes, brooks, forests, trees, waters,
mines, minerals, rights, members, and appurtenances thereto belonging
or appertaining, and all wild and tame beasts and other animals
thereon; TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said cape, rivers, islands, with both
sides of the river and other premises hereby granted unto the said G.
CLAVERING REDMAN, T. CANOT & CO., their heirs and assigns for ever,
subject to the authority and dominion of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF
GREAT BRITAIN, her heirs and successors.

"And I, also, give and grant unto the said G. C. REDMAN, T. CANOT &
CO., the sole and exclusive rights of traffic with my Nation and
People, and with all those tributary to me, and I hereby engage to
afford my assistance and protection to the said party, and to all
persons who may settle on the said cape, rivers, islands, lakes, and
both sides of the river, by their consent, wishing peace and
friendship between my nation and all persons belonging to the said
firm.

"Given under my hand and seal, at the town of FANAMA, this,
twenty-third day of February, one thousand eight hundred and
forty-one.

         his
    "KING X FANA-TORO.    (L. S.)
        mark.

           his
    "PRINCE X GRAY.       (L. S.)
          mark.

"Witnesses,
  "HY. FROWD SEAGRAM, R. N.        }
  "GEO. D. NOBLE, Clerk in Charge. } _of Her Majesty's_
  "THOS. CRAWFORD, Surgeon.        } _brig Termagant._"

I paid King Fana-Toro and his chiefs in council the following
merchandise in exchange for his territory: six casks of rum; twenty
muskets; twenty quarter-kegs powder; twenty pounds tobacco; twenty
pieces white cottons; thirty pieces blue cottons; twenty iron bars;
twenty cutlasses; twenty wash-basins; and twenty each of several other
articles of trifling value.



CHAPTER LXIX.


I might fairly be accused of ingratitude if I passed without notice
the Colony of Liberia and its capital, whose hospitable doors were
opened widely to receive an exile, when the barbarians of New Sestros
drove me from that settlement.

It is not my intention to tire the reader with an account of Liberia,
for I presume that few are unacquainted with the thriving condition of
those philanthropic lodgments, which hem the western coast of Africa
for near eight hundred miles.

In my former visits to Monrovia, I had been regarded as a dangerous
intruder, who was to be kept for ever under the vigilant eyes of
government officials. When my character as an established slaver was
clearly ascertained, the port was interdicted to my vessels, and my
appearance in the town itself prohibited. Now, however, when I came as
a fugitive from violence, and with the acknowledged relinquishment of
my ancient traffic, every hand was extended in friendship and
commiseration. The governor and council allowed the landing of my
rescued slave-goods on deposit, while the only two servants who
continued faithful were secured to me as apprentices by the court.
Scarcely more than two months ago, the people of this quiet village
were disturbed from sleep by the roll of drums beating for recruits to
march against "_the slaver Canot_;" to-day I dine with the chief of
the colony and am welcomed as a brother! This is another of those
remarkable vicissitudes that abound in this work, and which the
critics, in all likelihood, may consider too often repeated. To my
mind, however, it is only another illustration of the probability of
the odd and the strangeness of _truth_!

I had no difficulty in finding all sorts of workmen in Monrovia, for
the colonists brought with them all the mechanical ingenuity and
thrift that characterize the American people. In four months, with the
assistance of a few carpenters, sawyers and blacksmiths, I built a
charming little craft of twenty-five tons, which, in honor of my
British protector, I dubbed the "Termagant." I notice the construction
of this vessel, merely to show that the colony and its people were
long ago capable of producing every thing that may be required by a
commercial state in the tropics. When my cutter touched the water, she
was indebted to foreign countries for nothing but her copper, chains
and sails, every thing else being the product of Africa and _colonial_
labor. Had nature bestowed a better harbor on the Mesurado river, and
afforded a safer entrance for large vessels, Monrovia would now be
second only to Sierra Leone. Following the beautiful border of the
Saint Paul's, a few miles from Monrovia the eye rests on extensive
plains teeming with luxurious vegetation. The amplest proof has been
given of the soil's fertility in the production of coffee, sugar,
cotton and rice. I have frequently seen cane fourteen feet high, and
as thick as any I ever met with in the Indies. Coffee-trees grow much
larger than on this side of the Atlantic; single trees often yielding
sixteen pounds, which is about seven more than the average product in
the West Indies.[H] Throughout the entire jurisdiction between Cape
Mount and Cape Palmas, to the St. Andrew's, the soil is equally
prolific. Oranges, lemons, cocoanuts, pine-apples, mangoes, plums,
granadillas, sour and sweet sop, plantains, bananas, guyavas,
tamarinds, ginger, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, and corn, are found
in abundance; while the industry of American settlers has lately added
the bread-fruit, rose apple, patanga, cantelope, water-melon, aguacate
and mulberry. Garden culture produces every thing that may be desired
at the most luxurious table.

Much has been said of the "pestilential climate of Africa," and the
certain doom of those who venture within the spell of its miasma. I
dare not deny that the coast is scourged by dangerous maladies, and
that nearly all who take up their abode in the colonies are obliged to
undergo the ordeal of a fever which assails them with more or less
virulence, according to the health, constitution, or condition of the
patient. Yet I think, if the colonization records are read with a
candid spirit, they will satisfy unprejudiced persons that the
mortality of emigrants has diminished nearly one half, in consequence
of the sanitary care exercised by the colonial authorities during the
period of acclimation. The colonies are now amply supplied with
lodgings for new comers, where every thing demanded for comfort, cure,
or alleviation, is at hand in abundance. Colored physicians, who
studied their art in America, have acquainted themselves with the
local distempers, and proved their skill by successful practice. Nor
is there now the difficulty or expense which, twelve years ago, before
the destruction of the neighboring slave marts, made it almost
impossible to furnish convalescents with that delicate nourishment
which was needed to re-establish their vigor.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may not be amiss if I venture to hope that these colonial
experiments, which have been fostered for the civilization of Africa
as well as for the amelioration of the American negro's lot, will
continue to receive the support of all good men. Some persons assert
that the race is incapable of self-government beyond the tribal state,
and _then_ only through fear; while others allege, that no matter what
care may be bestowed on African intellect, it is unable to produce or
sustain the highest results of modern civilization. It would not be
proper for any one to speak oracularly on this mooted point; yet, in
justice to the negroes who never left their forests, as well as to
those who have imbibed, for more than a generation, the civilization
of Europe or America, I may unhesitatingly say, that the colonial
trial has thus far been highly promising. I have often been present at
difficult councils and "_palavers_" among the _wild_ tribes, when
questions arose which demanded a calm and skilful judgment, and in
almost every instance, the decision was characterized by remarkable
good sense and equity. In most of the _colonies_ the men who are
intrusted with local control, a few years since were either slaves in
America, or employed in menial tasks which it was almost hopeless they
could escape. Liberia, at present, may boast of several individuals,
who, but for their caste, might adorn society; while they who have
personally known Roberts, Lewis, Benedict, J. B. McGill, Teage, Benson
of Grand Bassa, and Dr. McGill of Cape Palmas, can bear testimony that
nature has endowed numbers of the colored race with the best qualities
of humanity.

Nevertheless, the prosperity, endurance and influence of the colonies,
are still problems. I am anxious to see the second generation of the
colonists in Africa. I wish to know what will be the force and
development of the negro mind on its native soil,--civilized, but cut
off from all instruction, influence, or association with the white
mind. I desire to understand, precisely, whether the negro's faculties
are original or imitative, and consequently, whether he can stand
alone in absolute independence, or is only respectable when reflecting
a civilization that is cast on him by others.

If the descendants of the present colonists, increased by an immense
immigration _of all classes and qualities_ during the next twenty-five
years, shall sustain the young nation with that industrial energy and
political dignity that mark its population in our day, we shall hail
the realized fact with infinite delight. We will rejoice, not only
because the emancipated negro may thenceforth possess a realm wherein
his rights shall be sacred, but because the civilization with which
the colonies must border the African continent, will, year by year,
sink deeper and deeper into the heart of the interior, till barbarism
and Islamism will fade before the light of Christianity.

But the test and trial have yet to come. The colonist of our time is
an exotic under glass,--full, as yet, of sap and stamina drawn from
his native America, but nursed with care and exhibited as the
efflorescence of modern philanthropy. Let us hope that this wholesome
guardianship will not be too soon or suddenly withdrawn by the parent
societies; but that, while the state of pupilage shall not be
continued till the immigrants and their children are emasculated by
lengthened dependence, it will be upheld until the republic shall
exhibit such signs of manhood as cannot deceive the least hopeful.


FOOTNOTE:

[H] I wish to confirm and fortify this statement in regard to the
value of coffee culture in the colonies, by the observation of Dr.
J. W. Lugenbeel, late colonial physician and United States agent in
Liberia. The Doctor gave "particular attention to observations and
investigations respecting coffee culture in Liberia." "I have
frequently seen," he says, "isolated trees growing in different parts
of Liberia, which yielded from ten to twenty pounds of clean dry
coffee at one picking; and, however incredible it may appear, it is a
fact that one tree in Monrovia yielded four and a half bushels of
coffee in the hull, at one time, which, when dried and shelled,
weighed thirty-one pounds. This is the largest quantity I ever heard
of, and the largest tree I ever saw, being upwards of twenty feet high
and of proportionate dimensions."

The Doctor is of opinion, however, that as the coffee-tree begins to
bear at the end of its fourth year, an _average_ yield at the end of
the sixth year may be calculated on of at least four pounds. Three
hundred trees may be planted on an acre, giving each twelve feet, and
in six years the culture will become profitable as well as easy.



CHAPTER LXX.


I returned to Cape Mount from the colony with several American
mechanics and a fresh assortment of merchandise for traffic with the
natives. During my absence, the agent I left in charge had contrived,
with great labor, to clear a large space in the forest for my
projected establishment, so that with the aid of my Americans, I was
soon enabled to give the finishing touch to New Florence. While the
buildings were erecting, I induced a number of natives, by force of
double pay and the authority of their chiefs, to form and cultivate a
garden, comprising the luxuries of Europe and America as well as of
the tropics, which, in after days, secured the admiration of many a
naval commander.

As soon as my dwelling was nicely completed, I removed my furniture
from the colony; and, still continuing to drum through the country for
business with the Africans, I despatched my Kroomen and pilots on
board of every cruiser that appeared in the offing, to supply them
with provisions and refreshments.

An event took place about this time which may illustrate the manner in
which a branch of the slave-trade is carried on along the coast. Her
Britannic Majesty's sloop of war L---- was in the neighborhood, and
landed three of her officers at my quarters to spend a day or two in
hunting the wild boars with which the adjacent country was stocked.
But the rain poured down in such torrents, that, instead of a hunt, I
proposed a dinner to my jovial visitors. Soon after our soup had been
despatched on the piazza, there was a rush of natives into the yard,
and I was informed that one of our Bush chiefs had brought in a noted
gambler, whom he threatened either to sell or kill.

It struck me instantly that this would be a good opportunity to give
my British friends a sight of native character, at the same time that
they might be enabled, if so disposed, to do a generous action.
Accordingly, I directed my servant to bring the Bushman and gambler
before us; and as the naked victim, with a rope round his neck, was
dragged by the savage to our table, I perceived that it was Soma, who
had formerly been in my service on the coast. The vagabond was an
excellent interpreter and connected with the king, but I had been
obliged to discharge him in consequence of his dissipated habits, and
especially for having gambled away his youngest sister, whose release
from Gallinas I had been instrumental in securing.

"I have brought Soma to your store-keeper," said the Bushman, "and I
want him to buy the varlet. Soma has been half the day gambling with
me. First of all he lost his gun, then his cap, then his cloth, then
his right leg, then his left, then his arms, and, last of all, his
head. I have given his friends a chance to redeem the dog, but as they
had bought him half a dozen times already, there's not a man in the
town that will touch him. Soma _never_ pays his debts; and now, Don
Téodore, I have brought him here, and if _you_ don't buy him, I'll
take him to the water-side and _cut his throat_!"

There,--with an imploring countenance, bare as he came into the world,
a choking cord round his throat, and with pinioned arms,--stood the
trembling gambler, as I glanced in vain from the Bushman to the
officers, in expectation of his release by those philanthropists! As
Soma spoke English, I told him in our language, that I had no pity for
his fate, and that he must take the chances he had invoked. Twenty
dollars would have saved his life, and yet the British did not melt!
"Take him off," said I sternly, to the Bushman, "and use him as you
choose!"--but at the same moment, a wink to my interpreter sufficed,
and the Bushman returned to the forest with tobacco and rum, while
Soma was saved from slaughter. It is by no means improbable that the
gambler is now playing _monte_ on some plantation in Cuba.

       *       *       *       *       *

I continued my labors at New Florence without intermission for several
months, but when I cast up my account, I found the wages and cost of
building so enormous, that my finances would soon be exhausted.
Accordingly, by the advice of my friend Seagram, as well as of Captain
Tucker, who commanded on the station, I petitioned Lord Stanley to
grant me one hundred recaptured Africans to till my grounds and learn
the rudiments of agricultural industry. Some time elapsed before an
answer was sent, but when it came, my prospects were dashed to the
earth.

  "GOVERNMENT HOUSE, SIERRA LEONE,
    "_28th October, 1843_.

"SIR:

"I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated August last,
inclosing the copy of a petition, the original of which you had
transmitted to the acting Lieutenant Governor Ferguson, for the
purpose of having it forwarded to her Majesty's Government.

"In reply, I have to acquaint you, that by the receipt of a despatch
from the Rt. Hon. Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies,
bearing date 8th April 1842, his Lordship states that he cannot
sanction a compliance with your request to have a number of liberated
Africans, as apprentices, in tilling your grounds; and further, that
he could not recognize the purchase of Cape Mount, as placing that
district under the protection and sovereignty of the British crown.

"I beg to add, that I am glad to be informed by Captain Oake that the
vessel, alluded to in your letter, which you had been unable to
despatch for want of a license, had obtained one for that purpose from
the governor of Monrovia.

  "I am, sir, your obedient servant,

    "G. MAC DONALD,
      "_Governor_.

  "_To_ MR. THEODORE CANOT."

The picture that had been painted by my imagination with so many
bright scenes and philanthropic hopes, fell as I finished this
epistle. It not only clouded my future prospects of lawful commerce,
but broke off, at once, the correspondence with my generous friend
Redman in London. As I dropped the missive on the table, I ordered the
palm-tree on which I had first unfurled the British flag to be cut
down; and next day, on a tall pole, in full view of the harbor, I
hoisted a tri-colored banner, adorned by a central star, which I
caused to be baptized, in presence of Fana-Toro, with a salvo of
twenty guns.

I am not naturally of a mischievous or revengeful temper, but I can
scarcely find language to express the mortification I experienced when
Lord Stanley thwarted my honest intentions, by his refusal to protect
the purchase whereon I had firmly resolved to be an ally and friend,
in concentrating a lawful commerce. I was especially disgusted by this
mistrust, or mistake, after the flattering assurances with which my
design had, from the first, been cherished by the British officers on
the station. I may confess that, for a moment, I almost repented the
confidence I had reposed in the British lion, and was at a loss
whether to abandon Cape Mount and return to my former traffic, or to
till the ground and play waterman to the fleet.

After proper deliberation, however, I resolved to take the plough for
my device; and before Christmas, I had already ordered from England a
large supply of agricultural implements and of every thing requisite
for elaborate husbandry. After this, I purchased forty youths to be
employed on a coffee plantation, and to drag my ploughs till I
obtained animals to replace them. In a short time I had abundance of
land cleared, and an over-seer's house erected for an old
barracoonier, who, I am grieved to say, turned out but a sorry
farmer. He had no idea of systematic labor or discipline save by the
lash, so that in a month, four of his gang were on the sick list, and
five had deserted. I replaced the Spaniard by an American colored man,
who, in turn, made too free with my people and neglected the
plantations. My own knowledge of agriculture was so limited, that
unless I fortified every enterprise by constant reference to books, I
was unable to direct my hands with skill; and, accordingly, with all
these mishaps to my commerce and tillage, I became satisfied that it
was easier to plough the ocean than the land.

Still I was not disheartened. My trade, on a large scale, with the
interior, and my agriculture had both failed; yet I resolved to try
the effect of traffic in a humble way, combined with such _mechanical_
pursuits as would be profitable on the coast. Accordingly, I divided a
gang of forty well-drilled negroes into two sections, retaining the
least intelligent on the farm, while the brighter youths were brought
to the landing. Here I laid out a ship-yard, blacksmith's shop, and
sawpit, placing at the head of each, a Monrovian colonist to instruct
my slaves. In the mean time the neighboring natives, as well as the
people some distance in the interior, were apprised by my runners of
the new factory I was forming at Cape Mount.

By the return of the dry season our establishment gave signs of
renewed vitality. Within the fences of New Florence there were already
twenty-five buildings and a population of one hundred, and nothing was
wanting but a stock of cattle, which I soon procured from the Kroo
country.

Thus, for a long time all things went on satisfactorily, not only with
the natives, but with foreign traders and cruisers, till a native war
embarrassed my enterprise, and brought me in contact with the enemies
of King Fana-Toro, of whose realm and deportment I must give some
account.



CHAPTER LXXI.


The Africans who cluster about the bold headland of Cape
Mount,--which, in fair weather, greets the mariner full thirty miles
at sea,--belong to the Vey tribe, and are in no way inferior to the
best classes of natives along the coast. Forty or fifty families
constitute "a town," the government of which is generally in the hands
of the oldest man, who administers justice by a "palaver" held in
public, wherein the seniors of the settlement are alone consulted.
These villages subject themselves voluntarily to the protectorate of
larger towns, whose chief arbitrates as sovereign without appeal in
all disputes among towns under his wardship; yet, as his judgments are
not always pleasing, the dissatisfied desert their huts, and,
emigrating to another jurisdiction, build their village anew within
its limits.

The Veys of both sexes are well-built, erect, and somewhat stately.
Their faith differs but little from that prevalent among the Soosoos
of the Rio Pongo. They believe in a superior power that may be
successfully invoked through _gree-grees_ and _fetiches_, but which is
generally obstinate or mischievous. It is their idea that the good are
rewarded after death by transformation into some favorite animal; yet
their entire creed is not subject to any definite description, for
they blend the absurdities of Mahometanism with those of paganism, and
mellow the whole by an acknowledgment of a supreme deity.

The Vey, like other _uncontaminated_ Ethiopians, is brought up in
savage neglect by his parents, crawling in perfect nakedness about the
villages, till imitation teaches him the use of raiment, which, in all
likelihood, he first of all obtains by theft. There is no difference
between the sexes during their early years. A sense of shame or
modesty seems altogether unknown or disregarded; nor is it unusual to
find ten or a dozen of both genders huddled promiscuously beneath a
roof whose walls are not more than fifteen feet square.

True to his nature, a Vey bushman rises in the morning to swallow his
rice and cassava, and crawls back to his mat which is invariably
placed in the sunshine, where he _simmers_ till noontide, when another
wife serves him with a second meal. The remainder of daylight is
passed either in gossip or a second _siesta_, till, at sundown, his
other wives wash his body, furnish a third meal, and stretch his
wearied limbs before a blazing fire to refresh for the toils of the
succeeding day. In fact, the slaves of a household, together with its
females, form the entire working class of Africa, and in order to
indoctrinate the gentler sex in its future toils and duties, there
seems to be a sort of national seminary which is known as the
Gree-gree-bush.

The Gree-gree-bush is a secluded spot or grove of considerable extent
in the forest, apart from dwellings and cultivated land though
adjacent to villages, which is considered as consecrated ground and
forbidden to the approach of men. The establishment within this
precinct consists of a few houses, with an extensive area for
exercise. It is governed chiefly by an old woman of superior skill and
knowledge, to whose charge the girls of a village are intrusted as
soon as they reach the age of ten or twelve. There are various
opinions of the use and value of this institution in the primitive
polity of Africa. By some writers it is treated as a religious
cloister for the protection of female chastity, while by others it is
regarded as a school of licentiousness. From my own examination of the
establishment, I am quite satisfied that a line drawn between these
extremes will, most probably, characterize the "bush" with accuracy,
and that what was originally a conservative seclusion, has degenerated
greatly under the lust of tropical passions.

As the procession of novices who are about to enter the grove
approaches the sanctuary, music and dancing are heard and seen on
every side. As soon as the maidens are received, they are taken by the
_gree-gree_ women to a neighboring stream, where they are washed, and
undergo an operation which is regarded as a sort of circumcision.
Anointed from head to foot with palm-oil, they are next reconducted to
their home in the gree-gree bush. Here, under strict watch, they are
maintained by their relatives or those who are in treaty for them as
wives, until they reach the age of puberty. At this epoch the
important fact is announced by the gree-gree woman to the purchaser or
future husband, who, it is expected, will soon prepare to take her
from the retreat. Whenever his _new_ house is ready for the bride's
reception, it is proclaimed by the ringing of bells and vociferous
cries during night. Next day search is made by females through the
woods, to ascertain whether intruders are lurking about, but when the
path is ascertained to be clear, the girl is forthwith borne to a
rivulet, where she is washed, anointed, and clad in her best attire.
From thence she is borne, amid singing, drumming, shouting, and
firing, in the arms of her female attendants, till her unsoiled feet
are deposited on the husband's floor.[9]

I believe this institution exists throughout a large portion of
Africa, and such is the desire to place females within the bush, that
poor parents who cannot pay the initiatory fee, raise subscriptions
among their friends to obtain the requisite slave whose gift entitles
their child to admission. Sometimes, it is said, that this _human
ticket is stolen_ to effect the desired purpose, and that no native
power can recover the lost slave when once within the sacred
precincts.

The gree-gree-bush is not only a resort of the virgin, but of the
wife, in those seasons when approaching maternity indicates need of
repose and care. In a few hours, the robust mother issues with her
new-born child, and after a plunge into the nearest brook, returns to
the domestic drudgery which I have already described.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the time of Fana-Toro, Toso was the royal residence where his
majesty played sovereign and protector over six towns and fifteen
villages. His government was generally considered patriarchal. When I
bought Cape Mount, the king numbered "seventy-seven rains," equivalent
to so many years;--he was small, wiry, meagre, erect, and proud of the
respect he universally commanded. His youth was notorious among the
tribes for intrepidity, and I found that he retained towards enemies a
bitter resentment that often led to the commission of atrocious
cruelties.

It was not long after my instalment at the Cape, that I accidentally
witnessed the ferocity of this chief. Some trifling "country affair"
caused me to visit the king; but upon landing at Toso I was told he
was abroad. The manner of my informant, however, satisfied me that the
message was untrue; and accordingly, with the usual confidence of a
"white man" in Africa, I searched his premises till I encountered him
in the "palaver-house." The large inclosure was crammed with a mob of
savages, all in perfect silence around the king, who, in an infuriate
manner, with a bloody, knife in his hand, and a foot on the dead body
of a negro, was addressing the carcass. By his side stood a pot of
hissing oil, in which the heart of his enemy was frying!

My sudden and, perhaps, improper entrance, seemed to exasperate the
infidel, who, calling me to his side, knelt on the corpse, and digging
it repeatedly with his knife, exclaimed with trembling passion, that
it was his bitterest and oldest foe's! For twenty years he had
butchered his people, sold his subjects, violated his daughters, slain
his sons, and burnt his towns;--and with each charge, the savage
enforced his assertion by a stab.

I learned that the slaughtered captive was too brave and wary to be
taken alive in open conflict. He had been kidnapped by treachery, and
as he could not be forced to walk to Toso, the king's trappers had
cooped him in a huge basket, which they bore on their shoulders to the
Cape. No sooner was the brute in his captor's presence, than he broke
a silence of three days by imprecations on Fana-Toro. In a short
space, his fate was decided in the scene I had witnessed, while his
body was immediately burnt to prevent it from taking the form of some
ferocious beast which might vex the remaining years of his royal
executioner!

This was the only instance of Fana-Toro's barbarity that came under my
notice, and in its perpetration he merely followed the example of his
ancestors in obedience to African ferocity. Yet, of his intrepidity
and nobler endurance, I will relate an anecdote which was told me by
reliable persons. Some twenty years before my arrival at the Cape,
large bands of mercenary bushmen had joined his enemies along the
beach, and after desolating his territory, sat down to beleaguer the
stockade of Toso. For many a day thirst and hunger were quietly
suffered under the resolute command of the king, but at length, when
their pangs became unendurable, and the people demanded a surrender,
Fana-Toro strode into the "palaver-house," commanding a _sortie_ with
his famished madmen. The warriors protested against the idea, for
their ammunition was exhausted. Then arose a wild shout for the king's
deposition and the election of a chief to succeed him. A candidate was
instantly found and installed; but no sooner had he been chosen, than
Fana-Toro,--daring the new prince to prove a power of _endurance_
equal to his own,--plunged his finger in a bowl of boiling oil, and
held it over the fire, without moving a muscle, till the flesh was
crisped to the bone.

It is hardly necessary to say that the sovereign was at once restored
to his rights, or that, availing himself of the fresh enthusiasm, he
rushed upon his besiegers, broke their lines, routed the mercenaries,
and compelled his rival to sue for peace. Until the day of his death,
that mutilated hand was the boast of his people.

The Vey people mark with some ceremony the extremes of human
existence--birth and death. Both events are honored with feasting,
drinking, dancing, and firing; and the descendants of the dead
sometimes impoverish, and even ruin themselves, to inter a venerable
parent with pomp.

Prince Gray, the son of Fana-Toro, whom I have already mentioned, died
during my occupation of Cape Mount. I was at Mesurado when the event
happened, but, as soon as I heard it, I resolved to unite with his
relations in the last rites to his memory. Gray was not only a good
negro and kind neighbor, but, as my fast friend in "country matters,"
his death was a personal calamity.

The breath was hardly out of the prince's body, when his sons, who
owned but little property and had no slaves for sale, hastened to my
agent, and pledged their town of Panama for means to defray his
funeral. In the mean time, the corpse, swathed in twenty large country
sheets, and wrapped in twenty pieces of variegated calico, was laid
out in a hut, where it was constantly watched and _smoked_ by three of
the favorite widows.

After two months devotion to moaning and _seasoning_, notice was sent
forty miles round the country, summoning the tribes to the final
ceremony. On the appointed day the corpse was brought from the hut, _a
perfect mass of bacon_. As the procession moved towards the
palaver-house, the prince's twenty wives--almost entirely denuded,
their heads shaved, and their bodies smeared with dust--were seen
following his remains. The eldest spouse appeared covered with
self-inflicted bruises, burns, and gashes--all indications of sorrow
and future uselessness.

The crowd reached the apartment, singing the praises of the defunct in
chorus, when the body was laid on a new mat, covered with his war
shirt, while the parched lump that indicated his head was crowned with
the remains of a fur hat. All the amulets, charms, gree-grees,
fetiches and flummery of the prince were duly bestowed at his sides.
While these arrangements were making within, his sons stood beneath
an adjoining verandah, to receive the condolences of the invited
guests, who, according to custom, made their bows and deposited a
tribute of rice, palm-oil, palm-wine, or other luxuries, to help out
the merry-making.

When I heard of the prince's death at Monrovia, I resolved not to
return without a testimonial of respect for my ally, and ordered an
enormous coffin to be prepared without delay. In due time the huge
chest was made ready, covered with blue cotton, studded with brass
nails, and adorned with all the gilded ornaments I could find in
Monrovia. Besides this splendid sarcophagus, my craft from the colony
was ballasted with four bullocks and several barrels of rum, as a
contribution to the funeral.

I had timed my arrival at Fanama, so as to reach the landing about ten
o'clock on the morning of burial; and, after a salute from my brazen
guns, I landed the bullocks, liquor, and coffin, and marched toward
the princely gates.

The unexpected appearance of the white friend of their father, lord,
and husband, was greeted by the family with a loud wail, and, as a
mark of respect, I was instantly lifted in the arms of the weeping
women, and deposited on the mat beside the corpse. Here I rested, amid
cries and lamentations, till near noon, when the bullocks were
slaughtered, and their blood offered in wash-bowls to the dead. As
soon as this was over, the shapeless mass was stowed in the coffin
without regard to position, and borne by six carriers to the beach,
where it was buried in a cluster of cotton-woods.

On our return to Fanama from the grave, the eldest son of the deceased
was instantly saluted as prince. From this moment the festivities
began, and, at sundown, the twenty widows reappeared upon the ground,
clad in their choicest raiment, their shaven skulls anointed with oil,
and their limbs loaded with every bead and bracelet they could muster.
Then began the partition of these disconsolate relicts among the royal
family. Six were selected by the new prince, who divided thirteen
among his brothers and kinsmen, but gave his mother to his
father-in-law. As soon as the allotment was over, his highness very
courteously offered me the choice of his _six_, in return for my
gifts; but as I never formed a family tie with natives, I declined the
honor, as altogether too overwhelming!


FOOTNOTE:

[9] See Maryland Colonization Journal, vol. i., n. s., p. 212.



CHAPTER LXXII.


When I was once comfortably installed at my motley establishment, and,
under the management of Colonists, had initiated the native workmen
into tolerable skill with the adze, saw, sledgehammer and forge, I
undertook to build a brig of one hundred tons. In six months, people
came from far and near to behold the mechanical marvels of Cape Mount.
Meanwhile, my plantation went on slowly, while my _garden_ became a
matter of curiosity to all the intelligent coasters and cruisers,
though I could never enlighten the natives as to the value of the
"foreign grass" which I cultivated so diligently. They admired the
symmetry of my beds, the richness of my pine-apples, the luxurious
splendor of my sugar-cane, the abundance of my coffee, and the cool
fragrance of the arbors with which I adorned the lawn; but they would
never admit the use of my exotic vegetables. In order to water my
premises, I turned the channel of a brook, surrounding the garden with
a perfect canal; and, as its sides were completely laced with an
elaborate wicker-work of willows, the aged king and crowds of his
followers came to look upon the Samsonian task as one of the wonders
of Africa. "What is it," exclaimed Fana-Toro, as he beheld the
deflected water-course, "that a white man cannot do!" After this, his
majesty inspected all my plants, and shouted again with surprise at
the toil we underwent to satisfy our appetites. The use or worth of
_flowers_, of which I had a rare and beautiful supply, he could never
divine; but his chief amazement was still devoted to our daily
expenditure of time, strength, and systematic toil, when rice and
palm-oil would grow wild while we were sleeping!

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be seen from this sketch of my domestic comforts and
employment, that New Florence prospered in every thing but _farming_
and _trade_. At first it was my hope, that two or three years of
perseverance would enable me to open a lawful traffic with the
interior; but I soon discovered that the slave-trade was alone thought
of by the natives, who only bring the neighboring produce to the
beach, when their captives are ready for a market. I came, moreover,
to the conclusion that the interior negroes about Cape Mount had no
commerce with Eastern tribes except for slaves, and consequently that
its small river will never create marts like those which have direct
communications by water with the heart of a rich region, and absorb
its gold, ivory, wax, and hides. To meet these difficulties, I
hastened the building of my vessel _as a coaster_.

About this time, an American craft called the A----, arrived in my
neighborhood. She was loaded with tobacco, calicoes, rum, and powder.
Her captain who was unskilled in coast-trade, and ignorant of Spanish,
engaged me to act as supercargo for him to Gallinas. In a very short
period I disposed of his entire investment. The trim and saucy rig of
this Yankee clipper bewitched the heart of a Spanish trader who
happened to be among the _lagunes_, and an offer was forthwith made,
through me, for her purchase. The bid was accepted at once, and the
day before Christmas fixed as the period of her delivery, after a trip
to the Gaboon.

In contracting to furnish this slaver with a craft and the necessary
apparatus for his cargo, it would be folly for me to deny that I was
dipping once more into my ancient trade; yet, on reflection, I
concluded that in covering the vessel for a moment with my name, I was
no more amenable to rebuke, than the respectable merchants of Sierra
Leone and elsewhere who passed hardly a day without selling, to
notorious slavers, such merchandise as could be used _alone_ in
slave-wars or slave-trade. It is probable that the sophism soothed my
conscience at the moment, though I could never escape the promise that
sealed my agreement with Lieutenant Seagram.

The appointed day arrived, and my smoking semaphores announced the
brigantine's approach to Sugarei, three miles from Cape Mount. The
same evening the vessel was surrendered to me by the American captain,
who landed his crew and handed over his flag and papers. As soon as I
was in charge, no delay was made to prepare for the reception of
freight; and by sunrise I resigned her to the Spaniard, who
immediately embarked seven hundred negroes, and landed them in Cuba in
twenty-seven days.

Till now the British cruisers had made Cape Mount their friendly
rendezvous, but the noise of this shipment in my neighborhood, and my
refusal to explain or converse on the subject, gave umbrage to
officers who had never failed to supply themselves from my grounds and
larder. In fact I was soon marked as an enemy of the squadron, while
our intercourse dwindled to the merest shadow. In the course of a
week, the Commander on the African station, himself, hove to off the
Cape, and summoning me on board, concluded a petulant conversation by
remarking that "a couple of men like Monsieur Canot would make work
enough in Africa for the whole British squadron!"

I answered the compliment with a profound _salaam_, and went over the
Penelope's side satisfied that my friendship was at an end with her
Majesty's cruisers.

       *       *       *       *       *

The portion of Cape Mount whereon I pitched my tent, had been so long
depopulated by the early wars against Fana-Toro, that the wild beasts
reasserted their original dominion over the territory. The forest was
full of leopards, wild cats, cavallis or wild boars, and
ourang-outangs.

Very soon after my arrival, a native youth in my employ had been
severely chastised for misconduct, and in fear of repetition, fled to
the mount after supplying himself with a basket of cassava. As his
food was sufficient for a couple of days, we thought he might linger
in the wood till the roots were exhausted, and then return to duty.
But three days elapsed without tidings from the truant. On the fourth,
a diligent search disclosed his corpse in the forest, every limb
dislocated and covered with bites apparently made by human teeth. It
was the opinion of the natives that the child had been killed by
ourang-outangs, nor can I doubt their correctness, for when I visited
the scene of the murder, the earth for a large space around, was
covered with the footprints of the beast and scattered with the skins
of its favorite esculent.

I was more annoyed, however, at first, by leopards than any other
animal. My cattle could not stray beyond the fences, nor could my
laborers venture abroad at any time without weapons. I made use of
spring-traps, pit-fall, and various expedients to purify the forest;
but such was the cunning or agility of our nimble foes that they all
escaped. The only mode by which I succeeded in freeing the _homestead_
of their ravages, was by arming the muzzle of a musket with a slice of
meat which was attached by a string to the trigger, so that the load
and the food were discharged into the leopard's mouth at the same
moment. Thus, by degrees as my settlement grew, the beasts receded
from the promontory and its adjacent grounds; and in a couple of
years, the herds were able to roam where they pleased without danger.

Cape Mount had long been deserted by elephants, but about forty miles
from my dwelling, on the upper forests of the lake, the noble animal
might still be hunted; and whenever the natives were fortunate enough
to "bag" a specimen, I was sure to be remembered in its division. If
the prize proved a male, I received the feet and trunk, but if it
turned out of the gentler gender, I was honored with the udder, as a
royal _bonne-bouche_.

[Illustration: AN ELEPHANT HUNT.]

In Africa a slaughtered elephant is considered public property by the
neighboring villagers, all of whom have a right to carve the giant
till his bones are bare. A genuine sportsman claims nothing but the
ivory and tail, the latter being universally a perquisite of the king.
Yet I frequently found that associations were made among the natives
to capture this colossal beast and his valuable tusks. Upon these
occasions, a club was formed on the basis of a whaling cruise, while a
single but well-known hunter was chosen to do execution. One man
furnished the muskets, another supplied the powder, a third gave the
iron bolts for balls, a fourth made ready the provender, while a fifth
despatched a bearer with the armament. As soon as the outfit was
completed, the huntsman's _juju_ and _fetiche_ were invoked for good
luck, and he departed under an escort of wives and associates.

An African elephant is smaller, as well as more cunning and wild, than
the Asiatic. Accordingly, the sportsman is often obliged to circumvent
his game during several days, for it is said that in populous
districts, its instincts are so keen as to afford warning of the
neighborhood of fire-arms, even at extraordinary distances. The common
and most effectual mode of enticing an elephant within reach of a
ball, is to strew the forest for several miles with _pine-apples_,
whose flavor and fragrance infallibly bewitch him. By degrees, he
tracks and nibbles the fruit from slice to slice, till, lured within
the hunter's retreat, he is despatched from the branches of a lofty
tree by repeated shots at his capacious forehead.

Sometimes it happens that four or five discharges with the wretched
powder used in Africa fail to slay the beast, who escapes from the
jungle and dies afar from the encounter. When this occurs, an
attendant is despatched for a reinforcement, and I have seen a whole
settlement go forth _en masse_ to search for the monster that will
furnish food for many a day. Sometimes the crowd is disappointed, for
the wounds have been slight and the animal is seen no more.
Occasionally, a dying elephant will linger a long time, and is only
discovered by the buzzards hovering above his body. Then it is that
the bushmen, guided by the vultures, haste to the forest, and fall
upon the putrid flesh with more avidity than birds of prey. Battles
have been fought on the carcass of an elephant, and many a slave,
captured in the conflict, has been marched from the body to the beach.



CHAPTER LXXIII.


The war, whose rupture I mentioned at the end of the seventieth
chapter, spread rapidly throughout our borders; and absorbing the
entire attention of the tribe, gave an impulse to slavery which had
been unwitnessed since my advent to the Cape. The reader may readily
appreciate the difficulty of my position in a country, hemmed in by
war which could only be terminated by slaughter or slavery. Nor could
I remain neutral in New Florence, which was situated on the same side
of the river as Toso, while the enemies of Fana-Toro were in complete
possession of the opposite bank.

When I felt that the rupture between the British and myself was not
only complete but irreparable, I had less difficulty in deciding my
policy as to the natives; and, chiefly under the impulse of
self-protection, I resolved to serve the cause of my ancient ally. I
made whatever fortifications could be easily defended in case of
attack, and, by way of show, mounted some cannon on a boat which was
paraded about the waters in a formidable way. My judgment taught me
from the outset that it was folly to think of joining actively in the
conflict; for, while I had but three white men in my quarters, and the
colonists had returned to Monrovia, my New Sestros experience taught
me the value of bondsmen's backing.

Numerous engagements and captures took place by both parties, so that
my doors were daily besieged by a crowd of wretches sent by Fana-Toro
to be purchased _for shipment_. I declined the contract with firmness
and constancy, but so importunate was the chief that I could not
resist his desire that a Spanish factor might come within my limits
with merchandise from Gallinas to purchase his prisoners. "He could do
nothing with his foes," he said, "when in his grasp, but slay or sell
them." The king's enemy, on the opposite shore, disposed of his
captives to Gallinas, and obtained supplies of powder and ball, while
Fana-Toro, who had no vent for his prisoners, would have been
destroyed without my assistance.

Matters continued in this way for nearly two years, during which the
British kept up so vigilant a blockade at Cape Mount and Gallinas,
that the slavers had rarely a chance to enter a vessel or run a cargo.
In time, the _barracoons_ became so gorged, that the slavers began to
build their own schooners. When the A---- was sold, I managed to
retain her long-boat in my service, but such was now the value of
every egg-shell on the coast, that her owner despatched a carpenter
from Gallinas, who, in a few days, decked, rigged, and equipped her
for sea. She was twenty-three feet long, four feet deep, and five feet
beam, so that, when afloat, her measurement could not have exceeded
four tons. Yet, on a dark and stormy night, she dropped down the
river, and floated out to sea through the besieging lines, with
thirty-three black boys, two sailors, and a navigator. In less than
forty days she transported the whole of her living freight across the
Atlantic to Bahia. The negroes almost perished from thirst, but the
daring example was successfully followed during the succeeding year,
by skiffs of similar dimensions.

       *       *       *       *       *

I can hardly hope that a narrative of my dull routine, while I
lingered on the coast, entirely aloof from the slave-trade, would
either interest or instruct the general reader. The checkered career
I have already exposed, has portrayed almost every phase of African
life. If I am conscious of any thing during my domicile at Cape Mount,
it is of a sincere desire to prosper by lawful and honorable thrift.
But, between the native wars, the turmoil of intruding slavers, and
the suspicions of the English, every thing went wrong. The friendship
of the colonists at Cape Palmas and Monrovia was still unabated;
appeals were made by missionaries for my influence with the tribes;
coasters called on me as usual for supplies; yet, with all these
encouragements for exertion, I must confess that my experiment was
unsuccessful.

Nor was this all. I lost my cutter, laden with stores and merchandise
for my factory. A vessel, filled with rice and lumber for my
ship-yard, was captured _on suspicion_, and, though sent across the
Atlantic for adjudication, was dismissed uncondemned. The sudden death
of a British captain from Sierra Leone, deprived me of three thousand
dollars. Fana-Toro made numerous assaults on his foes, all of which
failed; and, to cap the climax of my ills, on returning after a brief
absence, I found that a colonist, whom I had rescued from misery and
employed in my forge, had fled to the enemy, carrying with him a
number of my most useful servants.

It was about this time that circumstances obliged me to make a rapid
voyage to New York and back to Africa, where the blind goddess had
another surprise in store for me. During my absence, our ancient king
was compelled to make a treaty with his rival, who, under the name of
George Cain, dwelt formerly among the American colonists and acquired
our language. It was by treachery alone that Fana-Toro had been
dragooned into an arrangement, by which my _quondam_ blacksmith, who
married a sister of Cain, was elevated to the dignity of prince
George's _premier_!

Both these scamps, with a troop of their followers, planted themselves
on my premises near the beach, and immediately let me understand that
they were my sworn enemies. Cain could not pardon the aid I gave to
Fana-Toro in his earlier conflicts, nor would the renegade colonist
forsake his kinsman or the African barbarism, into which he had
relapsed.

By degrees, these varlets, whom I was unable, in my crippled
condition, to dislodge, obtained the ears of the British commanders,
and poured into them every falsehood that could kindle their ire. The
Spanish factory of Fana-Toro's agent was reported to be _mine_. The
shipment in the A---- and the adventure of her boat, were said to be
_mine_. Another suspected clipper was declared to be _mine_. These,
and a hundred lies of equal baseness, were adroitly purveyed to the
squadron by the outlaws, and, in less than a month, my fame was as
black as the skin of my traducers. Still, even at this distant day, I
may challenge my worst enemy on the coast to prove that I
participated, after 1839, in the purchase of a single slave for
transportation beyond the sea!

From the moment that the first dwelling was erected at New Florence, I
carefully enforced the most rigid decorum between the sexes throughout
my jurisdiction. It was the boast of our friends at Cape Palmas and
Monrovia, that my grounds were free from the debauchery, which,
elsewhere in Africa, was unhappily too common. I have had the honor to
entertain at my table at Cape Mount, not only the ordinary traders of
the coast, but commodores of French squadrons, commanders of British
and American cruisers, governors of colonies, white and colored
missionaries, as well as innumerable merchants of the first
respectability, and I have yet to meet the first of them, in any part
of the world, who can redden my cheek with a blush.

But such was not the case at the Cape after Cain and Curtis became the
pets of the cruisers, and converted the beach into a brothel.[10]

After a brief sojourn at my quarters to repair "The Chancellor," in
which I had come with a cargo from the United States, I hastened
towards Gallinas to dispose of our merchandise. We had been already
boarded by an American officer, who reported us to his superior as a
regular merchantman; yet, such were the malicious representations on
the beach against the vessel and myself, that the Dolphin tarried a
month at the anchorage to watch our proceedings. When I went to the
old mart of Don Pedro, a cruiser dogged us; when I sailed to leeward
of Cape Palmas for oil and ivory, another took charge of our
movements,--anchoring where we anchored, getting under way when we
did, and following us into every nook and corner. At Grand Buttoa, I
took "The Chancellor" within a reef of rocks, and here I was left to
proceed as I pleased, while the British cruiser returned to Cape
Mount.

The fifteenth of March, eighteen hundred and forty-seven, is scored in
my calendar with black. It was on the morning of that day that the
commander who escorted me so warily as far as Buttoa, landed a
lieutenant and sailors at New Florence, and unceremoniously proceeded
to search my premises for slaves. As none were found, the valiant
captors seized a couple of handcuffs, like those in use every where to
secure refractory seamen, and carried them on board to their
commander. Next day, several boats, with marines and sailors, led by a
British captain and lieutenant, landed about noon, and, without
notice, provocation, or even allowing my clerk to save his raiment,
set fire to my brigantine, store-houses, and dwelling.

As I was absent, I cannot vouch for every incident of this
transaction, but I have the utmost confidence in the circumstantial
narrative which my agent, Mr. Horace Smith, soon after prepared under
oath at Monrovia. The marines and Kroomen were permitted to plunder at
will. Cain and Curtis revelled in the task of philanthropic
destruction. While the sailors burnt my houses, these miscreants and
their adherents devoted themselves to the ruin of my garden, fruit
trees, plantations, and waterworks. My cattle, even, were stolen, to
be sold to the squadron; and, ere night, New Florence was a
smouldering heap!

I would gladly have turned the last leaf of this book without a
murmur, had not this wanton outrage been perpetrated, not only while I
was abroad, but without a shadow of justice. To this hour, I am
ignorant of any lawful cause, or of any thing but suspicion, that may
be alleged in palliation of the high-handed wrong. Not a line or word
was left, whereby I could trace a pretext for my ruin.

Three days after the catastrophe, my ancient ally of Toso paid the
debt of nature. In a month, his tribes awoke from their stupor with
one of those fiery spasms that are not uncommon in Africa, and,
missing their "white man" and his merchandise, rose in a mass, and,
without a word of warning, sacrificed the twin varlets of the beach
and restored their lawful prince.


FOOTNOTE:

[10] I have spoken of visits and appeals from missionaries, and will
here insert a letter of introduction which I received by the hands of
the Reverend Mr. Williams, whilst I inhabited Cape Mount. Mr. Williams
had been a former governor of Liberia, and was deputed to Cape Mount
by the Methodist Episcopal Mission, in Liberia.

"DEAR SIR:

"This will be handed you by the Rev. A. D. Williams, a minister of the
M. E. Church, with whom you are so well acquainted that I hardly need
introduce him. It is a matter of regret that I am so situated as to be
unable to accompany Mr. Williams to Cape Mount. It would have afforded
me pleasure to visit your establishment, and it might have facilitated
our mission operations, could I have done so. Allow me, however to
bespeak for Mr. Williams your attention and patronage, both of which
you have, in conversation, so kindly promised.

"Our object is to elevate the natives of Cape Mount; to establish a
school for children; to have divine service regularly performed on the
Sabbath; and thus to endeavor to introduce among the people a
knowledge of the only wise and true God and the blessings of
Christianity. Such is the immense influence you have over the Cape
Mount people, in consequence of your large territorial possessions,
that a great deal of the success of our efforts will depend on you.

"To your endeavors, then, for our prosperity, we look very anxiously.
In the course of a few months, should circumstances warrant the
expense, I intend to erect suitable buildings for divine service, and
for the occupation of the missionary and his family. In this case, we
shall have to intrude on your land for building room. I shall endeavor
to visit Cape Mount as soon as possible.

  "I remain, my dear sir,
    "Yours truly,
      "JOHN SEYS.

  "TO THEODORE CANOT, ESQ.,
    "_Cape Mount_."

It would have afforded me sincere pleasure to gratify Messrs. Williams
and Seys but, unluckily, they had chosen the worst time imaginable for
the establishment of a mission and school. The country was ravaged by
war, and the towns were depopulated. The passions of the tribes were
at their height. Still, as I had promised my co-operation, I
introduced the Rev. Mr. Williams to the king, who courteously told the
missionary all the dangers and difficulties of his position, but
promised, should the conflict speedily end, to send him notice, when a
"book-man" would be received with pleasure.

To give my reverend friend a proof of the scarcity of people _in the
towns_, I sent messages to Toso, Fanama and Sugarei, for the
inhabitants to assemble at New Florence on the next Sunday, to hear
"God's palabra," (as they call sacred instruction;) but when the
Sabbath came, the Rev. Mr. Williams held forth to my clerk, mechanics
and servants, alone!

I reported the mortifying failure to the Rev. Mr. Seys, and Mr. W.
returned to Monrovia.



THE END.



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cloth, 75 cents.

"The grace and vigor of the style, the masterly manner in which the
details of the story are managed, and its thrilling interest, render
the book one of the most absorbing that we have read for some
time."--_Newark Daily Advertiser._


V.

THE WOMEN OF ISRAEL.

Two vols. 12mo. Paper, $1; cloth, $1.50.

"By no writer have the characters of the celebrated Women of Israel
been so correctly appreciated, or eloquently delineated. Those high
attainments of piety, those graces of spirit, which have placed them
in the rank of examples for all subsequent generations, are spread
before us with a geniality of spirit and a beauty of style which will
secure the warmest admiration; at the same time their weaknesses and
errors are not overlooked or excused."--_Courier and Enquirer._


VI.

THE DAYS OF BRUCE.

A Story from Scottish History. 2 vols. 16mo. Paper, $1; cloth, $1.60

"This truly delightful work takes a higher position than that of a
novel. It is full of sound instruction, close and logical reasoning,
and is fill with practical lessons of every day character, which
renders it desirable book for the young."--_Albany Register._

       *       *       *       *       *

Dumas's last and best Book.


D. APPLETON & COMPANY,

HAVE JUST READY THE FIFTH THOUSAND OF

THE FORESTERS.

BY ALEX. DUMAS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE AUTHOR'S ORIGINAL MSS.

1 neat vol. 12mo. in paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.


CONTENTS.--To my Daughter.--The New House on the Road to
Soissons.--Mathieu Goguelue.--A Bird of Evil Omen.--Catherine
Blum.--The Parisian.--Jealousy.--Father and Mother.--The
Return.--Mademoiselle Euphrosine Raisin.--Love's Young Dream.--The
Abbé Gregoire.--Father and Son.--The Village Fête.--A Snake in the
Grass.--Temptation and Crime.--The Ranger's Home.--Apprehension.--The
Book of the Innocent.--Mathieu's Trial.


=Notices of the Press.=

"A lively story of love, jealousy, and intrigue."--_N. Y. Com.
Advertiser._

"Another proof of Dumas's unrivalled talent."--_Middletown Sentinel._

"The tale is a simple one, but exciting and interesting. The scene is
laid in Villers-Cotterêts in France. The reputation of the author is
so firmly established, that in our stating that the translation is a
faithful one, our readers who are novel readers will have heard
sufficient."--_Phila. Register._

"A capital story. The reader will find the interest increase to the
end."--_Phila. Gaz._

"The present volume fully sustains the high reputation of its author;
it shows a very high order of genius. The translation is such
perfectly good English, that we easily forget that we are not reading
the work in the language in which it was originally written."--_Albany
Argus._

"A short, but stirring romance."--_Boston Atlas._

"This work of Dumas's is an interesting one. The plot is well laid,
and the incidents hurry on, one after another, so rapidly that the
interest is kept up to the close."--_Hartford Courant._

"It is a capital story, and an unmistakable Dumas's work. To say this,
is to bestow upon it sufficient praise."--_Troy Times._

"This new story of Dumas will afford a delightful resource for a
leisure hour."--_The Bizarre._

"This very entertaining novel is indubitably one of Dumas's best
efforts; it cannot fail to become widely popular."--_N. Y. Courier._

"A pleasing, romantic love story, written with the author's usual
vigor."--_Newark Adv._

"A quiet domestic tale that must charm all readers."--_Syracuse
Daily._

"This is a lively story of love, jealously and intrigue, in a French
village."--_Phila. Daily Times._

"The fame of the author will alone secure a wide circulation for this
book. He is one of the best novel writers living. 'The Foresters'
fully sustains his great reputation."--_Troy Daily Times._

"This exceedingly entertaining novel is from the pen of one of the
most eminent and celebrated of Modern French novelists--Alexander
Dumas."--_Binghampton Republican._

"This production of the celebrated author, is written in the same
masterly style for which all his works are noted."--_Hartford Times._

"The Foresters, as a work by itself, is one of many charms. That the
book will be eagerly sought after, there can be no doubt. That every
reader will admire it is none the less certain."--_Buffalo Morning
Express._

"It will be found an interesting story."--_Arthur's Home Gazette._

"The plot is extremely pleasing, and the book must meet with a ready
and extensive sale."--_Syracuse Daily._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS._


A Choice New England Tale.


FARMINGDALE,

A TALE

BY CAROLINE THOMAS.

Two volumes, 12mo., paper covers, 75 cents, or 2 volumes in 1, cloth,
$1.

"It is a story of New England life, skilfully told, full of tender
interest, healthy in its sentiments and remarkably graphic in its
sketches of character. 'Aunt Betsy' is drawn to the life."--_Home
Gazette._

"Farmingdale is the best novel of the season."--_Eve. Post._

"It will compare favorably with the 'Lamplighter,' by Miss Cummings,
and the 'Wide, Wide World,' by Miss Warner, and in interest it is
quite equal to either."--_Boston Transcript._

"'Farmingdale,' the work to which we allude, in every page and
paragraph, is redolent of its native sky. It is a tale of New England
domestic life, in its incidents and manners so true to nature and so
free from exaggeration, and in its impulses and motives throughout so
throbbing with the real American heart, that we shall not be surprised
to hear of as many New England villages claiming to be the scene of
its story, as were the cities of Greece that claimed to be the birth
place of Homer."--_Philadelphia Courier._

"The story abounds in scenes of absorbing interest. The narration is
every where delightfully clear and straightforward, flowing forth
towards its conclusion, like a gentle and limpid stream, between
graceful hillsides and verdant meadows."--_Home Journal._

"This is a story of country life, written by a hand whose guiding
power was a living soul. The pictures of life are speaking and
effective. The story is interestingly told and its high moral aim well
sustained."--_Syracuse Chronicle._

"'Farmingdale,' while it has many points in common with some recent
works of fiction, is yet highly original. The author has had the
boldness to attempt a novel, the main interest of which does not hinge
either upon love or matrimony, nor upon complicated and entangled
machinery, but upon a simple and apparently artless narrative of a
friendless girl."--_Philadelphia Eve. Mail._

"The author studiously avoids all forced and unnatural incidents, and
the equally fashionable affectation of extravagant language. Her style
and diction are remarkable for their purity and ease. In the
conception and delineation of character she has shown herself
possessed of the true creative power."--_Com. Adv._

"A simple yet beautiful story, told in a simple and beautiful manner.
The object is to show the devoted affection of a sister to a young
brother, and the sacrifices which she made for him from childhood.
There is touching simplicity in the character of this interesting
female that will please all readers, and benefit many of her
sex."--_Hartford Courant._

"The tale is prettily written, and breathes throughout an excellent
moral tone."--_Boston Daily Journal._

"We have read this book; it is lively, spirited, and in some parts
pathetic. Its sketches of life seem to us at once graceful and
vivid."--_Albany Argus._

"The book is well written, in a simple, unpretending style, and the
dialogue is natural and easy. It is destined to great popularity among
all classes of readers. Parents who object placing 'love tales' in the
hands of their children, may purchase this volume without fear. The
oldest and the youngest will become interested in its fascinating
pages, and close it with the impression that it is a good book, and
deserving of the greatest popularity."--_Worcester Palladium._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. Appleton & Company's Publications._


Choice New English Works of Fiction.


I.

THE HEIR OF REDCLYFFE.

A TALE. 2 vols. 12mo. Paper, $1.00; cloth, $1.50.

"A novel of really high merit. The characters are most skilfully drawn
out in the course of the story. The death of Guy is one of the most
touching things we ever read. * * * The work is one of absorbing
interest, and what is still better, the moral taught in its pages is
eminently healthy and elevating. We commend the book most
cordially."--_Com. Adv._

"The whole tone and feeling of this book is good and true. The reader
does not require to be told that the author is religious; the right
principles, the high sense of duty and honor, softened by the
influence of a reverent faith, can be explained on no other
hypothesis. It is eminently a book to send the reader away from the
perusal better and wiser for the lessons hidden under its deeply
interesting narrative."--_London Guardian._

"A well written, spirited and interesting work. It is full of
character, sparkling with conversation and picturesque with paintings
of nature. The plot is well conceived and handsomely wrought out.
There is a freshness of feeling and tone of healthy sentiment about
such novels, that recommend them to public favor."--_Albany
Spectator._


II.

LIGHT AND SHADE;

OR, THE YOUNG ARTIST

A TALE. BY ANNA HARRIET DRURY, author of "Friends and Fortune,"
"Eastbury," &c. 12mo. Paper cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

"It is a beautiful and ably written story."--_Churchman._

"The story is well written, and will be read with much pleasure as
well as profit."--_Lansingburgh Gazette._

"A novel with a deep religious tone, bearing and aim--a most
attractive style."--_Springfield Republican._

"We recommend her books to the young, as among those from which they
have nothing to fear."--_New Haven Courier._

"A very well told tale, mingling the grave and gay, the tender and
severe, in fair proportions. It displays a genius and skill in the
writer of no ordinary measure."--_Trib._


III.

THE DEAN'S DAUGHTER;

Or, THE DAYS WE LIVE IN.

By Mrs. GORE. 1 vol. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

"The 'Dean's Daughter' will doubtless be one of the most successful
books of the season. It abounds in all those beauties which have
hitherto distinguished Mrs. Gore's novels. The management of the
incidents of the story is as clever, the style is as brilliant, the
satire as keen, and the conversation as flowing, as in the best of her
works."--_Daily News._

"It will be read with pleasure by thousands."--_Herald._

"Mrs. Gore is perhaps the wittiest of modern novelists. Of all the
ladies who in later times have taken in hand the weapon of satire, her
blade is certainly the most trenchant. A vapid lord or a purse-proud
citizen, a money-hunting woman of fashion or a toad-eater, a _humbug_
in short, male or female, and of whatsoever cast or quality he may be,
will find his pretensions well castigated in some one or other of her
brilliant pages; while scattered about in many places are passages and
scenes of infinite tenderness showing that our authoress is not
insensible to the gentler qualities of our nature and is mistress of
pathos in no common degree."--_Examiner._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. Appleton & Company's Publications._


"A WORK WHICH BEARS THE IMPRESS OF GENIUS."


KATHARINE ASHTON.

By the author of "Amy Herbert," "Gertrude," &c.

2 vols. 12mo. Paper covers, $1; cloth, $1.50.

=Opinions of the Press.=

We know not where we will find purer morals, or more valuable
"life-philosophy," than in the pages of Miss Sewell.--_Savannah
Georgian._

The style and character of Miss Sewell's writings are too well-known
to the reading public to need commendation. The present volume will
only add to her reputation as an authoress.--_Albany Transcript._

This novel is admirably calculated to inculcate refined moral and
religious sentiments.--_Boston Herald._

The interest of the story is well sustained throughout, and it is
altogether one of the pleasantest books of the season.--_Syracuse
Standard._

Those who have read the former works of this writer, will welcome the
appearance of this; it is equal to the best of her preceding
novels.--_Savannah Republican._

Noble, beautiful, selfish, hard, and ugly characters appear in
it, and each is so drawn as to be felt and estimated as it
deserves.--_Commonwealth._

A re-publication of a good English novel. It teaches self-control,
charity, and a true estimation of life, by the interesting history of
a young girl.--_Hartford Courant._

Katharine Ashton will enhance the reputation already attained, the
story and the moral being equally commendable.--_Buffalo Courier._

Like all its predecessors, Katharine Ashton bears the impress of
genius, consecrated to the noblest purposes, and should find a welcome
in every family circle.--_Banner of the Cross._

No one can be injured by books like this; a great many must be
benefited. Few authors have sent so many faultless writings to the
press as she has done.--_Worcester Palladium._

The _self-denial_ of the Christian life, in its application to
common scenes and circumstances, is happily illustrated in the
example of Katharine Ashton, in which there is much to admire and
imitate.--_Southern Churchman._

Her present work is an interesting tale of English country life, is
written with her usual ability, and is quite free from any offensive
parade of her own theological tenets.--_Boston Traveller._

The field in which Miss Sewell labors, seems to be exhaustless, and to
yield always a beautiful and a valuable harvest.--_Troy Daily Budget._


D. APPLETON & COMPANY

_Have recently published the following interesting works by the same
author._

THE EXPERIENCE OF LIFE. 1 vol. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

THE EARL'S DAUGHTER. 1 vol. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

GERTRUDE: a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo. Paper, 50 cts.; cloth, 75 cts.

AMY HERBERT: A Tale. 1 vol. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

LANETON PARSONAGE. 3 vols. 12mo. Paper, $1.50; cloth, $2.25.

MARGARET PERCIVAL. 2 vols. Paper, $1; cloth, $1.50.

READING FOR A MONTH. 12mo. cloth, 75 cents.

A JOURNAL KEPT DURING A SUMMER TOUR. 1 vol. cloth, $1.00.

WALTER LORIMER AND OTHER TALES. Cloth, 75 cents.

THE CHILD'S FIRST HISTORY OF ROME. 50 cents.

THE CHILD'S FIRST HISTORY OF GREECE. 63 cents.

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS._


MRS. COWDEN CLARKE'S NEW ENGLISH NOVEL.


The Iron Cousin, or Mutual Influence.

BY MARY COWDEN CLARKE,

Author of "THE GIRLHOOD OF SHAKESPEARE'S HEROINES;" the "COMPLETE
CONCORDANCE TO SHAKESPEARE," &c.

One handsomely printed volume, large 12mo. over 500 pages. Price
$1.25--cloth.

"Mrs. Clarke has given us one of the most delightful novels we have
read for many a day, and one which is destined, we doubt not, to be
much longer lived than the majority of the books of its class. Its
chief beauties are a certain freshness in the style in which the
incidents are presented to us--a healthful tone pervading it--a
completeness in most of the characters--and a truthful power in the
descriptions."--_London Times._

"We have found the volume deeply interesting--its characters are well
drawn, while its tone and sentiments are well calculated to exert a
purifying and ennobling influence upon all who read it."--_Savannah
Republican._

"The scene of the book is village life amongst the upper class, with
village episodes, which seem to have been sketched from the
life--there is a primitive simplicity and greatness of heart about
some of the characters which keep up the sympathy and interest to the
end."--_London Globe._

"The reader cannot fail of being both charmed and instructed by the book,
and of hoping that a pen so able will not lie idle."--_Pennsylvanian._

"We fearlessly recommend it as a work of more than ordinary
merit."--_Binghampton Daily Republic._

"The great moral lesson indicated by the title-page of this book runs,
as a golden thread, through every part of it, while the reader is
constantly kept in contact with the workings of an inventive and
brilliant mind."--_Albany Argus._

"We have read this fascinating story with a good deal of interest. Human
nature is well and faithfully portrayed, and we see the counterpart of
our story in character and disposition, in every village and district.
The book cannot fail of popular reception."--_Albany and Rochester
Courier._

"A work of deep and powerful influence."--_Herald._

"Mrs. Cowden Clarke, with the delicacy and artistic taste of refine
womanhood, has in this work shown great versatility of talent."

"The story is too deeply interesting to allow the reader to lay it
down till he has read it to the end."

"The work is skilful in plan, graphic in style, diversified in
incident and true to nature."

"The tale is charmingly imagined. The incidents never exceed
probability but seem perfectly natural. In the style there is much
quaintness, in the sentiment much tenderness."

"It is a spirited, charming story, full of adventure, friendship and
love, with characters nicely drawn and carefully discriminated. The
clear style and spirit with which the story is presented and the
characters developed, will attract a large constituency to the
perusal."

"Mrs. Cowden Clarke's story has one of the highest qualities of
fiction--it is no flickering shadow, but seems of real growth. It is
full of lively truth, and show nice perception of the early elements
of character with which we become acquainted in its wholeness, and in
the ripeness of years. The incident is well woven; the color is
blood-warm; and there is the presence of a sweet grace and gentle
power."

       *       *       *       *       *

WORKS BY MISS SEWELL,

PUBLISHED BY D. APPLETON & COMPANY.


I.

_THE EXPERIENCE OF LIFE: A TALE._

One vol. 12mo. Paper cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents. (_Just ready._)


II.

_A JOURNAL KEPT DURING A SUMMER TOUR_

FOR THE CHILDREN OF A VILLAGE SCHOOL

Three parts in one vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.

"A very simple and sweetly written work. There is the same natural and
graceful detail that mark Miss Sewell's novels. It will find a great
many admirers among the young people, who will be almost as happy as the
fair traveller in wandering over the ground on which she has looked with
a discriminating eye, and received, and communicated suggestions which,
from her enlarged sphere of observation, can hardly fail to enlarge the
heart as well as to enrich the intellect."--_Commercial Advertiser._


III.

_THE EARL'S DAUGHTER: A TALE._

Edited by the Rev. WM. SEWELL, B. A. One vol. 12mo. Paper cover, 50
cents; cloth, 75 cents.


IV.

_MARGARET PERCIVAL: A TALE._

Edited by the Rev. WM. SEWELL, B. A. Two vols. 12mo. Paper cover, $1;
cloth, $1.50.


V.

_GERTRUDE: A TALE._

Edited by the Rev. WM. SEWELL, B. A. 12mo. Cloth, 75 cents; paper
cover, 50 cents.


VI.

_AMY HERBERT: A TALE._

Edited by the Rev. WM. SEWELL, B. A. One vol. 12mo. Cloth, 75 cents;
paper cover, 50 cents.


VII.

_LANETON PARSONAGE: A TALE._

Edited by the Rev. WM. SEWELL, B. A. Three vols. 12mo. Cloth, $2.25;
paper cover, $1.50.


VIII.

_WALTER LORIMER, AND OTHER TALES._

12mo. Cloth, 75 cents.


IX.

_THE CHILD'S FIRST HISTORY OF ROME._

One vol. 16mo. 50 cents.


X.

_THE CHILD'S FIRST HISTORY OF GREECE._

One vol. 16mo.

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS._


A BOOK FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN FAMILY.


The Hearth-Stone;

THOUGHTS UPON HOME LIFE IN OUR CITIES

BY

SAMUEL OSGOOD,

Author of "Studies in Christian Biography," "God with Men," etc.

1 vol. 12mo. cloth. Price $1.


CRITICISMS OF THE PRESS.

"This is a volume of eloquent and impressive essays on the domestic
relations and the religious duties of the household. Mr. Osgood writes
on those interesting themes in the most charming and animated style,
winning the reader's judgment rather than coercing it to the author's
conclusions. The predominant sentiments in the book are purity,
sincerity, and love. A more delightful volume has rarely been
published, and we trust it will have a wide circulation, for its
influence must be salutary upon both old and young."--_Commercial
Advertiser._

"The 'Hearth-Stone' is the symbol of all those delightful truths which
Mr. Osgood here connects with it. In a free and graceful style,
varying form deep solemnity to the most genial and lively tone, as
befits his range of subjects, he gives attention to wise thoughts on
holy things, and homely truths. His volume will find many warm hearts
to which it will address itself."--_Christian Examiner._

"The author of his volume passes through a large circle of subjects,
all of them connected with domestic life as it exists in large towns.
The ties of relationship--the female character as developed in the
true province and empire of woman, domestic life, the education of
children, and the training them to habits of reverence--the treatment
of those of our households whose lot in life is humbler than ours--the
cultivation of a contented mind--the habitual practice of
devotion--these and various kindred topics furnish ample matter for
touching reflections and wholesome counsels. The spirit of the book is
fervently religious, and though no special pains are taken to avoid
topics on which religious men differ, it 'breathes a kindly spirit
above the reach of sect or party.' The author is now numbered among
the popular preachers of the metropolis, and those who have listened
to his spoken, will not be disappointed with his written,
eloquence."--_Evening Post._

"A household book, treating of the domestic relations, the deportment,
affections, and duties which belong to the well ordered Christian
family. Manly advice and good sense are exhibited in an earnest and
affectionate tone, and not without tenderness and truthful sentiment;
while withal a Christian view is taken of the serious responsibility
which attends the performance of the duties of husband and wife,
parent and child, sister and brother. We are particularly pleased with
the real practical wisdom, combined with the knowledge of human
nature, which renders this volume deserving of careful study by those
who desire to make their homes happy."--_New York Churchman._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. Appleton & Company's Publications._


JULIA KAVANAGH'S WORKS.


I.

DAISY BURNS.

12mo. Two parts. Paper Cover, 75 cents; or in 1 Vol. cloth, $1.

"The clear conception, the forcible delineation, the style, at once
elegant and powerful, of Miss Kavanagh's former works, are exhibited
in this, as well as deep thought and sound moral reflection. Every
thing presented to the reader, whether thought or image, is elaborated
with the finish of a Flemish painting without its grossness; the
persons are nicely conceived and consistently sustained, and the
principal narrative is relieved by very truthful pictures of every day
life and character."--_London Spectator._

"A very delightful tale. * * * The charm of the story is in its
naturalness. It is perfectly quiet, domestic, and truthful. In the
calm force and homely realities of its scenes it reminds us of Miss
Austen."--_Times._

"All her books are written with talent and a woman's true
feeling."--_U. S. Gazette._

"It is full of deep feeling, tenderness, pure feminine sentiment and
moral truth."--_Albany Knickerbocker._


II.

NATHALIE.

Two Parts. 12mo. Paper Covers, 75 cents; cloth, $1.

"A work of extraordinary merit, with a far deeper design than merely
to arouse, it attempts to solve some of the subtle problems of human
nature. Some of the wisest lessons in life are taught in the work,
while the artistic skill with which the narrative is managed imparts a
vivid interest. The author might be, with a stronger infusion of the
poetic element, another Joanna Baillie; and no one will read the work
without a high estimate of her dramatic powers and her deep
insight."--_Evangelist._


III.

MADELEINE.

One Volume. 12mo. Paper Covers, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

"A charming story, gracefully told. Its intrinsic interest as a
narrative, and the tenderness of its pathos will win for it many
readers."--_Boston Traveller._

"The character of Madeleine, the heroine, is beautifully drawn and
powerfully portrayed. Miss Kavanagh is most known by her excellent
novel of 'Nathalie.' This book possesses no less interest, though of a
very different kind."--_Courier and Enq._


IV.

WOMEN OF CHRISTIANITY.

One Volume. 12mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

"The design and spirit of this volume are alike admirable. Miss
Kavanagh divides her work into four periods; the first relates the
deeds of holy women under the Roman empire; the second tells us of the
fruits of faith in the middle ages; the third is devoted to the women
of the seventeenth century; and the fourth to those of the eighteenth
and present centuries. We have read many of these records of other
days, as told by Miss Kavanagh, and we are sure that the influence
upon every Christian-minded person cannot but be for good, if he will
meditate upon what our holy religion is every day doing. The volume is
well worthy a place in every Christian family."--_Ban. of the Cross._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS._


THE GREAT KENTUCKY NOVEL.


D. APPLETON & COMPANY

HAVE JUST PUBLISHED

Tempest and Sunshine; or, Life in Kentucky.

BY MRS. MARY J. HOLMES.

One Volume, 12mo. Paper covers, 75 cents; cloth, $1.

These are the most striking and original sketches of American
character in the South-western States which have ever been published.
The character of Tempest is drawn with all that spirit and energy
which characterize the high toned female spirit of the South, while
Sunshine possesses the loveliness and gentleness of the sweetest of
her sex. The Planter is sketched to the life, and in his strongly
marked, passionate, and generous nature, the reader will recognize one
of the truest sons of the south-west.


=OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.=

"The book is well written, and its fame will be more than
ephemeral."--_Buffalo Express._

"The story is interesting and finely developed."--_Daily Times._

"A lively romance of western life--the style of the writer is smart,
intelligent, and winning, and her story is told with spirit and
skill."--_U. S. Gazette._

"An excellent work, and its sale must be extensive."--_Stamford
Advocate._

"The whole is relieved by a generous introduction of incident as well
as by an amplitude of love and mystery."--_Express._

"A delightful, well written book, portraying western life to the
letter. The book abounds in an easy humor, with touching sentences of
tenderness and pathos scattered through it, and from first to last
keeps up a humane interest that very many authors strive in vain to
achieve. 'Tempest' and 'Sunshine,' two sisters, are an exemplification
of the good that to some comes by nature, and to others is found only
through trials, temptation, and tribulation. Mr. Middleton, the father
of 'Tempest' and 'Sunshine' is the very soul and spirit of 'Old
Kaintuck,' abridged into one man. The book is worth reading. There is
a healthy tone of morality pervading it that will make it a suitable
work to be placed in the hands of our daughters and sisters."--_New
York Day Book._

       *       *       *       *       *

_D. APPLETON & COMPANY'S PUBLICATIONS._


The Great Work on Russia.

Fifth Edition now ready.


RUSSIA AS IT IS.

BY COUNT A. DE GUROWSKI.

One neat volume 12mo., pp. 328, well printed. Price $1, cloth.

CONTENTS.--Preface.--Introduction.--Czarism: its historical
origin.--The Czar Nicholas.--The Organization of the Government.--The
Army and Navy.--The Nobility.--The Clergy.--The Bourgeoisie.--The
Cossacks.--The Real People, the Peasantry.--The Rights of
Aliens and Strangers.--The Commoner.--Emancipation.--Manifest
Destiny.--Appendix.--The Amazons.--The Fourteen Classes of the
Russian Public Service; or, the Tschins.--The Political Testament
of Peter the Great.--Extract from an Old Chronicle.


=Notices of the Press.=

"The author takes no superficial, empirical view of his subject, but
collecting a rich variety of facts, brings the lights of a profound
philosophy to their explanation. His work, indeed, neglects no
essential detail--it is minute and accurate in its statistics--it
abounds in lively pictures of society, manners and character. * * *
Whoever wishes to obtain an accurate notion of the internal condition
of Russia, the nature and extent of her resources, and the practical
influence of her institutions, will here find better materials for his
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Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographic errors (mismatched quotes, omitted or transposed
characters, etc.) have been corrected without note. Hyphenation,
capitalisation and spelling of proper names, and use of accents has
been made consistent without note. One exception is Canot's forename,
which appears as Téodor, Téodore and Theodore throughout the text.
This has been left as printed, as has the author's use of some archaic
and variable spellings.

Incorrect page number references in the table of contents were amended
as follows: 119 to 118; 127 to 126; 215 to 214; 394 to 349.

The footnotes in the original book are sometimes numbered, sometimes
lettered. This convention has been retained in this version.

The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.

The use of oe ligatures has not been retained in this version.





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