« PreviousContinue »
SUNDAY, October 26th. We were much pleased with the improved devotion of all our people this day; and afterwards, with the great progress many of them had made, in reading words of one and two syllables, in sentences conveying sense and meaning.
Monday, 27th.-It had been my orders for some time back, for a regular look out every day at sun-rise, from the flag-staff; and Martin being in the way, whose regular business it was, he reported a brig in the offing. In consequence I detained Captain Drake, who went with me to the height; and, with the glass, we discovered a union jack flying at the fore-top-gallant mast-head of the brig. I despatched Martin with the information to my wife, desiring him at the same time to tell her not to be alarmed, as we intended to fire the gun, when we hoisted our colours. Martin was also directed to get the Avon ready to go out of harbour, by the time Captain Drake should come down from the height. The shot was then drawn from the gun, and the match lighted; and having given Martin plenty of time to deliver his message, the piece was fired, and the colours hoisted; which was answered from the brig, by the union jack being hauled down and the ensign hoisted at the main. From this moment I had no doubt of its being Captain Taylor, returned to us in our own ark, and perhaps bringing with him some of our family. I hastened to
apprise the dear partner of all my cares and joys of my anticipations. A thousand fond ideas flashed across her mind, the moment I spoke; and in her transport she threw herself on my breast, saying, "Oh, my dear Edward! if" then pausing, added — “but just as it may please God! I will not venture to say more. He is our gracious God, and kind Father, and I rest confidently on his goodness: be it as he will!"
The Avon was quickly under weigh, having Captain Drake on board with the schooner's crew. As soon as she made sail, I despatched Allwood and Manus in the small boat, to tell their wives what the business was, and to bring them back with them if they pleased; but that I did not intend to give any merry making until after the vessel's departure, considering that the presence of the strange sailors on such occasions might lead to some unpleasant irregularities.
When the boats were fairly off, my dear wife and myself climbed the promontory; and by the time we had placed ourselves under the colours, we saw the Avon go alongside of the brig, as she lay to, with the main topsail aback. They both quickly made sail, the Avon leading, and soon we had the pleasure to see them approach near to the promontory, when I perceived a female on deck. On this discovery we hastened down to receive them, with our hearts full of tender wishes, notwithstanding higher feelings of resignation. But nature will
speak, if it be but in a whisper. And as we watched the vessels coming round the point, that whisper was loud enough to be felt, if not heard; the heart
beat high and irregularly, and we could not prevent it. I put the glass to my eye, and now saw distinctly my brother, and my Eliza's sister, Amelia, on the quarter-deck of the brig, looking towards "They are indeed there, my best beloved!" I exclaimed," your sister Amelia and my brother!""Blessed be God!" she said, and sunk into my arms. The struggle within her had been great, to repress these emotions; but now that they had burst the bounds of restraint, she was overcome. In a little she sighed deeply, then by degrees raised up her head and smiled, looking earnestly towards the vessel. The schooner's best boat had been manned with Diego and Xavier, and the Allwoods, who had just returned with the women from the opposite shore; so that the moment the brig dropped anchor, we stepped in, and rowed alongside. My dear Eliza, with the agility of a kid, sprung up on deck, and I quickly followed her. We each flew into the arms of the children of our fathers. Blessed moment! blest by Him we adore! and blest by many an eye that saw it!
I was glad to see Captain Taylor again, and shook him heartily by the hand; then embarking in the boat for the shore with our brother and sister, who had become doubly so by their intermarriage; I requested Captain Taylor to join us at dinner, at the same time taking him aside, I told him my restrictions respecting his crew; but added, that fish and vegetables should immediately be sent off for their refreshment. Our people waited to greet our coming friends, upon the beech, with every testimony of respectful attachment; but our domestics
alone followed us to the mansion. Here we welcomed our dear guests with a new embrace; my beloved wife saying, "This is indeed a happy day to us."—" And to us also, my dear Eliza,” replied her sister.
They now expressed their surprise at every thing around them, the stupendous hill, the placid and extensive lake, the beautiful shores that seemed to surround it on every side, and the little settlement opposite, did not escape their observation." And is it here you were wrecked, brother ?" said James. -"Yes," I replied; "here; we will point out the exact spot to you, by and by."-" But this island is not the uncivilised, half desolate place, in which we expected to find you," returned he. "No," replied my Eliza; "our God has made the wilderness to blossom as the rose! and when we were thrown on this coast, Edward and I, and Fidele here, were all our company."—" O Fidele !" cried Amelia, the little creature at last attracting her attention, come here." The fond animal, on being spoke to, raised its fore feet on her knee, and seemed to devour her hand with caresses. "You know me then, Fidele ?" continued she. On which the kind little creature redoubled its fondness, as much as to say, “I do indeed remember you." The ladies now soon retired to the bedchamber, and I requested my brother to walk down with me to the beach. We met Diego by the way. "Hark you," said I, "lodge the four lads in the plank-house, and remove all the stores out of our storeroom into the house on the north; and have a good lock fitted to it, and some shelves instantly
put up there, for the reception of the things that may require them." Diego bowed more elegantly than usual, but without speaking a word, and retired to execute the orders I had given him. "Is that a negro?" said my brother; "I should say he is a very well bred man." "How can it be otherwise, brother," I replied, smiling; "is not he at court? He is my minister for the home department." This sally made James smile in return; but he evidently did not know whether to consider me in jest or earnest.
That there might not be any confusion in carrying the things through the hall, out of the storeroom during dinner, they were all removed without loss of time, and the floor of the vacated room washed At the appointed hour, we had the pleasure to see the two skippers walk into the hall; and our brother and sister, well dressed, quickly after make their appearance; so that dinner had not to wait for the guests, nor the guests for the dinner, point of some importance to all parties; for without this observance, either the dinner is spoiled by waiting for the guests, or the appetite of the guests taken away by waiting for the dinner. During the repast, Mrs. Rota had many commendations for her excellent fare, and still more exquisite cookery; but our dear relations, as they sat at table, were more delighted with the fine view through the open doors, than with all the cunning of Dame Rota's cookery. After dinner we had the best dessert our island could afford; our first pine apple was cut for the occasion; Diego had brought in some ripe bananas from the wild plants near the spring, to