In these parts Mr Knox met his black boy, whom he had turned away divers years before. He had now got a wife and children, and was very poor; but being acquainted with these quarters, he not only took directions of him, but agreed with him, for a good reward, to conduct him and his companions to the Dutch. He gladly undertook it, and a time was appointed between them; but Mr Knox being disabled by a grievous pain, which seized him on his right side, and held him five days that he could not travel, this appointment proved in vain; for though he went as soon as he was well, his guide was gone into another country about his business, and they durst not at that time venture to run away without him.
These attempts took up eight or nine years, various accidents hindering their designs, but most commonly the dry weather, because they feared in the woods they should be starved with thirst, all the country being in such a condition almost four or five years together for lack of rain.
On September 22, 1679, they set forth again, furnished with knives and small axes for their defence, because they could carry them privately and send all sorts of wares to sell as formerly, and all necessary provisions, the moon being twenty-seven days old, that they might have light to run away by, to try what success God Almighty would now give them in seeking their liberty. Their first stage was to Anuradhapoora, in the way to which lay a wilderness, called Parraoth Mocolane, full of wild elephants, tigers, and bears; and because it is the utmost confines of the king's dominions, there is always a watch kept.
In the middle of the way they heard that the governor's officers of these parts were out to gather up the king's revenues and duties, to send them up to the city; which put them into no small fear, lest, finding them, they should send them back again; whereupon they withdrew to the western parts of Ecpoulpot, and sat down to knitting till they heard the officers were gone. As soon as they were departed, they went onwards of their journey, having got a good parcel of cotton-yarn to knit caps with, and having kept their wares, as they pretended, to exchange for dried flesh, which was sold only in those lower parts. Their way lay necessarily through the governor's yard at Kalluvilla, who dwells there on purpose to examine all that go and come. This greatly distressed them, because he would easily suspect they were out of their bounds, being captives; however, they went resolutely to his house, and meeting him, presented him with a small parcel of tobacco and betel; and, showing him their wares, told him they came to get dried flesh to carry back with them. The governor did not suspect them, but told them he was sorry they came in so dry a time, when no deer were to be catched, but if some rain fell, he would soon supply them. This answer pleased them, and they seemed contented to stay; and accordingly, abiding with him two or three days, and no rain falling, they presented the governor with five or six charges of gunpowder, which is a rarity among them; and leaving a bundle at his house, they desired him to shoot them some deer, while they made a step to Anuradhapoora. Here also they were put in a great fright by the coming of certain soldiers from the king to the governor, to give him orders to set a secure guard at the watches, that no suspicious persons might pass, which, though it was only intended to prevent the flight of the relations of certain nobles whom the king had clapped up, yet they feared they might wonder to see white men here, and so send them back again; but God so ordered it that they were very kind to them and left them to their business, and so they got safe to Anuradhapoora. Their pretence was dried flesh, though they knew there was none to be had; but their real business was to search the way down to the Dutch, which they stayed three days to do; but finding that in the way to Jaffnapatam, which is one of the Dutch ports, there was a watch which could hardly be passed, and other inconveniences not surmountable, they resolved to go back, and take the river Malwatta Oya, which they had before judged would be a probable guide to lead them to the sea; and, that they might not be pursued, left Anuradhapoora just at night, when the people never travel for fear of wild beasts, on Sunday, October 12, being stored with all things needful for their journey, viz., ten days' provision, a basin to boil their provision in, two calabashes to fetch water in, and two great tallipat leaves for tents, with jaggery, sweetmeats, tobacco, betel, tinder-boxes, and a deerskin for shoes, to keep their feet from thorns, because to them they chiefly trusted. Being come to the river, they struck into the woods, and kept by the side of it; yet not going on the sand (lest their footsteps should be discerned), unless forced, and then going backwards.
Being gotten a good way into the wood, it began to rain; wherefore they erected their tents, made a fire, and refreshed themselves against the rising of the moon, which was then eighteen days old; and having tied deerskins about their feet, and eased themselves of their wares, they proceeded on their journey. When they had travelled three or four hours with difficulty, because the moon gave but little light among the thick trees, they found an elephant in their way before them, and because they could not scare him away, they were forced to stay till morning; and so they kindled a fire, and took a pipe of tobacco. By the light they could not discern that ever anybody had been there, nothing being to be seen but woods; and so they were in great hopes that they were past all danger, being beyond all inhabitants; but they were mistaken, for the river winding northward, brought them into the midst of a parcel of towns, called Tissea Wava, where, being in danger of being seen, they were under a mighty terror; for had the people found them, they would have beat them, and sent them up to the king; and, to avoid it, they crept into a hollow tree, and sat there in mud and wet till it began to grow dark, and then betaking themselves to their legs, travelled till the darkness of night stopped them. They heard voices behind them, and feared it was somebody in pursuit of them; but at length, discerning it was only an hallooing to keep the wild beasts out of the corn, they pitched their tents by the river, and having boiled rice and roasted meat for their suppers, and satisfied their hunger, they committed themselves to God's keeping, and laid them down to sleep.
The next morning, to prevent the worst, they got up early and hastened on their journey; and though they were now got out of all danger of the tame Chiangulays, they were in great danger of the wild ones, of whom those woods were full; and though they saw their tents, yet they were all gone, since the rains had fallen, from the river into the woods; and so God kept them from that danger, for, had they met the wild men, they had been shot.
Thus they travelled from morning till night several days, through bushes and thorns, which made their arms and shoulders, which were naked, all of a gore blood. They often met with bears, hogs, deer, and wild buffaloes; but they all ran away as soon as they saw them. The river was exceedingly full of alligators; in the evening they used to pitch their tents, and make great fires both before and behind them, to affright the wild beasts; and though they heard the voices of all sorts, they saw none.
On Thursday, at noon, they crossed the river Coronda [? Kannadera Oya], which parts the country of the Malabars from the king's, and on Friday, about nine or ten in the morning, came among the inhabitants, of whom they were as much afraid as of the Chiangulays before; for, though the Wanniounay, or prince of this people, payeth tribute to the Dutch out of fear, yet he is better affected to the King of Kandy, and, if he had took them, would have sent them up to their old master; but not knowing any way to escape, they kept on their journey by the river-side by day, because the woods were not to be travelled by night for thorns and wild beasts, who came down then to the river to drink. In all the Malabar country they met with only two Brahmins, who treated them very civilly; and for their money, one of them conducted them till they came into the territories of the Dutch, and out of all danger of the King of Kandy, which did not a little rejoice them; but yet they were in no small trouble how to find the way out of the woods, till a Malabar, for the lucre of a knife, conducted them to a Dutch town, where they found guides to conduct them from town to town, till they came to the fort called Aripo, where they arrived Saturday, October 18, 1679, and there thankfully adored God's wonderful providence, in thus completing their deliverance from a long captivity of nineteen years and six months.
I come now back to my own history, which grows near a conclusion, as to the travels I took in this part of the world. We were now at sea, and we stood away to the north for a while, to try if we could get a market for our spice, for we were very rich in nutmegs, but we ill knew what to do with them; we durst not go upon the English coast, or, to speak more properly, among the English factories to trade; not that we were afraid to fight any two ships they had, and, besides that, we knew that, as they had no letters of marque, or of reprisals from the government, so it was none of their business to act offensively, no, not though we were pirates. Indeed, if we had made any attempt upon them, they might have justified themselves in joining together to resist, and assisting one another to defend themselves; but to go out of their business to attack a pirate ship of almost fifty guns, as we were, it was plain that it was none of their business, and consequently it was none of our concern, so we did not trouble ourselves about it; but, on the other hand, it was none of our business to be seen among them, and to have the news of us carried from one factory to another, so that whatever design we might be upon at another time, we should be sure to be prevented and discovered. Much less had we any occasion to be seen among any of the Dutch factories upon the coast of Malabar; for, being fully laden with the spices which we had, in the sense of their trade, plundered them of, it would have told them what we were, and all that we had been doing; and they would, no doubt, have concerned themselves all manner of ways to have fallen upon us.
The only way we had for it was to stand away for Goa, and trade, if we could, for our spices, with the Portuguese factory there. Accordingly, we sailed almost thither, for we had made land two days before, and being in the latitude of Goa, were standing in fair for Margaon, on the head of Salsat, at the going up to Goa, when I called to the men at the helm to bring the ship to, and bid the pilot go away N.N.W., till we came out of sight of the shore, when William and I called a council, as we used to do upon emergencies, what course we should take to trade there and not be discovered; and we concluded at length that we would not go thither at all, but that William, with such trusty fellows only as could be depended upon, should go in the sloop to Surat, which was still farther northward, and trade there as merchants with such of the English factory as they could find to be for their turn.
To carry this with the more caution, and so as not to be suspected, we agreed to take out all her guns, and put such men into her, and no other, as would promise us not to desire or offer to go on shore, or to enter into any talk or conversation with any that might come on board; and, to finish the disguise to our mind, William documented two of our men, one a surgeon, as he himself was, and the other, a ready-witted fellow, an old sailor, that had been a pilot upon the coast of New England, and was an excellent mimic; these two William dressed up like two Quakers, and made them talk like such. The old pilot he made go captain of the sloop, and the surgeon for doctor, as he was, and himself supercargo. In this figure, and the sloop all plain, no curled work upon her (indeed she had not much before), and no guns to be seen, away he went for Surat.
I should, indeed, have observed, that we went, some days before we parted, to a small sandy island close under the shore, where there was a good cove of deep water, like a road, and out of sight of any of the factories, which are here very thick upon the coast. Here we shifted the loading of the sloop, and put into her such things only as we had a mind to dispose of there, which was indeed little but nutmegs and cloves, but chiefly the former; and from thence William and his two Quakers, with about eighteen men in the sloop, went away to Surat, and came to an anchor at a distance from the factory.
William used such caution that he found means to go on shore himself, and the doctor, as he called him, in a boat which came on board them to sell fish, rowed with only Indians of the country, which boat he afterwards hired to carry him on board again. It was not long that they were on shore, but that they found means to get acquaintance with some Englishmen, who, though they lived there, and perhaps were the company's servants at first, yet appeared then to be traders for themselves, in whatever coast business especially came in their way; and the doctor was made the first to pick acquaintance; so he recommended his friend, the supercargo, till, by degrees, the merchants were as fond of the bargain as our men were of the merchants, only that the cargo was a little too much for them.
However, this did not prove a difficulty long with them, for the next day they brought two more merchants, English also, into their bargain, and, as William could perceive by their discourse, they resolved, if they bought them, to carry them to the Gulf of Persia upon their own accounts. William took the hint, and, as he told me afterwards, concluded we might carry them there as well as they. But this was not William's present business; he had here no less than three-and-thirty ton of nuts and eighteen ton of cloves. There was a good quantity of mace among the nutmegs, but we did not stand to make much allowance. In short, they bargained, and the merchants, who would gladly have bought sloop and all, gave William directions, and two men for pilots, to go to a creek about six leagues from the factory, where they brought boats, and unloaded the whole cargo, and paid William very honestly for it; the whole parcel amounting, in money, to about thirty-five thousand pieces of eight, besides some goods of value, which William was content to take, and two large diamonds, worth about three hundred pounds sterling.
When they paid the money, William invited them on board the sloop, where they came; and the merry old Quaker diverted them exceedingly with his talk, and "thee'd" them and "thou'd" them till he made them so drunk that they could not go on shore for that night.
They would fain have known who our people were, and whence they came; but not a man in the sloop would answer them to any question they asked, but in such a manner as let them think themselves bantered and jested with. However, in discourse, William said they were able men for any cargo we could have brought them, and that they would have bought twice as much spice if we had had it. He ordered the merry captain to tell them that they had another sloop that lay at Margaon, and that had a great quantity of spice on board also; and that, if it was not sold when he went back (for that thither he was bound), he would bring her up.
Their new chaps were so eager, that they would have bargained with the old captain beforehand. "Nay, friend," said he, "I will not trade with thee unsight and unseen; neither do I know whether the master of the sloop may not have sold his loading already to some merchants of Salsat; but if he has not when I come to him, I think to bring him up to thee."
The doctor had his employment all this while, as well as William and the old captain, for he went on shore several times a day in the Indian boat, and brought fresh provisions for the sloop, which the men had need enough of. He brought, in particular, seventeen large casks of arrack, as big as butts, besides smaller quantities, a quantity of rice, and abundance of fruits, mangoes, pompions, and such things, with fowls and fish. He never came on board but he was deep laden; for, in short, he bought for the ship as well as for themselves; and, particularly, they half-loaded the ship with rice and arrack, with some hogs, and six or seven cows, alive; and thus, being well victualled, and having directions for coming again, they returned to us.
William was always the lucky welcome messenger to us, but never more welcome to us than now; for where we had thrust in the ship, we could get nothing, except a few mangoes and roots, being not willing to make any steps into the country, or make ourselves known till we had news of our sloop; and indeed our men's patience was almost tired, for it was seventeen days that William spent upon this enterprise, and well bestowed too.
When he came back we had another conference upon the subject of trade, namely, whether we should send the best of our spices, and other goods we had in the ship, to Surat, or whether we should go up to the Gulf of Persia ourselves, where it was probable we might sell them as well as the English merchants of Surat. William was for going ourselves, which, by the way, was from the good, frugal, merchant-like temper of the man, who was for the best of everything; but here I overruled William, which I very seldom took upon me to do; but I told him, that, considering our circumstances, it was much better for us to sell all our cargoes here, though we made but half-price of them, than to go with them to the Gulf of Persia, where we should run a greater risk, and where people would be much more curious and inquisitive into things than they were here, and where it would not be so easy to manage them, seeing they traded freely and openly there, not by stealth, as those men seemed to do; and, besides, if they suspected anything, it would be much more difficult for us to retreat, except by mere force, than here, where we were upon the high sea as it were, and could be gone whenever we pleased, without any disguise, or, indeed, without the least appearance of being pursued, none knowing where to look for us.
My apprehensions prevailed with William, whether my reasons did or no, and he submitted; and we resolved to try another ship's loading to the same merchants. The main business was to consider how to get off that circumstance that had exposed them to the English merchants, namely that it was our other sloop; but this the old Quaker pilot undertook; for being, as I said, an excellent mimic himself, it was the easier for him to dress up the sloop in new clothes; and first, he put on all the carved work he had taken off before; her stern, which was painted of a dumb white or dun colour before, all flat, was now all lacquered and blue, and I know not how many gay figures in it; as to her quarter, the carpenters made her a neat little gallery on either side; she had twelve guns put into her, and some petereroes upon her gunnel, none of which were there before; and to finish her new habit or appearance, and make her change complete, he ordered her sails to be altered; and as she sailed before with a half-sprit, like a yacht, she sailed now with square-sail and mizzen-mast, like a ketch; so that, in a word, she was a perfect cheat, disguised in everything that a stranger could be supposed to take any notice of that had never had but one view, for they had been but once on board.
In this mean figure the sloop returned; she had a new man put into her for captain, one we knew how to trust; and the old pilot appearing only as a passenger, the doctor and William acting as the supercargoes, by a formal procuration from one Captain Singleton, and all things ordered in form.
We had a complete loading for the sloop; for, besides a very great quantity of nutmegs and cloves, mace, and some cinnamon, she had on board some goods which we took in as we lay about the Philippine Islands, while we waited as looking for purchase.
William made no difficulty of selling this cargo also, and in about twenty days returned again, freighted with all necessary provisions for our voyage, and for a long time; and, as I say, we had a great deal of other goods: he brought us back about three-and-thirty thousand pieces of eight, and some diamonds, which, though William did not pretend to much skill in, yet he made shift to act so as not to be imposed upon, the merchants he had to deal with, too, being very fair men.
They had no difficulty at all with these merchants, for the prospect they had of gain made them not at all inquisitive, nor did they make the least discovery of the sloop; and as to the selling them spices which were fetched so far from thence, it seems it was not so much a novelty there as we believed, for the Portuguese had frequently vessels which came from Macao in China, who brought spices, which they bought of the Chinese traders, who again frequently dealt among the Dutch Spice Islands, and received spices in exchange for such goods as they carried from China.
This might be called, indeed, the only trading voyage we had made; and now we were really very rich, and it came now naturally before us to consider whither we should go next. Our proper delivery port, as we ought to have called it, was at Madagascar, in the Bay of Mangahelly; but William took me by myself into the cabin of the sloop one day, and told me he wanted to talk seriously with me a little; so we shut ourselves in, and William began with me.
"Wilt thou give me leave," says William, "to talk plainly with thee upon thy present circumstances, and thy future prospect of living? and wilt thou promise, on thy word, to take nothing ill of me?"
"With all my heart," said I. "William, I have always found your advice good, and your designs have not only been well laid, but your counsel has been very lucky to us; and, therefore, say what you will, I promise you I will not take it ill."
"But that is not all my demand," says William; "if thou dost not like what I am going to propose to thee, thou shalt promise me not to make it public among the men."
"I will not, William," says I, "upon my word;" and swore to him, too, very heartily.
"Why, then," says William, "I have but one thing more to article with thee about, and that is, that thou wilt consent that if thou dost not approve of it for thyself, thou wilt yet consent that I shall put so much of it in practice as relates to myself and my new comrade doctor, so that it be nothing to thy detriment and loss."
"In anything," says I, "William, but leaving me, I will; but I cannot part with you upon any terms whatever."
"Well," says William, "I am not designing to part from thee, unless it is thy own doing. But assure me in all these points, and I will tell my mind freely."
So I promised him everything he desired of me in the solemnest manner possible, and so seriously and frankly withal, that William made no scruple to open his mind to me.
"Why, then, in the first place," says William, "shall I ask thee if thou dost not think thou and all thy men are rich enough, and have really gotten as much wealth together (by whatsoever way it has been gotten, that is not the question) as we all know what to do with?"
"Why, truly, William," said I, "thou art pretty right; I think we have had pretty good luck."
"Well, then," says William, "I would ask whether, if thou hast gotten enough, thou hast any thought of leaving off this trade; for most people leave off trading when they are satisfied of getting, and are rich enough; for nobody trades for the sake of trading; much less do men rob for the sake of thieving."
"Well, William," says I, "now I perceive what it is thou art driving at. I warrant you," says I, "you begin to hanker after home."
"Why, truly," says William, "thou hast said it, and so I hope thou dost too. It is natural for most men that are abroad to desire to come home again at last, especially when they are grown rich, and when they are (as thou ownest thyself to be) rich enough, and so rich as they know not what to do with more if they had it."
"Well, William," said I, "but now you think you have laid your preliminary at first so home that I should have nothing to say; that is, that when I had got money enough, it would be natural to think of going home. But you have not explained what you mean by home, and there you and I shall differ. Why, man, I am at home; here is my habitation; I never had any other in my lifetime; I was a kind of charity school boy; so that I can have no desire of going anywhere for being rich or poor, for I have nowhere to go."
"Why," says William, looking a little confused, "art not thou an Englishman?"
"Yes," says I, "I think so: you see I speak English; but I came out of England a child, and never was in it but once since I was a man; and then I was cheated and imposed upon, and used so ill that I care not if I never see it more."
"Why, hast thou no relations or friends there?" says he; "no acquaintance— none that thou hast any kindness or any remains of respect for?"
"Not I, William," said I; "no more than I have in the court of the Geat Mogul."
"Nor any kindness for the country where thou wast born?" says William.
"Not I, any more than for the island of Madagascar, nor so much neither; for that has been a fortunate island to me more than once, as thou knowest, William," said I.
William was quite stunned at my discourse, and held his peace; and I said to him, "Go on, William; what hast thou to say farther? for I hear you have some project in your head," says I; "come, let's have it out."
"Nay," says William, "thou hast put me to silence, and all I had to say is overthrown; all my projects are come to nothing, and gone."
"Well, but, William," said I, "let me hear what they were; for though it is so that what I have to aim at does not look your way, and though I have no relation, no friend, no acquaintance in England, yet I do not say I like this roving, cruising life so well as never to give it over. Let me hear if thou canst propose to me anything beyond it."
"Certainly, friend," says William, very gravely, "there is something beyond it;" and lifting up his hands, he seemed very much affected, and I thought I saw tears stand in his eyes; but I, that was too hardened a wretch to be moved with these things, laughed at him. "What!" says I, "you mean death, I warrant you: don't you? That is beyond this trade. Why, when it comes, it comes; then we are all provided for."
"Ay," says William, "that is true; but it would be better that some things were thought on before that came."
"Thought on!" says I; "what signifies thinking of it? To think of death is to die, and to be always thinking of it is to be all one's life long a-dying. It is time enough to think of it when it comes."
You will easily believe I was well qualified for a pirate that could talk thus. But let me leave it upon record, for the remark of other hardened rogues like myself,—my conscience gave me a pang that I never felt before when I said, "What signifies thinking of it?" and told me I should one day think of these words with a sad heart; but the time of my reflection was not yet come; so I went on.
Says William very seriously, "I must tell thee, friend, I am sorry to hear thee talk so. They that never think of dying, often die without thinking of it."
I carried on the jesting way a while farther, and said, "Prithee, do not talk of dying; how do we know we shall ever die?" and began to laugh.
"I need not answer thee to that," says William; "it is not my place to reprove thee, who art commander over me here; but I would rather thou wouldst talk otherwise of death; it is a coarse thing."
"Say anything to me, William," said I; "I will take it kindly." I began now to be very much moved at his discourse.
Says William (tears running down his face), "It is because men live as if they were never to die, that so many die before they know how to live. But it was not death that I meant when I said that there was something to be thought of beyond this way of living."
"Why, William," said I, "what was that?"
"It was repentance," says he.
"Why," says I, "did you ever know a pirate repent?"
At this he startled a little, and returned, "At the gallows I have [known] one before, and I hope thou wilt be the second."
He spoke this very affectionately, with an appearance of concern for me.
"Well, William," says I, "I thank you; and I am not so senseless of these things, perhaps, as I make myself seem to be. But come, let me hear your proposal."
"My proposal," says William, "is for thy good as well as my own. We may put an end to this kind of life, and repent; and I think the fairest occasion offers for both, at this very time, that ever did, or ever will, or, indeed, can happen again."
"Look you, William," says I; "let me have your proposal for putting an end to our present way of living first, for that is the case before us, and you and I will talk of the other afterwards. I am not so insensible," said I, "as you may think me to be. But let us get out of this hellish condition we are in first."
"Nay," says William, "thou art in the right there; we must never talk of repenting while we continue pirates."
"Well," says I, "William, that's what I meant; for if we must not reform, as well as be sorry for what is done, I have no notion what repentance means; indeed, at best I know little of the matter; but the nature of the thing seems to tell me that the first step we have to take is to break off this wretched course; and I'll begin there with you, with all my heart."
I could see by his countenance that William was thoroughly pleased with the offer; and if he had tears in-his eyes before, he had more now; but it was from quite a different passion; for he was so swallowed up with joy he could not speak.
"Come, William," says I, "thou showest me plain enough thou hast an honest meaning; dost thou think it practicable for us to put an end to our unhappy way of living here, and get off?"
"Yes," says he, "I think it very practicable for me; whether it is for thee or no, that will depend upon thyself."
"Well," says I, "I give you my word, that as I have commanded you all along, from the time I first took you on board, so you shall command me from this hour, and everything you direct me I'll do."
"Wilt thou leave it all to me? Dost thou say this freely?"
"Yes, William," said I, "freely; and I'll perform it faithfully."
"Why, then," says William, "my scheme is this: We are now at the mouth of the Gulf of Persia; we have sold so much of our cargo here at Surat, that we have money enough; send me away for Bassorah with the sloop, laden with the China goods we have on board, which will make another good cargo, and I'll warrant thee I'll find means, among the English and Dutch merchants there, to lodge a quantity of goods and money also as a merchant, so as we will be able to have recourse to it again upon any occasion, and when I come home we will contrive the rest; and, in the meantime, do you bring the ship's crew to take a resolution to go to Madagascar as soon as I return."
I told him I thought he need not go so far as Bassorah, but might run into Gombroon, or to Ormuz, and pretend the same business.
"No," says he, "I cannot act with the same freedom there, because the Company's factories are there, and I may be laid hold of there on pretence of interloping."
"Well, but," said I, "you may go to Ormuz, then; for I am loth to part with you so long as to go to the bottom of the Persian Gulf." He returned, that I should leave it to him to do as he should see cause.
We had taken a large sum of money at Surat, so that we had near a hundred thousand pounds in money at our command, but on board the great ship we had still a great deal more.
I ordered him publicly to keep the money on board which he had, and to buy up with it a quantity of ammunition, if he could get it, and so to furnish us for new exploits; and, in the meantime, I resolved to get a quantity of gold and some jewels, which I had on board the great ship, and place them so that I might carry them off without notice as soon as he came back; and so, according to William's directions, I left him to go the voyage, and I went on board the great ship, in which we had indeed an immense treasure.
We waited no less than two months for William's return, and indeed I began to be very uneasy about William, sometimes thinking he had abandoned me, and that he might have used the same artifice to have engaged the other men to comply with him, and so they were gone away together; and it was but three days before his return that I was just upon the point of resolving to go away to Madagascar, and give him over; but the old surgeon, who mimicked the Quaker and passed for the master of the sloop at Surat, persuaded me against that, for which good advice and apparent faithfulness in what he had been trusted with, I made him a party to my design, and he proved very honest.
At length William came back, to our inexpressible joy, and brought a great many necessary things with him; as, particularly, he brought sixty barrels of powder, some iron shot, and about thirty ton of lead; also he brought a great deal of provisions; and, in a word, William gave me a public account of his voyage, in the hearing of whoever happened to be upon the quarter-deck, that no suspicions might be found about us.
After all was done, William moved that he might go up again, and that I would go with him; named several things which we had on board that he could not sell there; and, particularly, told us he had been obliged to leave several things there, the caravans being not come in; and that he had engaged to come back again with goods.
This was what I wanted. The men were eager for his going, and particularly because he told them they might load the sloop back with rice and provisions; but I seemed backward to going, when the old surgeon stood up and persuaded me to go, and with many arguments pressed me to it; as, particularly, if I did not go, there would be no order, and several of the men might drop away, and perhaps betray all the rest; and that they should not think it safe for the sloop to go again if I did not go; and to urge me to it, he offered himself to go with me.
Upon these considerations I seemed to be over-persuaded to go, and all the company seemed to be better satisfied when I had consented; and, accordingly, we took all the powder, lead, and iron out of the sloop into the great ship, and all the other things that were for the ship's use, and put in some bales of spices and casks or frails of cloves, in all about seven ton, and some other goods, among the bales of which I had conveyed all my private treasure, which, I assure you, was of no small value, and away I went.
At going off I called a council of all the officers in the ship to consider in what place they should wait for me, and how long, and we appointed the ship to stay eight-and-twenty days at a little island on the Arabian side of the Gulf, and that, if the sloop did not come in that time, they should sail to another island to the west of that place, and wait there fifteen days more, and that then, if the sloop did not come, they should conclude some accident must have happened, and the rendezvous should be at Madagascar.
Being thus resolved, we left the ship, which both William and I, and the surgeon, never intended to see any more. We steered directly for the Gulf, and through to Bassorah, or Balsara. This city of Balsara lies at some distance from the place where our sloop lay, and the river not being very safe, and we but ill acquainted with it, having but an ordinary pilot, we went on shore at a village where some merchants live, and which is very populous, for the sake of small vessels riding there.
Here we stayed and traded three or four days, landing all our bales and spices, and indeed the whole cargo that was of any considerable value, which we chose to do rather than go up immediately to Balsara till the project we had laid was put in execution.
After we had bought several goods, and were preparing to buy several others, the boat being on shore with twelve men, myself, William, the surgeon, and one fourth man, whom we had singled out, we contrived to send a Turk just at the dusk of the evening with a letter to the boatswain, and giving the fellow a charge to run with all possible speed, we stood at a small distance to observe the event. The contents of the letter were thus written by the old doctor:—
"BOATSWAIN THOMAS,—We are all betrayed. For God's sake make off with the boat, and get on board, or you are all lost. The captain, William the Quaker, and George the reformade are seized and carried away: I am escaped and hid, but cannot stir out; if I do I am a dead man. As soon as you are on board cut or slip, and make sail for your lives. Adieu.—R.S."
We stood undiscovered, as above, it being the dusk of the evening, and saw the Turk deliver the letter, and in three minutes we saw all the men hurry into the boat and put off, and no sooner were they on board than they took the hint, as we supposed, for the next morning they were out of sight, and we never heard tale or tidings of them since.
We were now in a good place, and in very good circumstances, for we passed for merchants of Persia.
It is not material to record here what a mass of ill-gotten wealth we had got together: it will be more to the purpose to tell you that I began to be sensible of the crime of getting of it in such a manner as I had done; that I had very little satisfaction in the possession of it; and, as I told William, I had no expectation of keeping it, nor much desire; but, as I said to him one day walking out into the fields near the town of Bassorah, so I depended upon it that it would be the case, which you will hear presently.
We were perfectly secured at Bassorah, by having frighted away the rogues, our comrades; and we had nothing to do but to consider how to convert our treasure into things proper to make us look like merchants, as we were now to be, and not like freebooters, as we really had been.
We happened very opportunely here upon a Dutchman, who had travelled from Bengal to Agra, the capital city of the Great Mogul, and from thence was come to the coast of Malabar by land, and got shipping, somehow or other, up the Gulf; and we found his design was to go up the great river to Bagdad or Babylon, and so, by the caravan, to Aleppo and Scanderoon. As William spoke Dutch, and was of an agreeable, insinuating behaviour, he soon got acquainted with this Dutchman, and discovering our circumstances to one another, we found he had considerable effects with him; and that he had traded long in that country, and was making homeward to his own country; and that he had servants with him; one an Armenian, whom he had taught to speak Dutch, and who had something of his own, but had a mind to travel into Europe; and the other a Dutch sailor, whom he had picked up by his fancy, and reposed a great trust in him, and a very honest fellow he was.
This Dutchman was very glad of an acquaintance, because he soon found that we directed our thoughts to Europe also; and as he found we were encumbered with goods only (for we let him know nothing of our money), he readily offered us his assistance to dispose of as many of them as the place we were in would put off, and his advice what to do with the rest.
While this was doing, William and I consulted what to do with ourselves and what we had; and first, we resolved we would never talk seriously of our measures but in the open fields, where we were sure nobody could hear; so every evening, when the sun began to decline and the air to be moderate we walked out, sometimes this way, sometimes that, to consult of our affairs.
I should have observed that we had new clothed ourselves here, after the Persian manner, with long vests of silk, a gown or robe of English crimson cloth, very fine and handsome, and had let our beards grow so after the Persian manner that we passed for Persian merchants, in view only, though, by the way, we could not understand or speak one word of the language of Persia, or indeed of any other but English and Dutch; and of the latter I understood very little.
However, the Dutchman supplied all this for us; and as we had resolved to keep ourselves as retired as we could, though there were several English merchants upon the place, yet we never acquainted ourselves with one of them, or exchanged a word with them; by which means we prevented their inquiry of us now, or their giving any intelligence of us, if any news of our landing here should happen to come, which, it was easy for us to know, was possible enough, if any of our comrades fell into bad hands, or by many accidents which we could not foresee.
It was during my being here, for here we stayed near two months, that I grew very thoughtful about my circumstances; not as to the danger, neither indeed were we in any, but were entirely concealed and unsuspected; but I really began to have other thoughts of myself, and of the world, than ever I had before.
William had struck so deep into my unthinking temper with hinting to me that there was something beyond all this; that the present time was the time of enjoyment, but that the time of account approached; that the work that remained was gentler than the labour past, viz., repentance, and that it was high time to think of it;—I say these, and such thoughts as these, engrossed my hours, and, in a word, I grew very sad.
As to the wealth I had, which was immensely great, it was all like dirt under my feet; I had no value for it, no peace in the possession of it, no great concern about me for the leaving of it.
William had perceived my thoughts to be troubled and my mind heavy and oppressed for some time; and one evening, in one of our cool walks, I began with him about the leaving our effects. William was a wise and wary man, and indeed all the prudentials of my conduct had for a long time been owing to his advice, and so now all the methods for preserving our effects, and even ourselves, lay upon him; and he had been telling me of some of the measures he had been taking for our making homeward, and for the security of our wealth, when I took him very short. "Why, William," says I, "dost thou think we shall ever be able to reach Europe with all this cargo that we have about us?"
"Ay," says William, "without doubt, as well as other merchants with theirs, as long as it is not publicly known what quantity or of what value our cargo consists."
"Why, William," says I, smiling, "do you think that if there is a God above, as you have so long been telling me there is, and that we must give an account to Him,—I say, do you think, if He be a righteous Judge, He will let us escape thus with the plunder, as we may call it, of so many innocent people, nay, I might say nations, and not call us to an account for it before we can get to Europe, where we pretend to enjoy it?"
William appeared struck and surprised at the question, and made no answer for a great while; and I repeated the question, adding that it was not to be expected.
After a little pause, says William, "Thou hast started a very weighty question, and I can make no positive answer to it; but I will state it thus: first, it is true that, if we consider the justice of God, we have no reason to expect any protection; but as the ordinary ways of Providence are out of the common road of human affairs, so we may hope for mercy still upon our repentance, and we know not how good He may be to us; so we are to act as if we rather depended upon the last, I mean the merciful part, than claimed the first, which must produce nothing but judgment and vengeance."
"But hark ye, William," says I, "the nature of repentance, as you have hinted once to me, included reformation; and we can never reform; how, then, can we repent?"
"Why can we never reform?" says William.
"Because," said I, "we cannot restore what we have taken away by rapine and spoil."
"It is true," says William, "we never can do that, for we can never come to the knowledge of the owners."
"But what, then, must be done with our wealth," said I, "the effects of plunder and rapine? If we keep it, we continue to be robbers and thieves; and if we quit it we cannot do justice with it, for we cannot restore it to the right owners."
"Nay," says William, "the answer to it is short. To quit what we have, and do it here, is to throw it away to those who have no claim to it, and to divest ourselves of it, but to do no right with it; whereas we ought to keep it carefully together, with a resolution to do what right with it we are able; and who knows what opportunity Providence may put into our hands to do justice, at least, to some of those we have injured? So we ought, at least, to leave it to Him and go on. As it is, without doubt our present business is to go to some place of safety, where we may wait His will."
This resolution of William was very satisfying to me indeed, as, the truth is, all he said, and at all times, was solid and good; and had not William thus, as it were, quieted my mind, I think, verily, I was so alarmed at the just reason I had to expect vengeance from Heaven upon me for my ill-gotten wealth, that I should have run away from it as the devil's goods, that I had nothing to do with, that did not belong to me, and that I had no right to keep, and was in certain danger of being destroyed for.
However, William settled my mind to more prudent steps than these, and I concluded that I ought, however, to proceed to a place of safety, and leave the event to God Almighty's mercy. But this I must leave upon record, that I had from this time no joy of the wealth I had got. I looked upon it all as stolen, and so indeed the greatest part of it was. I looked upon it as a hoard of other men's goods, which I had robbed the innocent owners of, and which I ought, in a word, to be hanged for here, and damned for hereafter. And now, indeed, I began sincerely to hate myself for a dog; a wretch that had been a thief and a murderer; a wretch that was in a condition which nobody was ever in; for I had robbed, and though I had the wealth by me, yet it was impossible I should ever make any restitution; and upon this account it ran in my head that I could never repent, for that repentance could not be sincere without restitution, and therefore must of necessity be damned. There was no room for me to escape. I went about with my heart full of these thoughts, little better than a distracted fellow; in short, running headlong into the dreadfullest despair, and premeditating nothing but how to rid myself out of the world; and, indeed, the devil, if such things are of the devil's immediate doing, followed his work very close with me, and nothing lay upon my mind for several days but to shoot myself into the head with my pistol.
I was all this while in a vagrant life, among infidels, Turks, pagans, and such sort of people. I had no minister, no Christian to converse with but poor William. He was my ghostly father or confessor, and he was all the comfort I had. As for my knowledge of religion, you have heard my history. You may suppose I had not much; and as for the Word of God, I do not remember that I ever read a chapter in the Bible in my lifetime. I was little Bob at Bussleton, and went to school to learn my Testament.
However, it pleased God to make William the Quaker everything to me. Upon this occasion, I took him out one evening, as usual, and hurried him away into the fields with me, in more haste than ordinary; and there, in short, I told him the perplexity of my mind, and under what terrible temptations of the devil I had been; that I must shoot myself, for I could not support the weight and terror that was upon me.
"Shoot yourself!" says William; "why, what will that do for you?"
"Why," says I, "it will put an end to a miserable life."
"Well," says William, "are you satisfied the next will be better?"
"No, no," says I; "much worse, to be sure."
"Why, then," says he, "shooting yourself is the devil's motion, no doubt; for it is the devil of a reason, that, because thou art in an ill case, therefore thou must put thyself into a worse."
This shocked my reason indeed. "Well, but," says I, "there is no bearing the miserable condition I am in."
"Very well," says William; "but it seems there is some bearing a worse condition; and so you will shoot yourself, that you may be past remedy?"
"I am past remedy already," says I.
"How do you know that?" says he.
"I am satisfied of it," said I.
"Well," says he, "but you are not sure; so you will shoot yourself to make it certain; for though on this side death you cannot be sure you will be damned at all, yet the moment you step on the other side of time you are sure of it; for when it is done, it is not to be said then that you will be, but that you are damned."
"Well, but," says William, as if he had been between jest and earnest, "pray, what didst thou dream of last night?"
"Why," said I, "I had frightful dreams all night; and, particularly, I dreamed that the devil came for me, and asked me what my name was; and I told him. Then he asked me what trade I was. 'Trade?' says I; 'I am a thief, a rogue, by my calling: I am a pirate and a murderer, and ought to be hanged.' 'Ay, ay,' says the devil, 'so you do; and you are the man I looked for, and therefore come along with me.' At which I was most horribly frighted, and cried out so that it waked me; and I have been in horrible agony ever since."
"Very well," says William; "come, give me the pistol thou talkedst of just now."
"Why," says I, "what will you do with it?"
"Do with it!" says William. "Why, thou needest not shoot thyself; I shall be obliged to do it for thee. Why, thou wilt destroy us all."
"What do you mean, William?" said I.
"Mean!" said he; "nay, what didst thou mean, to cry out aloud in thy sleep, 'I am a thief, a pirate, a murderer, and ought to be hanged'? Why, thou wilt ruin us all. 'Twas well the Dutchman did not understand English. In short, I must shoot thee, to save my own life. Come, come," says he, "give me thy pistol."
I confess this terrified me again another way, and I began to be sensible that, if anybody had been near me to understand English, I had been undone. The thought of shooting myself forsook me from that time; and I turned to William, "You disorder me extremely, William," said I; "why, I am never safe, nor is it safe to keep me company. What shall I do? I shall betray you all."
"Come, come, friend Bob," says he, "I'll put an end to it all, if you will take my advice."
"How's that?" said I.
"Why, only," says he, "that the next time thou talkest with the devil, thou wilt talk a little softlier, or we shall be all undone, and you too."
This frighted me, I must confess, and allayed a great deal of the trouble of mind I was in. But William, after he had done jesting with me, entered upon a very long and serious discourse with me about the nature of my circumstances, and about repentance; that it ought to be attended, indeed, with a deep abhorrence of the crime that I had to charge myself with; but that to despair of God's mercy was no part of repentance, but putting myself into the condition of the devil; indeed, that I must apply myself with a sincere, humble confession of my crime, to ask pardon of God, whom I had offended, and cast myself upon His mercy, resolving to be willing to make restitution, if ever it should please God to put it in my power, even to the utmost of what I had in the world. And this, he told me, was the method which he had resolved upon himself; and in this, he told me, he had found comfort.
I had a great deal of satisfaction in William's discourse, and it quieted me very much; but William was very anxious ever after about my talking in my sleep, and took care to lie with me always himself, and to keep me from lodging in any house where so much as a word of English was understood.
However, there was not the like occasion afterward; for I was much more composed in my mind, and resolved for the future to live a quite different life from what I had done. As to the wealth I had, I looked upon it as nothing; I resolved to set it apart to any such opportunity of doing justice as God should put into my hand; and the miraculous opportunity I had afterwards of applying some parts of it to preserve a ruined family, whom I had plundered, may be worth reading, if I have room for it in this account.
With these resolutions I began to be restored to some degree of quiet in my mind; and having, after almost three months' stay at Bassorah, disposed of some goods, but having a great quantity left, we hired boats according to the Dutchman's direction, and went up to Bagdad, or Babylon, on the river Tigris, or rather Euphrates. We had a very considerable cargo of goods with us, and therefore made a great figure there, and were received with respect. We had, in particular, two-and-forty bales of Indian stuffs of sundry sorts, silks, muslins, and fine chintz; we had fifteen bales of very fine China silks, and seventy packs or bales of spices, particularly cloves and nutmegs, with other goods. We were bid money here for our cloves, but the Dutchman advised us not to part with them, and told us we should get a better price at Aleppo, or in the Levant; so we prepared for the caravan.
We concealed our having any gold or pearls as much as we could, and therefore sold three or four bales of China silks and Indian calicoes, to raise money to buy camels and to pay the customs which are taken at several places, and for our provisions over the deserts.
I travelled this journey, careless to the last degree of my goods or wealth, believing that, as I came by it all by rapine and violence, God would direct that it should be taken from me again in the same manner; and, indeed, I think I might say I was very willing it should be so. But, as I had a merciful Protector above me, so I had a most faithful steward, counsellor, partner, or whatever I might call him, who was my guide, my pilot, my governor, my everything, and took care both of me and of all we had; and though he had never been in any of these parts of the world, yet he took the care of all upon him; and in about nine-and-fifty days we arrived from Bassorah, at the mouth of the river Tigris or Euphrates, through the desert, and through Aleppo to Alexandria, or, as we call it, Scanderoon, in the Levant.
Here William and I, and the other two, our faithful comrades, debated what we should do; and here William and I resolved to separate from the other two, they resolving to go with the Dutchman into Holland, by the means of some Dutch ship which lay then in the road. William and I told them we resolved to go and settle in the Morea, which then belonged to the Venetians.
It is true we acted wisely in it not to let them know whither we went, seeing we had resolved to separate; but we took our old doctor's directions how to write to him in Holland, and in England, that we might have intelligence from him on occasion, and promised to give him an account how to write to us, which we afterwards did, as may in time be made out.
We stayed here some time after they were gone, till at length, not being thoroughly resolved whither to go till then, a Venetian ship touched at Cyprus, and put in at Scanderoon to look for freight home. We took the hint, and bargaining for our passage, and the freight of our goods, we embarked for Venice, where, in two-and-twenty days, we arrived safe, with all our treasure, and with such a cargo, take our goods and our money and our jewels together, as, I believed, was never brought into the city by two single men, since the state of Venice had a being.
We kept ourselves here incognito for a great while, passing for two Armenian merchants still, as we had done before; and by this time we had gotten so much of the Persian and Armenian jargon, which they talked at Bassorah and Bagdad, and everywhere that we came in the country, as was sufficient to make us able to talk to one another, so as not to be understood by anybody, though sometimes hardly by ourselves.
Here we converted all our effects into money, settled our abode as for a considerable time, and William and I, maintaining an inviolable friendship and fidelity to one another, lived like two brothers; we neither had or sought any separate interest; we conversed seriously and gravely, and upon the subject of our repentance continually; we never changed, that is to say, so as to leave off our Armenian garbs; and we were called, at Venice, the two Grecians.
I had been two or three times going to give a detail of our wealth, but it will appear incredible, and we had the greatest difficulty in the world how to conceal it, being justly apprehensive lest we might be assassinated in that country for our treasure. At length William told me he began to think now that he must never see England any more, and that indeed he did not much concern himself about it; but seeing we had gained so great wealth, and he had some poor relations in England, if I was willing, he would write to know if they were living, and to know what condition they were in, and if he found such of them were alive as he had some thoughts about, he would, with my consent, send them something to better their condition.
I consented most willingly; and accordingly William wrote to a sister and an uncle, and in about five weeks' time received an answer from them both, directed to himself, under cover of a hard Armenian name that he had given himself, viz., Signore Constantine Alexion of Ispahan, at Venice.
It was a very moving letter he received from his sister, who, after the most passionate expressions of joy to hear he was alive, seeing she had long ago had an account that he was murdered by the pirates in the West Indies, entreats him to let her know what circumstances he was in; tells him she was not in any capacity to do anything considerable for him, but that he should be welcome to her with all her heart; that she was left a widow, with four children, but kept a little shop in the Minories, by which she made shift to maintain her family; and that she had sent him five pounds, lest he should want money, in a strange country, to bring him home.
I could see the letter brought tears out of his eyes as he read it; and, indeed, when he showed it to me, and the little bill for five pounds, upon an English merchant in Venice, it brought tears out of my eyes too.
After we had been both affected sufficiently with the tenderness and kindness of this letter, he turns to me; says he, "What shall I do for this poor woman?" I mused a while; at last says I, "I will tell you what you shall do for her. She has sent you five pounds, and she has four children, and herself, that is five; such a sum, from a poor woman in her circumstances, is as much as five thousand pounds is to us; you shall send her a bill of exchange for five thousand pounds English money, and bid her conceal her surprise at it till she hears from you again; but bid her leave off her shop, and go and take a house somewhere in the country, not far off from London, and stay there, in a moderate figure, till she hears from you again."
"Now," says William, "I perceive by it that you have some thoughts of venturing into England."
"Indeed, William," said I, "you mistake me; but it presently occurred to me that you should venture, for what have you done that you may not be seen there? Why should I desire to keep you from your relations, purely to keep me company?"
William looked very affectionately upon me. "Nay," says he, "we have embarked together so long, and come together so far, I am resolved I will never part with thee as long as I live, go where thou wilt, or stay where thou wilt; and as for my sister," said William, "I cannot send her such a sum of money, for whose is all this money we have? It is most of it thine."
"No, William," said I, "there is not a penny of it mine but what is yours too, and I won't have anything but an equal share with you, and therefore you shall send it to her; if not, I will send it."
"Why," says William, "it will make the poor woman distracted; she will be so surprised she will go out of her wits."
"Well," said I, "William, you may do it prudently; send her a bill backed of a hundred pounds, and bid her expect more in a post or two, and that you will send her enough to live on without keeping shop, and then send her more."
Accordingly William sent her a very kind letter, with a bill upon a merchant in London for a hundred and sixty pounds, and bid her comfort herself with the hope that he should be able in a little time to send her more. About ten days after, he sent her another bill of five hundred and forty pounds; and a post or two after, another for three hundred pounds, making in all a thousand pounds; and told her he would send her sufficient to leave off her shop, and directed her to take a house as above.
He waited then till he received an answer to all the three letters, with an account that she had received the money, and, which I did not expect, that she had not let any other acquaintance know that she had received a shilling from anybody, or so much as that he was alive, and would not till she had heard again.
When he showed me this letter, "Well, William," said I, "this woman is fit to be trusted with life or anything; send her the rest of the five thousand pounds, and I'll venture to England with you, to this woman's house, whenever you will."
In a word, we sent her five thousand pounds in good bills; and she received them very punctually, and in a little time sent her brother word that she had pretended to her uncle that she was sickly and could not carry on the trade any longer, and that she had taken a large house about four miles from London, under pretence of letting lodgings for her livelihood; and, in short, intimated as if she understood that he intended to come over to be incognito, assuring him he should be as retired as he pleased.
This was opening the very door for us that we thought had been effectually shut for this life; and, in a word, we resolved to venture, but to keep ourselves entirely concealed, both as to name and every other circumstance; and accordingly William sent his sister word how kindly he took her prudent steps, and that she had guessed right that he desired to be retired, and that he obliged her not to increase her figure, but live private, till she might perhaps see him.
He was going to send the letter away. "Come, William," said I, "you shan't send her an empty letter; tell her you have a friend coming with you that must be as retired as yourself, and I'll send her five thousand pounds more."
So, in short, we made this poor woman's family rich; and yet, when it came to the point, my heart failed me, and I durst not venture; and for William, he would not stir without me; and so we stayed about two years after this, considering what we should do.
You may think, perhaps, that I was very prodigal of my ill-gotten goods, thus to load a stranger with my bounty, and give a gift like a prince to one that had been able to merit nothing of me, or indeed know me; but my condition ought to be considered in this case; though I had money to profusion, yet I was perfectly destitute of a friend in the world, to have the least obligation or assistance from, or knew not either where to dispose or trust anything I had while I lived, or whom to give it to if I died.
When I had reflected upon the manner of my getting of it, I was sometimes for giving it all to charitable uses, as a debt due to mankind, though I was no Roman Catholic, and not at all of the opinion that it would purchase me any repose to my soul; but I thought, as it was got by a general plunder, and which I could make no satisfaction for, it was due to the community, and I ought to distribute it for the general good. But still I was at a loss how, and where, and by whom to settle this charity, not daring to go home to my own country, lest some of my comrades, strolled home, should see and detect me, and for the very spoil of my money, or the purchase of his own pardon, betray and expose me to an untimely end.
Being thus destitute, I say, of a friend, I pitched thus upon William's sister; the kind step of hers to her brother, whom she thought to be in distress, signifying a generous mind and a charitable disposition; and having resolved to make her the object of my first bounty, I did not doubt but I should purchase something of a refuge for myself, and a kind of a centre, to which I should tend in my future actions; for really a man that has a subsistence, and no residence, no place that has a magnetic influence upon his affections, is in one of the most odd, uneasy conditions in the world, nor is it in the power of all his money to make it up to him.
It was, as I told you, two years and upwards that we remained at Venice and thereabout, in the greatest hesitation imaginable, irresolute and unfixed to the last degree. William's sister importuned us daily to come to England, and wondered we should not dare to trust her, whom we had to such a degree obliged to be faithful; and in a manner lamented her being suspected by us.
At last I began to incline; and I said to William, "Come, brother William," said I (for ever since our discourse at Bassorah I called him brother), "if you will agree to two or three things with me, I'll go home to England with all my heart."
Says William, "Let me know what they are."
"Why, first," says I, "you shall not disclose yourself to any of your relations in England but your sister—no, not one; secondly, we will not shave off our mustachios or beards" (for we had all along worn our beards after the Grecian manner), "nor leave off our long vests, that we may pass for Grecians and foreigners; thirdly, that we shall never speak English in public before anybody, your sister excepted; fourthly, that we will always live together and pass for brothers."
William said he would agree to them all with all his heart, but that the not speaking English would be the hardest, but he would do his best for that too; so, in a word, we agreed to go from Venice to Naples, where we converted a large sum of money into bales of silk, left a large sum in a merchant's hands at Venice, and another considerable sum at Naples, and took bills of exchange for a great deal too; and yet we came with such a cargo to London as few American merchants had done for some years, for we loaded in two ships seventy-three bales of thrown silk, besides thirteen bales of wrought silks, from the duchy of Milan, shipped at Genoa, with all which I arrived safely; and some time after I married my faithful protectress, William's sister, with whom I am much more happy than I deserve.
And now, having so plainly told you that I am come to England, after I have so boldly owned what life I have led abroad, it is time to leave off, and say no more for the present, lest some should be willing to inquire too nicely after your old friend CAPTAIN BOB.
[Transcriber's Note: The words "thae" (Scottish dialect for "those") and "Geat Mogul" ("Great" may be meant) do occur as such in the print copy.]