During these operations we were all hard at it, and no hand idle but Dicky in arms, and Sally, whom he kept in full employ; but Pedro, being a sturdy lad, could drive a nail, and lift or carry the things I wanted, and Jemmy and David, though so young, could pick up the chips, hold a nail or the lamp, or be some way or other useful; for I always preached to them the necessity of earning their bread before they ate it, and not think to live on mine and their brother's labour.
The nights being pretty long, after work was over, and Sarah had fed her brother and laid him in his hammock, we used to sit all down to enjoy ourselves at a good meal, for we were never regular at that till night; and then after supper, my wife being absent, one or other of the young ones would begin with something they had before heard me speak of, by saying, "Daddy, how did you use to do this or that in England?" Then all ears were immediately open to catch my answer, which certainly brought on something else done either there or elsewhere; and by their little questions and my answers they would sometimes draw me into a story of three hours long, till, perhaps, two or three of my audience were falling asleep, and then we all went to bed.
I verily believe my children would, almost any of them, from the frequent repetition of these stories, have given a sufficient account of England to have gained a belief from almost any Englishman of their being natives there.
I frequently observed, that when we had begun upon Cornwall, and traversed the mines, the sea-coast, or talked of the fine gentlemen's seats, and such things, one would start up, and, if the discourse flagged ever so little, would cry, "Ay; but, daddy, what did you do when the crocodile came after you out of the water?" And another, before that subject was half-ended (and I was forced to enter on every one they started), would be impatient for the story of the lion; and I always took notice that the part each had made the most reflections on, was always most acceptable to the same person: but poor Sally would never let the conversation drop without some account of the muletto, it was such a pretty, gentle creature, she said.
The Author's concern at Youwarkees stay—Reflections on his condition—Hears a voice call him—Youwarhee's brother Quangrollart visits him with a companion—He treats them at the grotto—The brother discovers himself by accident— Wilkins produces his children to him
My head, as well as my hands, had now been employed for five months in adjusting all things in the most suitable manner for the reception of Youwarkee and her friends; but nobody coming, and light days getting forward apace, I begin to grow very uneasy, and had formed divers imaginations of what might occasion her stay. Thought I, I am afraid all the pains I have been taking will be to no purpose; for either her father will not let her return, or she has of herself come to such a resolution; for she knows I cannot follow her, and had rather, perhaps, live and enjoy the three children she has with her, amidst a number of her friends and acquaintance, than spend the remainder of her days with me and all our offspring in this solitude.
But then I reflected she chose it herself, or at least declared herself perfectly satisfied, yea, delighted therewith. And here are her children with me, the major part of them; yet, what can I think? since her return is put off till the swangeans are over this arkoe, she will never bring her relations now in this unseasonable time for flight; therefore I must think, if she intended to return at all, it would have been before now; and as the case is not so, my fear of losing her entirely prevails greatly. Oh! says I, that we had but a post here as we have in England; there we can communicate our thoughts at a distance to each other without any trouble, and for little charge! What a country is this to live in! and what an improper creature am I to live in it! Had I but the graundee, I would have found her out by this time, be she where she would; but, whilst every one about me can pass, repass, and act as they please, I am fixed here like one of my trees, bound to the spot, or, upon removal, to die in the attempt. Alas! why did I beget children here, but to make them as wretched and inconsolable as myself! Some of them are so formed, indeed, as to shift for themselves; but they owe it to their mother, not to me. What! am I a father of children who will be bound one day to curse me? Severe reflection! Yet I never thought of this till now. But am I the only father in such a case? No, surely! for am not I as much bound to curse my father as my children are to curse me? He might have left me happy if he would; I would them if I could. Again, are there not others who, by improper junction with persons diseased in body or vicious in mind, have entailed greater misery upon their posterity than I have on mine! My children are all healthy, strong, and sound, both in body and mind; and is not that the greatest blessing that can be bestowed on our beings? But they are imprisoned in this arkoe! What then? With industry, here is no want; and as they increase they may settle in communities, and be helpful to each other. I have lived here well nigh sixteen years, and it was God's pleasure I should be here; and can I think I was placed here with an injunction contrary to the great command, "Increase and multiply?" If that were so, can it be possible I should have received the only means of propagating, as it were, from Heaven itself? No, it was certainly as much my Maker's will that I should have posterity here, as that I myself should at first be brought thither. This is a large and plentiful spot, and capable of great improvement, when there shall be hands sufficient. How many petty states are less than these my dominions! I have here a compass of near twenty miles round, and how many thousands grow voluntarily grey in a far less circuit?
I had hardly finished my reflections (for I was sitting by myself in my tent upon one of the trees I had turned into benches), when I heard a musical voice call, "Peter! Peter!" I started. "What's this?" says I. "It is not Youwarkee's voice! What can this mean?" Listening, I heard it again, but at so great a distance I could but just perceive the sound. "Be it where it will," says I, "I will face it!" Thus speaking, I went out of the tent, and hearkened very attentively, but could hear nothing. I then ran for my gun, and walked through the wood as fast as I could to the plain; but still I neither saw nor heard anything. I was then in hopes of seeing somebody on the lake, but no one appeared; for I was fully determined to make myself known to whomsoever I should meet; and, if possible, to gain some intelligence of my wife. But after so much fruitless pains, my hopes being at an end, I was returning when I heard, "Peter! Peter!" again at a great distance, the sound coming from a different quarter than at first. Upon this I stopped, and heard it repeated; and it was as if the speaker approached nearer and nearer. Hereupon I stepped out of the wood (for I had just re-entered it upon my return home), when I saw two persons upon the swangean just over my head. I cried out, "Who's that?" And they immediately called again, "Peter! Peter!"—Ors clam gee, says I; that is, Here am I.—On this they directly took a small sweep round (for they had overshot me before they heard me) and alighted just by me; when I perceived them to be my wife's countrymen, being dressed like her, with vol. only broader chaplets about their heads, as she had told me the glumms all wore. After a short obeisance, they asked me if I was the glumm Peter, barkett* to Youwarkee. I answered I was. They then told me they came with a message from Pendlehamby, colamb** of Arndrumn-stake, my goppo,*** and from Youwarkee his daughter. I was vastly rejoiced to see them, and to hear only the name of my wife. But though I longed to know their message, I trembled to think of their mentioning it, as one of them was just going to do, for fear of hearing something very displeasing; so I begged them to go through the wood with me to the grotto, where we should have more leisure and convenience for talk, and where, at the same time, they might take some refreshment. But though I had thus put off their message, I could not forbear inquiring by the way after the health of my goppo, and my wife and children, how they got to Arndrumnstake, and how they found their relations and friends. They told me all were well; and that Youwarkee, as she did on me, desired I would think on her with true affection. I found this was the phrase of the country. As for the rest, I hoped it would turn out well at last, though I dreaded to hear it.
Being arrived at the grotto, I desired my guests to sit down, and take such refreshment as I could prepare them. When they were seated, I went to work in order to provide them a repast. Seeing my fire piled up very high, and burning fierce, and the children about it, they wondered where they were got, and who they had come to, and turned their faces from it; but I setting some chairs, so that the light might not strike on their eyes, they liked the warmth well enough; though, I remarked, the light did not affect them so much as it had done Youwarkee.
Whilst I was cooking, the poor children got all up in a corner, and stared at the strangers, not being able to conceive where they came from; and by degrees crept all backwards into the bedchamber, and hid themselves; for they had never before seen anybody but my own family.
I observed that one of my guests paid more than ordinary respect to the other; and though their graundees made no distinction between them, yet there was something I thought much more noble in the address and behaviour of the latter; and taking notice that he was also the chief spokesman, I judged it proper to pay my respects to him in a somewhat more distinguishing manner, though so as not to offend the other if I should happen to be mistaken.
I first presented a can of my Madeira, and took care, as if by accident, to give it to Mr. Uppermost, as I thought him, who drank half of it, and would have given the remainder to his companion, but I begged him to drink it all up, and his friend should be served with some presently: he did so, and thanked me by lifting his hand to his chin. I then gave the other a can of the same liquor, which he drank, and returned thanks as his companion had before. I then took a can myself, and telling them I begged leave to use the ceremony of my own country to them, I drank, wishing their own health, and that of all relations at Arndrumnstake. He that I took for the superior fell a-laughing heartily: "Ha, ha, ha!" says he, "this is the very way my sister does every day at Arndrumnstake."—"Your sister, sir!" says I, "pray has she ever been in Europe or England?"—"Well!" says he, "I have plainly discovered myself, which I did not intend to do yet; but, truly, brother Peter, I mean none other than your own wife Youwarkee."
The moment I knew who he was, I rose up and taking him by the right hand, lifted it to my lips and kissed it. He likewise immediately stood up, and we embraced each other with great tenderness. I then begged him, as I had so worthy and near a relation of my wife's with me, that he would not delay the happiness I hoped for, in a narrative from his mouth, how it fared with my father, wife, and children, and all their kinsfolks and friends whom I had so often heard mentioned by my dearest Youwarkee, and so earnestly desired to see.
My brother Quangrollart (for that, he told me, was his name) was preparing to gratify my impatience; but seeing I had set the entertainment on the table, which consisted chiefly of bread, several sorts of pickles and preserves, with some cold salted fish, he said that eating would but interrupt the thread of his discourse; and therefore, with my leave, he would defer the relating of what I desired for a little while; which we all thinking most proper, I desired him and his friend (who might be another brother for aught I knew) to refresh themselves with the poor modicum I was able to provide them.
Whilst my brother Quangrollart was looking upon and handling his plate, being what he had never before seen, his friend had got the handle of one of the knives in his mouth, biting it with all his force; but finding he could make nothing of that end he tried the other, and got champing the blade. Perceiving what he was at, though I could not help laughing, I rose, and begging pardon, took the knife from him; telling him I believed he was not acquainted with the use of that instrument, which was one of my country implements; and that the design of it, which was called a knife, and of that other (pointing to it), called a fork, was the one to reduce the food into pieces proper for chewing, and the other to convey it to the mouth without daubing the fingers, which must happen in handling the food itself; and I then showed him what use I put them to, by helping each of them therewith to somewhat, and by cutting a piece for myself, and putting it to my mouth with the fork.
They both smiled and looked very well pleased; and then I told them that the plate was the only thing that need be daubed, and when that was taken away the table remained clean. So, after I had helped each of them for the first time, I desired them to help themselves where they liked best; and, to say the truth, they did so more dexterously than I could have expected.
During our repast we had frequent sketches of the observations they made in their flight, and of the places where they had rested; and I could plainly see that neither of them had ever been at this arkoe before, by hinting that if they had not taken such a course they had missed me.
I took particular notice which part of my entertainment they ate most of, that I might bring a fresh supply of that when wanted; and I found that though they eat heartily of my bread and preserves, and tasted almost of everything else, they never once touched the fish; which put me upon desiring I might help them to some. At this they looked upon each other, which I readily knew the meaning of, and excused themselves, expressing great satisfaction in what they had already gotten. I took, however, a piece of fish on my own plate, and eating very heartily thereof, my brother desired me to give him a bit of it; I did so, taking care to cut it as free from bones as I could, and for greater security cautioning him, in case there should be any, to pick them out, and not swallow them. He had no sooner put a piece in his mouth, but, "Rosig," says he to his friend, "this is padsi."—I thought indeed I had puzzled my brother when I gave him the fish, but by what he said of it, he puzzled me; for I knew not what he meant by padsi, my wife having told me they had no fish, or else I should have taken that word for their name of it. However, I cut Rosig a slice; and he agreeing it was padsi, they both ate heartily of it.
While we were at dinner, my brother told me he thought he saw some of my children just now; for his sister had informed him she had five more at home; and he asked me why they did not appear and eat with us. I excused their coming, as fearing they would only be troublesome; and said, "When we had done they should have some victuals." But he would not be put off, and entreated me to admit them. So I called them by their names, and they came, all but Dicky, who was asleep in his hammock. I told them that Reglumm,* pointing to Quangrollart, was their uncle, their mamma's brother, and ordered them to pay their obeisance to him, which they severally did. I then made them salute Rosig. This last would have had them sit down at table; but I positively forbade that; and giving each of them a little of what we had before us, they carried it to the chests and eat it there.
When we had done, the children helped me to clear the table, and were retiring out of the room; but then I recalled them and desired their uncle to excuse their stay, for as he had promised me news of their mammy and her family, it would be the height of pleasure to them to hear him. He seemed very much pleased with this motion, desiring by all means they might be present while he told his story. Whereupon I ordered them to the chests again, while Quangrollart delivered his narrative.
Quangrollart's account of Youwarkee's journey, and reception at her father's.
Having set on the table some brandy and Madeira, and each of us taken one glass of both, I showed, by the attentiveness of my aspect and posture, how desirous I was he should proceed to what he had promised. Observing this, he went on in the following manner:—"Brother Peter," says he, "my sister Youwarkee, as I don't doubt you will be glad to hear of her first, arrived very safe at Arndrumnstake the third day after she left you, and after a very severe flight to the dear little Hallycarnie,* who was a full day and a night on her graundee; and at last would not have been able to have reached Battringdrigg but for my sister's assistance, who, taking her sometimes on her back for a short flight, by those little refreshments enabled her to perform it: but from Battringdrigg, after some hours' rest, they came with pleasure to the White Mountains, from whence, after a small stay, they arrived at Arndrumnstake.
* One of Wilkins' daughters.
"They alighted at our covett,* but were opposed at their entrance by the guards, to whom they did not choose to discover themselves, till notice was given to my father; who, upon hearing that some strangers desired admittance to him, sent me to introduce them, if they were proper persons for his presence, or else give orders for such other reception as was suitable to them.
"When I came to the guard, I found three gawrys and a glumm boss,** whose appearance and behaviour, I must own, prejudiced me very much in their favour. I then asked from whence they came, and their business with the colamb. You-warkee told me they came not about business of public concern, relating to the colamb's office, but out of a dutiful regard, as relations, to kiss his knees.—'My father' said I, 'shall know it immediately; but first, pray inform me of your name?'—'Your father!' replied Youwarkee; 'are you my brother Quangrollart?'—'My name is so,' says I, 'but I have only one sister, now with my father, and how I can be your brother, I am not able to guess.'—'Have you never had another sister?' says she.—'Yes,' says I, 'but she is long since dead; her name was Youwarkee.' At my mentioning her name, she fell upon my neck in tears, crying, 'My dear brother, I am that dead sister Youwarkee, and these with me are some of my children, for I have five more; but, pray, how does my father and sister?'—I started back at this declaration, to view her and the children, fearing it was some gross imposition, not in the least knowing or remembering anything of her face, after so long an absence; but I desired them to walk in, till I told my father.
* Capital Seat.
"The guard observing the several passages between us, were amazed to think who it could be had so familiarly embraced me; especially as they saw I only played a passive part in it.
"When I went in, I did not think proper directly to inform my father what had happened; but calling my sister Hallycarnie, I let her into the circumstances of this odd affair, and desired her advice what to do: 'For,' says I, 'surely this must be some impostor; and as my father has scarce subdued his sorrow for my sister's loss, if this gawry should prove a deceiver, it will only revive his affliction, and may prove at this time extremely dangerous to him: therefore let us consider what had best be done in the matter.'
"Hallycarnie, who had attentively weighed all I said, seemed to think it was some cheat, as well as I did; for we could neither of us conceive that anything but death, or being slit, could have kept Youwarkee so long from the knowledge of her relations; and that neither of them could be the case was plain, if the person attending was Youwarkee. 'Besides, brother,' says Hallycarnie, 'she cannot surely be so much altered in fifteen years, but you must have known her; and yet, now I think, it is possible, you being so much younger, may have forgot her; but whilst we have been talking of her, I have so well recollected her, that I think I could hardly be imposed upon by any deceiver.' "I then desired her to go with me to the strangers and see if she could make any discovery. She did so, and had no sooner entered the abb,* but Youwarkee called out, 'My dear sister Hally-carnie!' and she as readily recollecting Youwarkee, they in transport embraced each other; and then your wife presenting to us her three children, it proved the tenderest scene, except the following, I ever saw.
"My father having kept his chamber some time with a fever, and though he was pretty well recovered, having not yet been out of it, we consulted how we might introduce our sister and children to him, with as little surprise as might be, for fear of a relapse by too great a hurry of his spirits. At length we concluded I should go tell him that some strangers had arrived desiring to see him; but on inquiry, finding their business was too trifling to trouble him upon, I had despatched them; I was then to say how like one of them was to my sister Youwarkee; and whilst I was speaking, Hallycarnie was to enter, and keep up the discourse till we should find a proper opportunity of discovery. I went in, therefore, as had been agreed; and upon mentioning the name of Youwarkee, my father fetched a deep sigh and turned away from me in tears. At that instant Hallycarnie came in as by accident. 'Sir,' says she, 'what makes you so sad? are you worse to-day?'—'Oh,' says he, 'I have heard a name that will never be out of my heart, till I am in hoximo.'*—'What, I suppose my sister?'—''Tis true,' replied he, 'the same.'—Says she, 'I fancied so, for I have just seen a stranger as like her as two dorrs** could be, and would have sworn it was she, if that had been possible. I thought my brother had been so imprudent as to mention her to you; and I think he did not do well to rip up an old sore he knew was almost healed, and make it break out afresh.'—'Ah! no, child,' says my father, 'that sore never has, nor can be healed. O Great Image! why can't it by some means or other be ascertained what end she came to?'
* A place where the dead are buried.
** A fruit like an apple.
"'Sir,' says my sister, 'I think you are much to blame for these exclamations, after so long absence; for, if she be dead, what use are they of? and if she be not, all may be well, and you may still see her again.'—'Oh, never, never!' says my father; 'but could I be sure she was alive, I would take a swangean and never close my graundee till I found her, or dropt dead in the search.'—'And suppose you could meet with her, sir,' says I, 'the very sight would overcome you, and be dangerous.' 'No, believe me, boy,' says he, 'I should then be fully easy and composed; and were she to come in this moment, I should suffer no surprise, but pleasure.'—'No surprise, sir?' says I.—'Not if she were alive and well,' says he.—'Then, sir,' says Hallycarnie, 'will you excuse me if I introduce her?' and went out directly without staying for an answer.
"When she was gone, 'Quangrollart,' says my father sternly, 'what is the meaning of yours and your sister's playing thus upon my weakness? It is what I can upon no account forgive. It looks as if you were weary of me, and wanted to break my heart. To what purpose is all this prelude of yours, to introduce to me somebody, who, by her likeness to my daughter, may expose me to your scoff and raillery? This is a disobedience I never expected from either of you.'
"'The Great Image attend me!' says I; 'sir, you have much mistaken me; but I will not leave you in doubt, even till Hallycarnie's return. You shall see Youwarkee with her; for all our discourse, I'll assure you, has but been concerted to prepare you for her reception, with three of her children.' 'And am I then, says he, in a transport, 'still to be blessed?'—'You are, sir,' says I, 'assure yourself you are.'
"By this time we heard them coming, but my poor father had not power to go to meet them: and upon Youwarkee's nearer approach, to fall at his knees, his limbs failing him, he sunk, and without speaking a word, fell backwards on a cught drappec,* which stood behind him; and, being quite motionless, we concluded him to be stone-dead. On this the women became entirely helpless, screaming only, and wringing their hands in extravagant postures. But I, having a little more presence of mind, called for the calentar;** who, by holding his nose, pinching his feet, and other applications, in a little time brought him to his senses again.
* A bed or couch covered with a sort of cotton.
** A sort of doctor in all great families.
"You may more easily conceive than I describe, both the confusion we were all in during my father's disorder, and the congratulations upon his recovery; so, as I can give you but a defective account of these, I shall pass them by, and come to our more serious discourse, after my father and your wife had, without speaking a word, wept themselves quite dry on each other's necks.
"My father, then looking upon the three children (who were also crying to see their mamma cry), 'And who are these?' says he.—'These, sir,' says Youwarkee, 'are three of eight of your grandchildren.'—'And where is your barkett?' says he. 'At home with the rest, sir,' replied she, 'who are some of them too small to come so far yet; but, sir,' says she, 'pray excuse my answering you any more questions, till you are a little recovered from the commotion I perceive my presence has brought upon your spirits; and as rest, the calentar says, will be exceedingly proper, I will retire with my sister till you are better able to bear company.' My father was with much difficulty prevailed with to part with her out of his sight: but the calentar pressing it, we were all dismissed, and he laid down to rest."
My brother would have gone on, but I told him, as it grew near time for repose, and he and Rosig must needs be fatigued with so long a flight, if they pleased (as I had already heard the most valuable part of all he could say, in that my father had received my wife and children so kindly, and that he left them all well) we could defer his farther relation till the next day; which they both agreeing to, I laid them in my own bed, myself sleeping in a spare hammock.
END OF VOL. I.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO. EDINBURGH AND LONDON.