“Recollect, that you will always find what is requisite by writing to the address which I shall give you before we part. That point is now settled, and on the whole I think the arrangement is good.”
Timothy had been absent during the events of the morning—when he returned, I communicated to him what had passed, and was about to take place.
“Well, Japhet, I don’t know—I do not dislike our present life, yet I am not sorry to change it; but what are we to do?”
“That remains to be considered; we have a good stock of money, fortunately, and we must husband it till we find what can be done.”
We took our suppers all together for the last time, Melchior telling us that he had determined to set off the next day. Nattee looked very melancholy, but resigned; on the contrary, little Fleta was so overjoyed, that her face, generally so mournful, was illuminated with smiles whenever our eyes met. It was delightful to see her so happy. The whole of the people in the camp had retired, and Melchior was busy making his arrangements in the tent. I did not feel inclined to sleep; I was thinking and revolving in my mind my prospects for the future; sitting, or rather lying down, for I was leaning on my elbow, at a short distance from the tents. The night was dark but clear, and the stars were brilliant. I had been watching them, and I thought upon Melchior’s ideas of destiny, and dwelling on the futile wish that I could read mine, when I perceived the approach of Nattee.
“Japhet,” said she, “you are to take the little girl with you, I find—will you be careful of her? for it would be on my conscience if she were left to the mercy of the world. She departs rejoicing, let not her joy end in tears. I depart sorrowing. I leave my people, my kin, my habits, and customs, my influence, all—but it must be so, it is my destiny. She is a good child, Japhet—promise me that you will be a friend to her—and give her this to wear in remembrance of me, but—not yet—not till we are gone—.” She hesitated. “Japhet, do not let Melchior see it in your possession; he may not like me having given it away.” I took the piece of paper containing the present, and having promised all she required, “This is the last—yes—the very last time that I may behold this scene,” continued Nattee, surveying the common, the tents, and the animals browsing. “Be it so; Japhet, good-night, may you prosper!” She then turned away and entered her tent; and soon afterwards I followed her example.
The next day, Melchior was all ready. What he had packed up was contained in two small bundles. He addressed the people belonging to the gang, in their own language. Nattee did the same, and the whole of them kissed her hand. The tents, furniture, and the greatest part of his other property, were distributed among them. Jumbo and Num were made over to two of the principal men. Timothy, Fleta, and I, were also ready, and intended to quit at the same time as Melchior and his wife.