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had the pleasure of presenting me with a cup of its refreshing beverage.
Thursday, 7th.-We arose with the dawn; and, while I commenced my operations in the hold, to get up planks and boards, and some long-squared pieces of timber, purposely made for house-building at Honduras, my active helpmate went on shore to attend to our poultry; and, while feeding them, she was delighted with meeting the other two missing ducks, and their broods, near the spring-head; one had brought out nine, the other eight; so that of the four broods we mustered thirty-seven young ones. As the remaining six old ducks were still marching about, we began to suspect they were all drakes; and this suspicion was strengthened by observing a considerable difference in the appearance of their heads, contrasted with that of those now on duty over their broods. These Muscovy ducks are altogether clumsy creatures; far inferior in point of form or plumage to those of England: the drake having little to distinguish him beyond an exuberance of red fleshy excrescences about his head.
After our own breakfast, I set to grinding corn; and found the mill do so well, that we looked to it as a fruitful resource for our own use, in case we should be necessitated, by the spoiling of our flour through time, to eat Indian corn thus prepared in its stead; but we hoped that day was a long way off, for the Americans press their flour so hard into their casks, that air or damp cannot penetrate them. In the afternoon we walked over to the cocoa-nut grove, where I employed myself hoeing
for an hour; and saw, with satisfaction, every thing in a flourishing condition. We finished our evening on the platform of our palace, as usual, and retired early to our vessel.
I will now pass through the rest of the month, by observing cursorily, that I worked for four hours in the morning of every week-day, getting forward the materials for building our residence on the open space beyond the silk cotton tree; and I also contrived to find time to make a secure place with planks and fragments of the rock, covered in at the top, under the larboard bow of the brig, for a bathing-place; which proved a source of great comfort and delight to us both. Nor did I neglect to dress the ground at one or other of the plantations, every evening. My dear wife the while attended to the stock, and other domestic matters: always happy when the Sunday came round, being ever to us a Sabbath day.
Monday, April 8th. During the preceding month I had conveyed all the materials to the spot for our new residence. But many of the melons and pumpkins required gathering; the corn was ripening apace; and the yams and coccos would soon be fit to dig; so that labour of a different kind called on me to suspend further operations towards raising our plantation-house. I, however, set about erecting a temporary shed near the great tree, to shelter the various produce of our grounds, as I might be able to get them in. This operation brought round another week; and on the Sabbath we blessed and praised God, and I rested from my labour.
MONDAY, 15th April.-While my dear wife and I were enjoying our breakfast under the wide shadow of our arbour tree, we were struck dumb by the sudden appearance of a large canoe, between us and the opposite island. To arms was the first impulse: I put my pistols, which were lying near us, into my belt; and after looking at each other for a few moments with astonishment, I said, " Fear nothing, my beloved wife! They may be nothing more than a few harmless Indians, driven hither by some accident. I will wave to them to land.' "Then," replied she, "may our God be with us, as we mean them kindly!" I took her pike, and tied a white napkin, that lay in the basket, to it, as a flag; and with it she and I ran to the highest part of the open ground, where we held it up, waving it, the more to attract their attention. In a few minutes the people discovered us, for they were little more than half a mile distant from the shore. They immediately turned the canoe's head towards our flag, and soon began to hail us; but we could not understand them: our only answer, therefore, was still waving our signal. My dear wife, however, bethought herself of running back to the cotton
tree, whence she brought a fine melon, and held it up in her hand, while I continued to flourish my staff of invitation. They were now lying on their paddles, about a cable's length off, apparently in consultation. At sight of the melon they spoke to us again, and we heard the word "amigos," or something very like it. The Latin I had learned at school made me catch at it. "Amicus!" thought I," that will do ;" and I hollowed out "amigos!" as loudly as I could, imitating their pronunciation of the word, and again waving the flag. On this they began to paddle in earnest towards us; but we kept our commanding position, walking along the high ground as we approached the water, until we should see them more distinctly. As they drew near the shore, we discovered two men, two women, and a girl in the canoe, all negroes. I now perceived we had nothing to fear; so I made signs to the men to row a little to the northward, that they might land clear of the rocks. Meanwhile we proceeded forward, with our dear little dog by our side, to meet them. We descended to the beach, just as the canoe touched the shore. The people did not jump on land instantly, but stood, or sat, surveying us attentively. At length the elder of the men stepped out, and stooping before me, embraced my knees. I raised him up, while my wife, with the look of an angel, gave him the melon; and I, to show him I had no misgivings, took a clasp-knife from my pocket, and putting it into his hand unopened, made signs to him to cut the melon, and divide it among his party. It was a water-melon, and in their situation, parching with thirst, as we
She answered, with The men hesitated to
not suppose that my
afterwards learned, nothing could be more grateful or acceptable. He returned into the canoe, and, opening the knife, cut the melon into slices, and presented it to his companions. As they eat of it, they looked much pleased; and, on our beckoning, they all came out of the canoe, drawing it up a little after them on the shore, and sat down upon the beach, the elder man giving me back my knife. After they had finished with the melon, I made signs to the two men to rise and go with me, at the same time saying to my wife," Will you be afraid to stay with the women?" firmness, "Certainly not." Certainly not." leave the women, as they did dear partner was other than a caballero, till one of the women suddenly seemed to recognize her sex; and then speaking to the men to that purpose, as I supposed, they readily went with me. I took them to the silk cotton tree, where our morning's provisions lay, which had scarcely been tasted when we discovered the canoe. I put the salt beef and biscuit, and other things, into the basket, giving it to one of the men to carry, and to the other the canteen with water. I then returned with them back to the beach: as we drew near, my companions laughed, and shouted to their women, who answered by clapping their hands, accompanied by some vociferous expressions indicative of joy. I caused them to move a little higher up, where I spread the provisions before them, of which they all ate, drinking the water at times with much eagerness, while my Eliza and myself walked about at a little distance. During all this affair, Fidele never barked,