“Very true,” observed the pacha—“now you may go on with your story.”
* * * * *
As I mentioned to your highness, they tattooed me without mercy; the operation lasted an hour, when they put me on my feet again. Another speech was made, which I understood as little of as the former; they left me with my wife, and the ceremony was at an end.
I must say I wished that I had not been naturalised and married both on the same day. I was so swelled and so stiff with the tattooing, that it was with difficulty I could, with the assistance of my wife, walk back to my hut. However, by the remedies which she constantly applied, in the course of three days I felt no further inconvenience.
I now considered myself settled for the remainder of my life. I was passionately attached to Naka-poop, for such was the name of my young wife, and notwithstanding my French education, could not but acknowledge that her natural and unsophisticated manners were more graceful and more fascinating, than is all the studied address of my own country-women. She was of high rank in her own country, being nearly allied to the king; and for two years my life slipped away, in uninterrupted happiness and peace. But alas!—and the renegade covered up his face.
* * * * *
“Come, Huckaback, you surely have been too much accustomed to lose your wives by this time, to make a fuss about it. These Franks are strange people,” observed the pacha to the vizier; “they’ve a tear for every woman.”
“Your highness must excuse me; I shall not offend again, for I never married afterwards. My charming Naka-poop died in child-bed, and the island became so hateful to me, that I determined to quit it. An opportunity occurred by an American vessel, which arrived with some Missionaries.”
“What are Missionaries?” inquired the pacha.
“People who came to inform the islanders, that Bo-gee was not a goddess, and to persuade them to embrace the true faith.”
“Very right,” replied the pacha, “there is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet. Well——”
* * * * *
As I understood both languages, I was employed as an interpreter, but it was impossible to explain what the Missionaries intended to convey, as the language of the islanders had not words that were analogous. A council was held, and the answer which the Missionaries received was as follows:—
“You tell us that your God rewards the good and punishes the wicked—so does Bo-gee. We speak one language, you speak another. Perhaps the name of your God means Bo-gee in ours. Then we both worship the same God, under different names. No use to talk any more; take plenty of pigs and yams, and go home.”
The Missionaries took their advice, their pigs and their yams, and I went home with them. We arrived at New York, where I claimed and received from the Bible Society my pay as interpreter to the Missionaries from the time that they landed up to the day of our return. I never should have thought of claiming it, had it not been for the advice of one of the Missionaries, who took a fancy to me.