There are two very different disorders incident
to the human body,
which bear the same name, derived from some resemblance they hold with
different parts of the animal so well known in the countries to which
these disorders are peculiar. That which was first so named is the
leprosy, which brings a scurf on the skin not unlike the hide of an
elephant. The other affects the patient with such enormous swelling of
the legs and feet, that they give the idea of those shapeless pillars
which support that creature; and therefore this disease has also been
called elephantiasis by the Arabian physicians; who, together with the
Malabrians, among whom it is endemial, attribute it to the drinking
bad waters, and the too sudden transitions from heat to cold.
The Cacique’s Conduct changes.—Description of the Indian Mode of Bird-fowling.—Their Religion.—Mr Elliot, our Surgeon, dies.—Transactions on our Journey.—Miserable Situation to which we are reduced.
Our cacique now made us understand that we must embark directly in the same canoe which brought us, and return to our companions; and that the Indians we were about to leave would join us in a few days, when we should all set out in a body, in order to proceed to the northward. In our way back nothing very material happened; but upon our arrival, which was the next day, we found Mr Elliot, the surgeon, in a very bad way; his illness had been continually increasing since we left him. Mr Hamilton and Mr Campbell were almost starved, having fared very ill since we left them; a few sea-eggs were all the subsistence they had lived upon, and these procured by the cacique’s wife in the manner I mentioned before. This woman was the very reverse of my hostess; and as she found her husband was of so much consequence to us, took upon her with much haughtiness, and treated us as dependants and slaves. He was not more engaging in his carriage towards us; he would give no part of what he had to spare to any but Captain Cheap, whom his interest led him to prefer to the rest, though our wants were often greater. The captain, on his part, contributed to keep us in this abject situation, by approving this distinction the cacique shewed to him. Had he treated us with not quite so much distance, the cacique might have been more regardful of our wants. The little regard and attention which our necessitous condition drew from Captain Cheap, may be imputed likewise, in some measure, to the effects of a mind soured by a series of crosses and disappointments; which, indeed, had operated on us all to a great neglect of each other, and sometimes of ourselves.