Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

in all her dumb dependants. Towards noon I returned to the cave, to portion our peccary for store and immediate use. For this, I cut it into quarters, and put the two hinder ones into a bucket, with plenty of salt, on which I laid stones for a weight. I then reserved some pieces to make broth for our wounded little hero; and building up a suitable fire, with a large flat fragment of rock placed before, like a screen; when this stone was well heated, I laid down a fore-quarter of the peccary to roast, setting a brown dish under it; so that the meat had the fire in front, and the hot stone behind; and I basted it occasionally with some of our Irish butter. All this was completed without much trouble, or great exposure to heat from the fire, and none from the sun, for the place was still in shade, even at noon. About two o'clock I took it up, with a roasted yam, and some of the broth, to the plank house, and set it on the table, which my attentive helpmate had prepared for the expected dinner. When she saw it, she gently said, "I wish I did not know that this was part of the peccary; I really do not like to eat it; yet I owe it to you, my kind Edward, to your fatigue and trouble about it, to banish every other feeling than the desire of pleasing you: I will therefore dine on it with you, and I hope cheerfully." I thanked her for her sensible and gracious determination; and she smilingly received a plate of the broth from my hand, and gave it to Fidele, who seemed to mightily approve the mess. The roast looked very well, but did not taste quite as agreeable: however, by the aid of a little lime-juice and capsicum, we contrived to make

mur.

a dinner. Eliza, true to her resigned spirit, did not complain of its being unpleasant; but I did; and proposed the lime and capsicum as she had conquered her moral objection to it, the physical repugnance was to her too insignificant for a murAbout an hour after our repast, as my dear Eliza had been confined all day with our wounded friend, I volunteered to remain with him, while she should take a little walk, by way of exercise, to the thicket and the spring. She obeyed my wish with pleasure, carrying with her some bruised corn for the three hens hatching their broods, and also for the four sitting ducks; the two lately missed having been discovered near the spring-head, sitting on eggs in snug nests amongst the rocks. While she was absent, my little charge showed himself very sensible to my condolence and attentions; and I felt the happiness I was bestowing, even on a dumb creature, reflected graciously in my own breast.

My dear wife bent her steps first to the spring. On her return to visit the thicket, she saluted me by kissing her hand as she passed the plank house. She did not tarry long on her errand there, soon coming back to me again, and with a brisk step approaching the platform, (where I had now placed myself with our little dog,) she told me she had fed the poultry; but having taken a peep into the cave, found there, fluttering on the floor, two young full-feathered pigeons, which, in attempting to fly out through the aperture, must have dropped, probably in a first trial. She held them tenderly in her hands, and showed them to me with a pitying kind of pleasure. "Now, my dear Edward," said

she, "we can keep these, and tame them without hurting them!"—" Certainly;" replied I, "to keep them, we have only to cut one of their wings; and if we set them down in the cave, and throw a little bruised corn, then the old ones will feed them there so we may even get more, if we choose." "Oh, no!" she replied; "I wish to tame these near ourselves; but if the old ones would come to them, when with us, we should treat them well; and by so doing, we, perhaps, might tame some of them also."-" Well, dearest," I rejoined, "we will do even as you propose." I now took her scissars, and cut the long feathers of one wing in each pigeon; and, for the present, deposited her new pets in the old basket, now vacated by Fidele. During tea the goats came gamboling before our door; but the now nursing ducks did not choose to leave their cool spring; and for the gallant but solitary cock, he now seldom appeared beyond the thicket avenue, patiently waiting the forthcoming of his young progeny. When evening drew on, I placed the basket with the young pigeons in the cave, scattering plenty of bruised corn around; and then, returning to the plank house, took Fidele in my arms, and made our escape on board before the sand-flies began to

buzz.

Friday, 15th.-Our dear little dog was on foot in the cabin as soon as we arose, and seemed quite himself again; which induced me to take off the bandage placed around his neck: finding the long slit well united, I drew out the pin, and the thread-twisting fell to the ground. I bathed

[blocks in formation]

the part again with spirits, and his mistress put on a clean neck-cloth: we could not but smile at the fine bow she tied on one side of his face: although he appeared almost ready to run, I thought it best to carry him on shore. On landing, she visited her pigeons in the cave, while I remained with Fidele in the plank house. When she returned, she told me, that when she went in she found a great many pigeons pecking on the floor, and that one of them was in the basket, feeding the young ones, which had both their bills in her mouth. She was quite pleased with the sight, and I with the details of it. We now agreed on the policy of placing the basket in the avenue, at wider and wider distances, gradually from the mouth of the cave, with corn scattered round, until at last we should lure the old ones to follow it, and feed at our door. That point settled, I walked down to the rocks before breakfast, to hoe a little round the plants for half an hour, and was delighted to see many pumpkins and melons larger than an egg. Having nothing else to do, I brought home a load of fire-wood, which I had cut some days before. On my return, I found my dear wife had boiled the kettle, and roasted the last of our plantains for breakfast; of which wholesome vegetable we this morning took our leave with some regret; for they were an excellent substitute for bread. During the forenoon I employed myself on board, in getting several articles for our daily consumption from the hold, for it was there all the ship's stores of salt provisions, flour, &c., were kept. On my return I went into the cave, and found, notwith

standing the comparative coolness of the place, that the other fore-quarter of the peccary was no longer fit for the use of our table. I therefore carried it down to the crayfish tank, and threw it in; but I did not observe any of them approach it. I then baited one of the hooks at the conservatory, where I soon drew up a mullet; meaning it for our dinner. I showed the fish to my dear wife, telling her I had been obliged to throw the quarter of the peccary away; but did not say I had given it to the crayfish, lest she might not like to eat of them in consequence. The salted hind quarters I had found in very good order. Fidele now partook of our present usual fare; for the stiffness of his jaws, from his neckwound, having passed away, he sat up, begging for some fish, which he eat with a sharp appetite.

In the afternoon I proposed to row to the plantation: we accordingly accoutred ourselves; and I carried Fidele to the punt. The little voyage was pleasant; and we soon found ourselves in the midst of our plantation. Every thing was flourishing: the Indian corn was several inches above ground, high enough for the hoe; and the sugar-canes had grown another foot: so that I found plenty of employment until the evening. My dear wife, with Fidele at her foot, stood near me while at work, and we both surveyed with pleasure and thankfulness the promising reward of my labour.

We returned with improved spirits from this part of our island domain; and my Eliza, like a kind parent welcoming her young brood, began immediately feeding the armadillo liberally with

« ForrigeFortsæt »