Page images
PDF
EPUB

As soon

imagining it was a blow designed for her husband by ruffians, began to grasp him, and strove to awake and rouse him to defend himself. He still pretended himself sleeping, and gave her a second wound.

She now drew open the curtain, and, by the help of moonlight, saw his hand lifted up to stab her. The horror disarmed her from further struggling; and he, enraged anew at being discovered, fixed his poniard in her bosom. as he believed he had despatched her, he attempted to escape out of the window; but she, still alive, called to him not to hurt himself, for she might live. He was so stung with the insupportable reflection upon her goodness, and his own villany, that he jumped to the bed, and wounded her all over with as much rage as if every blow was provoked by new aggravations. In this fury of mind he fled away. His wife had still strength to go to her sister's apartment, and give an account of this wonderful tragedy; but died the next day. Some weeks after, an officer of justice, in attempting to seize the criminal, fired upon him, as did the criminal upon the officer. Both their balls took place, and both immediately expired.

INKLE AND YARICO.

MR.

THOMAS INKLE, of London, aged twenty years,

embarked in the Downs on the good ship called the Achilles, bound for the West Indies, on the 16th of June, 1674, in order to improve his fortune by trade and merchandise. Our adventurer was the third son of an eminent citizen, who had taken particular care to instil into his mind an early love of gain by making him a perfect master of numbers, and consequently giving him a quick view of loss and advantage, and preventing the natural impulse of his passions, by prepossession towards his interests. With a mind thus turned, young Inkle had a person every way agreeable, a ruddy vigor in his countenance, strength in his limbs, with ringlets of fair hair loosely flowing on his shoulders. It happened, in the course of the voyage, that the Achilles in some distress put into a creek on the main of America, in search of provisions. The youth, who is the hero of my story, among others, went ashore on this occasion. From their first landing they were observed by a party of Indians, who hid themselves in the woods for that purpose. The English unadvisedly marched a great distance from the shore into the country, and were intercepted by the natives, who slew the greatest number of them. Our adventurer escaped among others by flying into a forest. Upon his coming into a remote and pathless part of the wood, he threw himself, tired and breathless, on a little hillock, when an Indian maid rushed from a thicket behind him. After the first surprise, they appeared mutually agreeable to each other. If the European was highly charmed with the limbs, features, and wild graces of the naked American, the American was no less taken with the dress, complexion, and shape of an European, covered from head to foot. The Indian grew immediately enamored of him, and consequently desirous for his preservation. She therefore conveyed him to a cave, where she gave him a delicious repast of fruits, and led him to a stream to slake his thirst. In the midst of these good offices, she would sometimes play with his hair, and delight in the opposition of its color to that of her fingers. Then open his bosom, then laugh at him for covering it. She was, it seems, a person of distinction, for she every day came to him in a different dress, of the most beautiful bugles, shells, and bredes. She likewise brought him a great many spoils, which her other lovers had presented to her, so that his cave was richly adorned with all the spotted skins of beasts, and most fancy-colored feathers of fowls, which that world afforded. To make his confinement more tolerable, she would carry him in the dusk of the evening, or by the favor of moonlight, to unfrequented groves and solitudes, and show him where to lie down in safety, and sleep amidst the falls of waters, and melody of nightingales. Her part was to watch and hold him awake in her arms, for fear of her countrymen, and awake him on occasion to consult his safety. In this manner did the lovers pass away their time, till they had learned a language of their own, in which the voyager communicated to his mistress how happy he should be to have her in his country, where she should be clothed in such silks as his waistcoat was made of, and be carried in houses drawn by horses without being exposed to wind or weather. All this he promised her the enjoyment of, without such fears and alarms as they were tormented with. In this tender correspondence these lovers lived for many months, when Yarico, instructed by her lover, discovered a vessel on the coast, to which she made signal; and in the night with the utmost joy and satisfaction accompanied him to a ship's crew of his countrymen bound for Barbadoes. When a vessel from the main arrives in that island, it seems the planters come down to the shore, where there is an immediate market of the Indians and other slaves, as with us of horses and oxen.'

To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, now coming into English territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of time, and to weigh with himself how many days' interest of his money he had lost during his stay with Yarico. This thought made the young man very pensive, and careful what account he should be able to give his friends of his voyage. Upon which consideration, the prudent and frugal young man sold Yarico to a Barbadian merchant, notwithstanding that the poor girl, to incline him to commiserate her condition, told him she was with child by him; but he only made use of the information to rise in his demands upon the purchaser.

THE FITS.

A

FINE town-lady was married to a country gentleman of

ancient descent in one of the counties of Great Britain, who had good-humor to a weakness, and was that sort of person, of whom it is said, he is no man's enemy but his own; one, who had too much tenderness of soul to have any authority with his wife; and she too little sense to give him any authority, for that reason. His kind wife observed this temper in him, and made proper use of it. But knowing it was beneath a gentlewoman to wrangle, she resolved upon an expedient to save decorum, and wean her dear to her point at the same time. She therefore took upon her to govern him, by falling into fits whenever she was repulsed in a request, or contradicted in a discourse. It was a fish-day, when, in the midst of her husband's good-humor at table, she bethought herself to try her project. She made signs that she had swallowed a bone. The man grew pale as ashes, and ran to her assistance, calling for drink. “No, my dear,” said she, recovering, “it is down, do not be frightened.” This accident betrayed his fondness enough. The next day she complained, a lady's chariot, whose husband had not half his estate, had a crane-neck, and hung with twice the air that hers did. He answered, “Madam, you know my income: you know I have lost two coach-horses this spring,”—down she fell. “Hartshorn ! Betty, Susan, Alice, throw water in her face.” With much care and pains, she was at last brought to herself, and the vehicle in which she visited was amended in the nicest manner to prevent relapses; but they frequently

happened during that husband's whole life, which he had the good fortune to end in a few years after. The disconsolate widow soon pitched upon a very agreeable successor, whom she very prudently designed to govern by the same method. This man knew her little arts, and resolved to break through all tenderness, and be absolute master as soon as occasion offered. . One day it happened that a discourse arose about furniture; he was very glad of the occasion, and fell into an invective against china, protesting, that he would never let five pounds more of his money be laid out that way as long as he breathed.” She immediately fainted. He starts up as amazed, and calls for help. The maids run to the closet. He chafes her face, bends her forward, and beats the palms of her hands; her convulsions increase; and down she stumbles on the floor, where she lies quite dead, in spite of what the whole family, from the nursery to the kitchen, could do for her relief.

While every servant was there helping or lamenting their mistress, he, fixing his cheek to hers, seemed to be following in a trance of sorrow; but secretly whispers her, “My dear, this will never do: what is within my power and fortune you may always command; but none of your artifices; you are quite in other hands than those you passed these pretty passions upon.” This made her almost in the condition she pretended; her convulsions now came thicker, nor was she to be held down. The kind man doubles his care, helps the servants to throw water in her face by full quarts; and when the sinking part of the fit came again, “ Well, my dear," said he, “ I applaud your actions; but I must take my leave of you

till you are more sincere with me; farewell forever; you shall always know where to hear of me, and want for nothing.” With that he ordered her maids to keep plying her with hartshorn, while he went for a physician; he was scarce

« PreviousContinue »