The last paragraph in the portion extracted from the Island Register, records the intention of the two Pitcairn brothers, Reuben and Francis Nobbs, to settle in Valparaiso for a few years. Mention has already been made of the elder of the two brothers, and it will have been seen that, after reaching Valparaiso, where he was engaged in some mercantile business at Mr. Miller's, Reuben's health had failed. Francis was employed in studies such as might tend to fit him for greater usefulness among his fellow islanders; but he was at once called away from these pursuits, to attend and nurse his poor brother. Subsequently, Admiral Moresby received from Reuben a letter, giving an account of his illness, and breathing a spirit of entire resignation to the will of his heavenly Father. The hand which inscribed the following lines is now cold and motionless in death; but who that reads them will not be cheered and edified by the tone of faith and hope which pervades the letter?
Dr. Ancrum, a physician at Valparaiso, and Mrs. Ancrum, who are here alluded to, proved kind and true friends to the two brothers.
To Rear-Admiral Fairfax Moresby, C.B.
VALPARAISO; April 14, 1854.
"DEAR ADMIRAL,—Although scarcely able, through weakness and a troublesome cough, to steady myself in an upright posture for a minute at a time, still, as dear Mrs. Ancrum kindly offered to enclose for me a few lines to you, if I can possibly contrive to have them ready, I must endeavour not to lose so favourable an opportunity, however little I may be able to say.
"On taking a last farewell of you, and our other dear friends of the Portland, I little thought that the first letter you were to receive from me, after your arrival in England, was to inform you of the total dissolution of all my earthly plans and hopes, shattered as with an arrow from heaven, and leaving every expectation entertained for myself and Francis scattered to the winds. Yet I trust I can from my heart say, 'It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth Him good.' He will undoubtedly make all things work together for our good, and for the glory of His name.
"Very likely Mrs. Ancrum has mentioned something respecting the circumstances which brought about the sudden change in our hopes and expectations. The narrative is very simple. It was on the 31st of last month. Everything with respect to myself and Francis was going on much the same as when you left. He was ! still pursuing his studies; and my duties at Mr. Miller's were daily growing more responsible. I had for about two weeks been troubled with rather a bad cold; and the morning of the day above-mentioned being very damp, while at my work (writing), my cough became somewhat more violent; when, suddenly, and without any warning, an immense discharge of blood from my chest, which nearly choked me, soon proved that there was a rupture of some blood-vessel. The doctor was sent for immediately; and after a little while the bleeding was checked. I was taken home, and matters appeared to be going on favourably, with the blessing of God, and the kind attendance of Dr. Ancrum, till about two o'clock next day, when another fresh discharge of blood occurred, succeeded in the course of that day and night by two others, the last of which left me on the very verge of eternity.
"The next day Dr. Ancrum had me brought up to the hospital; but the motion in coming up caused another abundant flow of blood, so that when I reached here I was reduced to perfect helplessness. Since then, however, there has been no fresh discharge; and with God's blessing, and the kindness of both Dr. and Mrs. Ancrum, I am slowly regaining my strength. Dr. Ancrum very kindly allows Francis to come and stay with me the whole time, and is of opinion that the climate does not agree with him either, as he is not so well and strong as on his arrival here. Dr. Ancrum appears to have consulted with Mr. Miller and the Rev. Mr. Hill; and they have decided that, if it pleases God to spare me, we must return home as soon as possible. So they will look out for a vessel bound for Tahiti or Australia for that purpose.
"How different it was last year! This very day last year, I was getting my things onboard the Portland, with every imaginable joy, and the next morning started on our happy trip to dear Pitcairn. But, dear Admiral, there are no such Jan 27, 1854 pleasant prospects now. We received a few short letters from home the other day. They were dated January 27th, and everything seemed to be going on favourably. Father, mother, and the rest of our friends were all well. Please remember both myself and Francis to all your kind family, and to Captain Chads; and with grateful remembrances of past and continued favours, believe me, dear Admiral,
"Your obedient and very humble Servant,
"REUBEN E. NOBBS.
"P. S. I have been obliged to let Francis write the greater part of this."
"April 29, 1854.
"During the last fortnight, or since the former part of this letter was written, my health appears to have improved a little; but in my opinion, very little. I sit up nearly all day in a rocking-chair, and can walk for a few minutes at a time about my room or in the corridor. What a blessing it is to have Francis with me to attend to my numerous wants! And very attentive and good has he been; I do not know what would have become of me had he not been here. For the first three weeks, Dr. Ancrum would not allow me to say a single word to any one. Everything was done by signs; and no one but Francis, and one or two of the servants, was allowed to enter my room or see me.
"This, dear Admiral, may seem very dreary; but it is an excellent school for weaning the affections from things temporal, and fixing them on those more abiding realities of heaven. Whether or not it is the will of God that I shall ever be permitted to leave this country, so far our prospects of procuring a passage home are very gloomy. The golden days when, through the condescending benevolence of an influential and untiring friend, a passage by a man-of-war might be procured, will, I fear, never be again renewed! Happy days! both for myself and the whole community of, I trust, still grateful islanders!
"There are several reasons for which I desire to lose neither time nor opportunity in returning home. Not merely that I think the voyage, if at all a pleasant one, with the balmy air of my native isle, will do much to restore me; nor the natural desire to have my bones laid beside those of my relatives and friends. But one reason is, I cannot endure the thought of what Francis will suffer, if I am taken away, before he will be able to reach home in safety. Another reason is, the effect which I know the report of my having died in a foreign land will have upon the tender and too anxious feelings of my poor, dear mother. Still must I fervently say, 'Thy will, O Lord, be done! Thou knowest best what to ordain concerning me!'
"Should it please the Lord to restore me to my home, and even to a comparatively sound state of health, I shall endeavour, by His help and blessing, to improve the little talent entrusted to my care, in assisting to further the intellectual, and in some respects the moral, improvement of my people. With many and earnest prayers for the blessing of God upon our kind benefactor,
"I remain, &c."
It pleased God to restore Reuben to the home and family-circle which he so much longed to see again. The brothers were at length enabled to leave Valparaiso; and they reached Otaheite in safety: but they were detained there two months. They afterwards happily met with a vessel which conveyed them to Pitcairn. Admiral Moresby, writing to the author from Exmouth, said:—
"I have received a few lines from our friend Mr. Nobbs, dated Pitcairn's Island, 14th December, 1854, on the arrival of Reuben and Francis. Reuben, he says, is very sick, and cannot, humanly speaking, hold out much longer. It is pleasing to know that Reuben has been granted his earnest wish. His pure spirit will no doubt go aloft; and his remains will rest in his native island."
Before this letter was written Reuben had breathed his last. His remains now rest in his native island.
Francis, who has been trained in the same good ways with his brother, was, according to the last report from Norfolk Island, employed as an instructor in the school.