Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/15

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MADAGASCAR.

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all to Him. Here, Robin, your countrymen have sent you a present; what it is I do not know, but to me it appears of very little value.' Accordingly I took the basket; and with the letter there were pens, ink, and paper, in order to my returning an answer. The superscription was this: 'To Robert Drury, in the Island of Madagascar.'

"I was so astonished, that at first I had no power to open it, concluding I was in a dream; but at length recovering from my surprise, after a little recollection I opened it, and found it came from Captain William Macket; the contents were to the effect following:

"That he had a letter on board from my father, with full instructions, as well from him as the owners of the vessel, to purchase my liberty, let it cost what it would; and, in case I could not possibly come down myself, to send him word the reason of it, and what measures he should take to serve me."

The chief was astonished to see the change in Drury's countenance as he read the letter; and when informed of the intelligence it conveyed, his surprise appeared unbounded; and, as he examined the paper, he said that he had heard before of such a method of conveying information, but was wholly at loss to conceive how it could be done without witchcraft: a feeling exactly coinciding with the impression made on the minds of the Society and Sandwich Islanders, when they first witnessed the transmission of intelligence by means of writing.

It was not without considerable persuasion and many entreaties, that the chieftain and his family could be induced to part with the English slave; but it was at last agreed upon that he should be permitted to go with the captain, on the condition that the latter would provide the chief with a good gun, which he promised to call Robin, in remembrance of his slave.

The joy experienced by Drury on his happy liberation exceeded all bounds; though the novelty of his feelings, after fifteen years' captivity among a barbarous people, rendered his situation almost too strange and exciting for enjoyment. He returned to England with Captain Macket, and on the 9th of September, 1717, again reached the shores of his native country, after an absence of sixteen years. It is stated by Drury, in his own account of this joyful event, that, after landing, he could not set forward on his journey to London without returning God thanks, in the most solemn manner, for his safe arrival, and for his deliverance from the many dangers he had escaped, and the miseries he had so long endured.