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situation did not exactly answer to any island, or islands, laid down in the chart I had found in the captain's chest. Indeed it had been made sufficiently evident to us, that these islands were extremely dangerous of approach on all sides to a very great distance seaward; so that mariners, being perhaps aware of the prodigious number of rocks and shoals which lay in this direction, might always give them, if possible, a wide berth; and, accordingly, it might as yet be an unappropriated place.
Friday, 17th.-Diego put the two women in requisition to-day, to assist him in the field; while Xavier began the erection of a storehouse for provisions, at a little distance from the south-west end of our dwelling-house. This storehouse cost our carpenter a great deal of labour; for it was regularly built with boards, and shingled over; so that he had not completed it before Tuesday, the 11th of February, by which time the plantation-work was also nearly completed, although on a much more extended scale than formerly; for not only all the good ground between the mansion and woodland region had been cultivated, but the fertile plots between the spring and rock also.
There yet remained much of the former harvest in store. Our fowls and ducks had multiplied, and our young goats had kidded three amongst them. The wild bananas, put in near the spring, had attained their full growth. The sugar-canes and pines had thrown out many offsets, which had been transplanted; and both the one and the other were approaching maturity. Diego had made cigars from his tobacco during the rains, of which from
time to time he brought me an offering. And the bad weather gave occasion also to a new species of domestic industry-the platting of narrow strips of the cabbage-palm leaf into a continued extension, called sinnetto, which the women sewed together in form, making of it a hat, somewhat rude in shape, but light in texture; holding out an earnest of something better on a future day. In short, peace, harmony, plenty, and promise, surrounded our dwelling; and it only remained to keep alive in our hearts a daily and habitual thankfulness to the Giver of all things. During this period, my dear wife and myself, with Mira and Fidele, took many a happy walk; but passed the heat of the day generally within our new palace, enjoying the few books we had the good fortune to bring out with us.
WEDNESDAY, 12th February. While at breakfast I heard distinctly the firing of cannon, and hastened with my Eliza, and all the group at my heels, to the summit of the promontory. We saw a brig and a schooner in the offing, the former firing at the latter, which seemed much embarrassed by the shoals and reefs, in her endeavour to escape the enemy. I could discern Spanish colours flying at the brig's peak; but the schooner did not show any. I immediately hoisted our ensign; and in a few minutes the schooner showed English colours at her fore topmast head, at the same time shaping her course for the promontory. The brig followed her, firing a bow gun every now and then. I did not hesitate, but leaving my wife and the women near our ensign, hastened with the men back to the house, and taking down the muskets and the pikes, and ship's trumpet, got out a bundle of ball cartridges; and throwing some provisions that were at hand into a basket, and making one of my companions fill the canteen with water, we returned to the height with as much speed as possible. By the time we reached the summit, we saw the schooner entering the passage between the promontory and opposite island. I instantly loaded one of the muskets; and at that moment the brig, which was not above half a mile
astern of her, fired another shot. I immediately returned it; and was delighted to see the brig heave to. I then hailed the schooner to luff round the headland, and anchor about two cables' length off the house, in the bay. To this they answered "Aye! Aye!" The brig again bore up for the passage; I instantly fired another shot, and then another; but he still kept his course. I then thought a volley might be more impressive - if three muskets fired together may be so called! - for the business had become exceedingly serious; and the poor negroes were almost frightened to death, at the sight of the Spanish flag so near to them. I therefore loaded the three muskets with haste; and advancing close to the brink of the promontory, we gave him the contents upon his deck; the effect of which I do not know, further than that he immediately hauled his wind, and stood out to sea for five or six miles, and then hove to again.
On observing this, I requested my dear wife to remain by the flag-staff, with the women, until I should send for her, or return to her. She readily acquiesced; and I added my desire, that she should give me notice, if she saw the brig standing in again. I now hastened to the shore with the men; and embarking in the canoe, rowed out to the schooner, which had anchored off the woodland region. I jumped on board, with my pistols in my belt, and was heartily greeted by the captain and his crew. "If it had not been for your men on the height," said he, "we should have been taken by yon guarda costa; but they gave him a dose, I guess, and he is off. What island is this?" continued he; " I did
not know that our nation had a garrison on any of these places."—"I am happy to see you here in safety, friend," I replied; "but have you neither cannon, nor musketry ?"—" None," answered he. "Then I hope" said I, "that we shall see the guarda costa no more; for you see all my garrison before you; and as to the name of the island, I know no more of it than yourself: however, your business now is to land, and leave your vessel to its fate. If the guarda costa should persist in coming in, he cannot but succeed in taking her, and in burning our dwellings; but if he attempts to take you and us, we will do our best against him." The captain and crew were altogether six in number : they hastily got the boat out, and accompanied us on shore; whence they proceeded with me directly to the height, where my dear wife and her companions received them courteously.
From hence we had the satisfaction to see the Spaniard increase his distance: so, leaving Xavier and his wife by the flag-staff, to keep, watch, I descended with the rest of our party to the beach ; where I desired the captain to warp his vessel as close in as he could to the shore, and afterwards give me the pleasure of his company to dinner. He readily did as I bid him, moving her into the little bay below the cotton tree; and disembarked time enough to appear at our family meal. Rota, however, made it rather a feast, presenting us with a yankee dish of salt pork and pumpkin, I suppose in honour of our guest; to which she added a brace of mullet, and a roast chicken. A decanter of Canary was placed at my elbow. A table laid