Page images
PDF
EPUB

that not without good cause indeed, that if this fellow got safe home among his comrades, he would certainly give them an account that there were people in the island, as also how weak and few they were ; for this favage, as I observed before, had never been told, as it was very happy he had not, how many they were, or where they lived, nor had he ever seen or heard the fire of any of their guns, much less had they shewn him any other of their retired places, such as the cave in the valley, or the new retreat which the two Englishmen had made, and the like.

The first testimony they had, that this fellow had given intelligence of them was, that about two months after this, fix canoes of savages, with about seven or eight, or ten men in a canoe, came rowing along the north-side of the island, where they never used to come before, and landed about an hour after sun-rise, at a convenient place, about a mile from the habitation of the two Englishmen, where this escaped man had been kept: as the Spaniard governor said, had they been all there, the damage would not have been so much, for not a man of them would have escaped : but the case differed now very much; for two men to fifty were too much odds: the two men had the happiness to discover them about a league off, so that it was above an hour before they landed ; and as they landed about a mile from their huts, it was some time before they could come at them. Now having great reason to believe that they were betrayed, the first thing they did was to bind the slaves which were left, and cause two of the three men, whom they brought with the women,

who,

who, it seems, proved very faithful to them, to lead them with their two wives, and whatever they could carry away with them, to their retired place in the woods, which I have spoken of above, and there to bind the two fellows hand and foot till they heard farther.

In the next piace, seeing the savages were all come on shore, and that they bent their course directly that way, they opened the fences where their milch-goats were kept, and drove them all out, leaving their goats to straggle into the wood, whither they pleased, that the favages might think they were all bred wild; but the rogue who came with them was too cunning for that, and gave them an account of it all ; for they went directly to the place.

When the poor frighted men had fecured their wives and goods, they sent the other slave they had of the three, who came with the women, and who was at their place by accident, away to the Spaniards with all speed, to give them the alarm, and · desire speedy help; and in the mean time they took their arms, and what ammunition they had, and retreated towards the place in the wood where their wives were fent, keeping at a distance ; yet so that they might see, if possible, which way the favages took.

They had not gone far, but that, from a rising ground, they could see the little army of their ene. mies come on directly to their habitation, and in a moment more could see all their huts and household. stuff flaming up together, to their great grief and mortification ; for they had a very great loss, and to them irretrievable, at least for some time. They

kept

kept their station for awhile, till they found the savages, like wild beasts, spread themselves all over the place, runmaging every way, and every place they could think of, in search for prey ; and, in particu. lar, for the people, of whom it plainly appeared they had intelligence

The two Englishmen seeing this, thinking themselves not secure where they stood, as it was likely fome of the wild people might come that way, so they might come too many together, thought it proper to make another retreat about half a mile farther, believing, as it afterwards happened, that the farther they strolled, the fewer would be together.

The next halt was at the entrance into a very thick grown part of the woods, and where an old trunk of a tree stood, which was hollow, and vastly large; and in this tree they both took their standing, resolving to see what might offer.

They had not stood there long, but two of the favages appeared running directly that way, as if they had already notice where they stood, and were coming up to attack them; and a little way farther they espied three more coming after them, and five more beyond them, all coming the same way ; befides which, they saw seven or eight more at a diftance, running another way; for, in a word, they ran every way, like sportsmen beating for their game.

The poor men were now in great perplexity, whether they should stand, and keep their posture, or fly; but after a very short debate with themselves, they considered, that if the favages ranged the country thus, before help came, they might, perhaps, VOL. II. H

find

find out their retreat in the woods, and then all would be lost ; so they resolved to stand them there ; and if there were too many to deal with, then they would get to the top of the tree, from whence they doubted not to defend themselves, fire excepted, as long as their ammunition lasted, though all the savages that were landed, which were near fifty, were to attack them.

Having resolved upon this, they next considered whether they should fire at the two first, or wait for the three, and so take the middle party ; by which the two and the five that followed would be separated ; at length they resolved to let the two first pafs by, unless they should spy them in the tree, and come to attack them. The two first savages also confirmed them in this resolution, by turning a little from them towards another part of the wood; but the three, and the five after them, came forwards directly to the tree, as if they had known the Englishmen were there.

Seeing them come so straight towards them, they resolved to take them in a line as they came; and as they resolved to fire but one at a time, perhaps the first shot might hit them all three ; to which purpose, the man who was to fire, put three or four bullets into his piece, and having a fair loophole, as it were, from a broken hole in the tree, he took a sure aim, without being seen, waiting till they were within about thirty yards of the tree, so that he could not miss.

While they were thus waiting, and the favages came on, they plainly saw, that one of the three was the run-away favage that had escaped from

them,

them, and they both knew him distinctly, and resolved, that, if possible, he should not escape, though they should both fire ; so the other stood ready with his piece, that if he did not drop at the first shot, he should be sure to have a second.

But the first was too good a marksman to miss his aim ; for, as the favages kept near one another, a little behind in a line, in a word, he fired, and hit two of them directly: the foremost was killed outright, being shot in the head ; the second, which was the run-away Indian, was shot through the body, and fell, but was not quite dead; and the third had a little scratch in the shoulder, perhaps by the same ball that went through the body of the fecond; and being dreadfully frighted, though not much hurt, sat down upon the ground, screaming and yelling in a hideous manner.

The five that were behind, more frighted with the noise than sensible of their danger, stood ftill at first; for the woods made the found a thousand times bigger than it really was; the echoes rattling from one side to another, and the fowls rising from all parts, screaming and making, every fort, a several kind of noise, according to their kind, just as it was when I fired the first gun that, perhaps, was ever shot off in that place since it was an island.

However, all -being silent again, and they not knowing what the matter was, came on unconcerned, till they came to that place where their companions lay, in a condition miserable enough; and here the poor ignorant creatures, not sensible that they were within reach of the same mischief, stood all of a huddle over the wounded man, talking, and, as may

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »