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Mr. Stoelman, captain of the Cottica militia, who was absent. Thus I could only answer by denouncing, in the severest terms, vengeance upon this assassin of our reputation; and after, promising to transform my short trowsers into long ones, we coolly separated. An hour however after this, I received a sudden order to cross the Cormoetibo river, and be henceforth under the command of major Rughcop, who was with his party or column at this time encamped on the south side at the mouth of Wana creek. Being arrived in major Rughcop's camp, and having got a couple of negroes to serve me, the next measure was to build a hut, or, more properly speaking, a shed over my hammock, to keep me free from the rain and the sun, which was done within the space of one hour. “While we continued in this station, one morning, being returned from a patrole, with 20 marines and 20 rangers, and sitting round a species of table to take some dinner with the other officers, I was rudely insulted by a captain Meyland, of the Society troops, who, as I said, with lieutenant Fredericy, had taken Boucou, and who was colonel Fourgeoud's countryman and friend. The affront consisted in Meyland's handing about to each a drop of claret, he having indeed but one bottle left, and, in an impertinent manner, excepting me alone, although I held the glass in my hand to receive it. Justly suspecting this insult to originate from my commander-in-chief, rather than appear to seek a quarrel, I endeavoured to make an apology, telling him, I had inadvertantly erred in holding out my glass, not imagining I was to be distinguished from the other officers; assuring him it was not for the value of his wine, which I politely relinquished to my neighbour; but this concession had no other effect than to increase the wrath of my fierce adversary, who, apparently mistaking it for pusillanimity, became overbearing and scurrilous, in which he was seconded by all the other Swiss and Germans without exception. I said no more, and having tore away a wing of a boiled bird called powese, that stood before me (which bird had been shot by one of the rangers) I devoured it with little ceremony, and left the table, with a determination to support my character or die. Vol. I. 2 N
• Thus resolved, I first went to the hut of a sick soldier, whose sabre I borrowed (my own being broken) on pretence of going out to cut a few sticks; after this I went in quest of Mr. Meyland, and found him contentedly smoking his pipe by the water-side, looking at one of his friends who was angling. Having tapped him on the shoulder, I hastily told him before the other, that now if he did not fight me that instant like a gentleman. I was determined to take revenge another way, with the flat of my sabre, where he stood. He at first declared that he had only meant a joke, and seemed for peace; but perceiving that I persisted, he with great sang
froid knocked the tobacco-ashes from his pipe against the heel of his shoe; them having brought his sabre, we walked together without seconds about half a mile into the wood; here I stopt the captain short, and drawing my weapon, now desired him to stand on his defence; this he did, but at the same time observed, that as the point of his sword was broken off, we were unequally armed; and so indeed we were, his being still near one foot longer than my own; therefore calling to him that sabres were not made to thrust, but to cut with, 1 offered to make an exchange; but he refusing, I dropped mine on the ground, and eagerly with both hands endeavoured to wrest his from him, till (as I had hold of it by the blade) I saw the blood trickle down all my fingers, and I was obliged to let go.
“I now grasped my own sabre, with which I struck at him many times, but without the least effect, as he parried every blow with the utmost facility; at last, with all his force, he made a cut at my head, which, being conscious I could not ward off by my skill, I bowed under it, and at the same instant striking sideways for his throat, had the good fortune to make a gash in the thick part of his right-arm at least six inches long, the two lips of which appeared through his blue jacket, and in consequence of which his right-hand came down dangling by his side. I had, however, not escaped entirely unhurt, for his sabre, having passed through my hat without touching my skull, had glanced to my right-shoulder, and cut it about one inch deep. At this time I insisted on his asking my pardon, or on firing both our pistols left-handed; but he chose the first, which ended the battle. I now reminded him that such Swiss jokes were always too serious to Englishmen; when we shook hands, and I conducted him, covered with blood, to the surgeon of his own corps, who having sewed up the wound, he went to his hammock, and for the space of several weeks performed no duty. “Thus was I reconciled to captain Meyland; and what gave me the greatest satisfaction, was his acknowledging the affront was offered, as finding it would be agreeable to Fourgeoud to have me mortified; and indeed ever after this acknowledgment we lived in the utmost intimacy. Peace, however, was not yet decreed to be my lot, for that very afternoon I found myself under the necessity of challenging two other officers, who had espoused Meyland's quarrel against me at dinner; but in this I had the satisfaction of establishing my character without violence or bloodshed, both of the gentlemen acknowledged their error; and I became at once the favourite of the camp. ‘On the 9th of November both columns met, and encamped together on the north side of the Wana creek, near its mouth, where it runs into the Cormoetibo, placing advanced guards at both creeks, at one mile distance from it; and this very even I took the opportunity of acquainting colonel Fourgeoud, that I had nearly cut off the head of his beloved countryman in a duel (well knowing he must be informed by others); which trespass he was not only pleased graciously to pardon, but to tell me with a smile that I was a brave garcon, but in those smiles I put no more trust than I would in the tears of a crocodile. ‘My doubts of his friendship were soon confirmed, since my only true friend, Campbell, going down sick to Devil's Harwar, he would not so much as allow the boat or ponkee to wait till I had finished a letter, directed to Joanna, for some clean linen; however, a ranger (of which corps I by this time was become a remarkable favourite) found means to enable me to overtake this poor man in a corialla or small canoe, composed of one single piece of timber; when, shaking hands with Campbell, we separated with tears, and I never saw him
more, for he died in a few days after. Colonel Fourgeoud now being determined to scour the north banks of the Cormoetibo, we broke up in two columns, viz. his own first, and that of major Rughcop, to which last I still belonged, following; we left behind a strong guard, with the provisions for the sick. “We proceeded forward, keeping our course toward the mouth of the Cormoetibo creek, each officer provided with a pocket compass, by which we were to steer, like sailors, through a dark wood, where nothing is to be seen but the heavens, as at sea nothing appears but clouds and water: thus those who were acquainted with navigation were the best qualified for marching, and ran the least hazard of losing themselves in a black unbounded forest. But those wretches who most deservedly attracted my pity, were the miserable negro slaves, who were bending under their loads; whose heads, on which they carry all burthens, bore the bald marks of their servitude;—they were driven forward like oxen, and condemned to subsist on half allowance, while they performed double drudgery. In short, to increase our misfortune, though in the dry season, the rains began to pour down from the heavens like a torrent, continuing all night: during this deluge (according to colonel Fourgeoud's order) we were all ordered to encamp without huts or other covering of any kind, slinging our hammocks between two trees, under which, upon two small forked sticks, were placed our fire-arms, as the only method of keeping the priming-powder dry in the pan; above this piece of architecture did I hang, like Mahomet between the two loadstones, with my sabre and pistols in my bosom, and, in spite of wind and weather, fell most profoundly asleep. ‘On the 14th, at five o'clock in the morning, I was awaked by the sound of Up! up ! up ! when the rain still continuing, the half of the officers and men were sick, and I rose from my hammock soaked as in a wash-tub; having secured the lock of my firelock, in imitation of the rangers, with a piece of the bark of a palm-tree, and swallowing a dram, with a piece of dry rusk biscuit, for my breakfast, we again marched on.— But I ought not to forget mentioning the negroes, who had the whole night slept in the water on the ground, and yet were in better health than any of the Europeans. Had we now been attacked by the enemy, we must inevitably have been all cut to pieces, being disabled from resisting with our fire-arms, in which not only the priming but even many of the cartridges were completely wet; this might have been prevented by having cased and waxed down our arms, as is practised by the buccaneers of America; but these were trifles not to be thought of: one thing, however, now happened which threatened to be no trifle, and that was, that the provisions were gone, and those we expected to meet us in the creek not arrived, having by some mistake been neglected. By this accident we were now reduced, officers and men without exception, to subsist on one rusk biscuit and water for our allowance for 24 hours, to keep us from starving. “In the midst however of this distress, we were again presented by one of the rangers with a large bird, called here boossy-calcoo, being a species of wild turkey; of this fortunate acquisition it was resolved in the evening to make broth, each throwing a piece of his rusk biscuit into the kettle, and (standing round the fire) beginning to ladle away as soon as the broth began to boil, which had another virtue, viz. notwithstanding it being put over at six o'clock in the evening, at 12 o'clock at midnight the kettle was just as full as the first moment we had begun supper, though the broth was rather weaker I must acknowledge, the heavy rain having dashed into it without intermission. During this heavy storm we were as destitute of huts as the night before, but I availed myself once more of my English petticoat trowsers, which, loosening from my middle, I hung about my shoulders, and continuing to turn round before the fire (like a fowl roasting on a string) I passed the hours with rather more comfort than my miserable coughing companions. All i can say of the bird above mentioned is, that I thought it differed little from the common turkeys, which here frequently weigh above 201bs. • On the succeeding morning we marched again through very heavy rains, which by this means had swelled the water