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tions of the morning crowding on my recollection; "shiver my timbers! is my fate in this strange country to be for ever irrevocably bound up in a pair of breeches ?"
My cousin pinched my arm.— "Hush, Tom; go home and get mamma's petticoat."
The man was peremptory; and as there was no use in getting into a squabble about such a trifle, I handed my partner over to the care of a gentleman of the party, who was for tunately accoutred according to rule, and, stepping to my quarters, I equipped myself in a pair of tight nether integuments, and returned to the ball-room. By this time there was the devil to pay; the entrance saloon was crowded with military and naval men, high in oath, and headed by no less a person than a general officer, and a one-armed man, one of the chief civil officers in the place, and who had been a sailor in his youth. I was just in time to see the advance of the combined column to the door of the ball-room, through which they drove the picket of constables like chaff, and then halted. The onearmed functionary, a most powerful and very handsome man, now detached himself from the phalanx, and strode up to the advanced guard of stewards clustered in front of the ladies, who had shrunk together into a corner of the room, like so many frightened hares.
The place being now patent to me, I walked up to comfort my party, and could see all that passed. The champion of the Excluded had taken the precaution to roll up the legs of his trowsers, and to tie them tightly at the knee with his garters, which gave him the appearance of a Dutch skipper; and in all the consciousness of being now properly arrayed, he walked up to one of the men in authority a small pot-bellied gentleman, and set himself to intercede for the attacking column, the head of which was still lowering at the door. But the little steward speedily interrupted him.
Why, Mr rules must be maintained, and let me see,"—here he peered through his glass at the substantial supporters of our friend, "as I live, you yourself are inadmissible."
The giant laughed." Damn the
body, he must have been a tailor!— Charge, my fine fellows, and throw the constables out of the window, and the stewards after them. Every man his bird; and here goes for my Cock Robin.” With that he made a grab at his Lilliputian antagonist, but missed him, as he slid away amongst the women like an eel, while his pursuer, brandishing his wooden arm on high, to which I now perceived, for the first time, that there was a large steel hook appended, exclaimed in a broad Scotch accent, Ah, if I had but caught the creature, I would have clapt this in his mouth, and played him like a salmon."
At this signal, in poured the mass of soldiers and sailors; the constables vanished in an instant; the stewards were driven back upon the ladies; and such fainting and screaming, and swearing and threatening, and shying of cards, and fixing of time and place for a cool turn in the morning, it had never been my good fortune to witness before or since. My wig! thought I, a precious country, where a man's life may be periled by the fashion of the covering to his nakedness!
Next day, Mr Fyall, who, I afterwards learned, was a most estimable man in substantials, although somewhat eccentric in small matters, called, and invited me to accompany him on a cruise amongst some of the estates under his management. This was the very thing I desired, and three days afterwards I left my kind friends in Kingston, and set forth on my visit to Mr Fyall, who lived about seven miles from town.
The morning was fine as usual, although about noon the clouds, thin and fleecy and transparent at first, but gradually settling down more dense and heavy, began to congregate on the summit of the Liguanea Mountains, which rises about four miles distant, to a height of near 5000 feet, in rear of the town. It thundered too a little now and then in the same direction, but this was an every-day occurrence in Jamaica at this season, and as I had only seven miles to go, off I started in a gig of mine host's, with my portmanteau well secured under a tarpaulin, in defiance of all threatening appearnoble roan, that had me in tow, close ances, crowding sail, and urging the
upon thirteen knots. I had not gone above three miles, however, when the sky in a moment changed from the intense glare of a tropical noontide, to the deepest gloom, as if a bad angel had suddenly overshadowed us, and interposed his dark wings between us and the blessed sun; indeed, so instantaneous was the effect, that it reminded me of the withdraw ing of the foot-lights in a theatre. The road now wound round the base of a precipitous spur from the Liguanea Mountains, which, far from melting into the level country by gradual and decreasing undulations, shot boldly out nearly a mile from the main range, and that so abruptly, that it seemed morticed into the plain, like a rugged promontory running into a frozen lake. On looking up along the ridge of this prong, I saw the lowering mass of black clouds gradually spread out, and detach themselves from the summits of the loftier mountains, to which they had clung the whole morning, and begin to roll slowly down the hill, seeming to touch the tree tops,while along their lower edges hung a fringe of dark vapour, or rather shreds of cloud in rapid motion, that shifted about, and shot out and shortened
As yet, there was no lightning nor rain, and in the expectation of escaping the shower, as the wind was with me, I made more sail, pushing the horse into a gallop, to the great discomposure of the negro who sat beside me. "Massa, you can't escape it, you are galloping into; don't Massa hear de sound of de rain coming along against de wind, and smell de earthy smell of him like one new made grave?"
"The sound of the rain." In another clime, long, long ago, I had often read at my old mother's knee," And Elijah said unto Ahab, there is a sound of abundance of rain, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not; and it came to pass, in the meanwhile, that the heaven was dark with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain."
I looked, and so it was, for in an instant a white sheet of the heaviest rain I had ever seen, (if rain it might be called, for it was more like a water-spout,) fell from the lower edge
VOL. XXXI, NO. CXCV.
of the black cloud, with a strong rushing noise, that increased to a loud roar like that of a waterfall. As it came along, it seemed to devour the rocks and trees, for they disappeared behind the watery skreen the instant it reached them. We saw it ahead of us for more than a mile coming along the road, preceded by a black line from the moistening of the white dust, right in the wind's eye, and with such an even front, that I verily believe it was descending in buckets full on my horse's head, while as yet not one drop had reached me. At this moment, the adjutant-general of the forces, Colonel F
of the Coldstream Guards, in his tandem, drawn by two sprightly blood bays, with his servant, a light boy, mounted Creole fashion on the leader, was coming up in my wake at a spot where the road sank into a hollow, and was traversed by a water course already running knee deep, although dry as a bone but the minute before.
I was now drenched to the skin, the water pouring out in cascades from both sides of the vehicle, when just as I reached the top of the opposite bank, there was a flash of lightning so vivid, accompanied by an explosion so loud and tremendous, that my horse, trembling from stem to stern, stood dead still; the dusky youth by my side jumped out, and buried his snout in the mud, like a porker in Spain nuzzling for acorns, and I felt more queerish than I would willingly have confessed to. I could have knelt and prayed. The noise of the thunder was a sharp ear-piercing crash, as if the whole vault of heaven had been made of glass, and had been shivered at a blow by the hand of the Almighty.
It was, I am sure, twenty seconds before the usual roar and rumbling from the reverberation of the report from the hills, and among the clouds, was heard.
I drove on, and arrived just in time to dress for dinner, but I did not learn till next day, that the flash which paralysed me, had struck dead the Colonel's servant and leading horse, as he ascended the bank of the ravine, by this time so much swollen, that the body of the lad was washed off the road into the
"And the old woman who is carrying away the dishes in the Piazza ?"
Mammy Weenus.” "Daddy Cupid, and Mammy Weenus- -Shade of Homer!"
Jupiter, to my surprise, shrunk from my side as if he had received a blow, and the next moment I could hear him communing with Venus in the Piazza.;
"For true, dat leetle man of war, Bucra, must be Obeah man; how de debil him come to sabé dat it was stable boy, Homer, who broke de candle shade on massa right hand, dat one wid de piece broken out of de edge;" and here he pointed towards it with his chin-a negro always points with his chin.
neighbouring gully, where it was found, when the waters subsided, entirely covered with sand. I found the party congregated in the piazza around Mr Fyall, who was passing his jokes, without much regard to the feelings of his guests, and exhibiting as great a disregard of the common civilities and courtesies of life as can be well imagined. One of the party was a little red-faced gentleman, Peregrine Whiffle, Esquire, by name, who, in Jamaica parlance, was designated an extraordinary master in Chancery, the overseer of the pen, or breeding-farm, in the great house as it is called, or mansion-house, of which Mr Fyall resided, and a merry, laughing, intelligent, round, red-faced man, with a sort of Duncan Knockdunder nose, through the wide nostrils of which you could see a cable's length into his head; he was either Fyall's head clerk, or a sort of first lieutenant; these personages and myself composed the party. dinner itself was excellent, although rather of the rough-and-round order; the wines and food intrinsically good; but my appetite was not increased by the exhibition of a deformed, bloated negro child, about ten years old,which Mr Fyall planted at his elbow, and, by way of practical joke, stuffed to repletion with all kinds of food and strong drink, until the little dingy brute was carried out drunk.
I had never slept on shore before; the night season in the country in dear old England, we all know, is usually one of the deepest stillness-here it was any thing but still; -as the evening closed in, there arose a loud humming noise, a compound of the buzzing, and chirping, and whistling, and croaking of numberless reptiles and insects, on the earth, in the air, and in the water. I was awakened out of my first sleep by it, not that the sound was disagreeable, but it was unusual; and every now and then a beetle the size of your thumb would bang in through the open window, cruise round the room with a noise like a humming top, and then dance a quadrille with half a dozen bats; while the fire-flies glanced like sparks, spangling the folds of the muslin curtains of the bed. The croak of the tree-toad, too, a genteel reptile, with all the usual loveable properties of his species, about the size of the crown of your hat, sounded from the neighbouring swamp, like some one snoring in the Piazza, blending harmoniously with the nasal concert got up by Jupiter, and some other heathen deities, who were sleeping there almost naked, excepting the head, which every negro swathes during the night with as much flannel and as many handkerchiefs as he can command. By the way, they all slept on their faces-I wonder if this will account for their flat noses.
Next morning we started at daylight, cracking along at the rate of twelve knots an hour in a sort of
gig, with one horse in the shafts, and another hooked on a breast of him to a sort of studding-sail-boom, or outrigger, and followed by three mounted servants, each with a led horse and two sumpter mules.
In the evening we arrived at an estate under his management, having passed a party of maroons immediately before. I never saw finer men -tall, strapping fellows, dressed exactly as they should be, and the climate requires; wide duck trowsers, over these a loose shirt, of duck also, gathered at the waist by a broad feathern belt, through which, on one side, their short cutlass is stuck, and on the other hangs a leathern pouch for ball; a loose thong across one shoulder, supports on the opposite hip a large powder-horn and haversack. This, with a straw-hat, and a short gun in their hand, with a sling to be used on a march, completes their equipment. In better keeping this with the climate, than the padded coats, heavy caps, tight crossbelts, and ponderous muskets of our regulars. As we drove up to the door, the overseer began to bawl, "Boys, boys!" and kept blowing a dog-call. All servants in the country in the West Indies, be they as old as Methuselah, are called Boys. In the present instance, half-a-dozen black fellows forthwith appeared, to take our luggage, and attend on "massa" in other respects. The great man was as austere to the poor overseer, as if he had been guilty of some misdemeanour, and after a few short, crabbed words, desired him to get supper, "do you hear ?"
The meat consisted of plantation fare-salted fish, plantains and yams, and a piece of goat mutton. Another * observe," a south-down mutton, after sojourning a year or two here, does not become a goat exactly, but he changes his heavy warm fleece, and wears long hair; and his progeny after him, if bred on the hot plains, never assume the wool again. Mr Fyall and I sat down, and then in walked four mutes, stout young fellows, not over-well dressed, and with faces burnt to the colour of brick-dust. They were the bookkeepers, so called because they never see a book, their province being to attend the negroes in the field, and to superintend the manufacture
of sugar and rum in the boiling and distilling-houses.
One of them, the Head Bookkeeper, as he was called, appeared literally roasted by the intensity of the sun's rays. "How is Baldy Steer?" said the overseer to this person.
"Better to-day, sir-I drenched him with train-oil and sulphur." "The devil you did," thought I— "alas! for Baldy."
"And Mary, and Caroline, and the rest of that lot?"-" Are sent to Perkins's Red Rover, sir; but I believe some of them are in calf already by Bullfinch-and I have cut Peter for the Lampas."
The knife and fork dropped from my hands. What can all this mean? is this their boasted kindness to their slaves? One of a family drenched with train-oil snd brimstone, another cut for some horrible complaint never heard of before, called Lampas, and the females sent to the Red Rover, some being in calf already! But I soon perceived that the baked man was the cowboy, or shepherd of the estate, making his report of the casualties amongst his bullocks, mules, and heifers.
"Juliet Ridge will not yield, sir," quoth another. "Who is this next? a stubborn concern she must be." "The liquor is very poor." Here he helped himself to rum and water, the rum coming up about an inch in the glass, regular half and half, fit to float a marlinespike.
"It is more than yours is," thought I; and I again stared in wonderment, until I perceived he spoke of the juice of a cane patch.-At this time a tall, lathy gentleman came in, wearing a most original cut coatee. He was a most extraordinary built man; he had absolutely no body, his bottom being placed between his shoulders, but what was wanted in corpus was made up in legs, indeed he looked like a pair of compasses, buttoned together at the shoulders, and supporting a yellow fiz half a yard long, thatched with a fell of sandy hair falling down lank and greasy on each side of his face. Fyall called him Buckskin, which, with some other circumstances, made me guess that he was neither more nor less than an
American smuggler. After supper, a glass of punch was filled for each person; the overseer gave a rap on
the table with his knuckles, and off started the book-keepers, like shots out of shovels, leaving the Yankee, Mr Fyall, the overseer, and myself, at table.
I was very tired, and reckoned on going to bed now-but no such thing. Fyall ordered Jupiter to bring a case from his gig-box, containing some capital brandy; a new brewage of punch took place, and I found about the small hours, that we were all verging fast towards drunkenness, or something very like that same. The Yankee was specially plied by Fyall, evidently with an object, and he soon succeeded in making him helplessly drunk.
The fun now ແ grew fast and furious," a large wash-tub was ordered in, placed under a beam at the corner of the room, and filled with water; a sack and a three inch rope were then called for, and promptly produced by the Blackies, who, apparently accustomed to Fyall's pranks, grinned with delight.-Buckskin was thrust into the sack, feet foremost; the mouth of it was then gathered round his throat with a string, and I was set to splice a bight in the rope, so as to fit under his arms without running, which might have choked him. All things being prepared, the slack end was thrown over the beam. He was soused in the tub, the word was given to hoist away, and we ran him up to the roof, and then belayed the rope round the body of the overseer, who was able to sit on his chair, and that was all. The cold bath, and the being hung up to dry, speedily sobered the American, but his arms being within the sack, he could do nothing for his own emancipation; he kept swearing, however, and intreating, and dancing with rage, every jerk drawing the cord tighter round the waist of the overseer, who, unaware of his situation, thought himself bewitched as he was drawn with violence by starts along the floor, with the chair as it were glued to him. At length the patient extricated one of his arms, and laying hold of the beam above him, drew himself up, and then letting go his hold suddenly, fairly lifted the drunken overseer, chair and all, several feet from the ground, so as to bring him on a level with himself, and then, In mid air, began to pummel his coun
terpoise with right good-will. At length, fearful of the consequences from the fury into which the man had worked himself, Fyall and I dashed out the candles, and fled to our rooms, where, after barricading the doors, we shouted to the servants to let the gentlemen down.
The next morning had been fixed for duck-shooting, and the overseer and I were creeping along amongst the mangrove bushes on the shore to get a shot at some teal, when we saw our friend, the pair of compasses, crossing the small bay in his boat towards his little pilot-boat-built schooner, which was moored in a small creek opposite, the brushwood concealing every thing but her masts. My companion, as wild an Irishman as I ever knew, hailed him,—
"Hillo, Obadiah-Buckskin-you Yankee rascal, heave to. Come ashore here-come ashore."
Obed, smoking his pipe, deliberately uncoiled himself. I thought, as he rose, there was to be no end of him and stood upright in the boat, like an ill-rigged jury-mast.
"I say, Master Tummas, you ben't no friend of mine, I guess, a'ter last night's work; you hears how I coughs,"-and he began to wheezle and crow in a most remarkable fashion.
"Never mind," rejoined the overseer; if you go round that point, and put up the ducks, by the piper, but I'll fire at you!"
Obed neighed like a horse expecting his oats, which was meant as a laugh of derision. "Do you think your birding-piece can touch me here away, Master Tummas ?" Whereupon he nichered more loudly than before.
"Don't provoke me to try you, you yellow snake, you !"
Try, and be d-d, and there's a mark for thee," unveiling a certain part of his body, not his face.
The Overseer, or Busha, to give him his Jamaica name, looked at me and smiled, then coolly lifted his long Spanish barrel, and fired. Down dropped the smuggler, and ashore came the boat.
"I am mortally wounded, Master Tummas," quoth Obed; and I was confoundedly frightened at first, from the unusual proximity of the injured part to his head; but the