saved her life. ‘Thou art fit to be the mother of warriors,’ said I, as I dropped my sword, ‘and thou shalt be my wife, but first his child shall be born, and I will have thy husband’s skull.’

“ ‘No, no,’ replied she, ‘I will be the mother of no warriors but my present husband, whom I love; if you keep me as your slave I will die.’

“I told her she said foolish things, and sent her to the women’s apartment, with orders to be watched— but she hardly had been locked up before she drew her knife, plunged it into her heart, and died.

“When the king my father heard this he sent me a message—‘Be satisfied with the blood that has been shed, it is enough’—but I turned away, for I wished for mine enemy’s skull. That night I attacked him again and met him hand to hand; I killed him, and carried home his skull, and I was appeased.

“But all the great warriors were wroth, and my father could not restrain them. They called out their men, and I called out my men, and I had a large body, for my name was terrible. But the force raised against me was twice that of mine, and I retreated to the bush—after awhile we met and fought and I killed many, but my men were too few and were overpowered—the fetish had been sent out against me, and their hearts melted; at last I sank down with my wounds, for I bled at every pore, and I told my men who were about me to take off my feathers, and my dress and boots, that my enemies might not have my skull: they did so, and I crawled into the bush to die. But I was not to die; I was recovering, when I was discovered by those who steal men to sell them: I was bound, and fastened to a chain with many more. I, a prince and a warrior, who could show the white skulls of his enemies—I offered to procure gold, but they derided me; they dragged me down to the coast, and sold me to the Whites. Little did I think, in my pride, that I should be a slave. I knew that I was to die, and hoped to die in battle: my skull would have been more prized than all the gold in the earth, and my skin would have been stuffed and hung up in a fetish—house—instead of which, I now boil the kettle for the young gentlemen.”

“Well,” replied Jack, “that’s better than being killed and stuffed.”

“Mayhap it is,” replied Mesty, “I tink very different now dan I tink den—but still, it women’s work and not suit me.

“They put me with others into a cave until the ship came, and then we were sent on board, put in irons, and down in the hold, where you could not sit upright—I wanted to die, but could not; others died every day, but I lived—I was landed in America, all bone, and I fetched very little money—they laughed at me, as they bid their dollars: at last a man took me away, and I was on a plantation with hundreds more, but too ill to work, and not intending to work. The other slaves asked me if I was a fetish—man; I said yes, and I would fetish any man that I did not like: one man laughed, and I held up my finger; I was too weak to get up, for my blood had long boiled with fever, and I said to him, ‘you shall die;’ for I meant to have killed him, as soon as I was well. He went away, and in three days he was dead. I don’t know how, but all the slaves feared me, and my master feared me, for he had seen the man die, and he, although he was a white man, believed in fetish, and he wished to sell me again, but no one would buy a fetish—man, so he made friends with me; for I told him, if I was beat he should die, and he believed me. He took me into his house, and I was his chief man, and I would not let the other slaves steal, and he was content. He took me with him to New York, and there after two years, when I had learnt English, I ran away, and got on board of an English ship—and they told me to cook. I left the ship as soon as I came to England, and offered myself to another, and they said they did not want a cook; and I went to another, and they asked me if I was a good cook: everybody seemed to think that a black man must be a good cook, and nothing else. At last I starve, and I go on board man—of—war, and here I am, after having been a warrior and a prince, cook, steward and everyting else, boiling kettle for de young gentlemen.”

“Well,” replied Jack, “at all events that is better than being a slave.”

Mesty made no reply: any one who knows the life of a midshipman’s servant will not be surprised at his silence.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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