Page images

the schooner should haul to his employer's wharf and land the money. I sent Purdy with him, and in about an hour they returned. He had taken lodgings for me in King Street, not very far up, and if I pleased I might have all the house but one room, which the owner of the house, a brown lady, desired to reserve for herself. The schooner was now hauled to the wharf, and in about an hour all the boxes were landed. When done, I gave each of the crew a dollar, for which they were very thankful; and I told the captain to call on me before sun-set, and I would pay him his freight. The boxes with the treasure, as well as our trunks and cot, were removed from the vessel to our lodgings with my usual caution; and seeing ourselves, with our faithful little dog, and our heavy care, all together here in safety, we felt grateful to God for his continued protection.

The good woman of the house undertook to provide dinner and every thing else we might require, at a moderate charge; and as there were but three sleeping rooms besides her own, with a front and back dining-room or hall, I took the whole house; not choosing to have any stranger companions admitted. While dinner was getting ready, it occurred to me to procure change for twenty doubloons to pay the captain; for as he supposed my boxes to contain dollars (which I knew from two or three guesses he made during the passage), I judged it prudent not to set his surmises agoing by paying him in gold. I therefore went out and changed my twenty doubloons for three hundred and twenty dollars; the exact sum I had to give him; viz.

three hundred for his cabin, and twenty for the two men. He was very civil when I paid him the money, for which he gave me a receipt; and I invited him to take a cigar, sending Diego and Purdy the while to the schooner to bring the hen-coops on shore at Mr. Green's wharf, and leave them there until I should want them.

In the course of conversation I asked the captain the value of his schooner, or of such another. His answers were rather equivocal: sometimes he guessed, and sometimes he reckoned; but I concluded from all he said that the hull might be worth a thousand dollars, and the masts and sails, and cables and anchors, &c., worth another thousand. This information was sought, to be a guide to me in my future proceedings. He soon took his leave, hugging the bag of dollars between his left arm and his breast, while he shook my hand with the other. My dear wife was never cordial with him, and said little on parting, excepting that she hoped he would find his family all well on his return.


After he was gone, I sent for the mistress of the house, and told her that my servants would each occupy one of the spare bed-rooms. To this she instantly objected,—"Those rooms were for gentlemen, not for negro men." My servants are not slaves,” replied I, "although they are negroes; and I will take care they shall not sleep in your beds with a dirty skin or unclean linen." After much talk, among which I said my two friends were black gentlemen, she laughed, and conceded the point, saying, she believed I was only "Johnny Newcome, to be so foolish." After coffee, my dear

wife and myself were truly happy to retire to our chamber, where a fine large bed, with moscheto curtains awaited us. Our boxes were stowed in the corner of the room, at the foot of the bed; yet our minds were rather in a hurried state about them, notwithstanding we now felt ourselves and our riches in a place of security; but it remained for our God to give us that peace of which we felt the want, and which was not refused on offering up our prayer for it before we went to rest.

In the morning we awoke refreshed; and, during breakfast, I arranged with my dear wife that she should remain at home to keep an eye on the boxes, until I could dispose of the money. But there was another matter, of perhaps equal worldly import, that demanded our consideration. While on our

dear little island, convenience and comfort were the only objects in determining the form of our dress; but I knew we must here conform to the modes of fashion in civilised life (if such monstrous modes deserve to be so classed!) and myself, particularly, must submit my head to be covered with pomatum and powder. There was no time lost therefore, in sending for a hair-dresser, who promptly came, and as quickly put me under the torture. He rubbed my hair up in front with hard pomatum, till I could scarcely close my eyelids; and he dusted in the powder, first from the puff, and then from a leathern horn, until he nearly blinded me, having previously appended to my hair behind a large false queue, tied with about five yards of black riband. My dearest Eliza pitied me, and admired the Christian patience with which

I sustained the operation; but it was to be done, or I could not show my face any where as a gentleman! My equipment being thus finished, she felt herself in duty bound to permit her fine and abundant auburn hair to be cut, and disposed in curls; but she would not allow any frizzing or powdering. And in this resolution of natural just taste, I was happy to see her continue during the whole of our stay in Jamaica.

When I was pronounced by Monsieur the frizeur as quite the thing, I sallied forth, taking Purdy with me; leaving Diego to hold guard with his mistress. I called at Mr. Green's store, and found him there. He gave me an account of Mr. Dickinson's death, which happened about six months ago: adding, that he (Mr. Green) had lately arrived from Liverpool, and had taken the store and wharf. I told him my business, was to purchase a schooner of about a hundred and twenty tons burden, and a variety of things to load her; among which would be a main mast in pieces, fitted, with other spars; also, a complete suit of sails, for a brig that now lay in a creek, the crew of which had been drowned: and that, therefore, I should want to take with me a captain, and crew of eight, including the mate : and that if he would assist me in these matters, I would pay his commission: to which he readily agreed. I then said, the first things to be set about, were the 'masts and sails; and that if he would send a proper person to me the same afternoon, I would give him an explicit order, with the dimensions; but should trust to Mr. Green for the honesty of the charge. I added, that as soon as he could

hear of a schooner for sale, that might be suitable, I would look at her. "It shall all be attended to," he replied. "Indeed, I understand from my clerks that you are well provided with dollars, so you will find little difficulty in speedily doing the needful." Mr. Green invited me to dine; but I declined his kind invitation, having Mrs. Seaward with me.

After having despatched so much, I returned to our lodging to write a note to the admiral's secretary; which I sent by Purdy, with a person to show him the way to the admiral's penn. I merely stated, that I wished to transmit a considerable sum of money to England, and requested to know if any man of war was soon going, and whether the admiral would order the money to be received on freight. I was soon favoured with a very civil reply; in which it was intimated, that such an opportunity was about to present itself, but that the admiral would not order any sum under ten thousand dollars to be received in charge of any of his Majesty's ships; he therefore requested to know what sum I proposed to remit to England. After giving some refreshment to the messengers, I returned them with my answer; in which I stated, that if the ship were a frigate I would send by her about 40,000l.; and as it would be all in gold, the captain would suffer little inconvenience by its bulk. In the course of the afternoon a reply was brought, saying, the admiral's secretary, and the captain of the Solebay, would wait on me to-morrow morning.

In the evening Mr. Green appeared with a Mr. Finn, a shipbuilder, (I suppose he may be so called, although no vessels are built at Kingston,) and I

« PreviousContinue »