Abbildungen der Seite

could not perceive me by any means. Here I observed, by the help of my telescope, that they were no less than thirty in number, that they had a fire kindled, and that they had meat dressed. How they had cooked it, I knew 5 not, or what it was; but they were all dancing round the fire.

While I was thus looking on them, I perceived by my glass two miserable wretches dragged from the boats. One of them immediately fell, being knocked down, I suppose, 10 with a club or wooden sword, for that was their way, and two or three others were at work immediately, cutting him open for their cookery, while the other victim was left standing by himself, till they should be ready for him. In that very moment, this poor wretch, seeing 15 himself a little at liberty, started away from them, and ran swiftly along the sands directly towards me, I mean towards the part of the coast where my habitation was.

I was dreadfully frightened (that I must acknowledge) when I saw him run my way, and especially when, as I 20 thought, I saw him pursued by the whole body. However, I kept my station, and my spirits began to recover when I found that there were not more than three men that followed him. And still more was I encouraged when I found that he outstripped them in running, and 25 gained ground on them, so that if he could but hold it for half an hour, I saw easily he would get away from them all.

There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned in the first part of my story, when I landed my cargoes out of the ship; and I saw plainly he must necessarily swim over, or the poor wretch would be taken there. But when the savage escaping came thither, 5 he made nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but plunging in, swam through in about thirty strokes or thereabouts, landed, and ran on with great strength and swiftness. When the three persons came to the creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the third could 10 not, and that, standing on the other side, he looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon after went quietly back, which, as it happened, was very well for him.

I observed that the two who swam were more than twice as long swimming over the creek as the fellow was 15 that fled from them. It came now very warmly upon my thoughts, that now was my time to get me a servant, and perhaps a companion or assistant, and that I was called plainly by Providence to save this poor creature's life. I immediately, with all possible haste, fetched my two guns, 20 and getting up again to the very top of the hill, put myself in the way between the pursuers and the pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled, who, looking back, was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them. But I beckoned with my hand to him to come back; and, 25 in the meantime, I slowly advanced toward the two that followed; then rushing at once upon the foremost, I

knocked him down with the stock of my gun. Having knocked this fellow down, the other who pursued with him stopped, as if he had been frightened, and I advanced towards him; but as I came nearer, I perceived presently 5 he had a bow and arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at me; so I was then forced to shoot him first, which I did, and killed him at the first shot.

The poor savage who fled, though he saw both his enemies fallen and killed, as he thought, yet was so 10 frightened with the fire and noise that he stood stock-still. I hallooed again to him, and made signs for him to come forward, which he easily understood, and came a little way, then stopped again, and then a little farther, and stopped again; and I could then perceive that he stood trembling, 15 as if he had been taken prisoner, and had just been taken to be killed, as his two enemies were. I beckoned him again to come to me, and gave him all the signs of encouragement that I could think of; and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every ten or twelve steps, as if 20 thanking me for saving his life. I smiled at him, and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him to come still nearer. At length he came close to me, and then he kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot 25 upon his head. This, it seems, was to show that he would be my slave forever. I lifted him up, and encouraged him all I could. But there was more work to do yet; for I

[ocr errors]

perceived the savage whom I knocked down was not killed, but stunned with the blow, and began to come to himself; so I pointed to him. Upon this my savage spoke some words to me; and though I could not understand them, yet I thought they were pleasant to hear; for 6

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors]

they were the first sound of man's voice that I had heard, except my own, for above twenty-five years. But there was no time for such thoughts now. The savage who was knocked down recovered himself so far as to sit up on the ground, and I perceived that my savage began to be 10 afraid; but when I saw that, I raised my other gun at the

man, as if I would shoot him. Upon this my savage made a motion to me to lend him my sword, which hung naked in a belt by my side; so I did. He no sooner had it than he ran to his enemy, and, at one blow, cut off his head. 5 This I thought very strange for one who, I had reason to believe, never saw a sword in his life before, except their own wooden swords. However, it seems, as I learned afterwards, they make their wooden swords so sharp, so heavy, and the wood is so hard, that they will cut off 10 heads even with them, ay, and arms, and that at one blow too. When he had done this, he came laughing to me in sign of triumph, and brought me the sword again, and with many gestures, which I did not understand, laid it down, with the head of the savage that he had killed, just 15 before me.

But that which astonished him most was to know how I had killed the other Indian so far off. Pointing to him, he made signs to me to let him go to him; so I bade him go, as well as I could. When he came to him, he stood 20 like one amazed, looking at him, turned him first on one side, then on the other, looked at the wound the bullet had made, which, it seems, was just in his breast. Then he took up his bow and arrows, and came back; so I turned to go away, and beckoned to him to follow me, making 25 signs to him that more might come after them.

Upon this he signed to me that he should bury them with sand that they might not be seen by the rest if they

« ZurückWeiter »