Page images
PDF
EPUB

faithful fellow had orders to return, after deli- proached him, the echo of the place doubled vering it, and on procuring what intelligence he the hollow sound of his feet.—“Who is there?” could of the family, to wait his master, at a little cried the stranger, turning at the noise, and half inn, about five miles distant from Sir Thomas unsheathing a hanger which he wore at his side. Sindall's. The first part of his business the “A friend,” replied Harry, bowing, “ who takes reader has seen him accomplish ; as to the rest, the liberty of begging a seat by your fire.”he was only able to learn something, confused- “ Your manner," said the other, - belies your ly, of the Baronet's attachment to Miss Lucy. garb; but whoever you are, you are welcome He expected to have seen that young lady again to what shelter this roof can afford, and what on the day following that of their first inter- warmth my fire can give. We are, for the time, view ; but her attention had been so much oc- joint lords of the mansion, for my title is no cupied by the discoveries related in the two last other than the inclemency of the night. It is chapters, and contriving the means of avoiding such a one as makes even this gloomy shelter the danger with which she was threatened, that enviable; and that broken piece of mattock, and her promise to the bearer of Mr Bolton's letter this flint, are precious, because they lighted some had escaped her memory. He set out, there- bits of dry straw, to kindle the flame that warms fore, for the place of appointment on the even- us. By the moss-grown altar, and the frequent ing of that day, and reached it but a very short figures of the cross, I suppose these are the retime before his master arrived.

mains of some chapel devoted to ancient vene- Bolton, having learned what particulars Jerry ration. Sit down on this stone, if you please, could inform him of, desired him to return in sir, and our offering shall be a thankful heart the morning to his work in Sir Thomas's gar- over some humble fare which my knapsack conden, and remain there till he should receive far- tains.” As he spoke, he pulled out a loaf of ther orders; then, leaving his horses and servants coarse bread, a piece of cheese, and a bottle of for fear of discovery, he set out on foot, in the ale. Bolton expressed his thanks for the ingarb of a peasant, which Jerry had found means vitation, and partook of the repast. “I fear, to procure him.

sir,” said his companion, “you will sup poorly; As he had passed several years of his life at but I have known what it is to want even a Bilswood, he trusted implicitly to his own know- crust of bread.—You look at me with surprise; ledge of the way; but soon after his leaving the but, though I am poor, I am honest."-" Parinn the moon was totally darkened, and it rained don me," answered Harry, “ I entertain no suswith such violence, accompanied with incessant picion ; there is something that speaks for you peals of thunder, that, in the confusion of the in this bosom, and answers for your worth. It scene, he missed his path, and had wandered may be in my power to prevent, for the future, a great way over the adjacent common before those hardships, which, I fear, you have formerhe discovered his mistake. When he endea- ly endured.” The soldier held forth the bit of voured to regain the road, he found himself bread which he was putting to his mouth. “He, entangled in a very thick brake of furze, which to whom this fare is luxury, can scarcely be dehappened to lie on that side whence he had pendent; yet my gratitude to you, sir, is equally turned ; and, after several fruitless efforts to due ;- if I have felt misfortune, I have deserved make his way through it, he was obliged to de- it." —He sighed, and Harry answered him with sist from the attempt, and tread back the steps a sigh." I see a sort of question in your face, he had made, till he returned to the open part sir; and I know not why it is, there are some of the heath. Here he stood, uncertain what faces I cannot easily resist. If my story outcourse to take ; when he observed at a distance lasts the storm, it will take from the irksomethe twinkling of a light, which immediately de- ness of its duration.” termined him. On advancing somewhat nearer, he found a little winding track that seemed to point towards the place; and after following · CHAP. XVIII. it some time, he could discern an object which he took for the house to which it led.

The Stranger relates the History of his Life. The lightning, which now flashed around him, discovered on each hand the earth raised “It is now upwards of twenty years since I left into mounds that seemed graves of the dead, my native country. You are too young, sir, to and here and there a bone lay mouldering on have gained much knowledge of mankind; let the walk he trod. A few paces farther, through me warn you, from sad experience, to beware a narrow Gothic door, gleamed a light, which of those passions which at your age I was unfaintly illuminated a length of vault within. able to resist, and which, in the commerce of To this Bolton approached, not without some the world, will find abundant occasion to overdegree of fear; when he perceived at the farther come incautious and inexperienced youth. Start end a person, in a military uniform, sitting by not when I tell you, that you see before you one, a fire he had made of some withered brushwhom the laws of his country had doomed to wood piled up against the wall. As Harry ap- expiate his crimes by death, though, from the mercy of his prince, that judgment was miti- tisfaction by fighting me. But this, from the opigated into a term of transportation, some time nion conceived of my strength and ferocity, he ago elapsed. This punishment I incurred from did not chuse to accept ; on which I gave himn so the commission of a robbery, to which some severe a drubbing, that he was unable to mount particular circumstances, joined to the poverty guard in his turn, and the surgeon reported that consequent on dissipation and extravagance, had his life was in danger. For this offence I was tempted me.

tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to re“ The master to whom my service was ad- ceive five hundred lashes as a punishment. judged in the West Indies, happened to die soon. When their sentence was communicated to me, after my arrival there. I got my freedom, there. I petitioned that it might be changed into death; fore, though it was but to change it for a ser- but my request was refused. That very day, vice as severe as my former: I was enlisted in therefore, I received one hundred lashes, (for the a regiment then stationed in the island, and, sentence was to be executed at different periods,) being considered as a felon, unworthy of any and next morning was to suffer as many more. mild treatment, was constantly exposed to every The remainder, however, I resolved, if possible, hardship which the strictest duty, or the most to escape by an act of suicide. This I was only continual exposure to the dangers of the cli- prevented from putting in execution by the mate, could inflict. Had I revealed my story, want of opportunity; as I had been stripped of and taken advantage of that distinction which every the smallest weapon of offence, and was my birth and education would have made be- bound with ropes to one of the posts of my bed. tween the other convicts and me, it is probable I contrived, nevertheless, about midnight, to I might have prevented most of the evils both reach the fire-place with my feet, and having of my former and present situation ; but I set drawn out thence a live ember, disposed it imout, from the first, with a fixed determination, mediately under the most combustible part of of suffering every part of my punishment, which the bed. It had very soon the effect I desired; the law allots to the meanest and most un- the room was set on fire, and I regained my friended. All the severities, therefore, which liberty, by the ropes, with which I was tied, were now imposed upon me, I bore without being burnt. At that moment the desire of life repining; and, from an excellent natural con- was rekindled by the possibility of escaping; stitution, was not only able to overcome them, the flames bursting out fiercely at one side of but they served to render me still more patient the house where I lay, the attention of the sol. of fatigue, and less susceptible of impression diers, whom the fire had awaked, was princifrom the vicissitudes of the weather; and from pally turned to that quarter, and I had an ope à sullen disregard of life, with which the re- portunity of stealing off unperceived at the opmembrance of better days inspired me, my soul posite side. We were then in a sort of wooden became as fearless as my body robust. These huts which had been built for our accommodaqualities made me be taken notice of by some tion on the outside of one of our frontier forts; of the officers in the regiment, and afterwards, so that, when I had run two or three hundred when it was ordered to America, and went on yards, I found myself in the shelter of a wood, some Indian expeditions, were still more ser- pretty secure from pursuit; but, as there it was viceable, and more attractive of observation. impossible for me long to subsist, and I had to By these means I began to obliterate the dis- chance of escaping detection if I ventured to grace which my situation at enlisting had fixed approach the habitations of any of my countryupon me; and, if still regarded as a ruffian, I men, I had formed the resolution of endeavourwas at least acknowledged to be a useful one. ing to join the Indians, whose scouting parties Not long after, on occasion of a piece of service I I had frequently seen at a small distance from performed for an officer on an advanced guard, our out-posts. I held therefore in a direction that was attacked by a party of hostile Indians, which I judged the most probable for falling in I was promoted to a halberd. The stigma, howwith them, and a very little after day-break disever, of my transportation was not yet entirely covered a party, seated after the manner of their forgotten, and by some it was the better re- country, in a ring, with the ashes of their newly. membered, because of my present advancement. extinguished fire in the middle. I advanced One of those, with whom I had never been on good slowly to the place, which I had almost reached terms, was particularly offended at being com- before I was perceived. When they discovered manded, as he termed it, by a jail-bird ; and me, they leaped up on their feet, and, seizing one day, when I was on guard, had drawn on their arms, screamed out the war-whoop, toaları the back of my coat, the picture of a gallows, the different small parties who had passed the on which was hung a figure in caricature, with night in resting-places near them. One of them, the initials of my name written over it. This presenting his piece, took aim at me; but I fell was an affront too gross to be tamely put up on my knees, shewed them my defenceless state, with ; having sought out the man, who did not and held out my hands, as if imploring their deny the charge, I challenged him to give me sae mercy and protection. Upon this, one of the

oldest among them made a sign to the rest, and mained, they sung in their rude, yet forcible advancing towards me, asked me in broken manner, the glory of their former victories, and French, mixed with his own language, of which the pleasure they had received from the death too I understood something, what was my in- of their foes; concluding always with the hopes tention, and whence I came? I answered as dis- of revenge from the surviving warriors of their tinctly as I could to these interrogatories ; and nation. Nor was it only for the pleasure of the shewing the sores on my back, which I gave reflection that they caroled thus the triumphs him to understand had been inflicted at the fort, of the past ; for I could observe, that, when at made protestations, both by imperfect language any time the rage of their tormentors seemed and significant gestures, of my friendship to his to subside, they poured forth those boastful countrymen, and hatred to my own. After strains in order to rekindle their fury, that inholding a moment's conversation with the rest, tenseness of pain might not be wanting in the he took my hand, and, leading me a little for- trial of their fortitude. I perceived the old man ward, placed me in the midst of the party. Some whom I have before mentioned, keep his eye of them examined me attentively, and, upon fixed upon me during the solemnity; and fresome farther discourse together, brought the quently, when an extreme degree of torture baggage, with which two prisoners, lately made was borne with that calmness which I have defrom some adverse tribe, had been loaded, and scribed, he would point, with an expressive laid it upon me. This burden, which to any look, to him on whom it was inflicted, as if he man would have been oppressively heavy, you had desired me to take particular notice of his may believe, was much more intolerable to me, resolution. I did not then fully comprehend whose flesh was yet raw from the lashes I had the meaning of this, but I afterwards underreceived ; but as I knew that fortitude was an stood it to have been a preparatory hint of what indispensable virtue with the Indians, I bore I myself was to endure; for the next morning, it without wincing, and we proceeded on the after the last surviving prisoner had expired, I route which the party I had joined were des- was seized by three or four Indians, who striptined to pursue. During the course of our first ped me of what little clothes I had then left, day's march, they often looked stedfastly in my tied me in a horizontal posture between the face, to discover if I shewed any signs of un- branches of two large trees they had fixed in easiness. When they saw that I did not, they the ground, and, after the whole tribe had lightened my load by degrees, and at last, the danced round me to the music of a barbarous senior chief, who had first taken notice of me, howl, they began to re-act upon me nearly the freed me from it altogether, and, at the same same scene they had been engaged in the day time, chewing some herbs he found in the wood, before. After each of a certain select number applied them to my sores, which in a few days had stuck his knife into my body, though they were almost entirely healed. I was then en carefully avoided any mortal wound, they rubtrusted with a tomahawk, and shortly after with bed it over, bleeding as it was, with gun-pow. a gun, to the dexterous use of both which wea- der, the salts of which gave me the most exquipons I was frequently exercised by the young site pain. Nor did the ingenuity of these pracmen of our party, during the remainder of our tised tormentors stop here; they afterwards laid expedition. It lasted some months, in which quantities of dry gun-powder on different parts time I had also become tolerably acquainted of my body, and set fire to them, by which I with their language. At the end of this excur- was burnt in some places to the bone.—But I sion, in which they warred on some other In- see you shudder at the horrid recital ; suffice dian nations, they returned to their own coun- it then to say, that these, and some other such try, and were received with all the barbarous experiments of wanton cruelty, I bore with that demonstrations of joy peculiar to that people. patience, with which nothing but a life of hardIn a day or two after their arrival, their prison- ship, and a certain obduracy of spirit, proceeders were brought forth into a large plain, where ing from a contempt of existence, could have the kindred of those who had been slain by the endowed me. nations to which the captives belonged, assem- “ After this trial was over, I was loosed from bled to see them. Each singled out his expia. my bonds, and set in the midst of a circle, who tory prisoner, and, having taken him home to shouted the cry of victory; and my aged friend his hut, such as chose that kind of satisfaction brought me a bowl of water, mixed with some adopted them in place of the relations they had spirits, to drink. He took me then home to his lost; with the rest they returned to their forehut, and laid applications of different simples mer place of meeting, and began to celebrate the to my mangled body. When I was so well refestival of their revenge. You can hardly con- covered as to be able to walk abroad, he called ceive a species of inventive cruelty, which they together certain elders of his tribe, and acknowdid not inflict on the wretches whom fortune ledging me for his son, gave me a name, and had thus put into their power ; during the fastened round my neck a belt of wampum. It course of which, not a groan escaped from the is thus,' said he, 'that the valiant are tried, sufferers; but while the use of their voices re- and thus are they rewarded ; for how shouldst thou be as one of us, if thy soul were as the I did not fly in battle, and in age, the tribes soul of little men? He only is worthy to lift the listened while I spake. If I live in another hatchet with the Cherokees, to whom shame is land after death, I shall remember these things more intolerable than the stab of the knife, or with pleasure ; if the present is our only life, the burning of the fire.'

to have done thus is to have used it well. You have sometimes told me of your countrymen's

account of a land of souls; but you were a CHAP. XIX.

young man when you came among us, and the

cunning among them may have deceived you ; A continuation of the Stranger's Story. for the children of the French king call them

selves after the same God that the English do; “ In this society I lived till about a year and yet their discourses concerning him cannot be a half ago ; and it may seem extraordinary to true, because they are opposite one to another. declare, yet it is certainly true, that, during the Each says, that God shall burn the others with life of the old man who had adopted me, even fire ; which could not happen if both were his had there been no legal restraint on my return children. Besides, neither of them act as the to my native country, scarce any inducement sons of Truth, but as the sons of Deceit; they could have tempted me to leave the nation to say their God heareth all things, yet do they which he belonged, except perhaps the desire break the promises which they have called upon of revisiting a parent, and a sister, whom I had him to hear; but we know that the spirit withleft in England sunk beneath that ignominy, in us listeneth, and what we have said in its which the son and the brother had drawn on hearing, that we do. If in another country the his guiltless connections. When we consider soul liveth, this witness shall live with it; whom the perfect freedom subsisting in this rude and it hath here reproached, it shall there disquiet; simple state of society, where rule is only ac- whom it hath here honoured, it shall there reknowledged for the purpose of immediate utili- ward. Live, therefore, my son, as your father ty to those who obey, and ceases whenever that hath lived ; and die as he dieth, fearless of purpose of subordination is accomplished; where death. greatness cannot use oppression, nor wealth ex- “With such sentiments the old man resigned cite envy; where the desires are native to the his breath; and I blushed for the life of Chrisheart, and the languor of satiety is unknown; tians, while I heard them. where, if there is no refined sensation of de- “I was now become an independent member light, there is also no ideal source of calamity; of the community; and my behaviour had been we shall the less wonder at the inhabitants feel- such, that I succeeded to the condition of my ing no regret for the want of those delicate father, with the respect of a people amongst pleasures of which a more polished people is whom honour is attainable only by merit. But possessed. Certain it is, that I am far from his death had dissolved that tie which gratibeing a single instance of one, who had even tude, and indeed affection for the old man, had attained maturity in Europe, and yet found his on my heart; and the scene of his death namind so accommodated, by the habit of a few turally awakened in me the remembrance of a years, to Indian manners, as to leave that coun- father in England, whose age might now be try with regret. The death of my parent by helpless, and call for the aid of a long-lost son adoption loosened, indeed, my attachment to it; to solace and support it. This idea, once roused, that event happened a short time before my de- became every day more powerful, and at last I parture from America.

resolved to communicate it to the tribe, and tell “ The composure with which the old man them my purpose of returning home. met his dissolution, would have done honour to “They heard me without surprise or emothe firmest philosopher of antiquity. When he tion; as indeed it is their great characteristic found himself near his end, he called me to not to be easily awakened to either. "You rehim, to deliver some final instructions respect turn,' said one of the elders, 'to a people who ing my carriage to his countrymen; he obser- sell affection to their brethren for money ; take ved, at the close of his discourse, that I retain- therefore with you some of the commodities ed so much of the European, as to shed some which their traders value. Strength, agility, and tears while he delivered it.-- In those tears, fortitude, are sufficient to us; but with them said he, “ there is no wisdom, for there is no they are of little use; and he who possesses use; I have heard that, in your country, men wealth having no need of virtue, among the prepare for death, by thinking on it while they wealthy it will not be found. The last your live; this also is folly, because it loses the good, father taught you, and amongst us you have by anticipating the evil: we do otherwise, my practised; the first he had not to leave, noř son, as our fathers have better instructed us, have we to bestow ; but take as many beaverand take from the evil by reflecting on the skins as you can carry on your journey, that it good. I have lived a thousand moons, without may reach that parent whom, you tell us, you captivity, and without disgrace; in my youth go to cherish.'

" I returned thanks to the old man for his that to an offer of purchasing my beaver-skins. counsel, and to the whole tribe for their kind- These things, I was informed by my courteousenness; and having, according to his advice, ta- tertainer, had fallen so much in their price of late, ken a few of the furs they offered me, I re- that the traders could hardly defray their joursumed the tattered remains of the European ney in procuring them; that himself had lost dress which I had on when I escaped from the by some late bargains in that way; but that, to fort, and took the nearest road to one of our oblige a stranger, the singularity of whose advenback-settlements, which I reached, without any tures had interested him in his behalf, he would accident, by the assistance of an Indian, who give me the highest price at which he had heard had long shewn a particular attachment to me, of their being sold for a long time past. This I and who now attended me on my way. "Yon- accepted without hesitation, as I had neither lander smoke,' said my conductor, ' rises from the guage nor inclination for haggling ; and having dwellings of your countrymen. You now re- procured as much money by the bargain as, I turn to a world which I have heard you describe imagined, would more than carry me to a seaas full of calamity ; but the soul you possess is port, I proceeded on my journey, accompanied by the soul of a man; remember, that to fortitude an inhabitant of Williamsburg, who was returnthere is no sting in adversity, and in death no evil ed from an annual visit to a settlement on the to the valiant.

back-frontiers, which he had purchased in part“When he left me, I stood for some minutes, nership with another, who constantly resided looking back, on one hand, to the wilds I had upon it. He seemed to be naturally of an inpassed, and on the other, to the scenes of cul- quisitive disposition ; and having learned from tivation which European industry had formed; my former landlord, that I had lived several and it may surprise you to hear, that though years with the Indians, tormented me all the there wanted not some rekindling attachment while our journey lasted, with interrogatories to a people amongst whom my first breath had concerning their country and manners. But as been drawn, and my youth spent, yet my ima- he was less opinionative of his own knowledge gination drew, on this side, fraud, hypocrisy, in the matter than my last English acquaintand sordid baseness ; while on that seemed to ance, I was the more easily prevailed on to sapreside honesty, truth, and savage nobleness of tisfy his curiosity, though at the expence of a soul.

greater number of words than I could conve“When I appeared at the door of one of the niently spare ; and, at last, he made himself houses in the settlement that was nearest me, entirely master of my story, from the time of I was immediately accosted by its master, who, my leaving the regiment in which I had served, judging from the bundle of furs which I car- down to the day on which I delivered my reried, that I had been trading among the In- cital. When I mentioned my having sold my beadians, asked me, with much kindness, to take ver-skins for a certain sum, he started aside, and up my lodging with him. Of this offer I was then lifting up his eyes in an ejaculatory manvery glad to accept, though I found a scarcity ner, expressed his astonishment how a Christian of words to thank my countryman for his fa- could be guilty of such monstrous dishonesty, vour; as, from want of use, my remembrance which, he said, was no better than one would of the English language had been so much ef- have expected in a Savage ; for that my skins faced, as not only to repress fluency, but even were worth at least three times the money. I to prevent an ordinary command of expression; smiled at his notions of comparative morality, and I was more especially at a loss for ceremo- and bore the intelligence with a calmness that . nious phraseology, that department of language seemed to move his admiration. He thanked being unknown in the country whence I was God that all were not so ready to take advanjust returned. My landlord was not a little tage of ignorance or misfortune; and, cordially astonished, when I could at last make shift to grasping my hand, begged me to make his house inform him of my having passed so many years at Williamsburg my own, till such time as I among the Indians. He asked a thousand ques- could procure my passage to England.” tions about customs which never existed, and told me of a multitude of things, of which all the time I had lived in that country, I had

CHAP. XX. never dreamed the possibility. Indeed, from the superiority of his expression, joined to that Conclusion of the Stranger's Story fund of supposed knowledge which it served to communicate, a bystander would have been led “Pursuant to this friendly invitation, I acto imagine, that he was describing, to some ig- companied him to his house on our arrival in norant guest, a country with whose manners he that place. For some days my landlord behad been long conversant, and among whose in- haved to me in the most friendly manner, and habitants he had passed the greatest part of his furnished me, of his own accord, with linen life. At length, however, his discourse centered and wearing apparel ; several articles of which, upon the fur-trade, and naturally glided from though necessaries in the polished society of

« PreviousContinue »