“In that house, Lucia, you were born; but not until three years of solitude, terror, and misery had almost broken my heart.
“As soon as ever we were settled in our home, which I tried to make comfortable and inviting according to my English ideas, Christian returned to the wandering and dissipated life he had led in the last few years before his journey to England. He was often away from me for many days without my knowing where he was, and I only heard from others, vague stories of his spending nights and days, drinking and gambling, on the American side of the river. At first, he always came back sober, and in good humour, and never left me without sufficient money for the few expenses which were necessary; but within six months this changed, and I began to suffer, not only from ill-usage, but from want.
“The missionaries, of whom I told you, were still on the island when I arrived there; but although they pitied, and were disposed to be kind to me, I could not bear to complain to them, or to make my story a subject for missionary reports and speeches. You see I had a little pride still, but I do not know whether it would not have yielded to the dreadful need for a friend of my own race, if events had not brought me one whom you know, Mr. Strafford.
“Although the island was large enough to have maintained the whole Indian population by farming, it remained, when I came there, entirely uncultivated, and hunting and fishing were still the only means the people had of supporting themselves. The consequence was, that at times they suffered greatly from scarcity of provisions, and this naturally brought disease. The year after my marriage was a bad one, and the women and children especially felt the want of their usual supplies. A great many of them left the island, and tried to find food by begging, or by selling mats, and baskets, at the nearest settlements. The misery of these poor creatures attracted attention, and people began to wonder why, since they were Christians, and had received some degree of teaching, they were still so ignorant of the means of living. The answer was easy. The missionaries who had taught them were as ignorant as themselves of these things; and, indeed, had not thought it necessary to civilize while they Christianized them. Mr. Strafford had then lately arrived in the country. He held different views to those of the missionaries, and, pitying the forlorn condition of the islanders, he offered to come and help them. Almost the first sensation of gladness I remember feeling, from the day I left my father’s house, was when I heard that a clergyman of our own Church was to be settled among my poor neighbours.”