Como no tengo el honor, de ser conocido de VM. lo pienso mejor, y mas decoroso, quedarme aqui, hastaque huviere recibido su respuesta. Haviendo caminado hasta la choza, adonde estoi, no quisiere volverme, antes de haver visto la fortaleza de los Portugueses; y pido licencia de VM. para que me adelante. Honradissimos son mis motivos, ni tengo proyecto ninguno, o de comercio, o de la soldadesca, no siendo yo, o comerciante, o oficial. Hidalgo catolico soy, de hacienda in Ynglatierra, y muchos anos de mi vida he pasado en caminar. Ultimamente, de Demeraria vengo, la quai dexe el 5 dia de Abril, para ver este hermoso pais, y coger unas curiosidades, especialmente, el veneno, que se llama wourali. Las mas recentes noticias que tenian en Demeraria, antes di mi salida, eran medias tristes, medias alegres. Tristes digo, viendo que Valencia ha caido en poder del enemigo comun, y el General Blake, y sus valientes tropas quedan prisioneros de guerra. Alegres, al contrario, porque Milord Wellington se ha apoderado de Ciudad Rodrigo. A pesar de la caida de Valencia, parece claro al mundo, que las cosas del enemigo, estan andando, de pejor a pejor cada dia. Nosotros debemos dar gracias al Altissimo, por haver sido servido dexarnos castigar ultimamente, a los robadores, de sus santas Yglesias. Se vera VM. que yo no escribo Portugues ni aun lo hablo, pero, haviendo aprendido el Castellano, no nos faltara medio de communicar y tener conversacion. Ruego se escuse esta carta escrita sin tinta, porque un Indio dexo caer mi tintero y quebrose. Dios le de a VM. muchos anos de salud. Entretanto, tengo el honor de ser
Su mas obedeciente servidor,
* * * * *
Incertus, quo fata ferant, ubi sistere detur.
Kind and gentle reader, if the journey in quest of the wourali poison has engaged thy attention, probably thou mayest recollect that the traveller took leave of thee at Fort St. Joachim, on the Rio Branco. Shouldest thou wish to know what befell him afterwards, excuse the following uninteresting narrative.
Having had a return of fever, and aware that the farther he advanced into these wild and lonely regions the less would be the chance of regaining his health, he gave up all idea of proceeding onwards, and went slowly back towards the Demerara, nearly by the same route he had come.
On descending the falls in the Essequibo, which form an oblique line quite across the river, it was resolved to push through them, the downward stream being in the canoe's favour. At a little distance from the place a large tree had fallen into the river, and in the meantime the canoe was lashed to one of its branches.
The roaring of the water was dreadful: it foamed and dashed over the rocks with a tremendous spray, like breakers on a lee-shore, threatening destruction to whatever approached it. You would have thought, by the confusion it caused in the river and the whirlpools it made, that Scylla and Charybdis, and their whole progeny, had left the Mediterranean and come and settled here. The channel was barely twelve feet wide, and the torrent in rushing down formed traverse furrows which showed how near the rocks were to the surface.
Nothing could surpass the skill of the Indian who steered the canoe. He looked steadfastly at it, then at the rocks, then cast an eye on the channel, and then looked at the canoe again. It was in vain to speak. The sound was lost in the roar of waters, but his eye showed that he had already passed it in imagination. He held up his paddle in a position as much as to say that he would keep exactly amid channel, and then made a sign to cut the bush-rope that held the canoe to the fallen tree. The canoe drove down the torrent with inconceivable rapidity. It did not touch the rocks once all the way. The Indian proved to a nicety: "medio tutissimus ibis."
Shortly after this it rained almost day and night, the lightning flashing incessantly and the roar of thunder awful beyond expression.
The fever returned, and pressed so heavy on him that to all appearance his last day's march was over. However, it abated, his spirits rallied, and he marched again; and after delays and inconveniences he reached the house of his worthy friend Mr. Edmonstone, in Mibiri Creek, which falls into the Demerara. No words of his can do justice to the hospitality of that gentleman, whose repeated encounters with the hostile negroes in the forest have been publicly rewarded and will be remembered in the colony for years to come.
Here he learned that an eruption had taken place in St. Vincent's, and thus the noise heard in the night of the first of May, which had caused such terror amongst the Indians and made the garrison at Fort St. Joachim remain under arms the rest of the night, is accounted for.
After experiencing every kindness and attention from Mr. Edmonstone he sailed for Granada, and from thence to St. Thomas's, a few days before poor Captain Peake lost his life on his own quarter-deck bravely fighting for his country on the coast of Guiana.