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ever since. As for wild beasts, we hear them howling and roaring round the fence every night from dusk till daylight, but we have only been inconvenienced by one Lion. The first time he came, in order to get rid of the brute peaceably, we turned out an old ewe, with which he was well satisfied; but ever since he comes to us as regular as clock-work for his mutton; and if we do not soon contrive to cut his acquaintance, we shall hardly have a sheep in the flock. It would have been easy to shoot him, being well provided with muskets, but Barnaby mistook our remnant of gunpowder for onion seed, and sowed it all in the kitchen garden. We did try to trap him into a pitfall; but after twice catching Mrs. P., and every one of the children in turn, it was given up. They are now, however, per
fectly at ease about the animal, for they never stir out of doors at all, and to make them quite comfortable, I have blocked up all the windows and barricaded the door.
We have lost only one of our number since we came; namely, Diggory, the market-gardener, from Glasgow, who went out one morning to botanise, and never came back. I am much surprised at his absconding, as he had nothing but a spade to go off with. Chippendale, the carpenter, was sent after him, but did not return; and Gregory, the smith, has been out after them ⚫ these two days. I have just despatched Mudge, the Herdsman, to look for all . three, and hope he will soon give a good account of them, as they are the most useful men in the whole settlement, and, in fact, indispensable to its existence.
The river Mudiboo is deep, and rapid, and said to swarm with alligators, though I have heard of but three being seen at one time, and none of those above eighteen feet long; this, however, is immaterial, as we do not use the river fluid, which is thick and dirty, but draw all our water from natural wells and tanks. Poisonous springs are rather common, but are easily distinguished by containing no fish or living animal. Those, however, which swarm with frogs, toads, newts, efts, &c., are harmless and may be safely used for culinary purposes.
In short, I know of no drawback but one, which, I am sanguine, may be got over hereafter, and do earnestly hope and advise, if things are no better in England than when I left, you, and as many as you
can persuade, will sell off all, and come over to this African Paradise.
The drawback I speak of is this: although I have never seen any one of the creatures, it is too certain that the mountains are inhabited by a race of Monkeys, whose cunning and mischievous talents exceed even the most incredible stories of their tribe. No human art or vigilance seems of avail; we have planned ambuscades, and watched night after night, but no attempt has been made; yet the moment the guard was relaxed, we were stripped without mercy. I am convinced they must have had spies night and day on our motions, yet so secretly and cautiously, that no glimpse of one has yet been seen by any of our people. Our last crop was cut and carried off, with the precision of an English Har
vesting. Our spirit stores (you will be amazed to hear that these creatures pick locks with the dexterity of London burglars)—have been broken open and ransacked, though half the establishment were on the watch; and the brutes have been off to their mountains, five miles distant, without even the dogs giving an alarm. I could almost persuade myself at time, such are their supernatural knowledge, swiftness, and invisibility, that we have to contend with evil spirits I long for your advice, to refer to on this subject, and am, Dear Philip, your loving brother, AMBROSE MAWE.
P.S. Since writing the above, you will be concerned to hear the body of poor Diggory has been found, horribly mangled by wild beasts. The fate of Chippendale, Gregory,