A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 787 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.

In two days after I joined my companions again, but don’t remember that there was the least joy shewn on either side at meeting.  At this place was a very large canoe belonging to our guide, which would have required at least six men to the oar to have made any kind of expedition; instead of that, there was only Campbell and myself, besides the Indian, his companion or servant, to row, the cacique himself never touching an oar, but sitting, with his wife all the time much at his ease.  Mr Hamilton continued in the same canoe he had been in all along, and which still was to keep us company some way further, though many of the others had left us.  This was dreadful hard work to such poor starved wretches as we were, to be slaving at the oar all day long in such a heavy boat; and this inhuman fellow would never give us a scrap to eat, excepting when he took so much seal that he could not contrive to carry it all away with him, which happened very seldom.

After working like galley slaves all day, towards night, when we landed, instead of taking any rest, Mr Campbell and I were sometimes obliged to go miles along shore to get a few shell-fish; and just as we have made a little fire in order to dress them, he has commanded us into the boat again, and kept us rowing the whole night without ever landing.  It is impossible for me to describe the miserable state we were reduced to:  Our bodies were so emaciated, that we hardly appeared the figures of men.

It has often happened to me in the coldest night, both in hail and snow, where we had nothing but an open beach to lay down upon, in order to procure a little rest, that I have been obliged to pull off the few rags I had on, as it was impossible to get a moment’s sleep with them on for the vermin that swarmed about them, though I used as often as I had time, to take my clothes off, and putting them upon a large stone, beat them with another, in hopes of killing hundreds at once, for it was endless work to pick them off.  What we suffered from this was ten times worse even than hunger.  But we were clean in comparison to Captain Cheap, for I could compare his body to nothing but an ant-hill, with thousands of those insects crawling over it; for he was now past attempting to rid himself in the least from this torment, as he had quite lost himself, not recollecting our names that were about him, or even his own.  His beard was as long as a hermit’s; that and his face being covered with train-oil and dirt, from having long accustomed himself to sleep upon a bag, by the way of pillow, in which he kept the pieces of stinking seal.  This prudent method he took to prevent our getting at it whilst he slept.  His legs were as big as millposts, though his body appeared to be nothing but skin and bone.

One day we fell in with about forty Indians, who came down to the beach we landed on, curiously painted.  Our cacique seemed to understand but little of their language, and it sounded to us very different from what we had heard before.  However, they made us comprehend that a ship had been upon the coast not far from where we then were, and that she had a red flag:  This we understood some time after to have been the Anne pink, whose adventures are particularly related in Lord Anson’s Voyage; and we passed through the very harbour she had lain in.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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