« ForrigeFortsæt »
AFTER coffee, I begged the captain would excuse my requesting him to take his cigar to-night at his own quarters, as I wished to lose no time in making my arrangements for departure. He accordingly took his leave. I instantly communicated to my Eliza my decisive step, and almost in the same moment sent för Diego to come to me. He obeyed, and I opened the business. He was too much astonished to make me any collected remarks for some time; but my point was gained so far, that he had learnt my intention first from myself, and thereby I had obviated the misgivings that might have arisen had the people been first told it from any other quarter. I bade Diego come to me at sunrise next day, and bring Xavier with him, also the two Bermudians. When we retired to rest, my dear wife and myself threw ourselves on that God who never had forsaken us; and after we had prayed, we turned the matter over, looking at all the circumstances of the case as narrowly as we could, the peace and comfort and security of our adopted family being near to our hearts.
Friday, 28th. My dearest helpmate, as well as myself, was up at daylight, and dressed, ready to receive our people. We had discussed together the
propriety of giving Mira in marriage to one of the Bermudians, before we should leave our little establishment for even a temporary absence; and we determined on making the proposal at once to the damsel and her parents. When the people arrived, and were standing respectfully before us in the great hall, in a few words I told them I was going to Jamaica for the purpose of buying a schooner to bring back for our use here, and also to collect a crew for the brig, to refit her for my future purposes. I added, that I wished to take one or two of them with me, and especially Diego. The others all immediately volunteered. "I shall have occasion for only one more," said I; " and if you will leave it to me, I will decide." To this they cheerfully acquiesced. I took Diego aside into the store-room, and requested my wife to call in Rota. "You have heard," repeated I," what I am going to do; and I think, Diego, we must take one of our Bermudians with us.' "I think so, sir," he replied. "Well, then," resumed I: "Mira is a comely young woman, and if she would have no objection to accept of one of those clever fellows for a husband, I will marry them before I go, and we will take the other with us, and let him find a wife for himself at Kingston." Diego and Rota laughed heartily, giving their immediate assent; but my wife desired Rota to bring in Mira, and ask her if she would like either of the Bermudians for a husband. When the question was put to the girl, she curtseyed, and said she would rather go with her Donna Señora to Jamaica. My dear Eliza thanked her most graciously for this mark of her
attachment, but told her it could not be: however, she must make herself happy in knowing her affection was properly estimated; and so she would find on her mistress's return. The poor girl cried a good deal, and we left her and her parents together. While they were communing, I told Xavier to make a. account of how many days he and the others had worked on the schooner, and bring it to me after breakfast. By the time I had finished my directions to him, Diego and Rota reappeared in the hall with their daughter, who now looked much abashed. The mother whispered something to my wife, who again whispered to me, that Mira had fixed on Jack Martin. On hearing this, I got up, and called Martin out. I asked him, would he like to settle here, and marry Mira, and live as we live? Mira was a pretty negress, and gentle too.
"Yes, sir," he replied, "would like it. I like you, Sir-I like the place-I like Mira: her fader and moder very good people, and she very pretty; good little girl, sir: will be very happy!"-" Very well, Martin," said I; "I will marry you to her on Sunday. And, now that the girl is to be your wife, come in, and her father and mother shall offer her to you, and you shall accept her in my presence." The scene was rather ludicrous. Martin entered, bowing as he approached Diego who returned the bows with a variety of steps and attitudes, and a pretended taking off the hat. Rota spoke first. "You to be Mira's husband, Jack Martin?" "If Mira will have Jack Martin," replied the bridegroom. Mira hung down her head, but Rota clasped the son-in-law in her arms,
and hugging him very hard and close, and kissing him heartily, said, "So you love Mira!" Martin embraced his good mother in turn, and then saluted the half-averted cheek of Mira, at which our friends cheered; and I, placing their hands together, said, "In a few days you shall be one; and may God bless you!"
The party then left the hall; and my dear wife and myself improved the opportunity, by considering closely the many things we had to do in the very short time we could command. The captain came to breakfast, and we talked over the business of our departure. After the meal, I sent for Purdy and Diego. "Purdy," said I, "if you choose to go with me to Jamaica, and return with me hither, I will take you; and if you can find a freed-woman there that will marry you, I will bring you back together but if you are not so lucky, I will purchase a wife for you from a slave ship—any girl there you may choose.". "Will go, and return with you, sir," replied he;" and will do as please God."-" That is well said, James Purdy," observed my dear Eliza; "I believe thou art a singlehearted honest fellow."-"Thank you, ma'am," said he; "you very good to think black man good."-"Well," returned I, "that is arranged: go; I shall want you by-and-bye." He made a bow blithely and gratefully, not quite with a beau air, but like himself retired chirruping. O good nature and kindness of heart! what blessings do ye impart to the possessors, and to all around them, even when ye find your place among those miscalled the outcasts of the human race! I felt happy
in thinking I should have this honest fellow, as our trusty Diego, with us during the
After Purdy withdrew, I asked for Xavier, who was ready, with the account of work done. Eight dollars were charged for himself, and six for each of the other men; making altogether twenty-six dollars, which I thought very reasonable wages; and I desired him to come in with his fellow workmen after our dinner. He did so, and I paid them before the captain, out of some money we had brought with us from Jamaica, for our use at St. George's Key. After they were gone, the captain said it was great hospitality, and he always would remember it. But notwithstanding this fine speech, when I told him I intended to take Purdy in his vessel, as well as Diego, he did not seem at all disposed to remit the ten dollars for the extra passenger; and as, fortunately, money was now no object to me, I only pitied the man who was so completely in its gripe.
By Saturday middle day, the cargo was nearly re-embarked. I took the occasion to purchase from him three bags of the cacao for a doubloon each, and paid him on delivery; giving one bag to Rota, to use for our people; but locking up the other two in the store-room of the house. During Saturday afternoon, we put on board both the hencoops from the brig, inhabiting them with a few young fowls and ducks, about a dozen altogether. One coop might have served; but I meant to fill both, on my return, with another description of poultry. Some biscuit, butter, yams, pumpkins,