Page images

one of the Seamen had lighted his Pipe at it, and then went down to his Birth to fmoke it with some of his Mefs-mates over a Can of Flip: It happened their Liquor was very low, and, to get a fresh Supply, they very honeftly agreed, that this same Fellow should attempt to fpile one of the Hogfheads of Rum, which, for want of Room in the Hold, was ftowed pretty near them: He forgot his Pipe, and whilst he was at this precious Work, a Quantity of the lighted Tobacco fell into his Cheft, which stood open, and fome combuftible Matters he had in it, being the Gunner's Mate, took Fire, which was not perceived till the Flames had got to too great an Head, for all the Pains and Skill they made ufe of to put a stop to them. They knew they were not far from the Cape de Verd Islands, which gave them fome Spirits to attempt getting there in their Boat; but, however, not willing to mifs any Opportunity that might offer to fave their Lives, before they left their Ship, they had fired thofe Signals of Diftrefs, which brought them the Bleffing of the Relief we gave them. The Captain concluded his Narration, by acquainting us, that Mr. Prim was the chief Sufferer, most of the Cargo being fhipped by him, which however he was fenfible he had wrote Word to insure in London by a Veffel that failed before from Barbadoes; and, as to the Bottom, that he had infured himself.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I was surprised still more and more to hear Prim talked of thus, as a Man of great Worth, tho' I was heartily glad to hear it; and when we retired to Reft, which was not till pretty late, after the mutual Careffes were over, and I had gratified his Curiofity to know how I came into the Haftings, I faid, my Friend, you left England very abruptly, which I have often thought of fince with the utmost Concern; and, by the Situation you are in at present, I am fenfible you must have met with feveral Turns of Fortune, that I wish you would gratify me in the Recital of. I have so, indeed, my dear Thompson, he replied, and, tho' at prefent in fuch Circumstances, am really a happy Man: I always loved you, my Friend, have thought of you tenderly an hundred Times fince my Departure, and, as foon as I had feen London, you'd have been the first Person I fhould have renewed my Acquaintance with. Come, make a Bowl of Punch, and, whilst we are drinking it, I will gratify you with a Relation of the good and bad Accidents that have occurred to me fince my unhappy Breach with my Mafter, and the Means by which I may fay I am at prefent rich and happy. I made the Punch, and Mr. Prim began his Adventures thus:



The Adventures of Mr. WILLIAM PRIM.

OU remember what an Agony I was in, that


fatal Morning I took my Leave of you, after my Mafter had difcovered my being deficient in the Cafh he had intrufted to my Care. He was fo incenfed, that he would fuffer me no longer to. continue with him; and my Father, who was as much irritated against me, hurried me on Board an East-India Ship, which failed the next Day, the Captain of which he had fome flight Acquaintance with, and who took me in Quality of his Clerk.. All this was done fo fuddenly, that I was but poorly fitted out for fuch a Voyage, and my Father has fince lamented the Precipitancy with which he parted with me, by Letter, which has coft him a great deal of Affliction, and numberless Tears; but, being a Man of a warm and paffionate Difpofition,. I can very easily forgive him, efpecially as it wasan Introduction to the good Fortune I have fince met with.

Capt. Surly, my Commander, who, from his Infancy, had used the Seas, was a mere Brute, and wanted common Humanity, and my Father, having indifcreetly confided to him the Secret of my being forced to Sea, upon the aforefaid Account, inftead of ftriving to make my Captivity eafy, and if I had any


[ocr errors]



bad Principles to reclaim me from them, he was continually observing, in a reproaching, malicious Strain, the Slip that I made, and menacing me with bad Ufage, if I ferved him as I had done my former Mafter.

You may guess that this fat very hardly upon a Breaft, that had fome Principles of Honour, and knew how Mankind ought to be treated; but you muft confefs, my Friend, this is too often the Case, and many an unhappy Man, that has been guilty of an Error, would reform, if the World would let him; but, being exposed and maltreated, they grow desperate and regardless of what may happen to them, and, finding all Mankind their Enemies, refolve to be even with them, and commence downright Villains from the Impoffibility of regaining their Characters. However, this was not my Cafe, and I knew the humane and thinking Part of Mankind would pass over a fingle Crime in a young Extravagant, could they fee Tokens of Amendment that would justify their good Opinion of him.

A Dog could not endure a worse Life than I did, moft Part of this dreadful Voyage; and, when Iexpoftulated with him, he gave me the moft opprobrious Language, and, several Times, even went fo far as to kick me out of the Cabbin, where he was generally drunk the greatest Part of the Day. Such Tyranny made me weary of my Life, and I began not to care what became of me; and more efpecial


ly as the Ship's Crew took the Signal from their Captain, and treated me in general with the utmoft Contempt; and one Day a Nephew of Surly's, who was a fourth Mate, on Board, without the leaft Provocation, took me by the Nofe, and led me about twenty Paces, to the great Diverfion of the Ship's Company. Flefh and Blood could hold out no longer, and, feizing him round the Waift, in Spite of all his Struggling, as he was not near fo ftrong as myself, I fairly flung him over Board, where he would certainly have paid for his Infolence with his Life, if all the Sails had not been laid aback, and the Boat hoifted out to fave him. The Minute the Captain heard of this Action, he ordered me before him, and, with the Fury of a Tiger, fell upon me with his Cane, and having nothing to defend myself, and he being a very strong Man, beat me most unmercifully, and then ordered me to be turned before the Maft. I must say this for every one of the Officers and Men, that they thought my Usage on this Occafion very hard, and, without the leaft Colour of Juftice; and a Supercargo we had on Board was so exasperated, that he told the Captain to his Face that he was a Scoundrel; for which the Brute ordered him to keep to his Cabbin, and would not fuffer him for fome Days to take the Benefit of walking upon the Quarter-deck. And now the young Surly used me worse than ever any Galley-Slave was used, and

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »