How Salvation Yeo Found His Little Maid Again

“All precious things, discover’d late,
   To them who seek them issue forth;
For love in sequel works with fate,
   And draws the veil from hidden worth.”
   —The Sleeping Beauty.

And so Ayacanora took up her abode in Lucy’s cabin, as a regularly accredited member of the crew.

But a most troublesome member; for now began in her that perilous crisis which seems to endanger the bodies and souls of all savages and savage tribes, when they first mingle with the white man; that crisis which, a few years afterwards, began to hasten the extermination of the North American tribes; and had it not been for the admirable good sense and constancy of Amyas, Ayacanora might have ended even more miserably than did the far-famed Pocahontas, daughter of the Virginian king; who, after having been received at Court by the old pedant James the First, with the honors of a sister sovereign, and having become the reputed ancestress of more than one ancient Virginian family, ended her days in wretchedness in some Wapping garret.

For the mind of the savage, crushed by the sight of the white man’s superior skill, and wealth, and wisdom, loses at first its self-respect; while his body, pampered with easily obtained luxuries, instead of having to win the necessaries of life by heavy toil, loses its self-helpfulness; and with self-respect and self-help vanish all the savage virtues, few and flimsy as they are, and the downward road toward begging and stealing, sottishness and idleness, is easy, if not sure.

And down that road, it really seemed at first, that poor Ayacanora was walking fast. For the warrior- prophetess of the Omaguas soon became, to all appearance, nothing but a very naughty child; and the Diana of the Meta, after she had satisfied her simple wonder at the great floating house by rambling from deck to deck, and peeping into every cupboard and cranny, manifested a great propensity to steal and hide (she was too proud or too shy to ask for) every trumpery which smit her fancy; and when Amyas forbade her to take anything without leave, threatened to drown herself, and went off and sulked all day in her cabin. Nevertheless, she obeyed him, except in the matter of sweet things. Perhaps she craved naturally for the vegetable food of her native forests; at all events the bishop’s stores of fruit and sweetmeats diminished rapidly; and what was worse, so did the sweet Spanish wine which Amyas had set apart for poor Lucy’s daily cordial. Whereon another severe lecture, in which Amyas told her how mean it was to rob poor sick Lucy; whereat she, as usual, threatened to drown herself; and was running upon deck to do it, when Amyas caught her and forgave her. On which a violent fit of crying, and great penitence and promises; and a week after, Amyas found that she had cheated Satan and her own conscience by tormenting the Portuguese steward into giving her some other wine instead: but luckily for her, she found Amyas’s warnings about wine making her mad so far fulfilled, that she did several foolish things one evening, and had a bad headache next morning; so the murder was out, and Amyas ordered the steward up for a sound flogging; but Ayacanora, honorably enough, not only begged him off, but offered to be whipped instead of him, confessing that the poor fellow spoke truly when he swore that she had threatened to kill him, and that he had given her the wine in bodily fear for his life.

However, her own headache and Amyas’s cold looks were lesson enough, and after another attempt to drown herself, the wilful beauty settled down for awhile; and what was better, could hardly be persuaded, thenceforth to her dying day, to touch fermented liquors.

But, in the meanwhile, poor Amyas had many a brains-beating as to how he was to tame a lady who, on the least provocation, took refuge in suicide. Punish her he dared not, even if he had the heart. And as for putting her ashore, he had an instinct, and surely not a superstitious one, that her strange affection for the English was not unsent by Heaven, and that God had committed her into his charge, and that He would require an account at his hands of the soul of that fair lost lamb.

So, almost at his wits’ end, he prayed to God, good simple fellow, and that many a time, to show him what he should do with her before she killed either herself, or what was just as likely, one of the crew; and it seemed best to him to make Parson Jack teach her the rudiments of Christianity, that she might be baptized in due time when they got home to England.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.