So I became a schoolboy. I would rise early, drink my morning
No sooner were they arrived at the foot of the mountain than every one began to work: bags were brought from all parts to convey away the millions which each imagined would be his share. The Xumo, who superintended the work, would not allow any one to come near the labourers, but stood by, attended by the old monk, who almost sang himself to death. At length, having removed a vast quantity of earth and stones, they discovered some holes made by rats or moles, at sight of which a shout of joy ran through the whole troop: the cow was brought and sacrificed immediately, and some pieces of flesh were thrown into these holes. Animated now with assurance of success, they lose no time: every one redoubles his endeavours, and the heat, though intolerable, was less powerful than the hopes they had conceived. At length some, not so patient as the rest, were weary, and desisted. The work now grew more difficult; they found nothing but rock, yet continued to toil on, till the prince, having lost all temper, began to inquire with some passion when he should have a sight of this treasure, and after having been some time amused with many promises by the monks, was told that he had not faith enough to be favoured with the discovery.
All this I saw myself, and could not forbear endeavouring to convince our protector how much he was imposed upon: he was not long before he was satisfied that he had been too credulous, for all those that had so industriously searched after this imaginary wealth, within five hours left the work in despair, and I continued almost alone with the prince.
Imagining no time more proper to make the proposal I was sent with than while his passion was still hot against the monks, I presented him with two ounces of gold and two plates of silver, with some other things of small value, and was so successful that he gratified me in all my requests, and gave us leave to return to Adicora, where we were so fortunate to find our huts yet uninjured and entire.
About this time the fathers who had stayed behind at Fremona arrived with the new viceroy, and an officer fierce in the defence of his own religion, who had particular orders to deliver all the Jesuits up to the Turks, except me, whom the Emperor was resolved to have in his own hands, alive or dead. We had received some notice of this resolution from our friends at court, and were likewise informed that the Emperor, their master, had been persuaded that my design was to procure assistance from the Indies, and that I should certainly return at the head of an army. The patriarch's advice upon this emergency was that I should retire into the woods, and by some other road join the nine Jesuits who were gone towards Mazna. I could think of no better expedient, and therefore went away in the night between the 23rd and 24th of April with my comrade, an old man, very infirm and very timorous. We crossed woods never crossed, I believe, by any before: the darkness of the night and the thickness of the shade spread a kind of horror round us; our gloomy journey was still more incommoded by the brambles and thorns, which tore our hands; amidst all these difficulties I applied myself to the Almighty, praying him to preserve us from those dangers which we endeavoured to avoid, and to deliver us from those to which our flight exposed us. Thus we travelled all night, till eight next morning, without taking either rest or food; then, imagining ourselves secure, we made us some cakes of barley-meal and water, which we thought a feast.
We had a dispute with our guides, who though they had bargained to conduct us for an ounce of gold, yet when they saw us so entangled in the intricacies of the wood that we could not possibly get out without their direction, demanded seven ounces of gold, a mule, and a little tent which we had; after a long dispute we were forced to come to their terms. We continued to travel all night, and to hide ourselves in the woods all day: and here it was that we met the three hundred elephants I spoke of before. We made long marches, travelling without any halt from four in the afternoon to eight in the morning.
Arriving at a valley where travellers seldom escape being plundered, we were obliged to double our pace, and were so happy as to pass it without meeting with any misfortune, except that we heard a bird sing on our left hand--a certain presage among these people of some great calamity at hand. As there is no reasoning them out of superstition, I knew no way of encouraging them to go forward but what I had already made use of on the same occasion, assuring them that I heard one at the same time on the right. They were happily so credulous as to take my word, and we went on till we came to a well, where we stayed awhile to refresh ourselves. Setting out again in the evening, we passed so near a village where these robbers had retreated that the dogs barked after us. Next morning we joined the fathers, who waited for us. After we had rested ourselves some time in that mountain, we resolved to separate and go two and two, to seek for a more convenient place where we might hide ourselves. We had not gone far before we were surrounded by a troop of robbers, with whom, by the interest of some of the natives who had joined themselves to our caravan, we came to a composition, giving them part of our goods to permit us to carry away the rest; and after this troublesome adventure arrived at a place something more commodious than that which we had quitted, where we met with bread, but of so pernicious a quality that, after having ate it, we were intoxicated to so great a degree that one of my friends, seeing me so disordered, congratulated my good fortune of having met with such good wine, and was surprised when I gave him an account of the whole affair. He then offered me some curdled milk, very sour, with barley-meal, which we boiled, and thought it the best entertainment we had met with a long time.
They are betrayed into the hands of the Turks; are detained awhile at Mazna; are threatened by the Bassa of Suaquem. They agree for their ransom, and are part of them dismissed.
Some time after, we received news that we should prepare ourselves to serve the Turks--a message which filled us with surprise, it having never been known that one of these lords had ever abandoned any whom he had taken under his protection; and it is, on the contrary, one of the highest points of honour amongst them to risk their fortunes and their lives in the defence of their dependants who have implored their protection. But neither law nor justice was of any advantage to us, and the customs of the country were doomed to be broken when they would have contributed to our security.
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