Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

the third son of an eminent citizen, who had taken particular care to instil into his mind an early love of gain, by making him a perfect master of numbers, and consequently giving him a quick view of loss and advantage, and preventing the natural impulses of his passion, by prepossession towards his interests. With a mind thus turned, young Inkle had a person every way agreeable, a ruddy vigour in his countenance, strength in his limbs, with ringlets of fair hair loosely flowing on his shoulders. It happened, in the course of the voyage, that the Achilles, in some distress, put into a creek on the main of America, in search of provisions. The youth, who is the hero of my story, among others went on shore on this occasion. From their first landing they were observed by a party of Indians, who hid themselves in the woods for that purpose. The English unadvisedly marched a great distance from the shore into the country, and were intercepted by the natives, who slew the greatest number of them. Our adventurer escaped, among others, by flying into a forest. Upon his coming into a remote and pathless part of the wood, he threw himself, tired and breathless, on a little billock, when an Indian maid rushed from a thicket behind him. After the first surprise they appeared mutually agreeable to each other. If the European was highly charmed with the limbs, features, and wild graces of the naked American ; the American was no less taken with the dress, complexion, and shape of an European, covered from head to foot. The Indian grew immediately enamoured of him, and consequently solicitous for his preservation. She therefore conveyed him to a cave, where she give him a delicious repast of fruits, and led him to a stream to slake his thirst. In the midst of these good offices, she would sometimes play with his hair, and delight in the opposition of its colour to that of her fingers : then open his bosom, then laugh at him for covering it. She was, it seems, a person of distinction, for she every day came to him in a different dress, of the most beautiful shells, bugles, and beads. She likewise brought him a great many spoils, which her other lovers had presented to her, so that his cave was richly adorned with all the spotted skins of beasts, and most pretty-coloured feathers of fowls, which that world afforded. To make his confinement more tolerable, she would carry him in the dusk of the evening, or by the favour of moonlight, to unfrequented groves and solitudes, and shew him where to lie down in safety, and sleep amidst the falls of waters and melody of nightingales. Her part was to watch and hold ħim awake in her arms, for fear of her countrymen, and wake him on occasions to consult his safety. In this manner did the lovers pass away their time, till they had learned a language of their own, in which the voyager communicated to his mistress, how happy he should be to have her in his country, where she should be clothed in such silks as his waistcoat was made of, and be carried in houses drawn by horses, without being exposed to wind or weather. All this he promised her the enjoyment of, without such fears and alarms as they were there tormented with. In this tender correspondence these lovers lived for several months, when Yarico, instructed by her lover, discovered a vessel on the coast, to which she made signals; and in the night, with the utmost joy and satisfaction, accompanied him to a ship's crew of his countrymen bound for Barbadoes. When a vessel from the main arrives in that island, it seems the planters come down to the shore, where there is an immediate market of the Indians and other slaves, as with us of horses and oxen.

««. To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, dow coming into English territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of time, and to weigh with himself how many days interest of his money he had lost during his stay with Yarico. This thought made the young man pensive, and careful what account he should be able to give his friends of his voyage. Upon which consideration, the prudent and frugal young man sold Yarico to a Barbadian merchant; notwithstanding that the poor girl to incline him to commiserate her condition, told him that she was with child by him : but he only made use of that information, to rise in his demands upon the purchaser."

I was so touched with this story (which I think should be always a counterpart to the Ephesian Matron) that I left the room with tears in my eyes, which a woman of Arietta's good sense did, I am sure, take for greater applause than any compliments I could make her.-R.

[ocr errors]

No 12. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 1710-11.

-Veteres avias tibi de pulmone revello.

PERS. Sat. v. 92. I root th' old woman from thy trembling heart. At my coming to London, it was some time before I could settle myself in a house to my liking. I was forced to quit my first lodgings, by reason of an officious landlady, that would be asking me every morning how I had slept. I then fell into an honest family, and lived very happily for above a week ; when my landlord, who was a jolly good-natured man, took it into his head that I wanted company, and therefore would frequently come into my chamber, to keep me from being alone. This I bore for two or three days; but telling me one day that he was afraid I was melancholy, I thought it was high time for me to be gone, and accordingly took new lodgings that very night. About a week after, I found my jolly landlord, who, as I said before, was an honest hearty man, had put me into an advertisement in the Daily Courant, in the following words: • Whereas a melancholy man left his lodgings on Thursday last in the afternoon, and was afterward seen going towards Islington : if any one can give notice of him to R. B. fishmonger in the Strand, he shall be very well rewarded for his pains.' As I am the best man in the world to keep my own counsel, and my landlord the fishmonger not knowing my name, this accident of my life was never discovered to this very day.

I am now settled with a widow woman, who has a great many children, and complies with my humour in every thing. I do not remember that we have exchanged a word together these five years; my coffee comes into

every morning without asking for it; if I want fire I point to my chimney, if water to my bason ; upon which my landlady nods, as much as to say, she takes my meaning, and immediately obeys my signals. She has likewise modelled her family so well, that when her little boy offers to pull me by the coat, or prattle in my face, his eldest sister immediately calls him off, and bids him not to disturb the gentleman. At my first entering into the family, I was troubled with the civility of their rising up to me every time I came into the room; but my landlady observing that upon these occasions I always cried Pish, and went out again, has forbidden any such ceremony to be used in the house; so that at present I walk into the kitchen or parlour, without being taken notice of, or

my chamber

face,

as

behind my

giving any interruption to the business or discourse of the family. The maid will ask her mistress (though I am by) whether the gentleman is ready to go to dinner, as the mistress (who is indeed an excellent housewife) scolds at the servants as heartily before my

back. In short, I move up and down the house, and enter into all companies with the same liberty as a cat, or any other domestic animal, and am as little suspected of telling any thing that I hear or see.

I remember last winter there were several young girls of the neighbourhood sitting about the fire with my landlady's daughters, and telling stories of spirits and apparitions. Upon my opening the door the

young women broke off their discourse, but my landlady's daughters telling them that it was nobody but the gentleman (for that is the name which I go by in the neighbourhood, as well as in the family), they went on without minding me. I seated myself by the candle that stood on a table at one end of the room; and pretending to read a book that I took out of my pocket, heard several dreadful stories of ghosts, as pale as ashes, that had stood at the feet of a bed, or walked over a church-yard by moonlight; and of others that had been conjured into the Red-sea, for disturbing people's rest, and drawing their curtains at midnight, with many other old women's fables of the like nature.

As one spi. rit raised another, I observed that at the end of every story the whole company closed their ranks, and crowded about the fire. I took notice in particular of a little boy, who was so attentive to every story, that I am mistaken if he ventures to go to bed by himself this twelvemonth. Indeed they talked so long, that the imaginations of the whole assembly were manifestly crazed, and, I am sure, will be the worse for it as long as they live. I heard one of the

« PředchozíPokračovat »