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Title: The World's Greatest Books, Volume 19

Travel and Adventure

Author: Various

Editor: Arthur Mee and James Alexander Hammerton

Release Date: December 27, 2007 [eBook #23998]

Language: English

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James Boswell
James Boswell Signature
Title Page

THE WORLD'S
GREATEST
BOOKS

JOINT EDITORS
ARTHUR MEE
Editor and Founder of the Book of Knowledge
J. A. HAMMERTON
Editor of Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia

Printers mark

VOL. XIX

TRAVEL AND
ADVENTURE

 

 

Wm. H. Wise & Co.

Copyright, MCMX   McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie

Table of Contents

Portrait of James Boswell Frontispiece
   
Baker, Sir Samuel Page
  Albert N'yanza 1
     
Borrow, George  
  Wild Wales 13
  Bible in Spain 22
     
Boswell, James  
 

Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

37
     
Bruce, James  
 

Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile

47
     
Burckhardt, John Lewis  
 

Travels in Nubia

57
     
Burton, Sir Richard  
 

Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah

67
     
Butler, Sir William  
 

Great Lone Land

79
  Wild North Land 89
     
Cook, James  
 

Voyages Round the World

100
     
Dampier, William  
 

New Voyage Round the World

112
     
Darwin, Charles  
 

Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle

124
     
Dubois, Felix  
 

Timbuctoo the Mysterious

136
     
Hakluyt, Richard  
 

Principal Navigations

148
     
Kinglake, A. W.  
  Eothen 159
     
Layard, Austen Henry  
 

Nineveh and Its Remains

171
     
Linnæus, Carolus  
 

Tour in Lapland

181
     
Livingstone, David  
 

Missionary Travels and Researches

191
     
Loti, Pierre  
  Desert 201
     
Mandeville, Sir John  
 

Voyage and Travel

210
     
Park, Mungo  
 

Travels in the Interior of Africa

219
     
Polo, Marco  
  Travels 229
     
Saint Pierre, Bernadin de  
 

Voyage to the Isle of France

241
     
Speke, John Hanning  
 

Discovery of the Source of the Nile

251
     
Sterne, Laurence  
 

Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

263
     
Voltaire  
 

Letters on the English

275
     
Wallace, Alfred Russel  
 

Travels on the Amazon

285
     
Warburton, Eliot  
 

Crescent and the Cross

299
     
Waterton, Charles  
 

Wanderings in South America

313
     
Young, Arthur  
 

Travels in France

327

A Complete Index of The World's Greatest Books will be found at the end of Volume XX.


1

Travel and Adventure

SIR SAMUEL BAKER

The Albert N'yanza

I.—Explorations of the Nile Source

Sir Samuel White Baker was born in London, on June 8, 1821. From early manhood he devoted himself to a life of adventure. After a year in Mauritius he founded a colony in the mountains of Ceylon at Newera Eliya, and later constructed the railway across the Dobrudsha. His discovery of the Albert N'yanza completed the labours of Speke and Grant, and solved the mystery of the Nile. Baker's administration of the Soudan was the first great effort to arrest the slave trade in the Nile Basin, and also the first step towards the establishment of the British Protectorate of Uganda and Somaliland. Baker died on December 30, 1893. He was a voluminous writer, and his books had immense popularity. "The Albert N'yanza" may be regarded as the most important of his works of travel by reason of the exploration which it records rather than on account of any exceptional literary merit. Here his story is one of such thrilling interest that even a dull writer could scarce have failed to hold the attention of any reader by its straightforward narration.

In March, 1861, I commenced an expedition to discover the sources of the Nile, with the hope of meeting the East African Expedition of Captains Speke and Grant that had been sent by the English Government from the south, via Zanzibar, for that object. From my youth I had been inured to hardships and endurance in wild sports in tropical climates; and when I gazed upon the map of Africa I had the hope that I might, by perseverance, reach the heart of Africa. Had I been alone it would have been no hard lot to die upon the untrodden path before me; but my wife resolved, with woman's2 constancy, to leave the luxuries of home and share all danger, and to follow me through each rough step in the wild life in which I was about to engage. Thus accompanied, on April 15, 1861, I sailed up the Nile from Cairo to Korosko; and thence, by a forced camel march across the Nubian desert, we reached the river of Abou Hamed, and, still on camels, though within view of the palm-trees that bordered the Nile, we came to Berber. I spent a year in learning Arabic, and while doing so explored the Atbara, which joins the Nile twenty miles south of Berber, and the Blue Nile, which joins the main stream at Khartoum, with all their affluents from the mountains of Abyssinia. The general result of these explorations was that I found that the waters of the Atbara when in flood are dense with soil washed from the fertile lands scoured by its tributaries after the melting of the snows and the rainy season; and these, joining with the Blue Nile in full flood, also charged with a red earthy matter, cause the annual inundation in Lower Egypt, the sediment from which gives to that country its remarkable fertility.

I reached Khartoum, the capital of the Soudan, on June 11, 1862. Moosa Pasha was at that time governor-general. He was a rather exaggerated specimen of Turkish authority, combining the worst of oriental failings with the brutality of the wild animal. At that time the Soudan was of little commercial importance to Egypt. What prompted the occupation of the country by the Egyptians was that the Soudan supplied slaves not only for Egypt, but for Arabia and Persia.

In the face of determined opposition of Moosa Pasha and the Nile traders, who were persuaded that my object in penetrating into unknown Central Africa was to put a stop to the nefarious slave traffic, I organised my expedition. It consisted of three vessels—a good decked diahbiah (for my wife, and myself and our personal attendants), and two noggurs, or sailing-barges—the latter3 to take stores, twenty-one donkeys, four camels and four horses. Forty-five armed men as escort, and forty sailors, all in brown uniform, with servants—ninety-six men in all—constituted my personnel.

On February 2, 1863, we reached Gondokoro, where I landed my animals and stores. It is a curious circumstance that, although many Europeans had been as far south as Gondokoro, I was the first Englishman who had ever reached it. Gondokoro I found a perfect hell. There were about 600 slave-hunters and ivory-traders and their people, who passed the whole of their time in drinking, quarrelling and ill-treating the slaves, of which the camps were full; and the natives assured me that there were large depots of slaves in the interior who would be marched to Gondokoro for shipment to the Soudan a few hours after my departure.

I had heard rumours of Speke and Grant, and determined to wait for a time before proceeding forward. Before very long there was a mutiny among my men, who wanted to make a "razzia" upon the cattle of the natives, which, of course, I prohibited. It had been instigated by the traders, who were determined, if possible, to stop my advance. With the heroic assistance of my wife, I quelled the revolt. On February 15, on the rattle of musketry at a great distance, my men rushed madly to my boat with the report that two white men, who had come from the sea, had arrived. Could they be Speke and Grant? Off I ran, and soon met them in reality; and, with a heart beating with joy, I took off my cap and gave a welcome hurrah! We were shortly seated on the deck of my diahbiah under the awning; and such rough fare as could be hastily prepared was set before these two ragged, careworn specimens of African travel. At the first blush of meeting them I considered my expedition as terminated, since they had discovered the Nile source; but upon my congratulating them with all my heart upon the honours they had so nobly earned,4 Speke and Grant, with characteristic generosity, gave me a map of their route, showing that they had been unable to complete the actual exploration of the Nile, and that the most important portion still remained to be determined. It appeared that in N. lat. 2° 17' they had crossed the Nile, which they had tracked from the Victoria Lake; but the river, which from its exit from that lake had a northern course, turned suddenly to the west from Karuma Falls (the point at which they crossed it at lat. 2° 17'). They did not see the Nile again until they arrived in N. lat. 3° 32', which was then flowing from the W.S.W. The natives and the King of Unyoro (Kamrasi) had assured them that the Nile from the Victoria N'yanza, which they had crossed at Karuma, flowed westward for several days' journey, and at length fell into a large lake called the Luta N'zige; that this lake came from the south, and that the Nile, on entering the northern extremity, almost immediately made its exit, and, as a navigable river, continued its course to the north, through the Koshi and Madi countries. Both Speke and Grant attached great importance to this lake Luta N'zige; and the former was much annoyed that it had been impossible for them to carry out the exploration.

I now heard that the field was not only open, but that an additional interest was given to the exploration by the proof that the Nile flowed out of one great lake, the Victoria, but that it evidently must derive an additional supply from an unknown lake as it entered it at the northern extremity, while the body of the lake came from the south. The fact of a great body of water, such as the Luta N'zige, extending in a direct line from south to north, while the general system of drainage of the Nile was from the same direction, showed most conclusively that the Luta N'zige, if it existed in the form assumed, must have an important position in the basin of the Nile. I determined, therefore, to go on. Speke5 and Grant, who were naturally anxious to reach England as soon as possible, sailed in my boat, on February 26, from Gondokoro for Khartoum. Our hearts were much too full to say more than a short "God bless you!" They had won their victory; my work lay all before me.

II.—Perils of Darkest Africa

My plan was to follow a party of traders known by the name of "Turks," and led by an Arab named Ibrahim, which was going to the Latooka country to trade for ivory and slaves, trusting to Providence, good fortune, and the virtue of presents. That party set out early in the afternoon of March 26, 1863. I had secured some rather unwilling men as drivers and porters, and was accompanied by two trusty followers, Richarn and a boy Saat, both of whom had been brought up in the Austrian mission in Khartoum. We had neither guide nor interpreter; but when the moon rose, knowing that the route lay on the east side of the mountain of Belignan, I led the way on my horse Filfil, Mrs. Baker riding by my side on my old Abyssinian hunter, Tétel, and the British flag following behind us as a guide for the caravan of heavily laden camels and donkeys. We pushed on over rough country intersected by ravines till we came to the valley of Tollogo, bounded with perpendicular walls of grey granite, one thousand feet in height, the natives of which were much excited at the sight of the horses and the camels, which were to them unknown animals. After passing through this defile, Ibrahim and his "Turks," whom we had passed during the previous night, overtook us. These slave-hunters and ivory-traders threatened effectually to spoil our enterprise, if not to secure the murder of Mrs. Baker, myself and my entire party, by raising the suspicion and enmity of the native tribes. We afterwards found that there had been a conspiracy to do this. We thought it best, therefore,6 to parley with Ibrahim, and came to terms with him by means of bribes of a double-barrelled gun and some gold.

Under his auspices our joint caravan cleared the palisaded villages of Ellyria, after paying blackmail to the chief, Leggé, whose villainous countenance was stamped with ferocity, avarice and sensuality. Glad to escape from this country, we crossed the Kanīēti river, a tributary of the Sobat, itself a tributary of the White Nile, and entered the country of Latooka, which is bounded by the Lafeet chain of mountains. In the forests and on the plain were countless elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, rhinoceroses, and varieties of large antelopes, together with winged game. The natives are the finest savages I have ever seen, their average height being five feet eleven and a half inches, and their facial features remarkably pleasing. We stayed on many weeks at Tarrangollé, the capital, which is completely surrounded by palisaded walls, within which are over three thousand houses, each a little fort in itself, and kraals for twelve thousand head of cattle. In the neighbourhood I had some splendid big-game shooting; but we had difficulties with repeated mutinies of our men.

Early in May we left Latooka, and crossed a high mountain chain by a pass 2,500 feet in height into the beautiful country of Obbo. This is a fertile plateau, 3,674 feet above sea-level, with abundance of wild grapes and other fruits, yams, nuts, flax, tobacco, etc.; but the travelling was difficult owing to the high grass. The people are pleasant-featured and good-natured, and the chief, Katchiba, maintains his authority by a species of hocus-pocus, or sorcery. He is a merry soul, has a multiplicity of wives—a bevy in each village—so that when he travels through his kingdom he is always at home. His children number 116, and the government is quite a family affair, for he has one of his sons as chief in every village. A native of Obbo showed me some cowrie-shells which he said came from a country called7 Magungo, situated on a lake so large that no one knew its limits. This lake, said I, can be no other than Luta N'zige which Speke had heard of, and I shall take the first opportunity to push for Magungo.

We returned to Latooka to pick up our stores and rejoin Ibrahim, but were detained by the illness of Mrs. Baker and myself and the loss of some of my transport animals. The joint caravan left Latooka on June 23 for Unyoro, Mrs. Baker in an improvised palanquin. The weather was wretched. Constant rains made progress slow; and the natives of the districts through which we passed were dying like flies from smallpox. When we at last reached Obbo we could proceed no further.

My wife and I were so ill with bilious fever that we could not assist each other; my horses, camels and donkeys all died. Flies by day, rats and innumerable bugs by night in the miserable hut where we were located, lions roaring through the dark, never-ending rains, made for many weary months of Obbo a prison about as disagreeable as could be imagined. Having purchased some oxen in lieu of horses and baggage animals, we at length were able to leave Obbo on January 5, 1864, passing through Farājoke, crossing the river Asua at an altitude of 2,875 feet above sea-level, and then on to Fatiko, the capital of the Shooa country, at an altitude of 3,877 feet.

III.—Discovery of the Nile's Sources

Shooa proved a land flowing with milk and honey. Provisions of every kind were abundant and cheap. The pure air invigorated Mrs. Baker and myself; and on January 18 we left Shooa for Unyoro, Kamrasi's country. On the 22nd we struck the Somerset River, or the Victoria White Nile, and crossed it at the Karuma Falls, marching thence to M'rooli, Kamrasi's capital, at the junction of the Kafoor River with the Somerset, which8 was reached on February 10. Here we were detained till February 21, with exasperating excuses for preventing us going further, and audacious demands from Kamrasi for everything that I had, including my last watch and my wife! We were surrounded by a great number of natives, and, as my suspicions of treachery appeared confirmed, I drew my revolver, resolved that if this was to be the end of the expedition it should also be the end of Kamrasi. I held the revolver within two feet of his chest, looked at him with undisguised contempt, and told him that if he dared to repeat the insult I would shoot him on the spot. My wife also made him a speech in Arabic (not a word of which he understood), with a countenance as amiable as the head of a Medusa. Altogether, the mise en scène utterly astonished him, and he let us go, furnishing us with a guide named Rabongo to take us to M'wootan N'zige, not Luta N'zige, as Speke had erroneously suggested. In crossing the Kafoor River on a bridge of floating weeds, Mrs. Baker had a sunstroke, fell through the weeds into deep water, and was rescued with great difficulty. For many days she remained in a deep torpor, and was carried on a litter while we marched through an awful broken country. The torpor was followed by brain fever, with its attendant horrors. The rain poured in torrents; and day after day we were forced to travel for want of provisions, as in the deserted villages there were no supplies. Sometimes in the forest we procured wild honey, and rarely I was able to shoot a few guinea-fowl. We reached a village one night following a day on which my wife had had violent convulsions. I laid her down on a litter within a hut, covered her with a Scotch plaid, and I fell upon my mat insensible, worn out with sorrow and fatigue. When I woke the next morning I found my wife breathing gently, the fever gone, the eyes calm. She was saved! The gratitude of that moment I will not attempt to describe.

9On March 14 the day broke beautifully clear; and, having crossed a deep valley between the hills, we toiled op the opposite slope. I hurried to the summit. The glory of our prize burst suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of quicksilver, lay, far beneath, the grand expanse of water, a boundless sea horizon on the south and south-west, glittering in the noon-day sun; and on the west, fifty or sixty miles distant, blue mountains rose from the bosom of the lake to a height of 7,000 feet above its level. It is impossible to describe the triumph of that moment. Here was the reward for all our labour—for the years of tenacity with which we had toiled through Africa. England had won the sources of the Nile!

I was about 1,500 feet above the lake; and I looked down from the steep granite cliff upon those welcome waters, upon that vast reservoir which nourished Egypt, and brought fertility where all was wilderness, upon that great source so long hidden from mankind; that source of bounty and of blessing to millions of human beings; and, as one of the greatest objects in Nature, I determined to honour it with a great name. As an imperishable memorial of one loved and mourned by our gracious queen, and deplored by every Englishman, I called this great lake "The Albert N'yanza." The Victoria and the Albert Lakes are the two sources of the Nile.

IV.—Exploring the Great Lake

The zigzag path of the descent to the lake was so steep and dangerous that we were forced to leave our oxen with a guide, who was to take them to Magungo, and wait for our arrival. We commenced the descent of the steep pass on foot. I led the way, grasping a stout bamboo. My wife, in extreme weakness, tottered down the pass, supporting herself on my shoulder, and stopping to rest every twenty paces. After a toilsome descent of10 about two hours, weak with years of fever, but for the moment strengthened by success, we gained the level plain below the cliff. A walk of about a mile through flat sandy meadows of fine turf, interspersed with trees and bush, brought us to the water's edge. The waves were rolling upon a white pebbly beach. I rushed into the lake, and, thirsty with fatigue, with a heart full of gratitude, I drank deep from the sources of the Nile. Within a quarter of a mile of the lake was a fishing village named Vacovia, in which we now established ourselves.

At sunrise of the following morning I took the compass to the borders of the lake to survey the country. It was beautifully clear; and with a powerful telescope I could distinguish two large waterfalls that cleft the sides of the mountains like threads of silver. My wife, who had followed me so devotedly, stood by my side pale and exhausted—a wreck upon the shores of the great Albert Lake that we had so long striven to reach. No European foot had ever trod upon its sand, nor had the eyes of a white man ever scanned its vast expanse of water. We were the first; and this was the key to the great secret that even Julius Caesar yearned to unravel, but in vain!

Having procured two canoes, we started on a voyage of exploration northward on the lake. Along the east coast, with cliffs 1,500 feet in height, we discovered a waterfall of 1,000 feet drop, formed by the Kaiigiri River emptying itself in the lake. On shore there were many elephants, and in the lake hundreds of hippopotami and crocodiles. We made narrow escapes of shipwreck on several occasions; and on the thirteenth day of our voyage the lake contracted to between fifteen and twenty miles in width, but the canoe came into a perfect wilderness of aquatic vegetation. On the western shore was the kingdom of Malegga, and a chain of mountains 4,000 feet high, but decreasing in height towards the north. We reached the long-sought town of Magungo, and entered11 a channel, which we were informed was the embouchure of the Somerset River, from the Victoria N'yanza, the same river we had crossed at Karuma. Here we found our guide Rabonga and the riding oxen. The town and general level of the country was 500 feet above the water. A few miles to the north was a gap in the Malegga range; due N. E. the country was a dead flat; and as far as the eye could reach was an extent of bright green reeds marking the course of the Nile as it made its exit out of the lake. The natives refused most positively to take me down the Nile outlet on account of their dread of the Madi people on its banks. I determined, therefore, to go by canoe up the Somerset River, and finally to fix the course of that stream as I had promised Speke to do.

V.—Escape from Savage Enemies

Both my wife and I were helpless with fever, and when we made our first halt at a village I had to be carried ashore on a litter, and my wife was so weak that she had to crawl on foot. At first the river was 500 yards wide, but on the second day it narrowed to 250 yards. As we pulled up the stream, it narrowed to 180 yards, and, rounding a corner, a magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us. On each side were beautifully wooded cliffs rising abruptly to a height of about 300 feet, and rushing through a gap which cleft the rock exactly before us, the river, contracted from a grand stream, was pent up in a narrow gorge of scarcely fifty yards in width. Roaring furiously through the rock-bound pass, it plunged in one leap of about 120 feet perpendicular into a dark abyss below. This was the greatest waterfall of the Nile; and in honour of the distinguished president of the Royal Geographical Society, I named it the Murchison Falls.

Of course, we could proceed no farther by canoe, and12 landed at a deserted village. Our riding oxen had died; and we had to get some natives as porters. My wife was carried on a litter, and I was scarcely able to crawl; but after tremendous difficulties and dangers we reached, following the bank of the Somerset, on April 8, the island of Patooān, within eighteen miles of where we had first struck the river at Karuma. My exploration was, therefore, complete; but our difficulties were not at an end. We were detained for two months at Shooa Morū, practically deserted by everyone except our two personal attendants, and all but starved.

[The real Kamrasi, for the man Baker and his party had seen on their outward journey was only his brother M'Gambi, afterwards came on the scene, took them to Kisoona, and there and at other places detained them practically prisoners during the long and cruel wars with his rivals, Fawooka and Rionga and the King of Uganda. On November 17, Baker escaped with his wife and a small party and marched through the Shooa country and the country of the Madi to the Asua River, only a quarter of a mile from its junction with the Nile. Then they crossed the country of the Bari, and arrived at Gondokoro, whence they sailed down the Nile to Khartoum, which was reached on May 5, 1865, two years and five months after their start from that city.]


13

GEORGE BORROW

Wild Wales

I.—Its People, Language and Scenery

Although the tour in Wales upon which this work was founded took place in 1854, and although the book was completed in 1857, it was not published until 1862. It received curt treatment from most of the critics, but the "Spectator" declared that Borrow (see Fiction) had written "the best book about Wales ever published." This verdict has been endorsed by admirers of Wales and of Borrow. Less imaginative than his earlier works, it is more natural and cheerful; it is a faithful record of studies of Welsh scenery and characteristics, and affords many a delightful glimpse of the quaint personality of its author.

In the summer of the year 1854, myself, wife and daughter determined upon going into Wales to pass a few months there. It was my knowledge of Welsh, such as it was, that made me desirous that we should go to Wales. In my boyhood I had been something of a philologist, and had learnt some Welsh, partly from books and partly from a Welsh groom. I was well versed in the compositions of various of the old Welsh bards, especially those of Dafydd ab Gwilym, whom I have always considered as the greatest poetical genius that has appeared in Europe since the revival of literature.

So our little family started for Wales on July 27, and next day we arrived at Chester. Three days later I sent my wife and daughter by train to Llangollen, and on the following morning I left Chester for Llangollen on foot. After passing through Wrexham, I soon reached Rhiwabon, whence my way lay nearly west. A woman passed me going towards Rhiwabon. I pointed to a ridge to the east, and asked its name. The woman shook her head and replied, "Dim Saesneg" (No English).

14

"This is as it should be," said I to myself; "I now feel I am in Wales." I repeated the question in Welsh.

"Cefn bach," she replied—which signifies the little ridge.

"Diolch iti," I replied, and proceeded on my way.

On arriving at Llangollen I found my wife and daughter at the principal inn. During dinner we had music, for a Welsh harper stationed in the passage played upon his instrument "Codiad yr ehedydd." "Of a surety," said I, "I am in Wales!"

The beautiful valley of the Dee, or Dwy, of which the Llangollen district forms part, is called in the British tongue Glyndyfrdwy. The celebrated Welsh chieftain, generally known as Owen Glendower, was surnamed after the valley, which belonged to him.

Connected with the Dee there is a wonderful Druidical legend to the following effect. The Dee springs from two fountains, high up in Merionethshire, called Dwy Fawr and Dwy Fach, or the great and little Dwy, whose waters pass through those of the lake of Bala without mingling with them, and come out at its northern extremity. These fountains had their names from two individuals, Dwy Fawr and Dwy Fach, who escaped from the Deluge, and the passing of the waters of the two fountains through the lake, without being confounded with its flood, is emblematic of the salvation of the two individuals from the Deluge, of which the lake is a type.

I remained at Llangollen for nearly a month, first of all ascending to Dinas Bran, a ruined stronghold of unknown antiquity, which crowns the top of the mighty hill on the northern side of the valley; then walking more than once over the Berwyn hills; then visiting the abbey of the Vale of the Cross, where lies buried the poet Iolo Goch, the friend of Owen Glendower; then making an expedition on foot to Ruthin.

Before leaving Llangollen I went over the Berwyn again to the valley of Ceiriog, to see the birthplace of15 Huw Morris, the great Royalist poet, whose pungent satires of King Charles's foes ran like wild fire through Wales. Through a maze of tangled shrubs, in pouring rain, I was led to his chair—a mouldering stone slab forming the seat, and a large slate stone the back, with the poet's initials cut in it. I uncovered, and said in the best Welsh I could command, "Shade of Huw Morris, a Saxon has come to this place to pay that respect to true genius which he is ever ready to pay." I then sat down in the chair, and commenced repeating the verses of Huw Morris. The Welsh folk who were with me listened patiently and approvingly in the rain, for enthusiasm is never scoffed at by the noble, simple-minded, genuine Welsh, whatever treatment it may receive from the coarse-hearted, sensual, selfish Saxon.

On a brilliant Sunday morning in late August, I left Llangollen on foot for Bangor, Snowdon and Anglesey. I walked through Corwen to Cerrig y Drudion, within sight of Snowdon. At the inn, where I spent the night, the landlady remarked that it was odd that the only two people not Welshmen she had ever known who could speak Welsh should be in her house at the same time. The other man, I found, was an Italian of Como, with whom I conversed in his native tongue.

Next morning I started to walk to Bangor, a distance of thirty-four miles. After passing across a stretch of flat country, I reached Pentre Voelas, and soon found myself in a wild hilly region. Presently I arrived at a cottage just inside the door of which sat a good-looking, middle-aged woman, engaged in knitting, the general occupation of Welsh females.

"Good-day," said I to her in Welsh. "Fine weather."

"In truth, sir, it is fine weather for the harvest."

"Are you alone in the house?"

"I am, sir; my husband has gone to his labour."

"Have you any children?"

"Two, sir, but they are out in service."16

"What is the name of the river near here?"

"It is called the Conway. You have heard of it, sir?"

"Heard of it! It is one of the famous rivers of the world. One of the great poets of my country calls it the old Conway."

"Is one river older than another, sir?"

"That's a shrewd question. Can you read?"

"I can, sir."

"Have you any books?"

"I have the Bible, sir."

"Will you show it me?"

"Willingly, sir."

On opening the book the first words which met my eye were "Gad i my fyned trwy dy dir!" (Let me go through your country. Numbers xx. 22.)

"I may say these words," said I—"let me go through your country."

"No one will hinder you, sir, for you seem a civil gentleman."

"No one has hindered me hitherto. Wherever I have been in Wales I have experienced nothing but kindness."

"What country is yours, sir?"

"England. Did you not know that by my tongue?"

"I did not, sir. I took you for a Cumro of the south."

I departed, and proceeded through a truly magnificent country to the celebrated Vale of Conway. Then I turned westwards to Capel Curig, and from there walked through a bleak moor amidst wild, sterile hills, and down a gloomy valley with enormous rock walls on either hand, to Bethesda and Bangor, where my family awaited me.

II.—On Snowdon's Lofty Summit

On the third morning after our arrival at Bangor, we set out for Snowdon. Snowdon is interesting on various accounts. It is interesting for its picturesque beauty; it is interesting from its connection with Welsh history.

17But it is from its connection with romance that Snowdon derives its chief interest. Who, when he thinks of Snowdon, does not associate it with the heroes of romance, Arthur and his knights?

We went through Carnarvon to Llanberis, and there I started with Henrietta, my daughter, to ascend the hill, my wife not deeming herself sufficiently strong to encounter the fatigue of the expedition. For some way the ascent was anything but steep, but towards the summit the path became much harder; at length, however, we stood safe and sound upon the very top of Snowdon.

"Here," said I to Henrietta, "you are on the top crag of Snowdon, which the Welsh consider, and perhaps with justice, to be the most remarkable crag in the world; which is mentioned in many of their old wild romantic tales, and some of the noblest of their poems, amongst others, in the 'Day of Judgment,' by the illustrious Goronwy Owen."

To this harangue Henrietta listened with attention; three or four English, who stood nigh, with grinning scorn, and a Welsh gentleman with much interest.

The Welshman, coming forward, shook me by the hand, exclaiming, "Wyt ti Lydaueg?" (Are you from Brittany?)

"I am not a Llydauan," said I; "I wish I was, or anything but what I am, one of a nation amongst whom any knowledge, save what relates to money-making, is looked upon as a disgrace. I am ashamed to say that I am an Englishman."

My family then returned to Llangollen, whilst I took a trip into Anglesey to visit Llanfair, the birth-place of the great poet, Goronwy Owen, whose works I had read with enthusiasm in my early years. I went on to Holyhead, and ascended the headland. The prospect, on every side, was noble, and in some respects this Pen Santaidd reminded me of Finisterra, the Gallegan promontory which I had ascended some seventeen years before.

18Next morning I departed for Beddgelert by way of Carnarvon. After passing by Lake Cwellyn, where I conversed with the Snowdon ranger, an elderly man who is celebrated as the tip-top guide to Snowdon, I reached Beddgelert, and found the company at the hotel there perhaps even more disagreeable than that which I had left behind at Bangor. Beddgelert is the scene of the legend of Llywelyn ab Jorwerth's dog Gelert, a legend which, whether true or fictitious, is singularly beautiful and affecting. On the way to Festiniog next day I entered a refreshment-place, where I was given a temperance drink that was much too strong for me. By mixing it with plenty of water, I made myself a beverage tolerable enough; a poor substitute, however, to a genuine Englishman for his proper drink, the liquor which, according to the Edda, is called by men ale, and by the gods, beer. Between this place and Tan-y-Bwlch I lost my way. I obtained a wonderful view of the Wyddfa towering in sublime grandeur to the west, and of the beautiful but spectral mountain Knicht in the north; to the south the prospect was noble indeed—waters, forests, hoary mountains, and, in the far distance, the sea. But I underwent sore hardships ere I found my way again, and I was feeling much exhausted when I entered the Grapes Inn at Tan-y-Bwlch.

In the parlour was a serious-looking gentleman, with whom, as I sipped my brandy-and-water, I entered into a discourse that soon took a religious turn. He told me that he believed in Divine pre-destination, and that he did not hope to be saved; he was pre-destined to be lost. I disputed the point with him for a considerable time, and left him looking very miserable, perhaps at finding that he was not quite so certain of eternal damnation as he had hitherto supposed.

An hour's walking brought me to Festiniog, the birth-place of Rhys Goch, a celebrated bard, and a partisan of Owen Glendower. Next morning I crossed a wild and19 cheerless moor that extended for miles and miles, and entered a valley with an enormous hill on my right. Presently meeting four men, I asked the foremost of them its name.

"Arenig Vawr," he replied, or something like it. I asked if anybody lived upon it.

"No," he replied; "too cold for man."

"Fox?" said I.

"No! too cold for fox."

"Crow?" said I.

"No; too cold for crow; crow would be starved upon it." He then looked me in the face, expecting probably that I should smile. I, however, looked at him with all the gravity of a judge, whereupon he also observed the gravity of a judge, and we continued looking at each other with all the gravity of judges till we both simultaneously turned away.

Shortly afterwards I came to a beautiful valley; a more bewitching scene I never beheld. I was now within three miles of Bala, where I spent the night at an excellent inn. The name of the lake of Bala is Llyn Tegid, which signifies Lake of Beauty; and certainly this name was not given for nothing.

Next day, shortly after sunset, I reached my family at Llangollen, and remained there for some weeks, making excursions to Chirk Castle and elsewhere. On October 21 I left my family to make preparations for their return to England, and myself departed for South Wales.

III.—Wanderings in South Wales

I walked first to Llan Rhyadr, visited Sycharth and Llan Silin, where Huw Morris is buried, saw the cataract of the Rhyadr, and crossed the hills to Bala. After remaining a day in this beautiful neighbourhood, I crossed a stupendous pass to Dinas Mawddwy, in the midst of the region once inhabited by the red-haired banditti of20 Mawddwy, the terror of the greater part of North Wales. From there I passed down a romantic gorge, through which flows the Royal Dyfi, to Mallwyd, where I spent the night.

Next morning I descended the valley of the Dyfi to Machynlleth, a thoroughly Welsh town situated among pleasant green meadows. At Machynlleth, in 1402, Owen Glendower held a parliament, and was formally crowned King of Wales. To Machynlleth came Dafydd Gam, with the view of assassinating Owen, who, however, had him seized and conducted in chains to a prison in the mountains of Sycharth.

On November 2, I left Machynlleth by a steep hill to the south, whence there is a fine view of the Dyfi valley, and set out for the Devil's Bridge. The road was at first exceedingly good, and the scenery beautiful. Afterwards I had to pass over very broken ground, and the people of whom I asked my way were Saxon-haters and uncivil. Night was coming on fast when I reached the inn of Pont Erwyd.

Next day I went on to the Devil's Bridge in the agreeable company of a Durham mining captain, who had come to this country thirty-five years before to help in opening Wales—that is, by mining in Wales in the proper fashion, which means the North-country fashion. Arrived at the Devil's Bridge, I viewed its magnificent scenery, and especially observed the cave of the Wicked Children, the mysterious Plant de Bat, sons of Bat or Bartholomew, who concealed themselves in this recess and plundered the neighbourhood. Finally, they fell upon a great gentleman on the roads by night, and not only robbed, but murdered him. "That job was the ruin of Plant de Bat," an old postman told me, "for the great gentleman's friends hunted after his murderers with dogs, and at length came to the cave, and, going in, found it stocked with riches, and the Plant de Bat sitting upon the riches, not only the boys, but their sister, who21 was as bad as themselves. So they took out the riches and the Plant de Bat, and the riches they did give to churches and hospitals, and the Plant de Bat they did execute, hanging the boys, and burning the girl."

After a visit to the Minister's Bridge, not far distant, a place very wild and savage, but not comparable in sublimity with the Devil's Bridge, I determined to ascend the celebrated mountain of Plynlimmon, where arise the rivers Rheidol, Severn and Wye. I caused my guide to lead me to the sources of each of the three rivers. That of the Rheidol is a small, beautiful lake, overhung on two sides by frightful crags. The source of the Severn is a little pool some twenty inches long, covered at the bottom with small stones; the source of the Wye is a pool not much larger. The fountain of the Rheidol stands apart from the others, as if, proud of its own beauty, it disdained their homeliness. I drank deeply at all three sources.

Next day I went by Hafod and Spitty Ystwith over a bleak moorland country to the valley of the Teivi, and turned reverently aside to the celebrated monastery of Strata Florida, where is buried Dafydd ab Gwilym, the greatest genius of the Cymbric race. In this neighbourhood I heard a great deal of the exploits of Twm Shone Catti, the famous Welsh robber, who became a country gentleman and a justice of the peace.

From Tregaron, eight miles beyond Strata Florida, I went on to Llan Ddewi Brefi and Lampeter, and crossed over to Llandovery in the fair valley of the Towy. From there I went over the Black Mountains, in mist and growing darkness, to Gutter Vawr, and thence to Swansea. Through a country blackened with industry, I walked to Neath; thence in rainy weather to Merthyr Tydvil, where I went to see the Cyfartha Fawr Ironworks. Here I saw enormous furnaces and heard all kinds of dreadful sounds.

From Merthyr Tydvil I journeyed to Caerfili by Pen-y-Glas; then to Newport; then by Caer Went, once an22 important Roman station and now a poor, desolate place, to Chepstow. I went to the Wye and drank of the waters at its mouth, even as some time before I had drunk of the waters at its source. Returning to the inn, I got my dinner, and placing my feet against the sides of the grate I drank wine and sang Welsh songs till ten o'clock. Then, shouldering my satchel, I proceeded to the railroad station and took a first-class ticket to London.

The Bible in Spain

I.—The First Journey

In 1835 George Henry Borrow, fresh from a journey in Russia as the Bible Society's agent, set out for Spain to sell and distribute Bibles on the Society's behalf. This mission, in the most fervidly Roman Catholic of all European countries, was one that required rare courage and resourcefulness; and Borrow's task was complicated by the fact that Spain was in a disturbed state owing to the Carlist insurrection. Borrow's journeys in Spain, which were preceded by a tour in Portugal, and followed by a visit to Morocco, lasted in all about four years. In December, 1842, he published "The Bible in Spain"—a work less remarkable as a record of missionary effort than as a vivid narrative of picturesque travel episodes, and a testimony to its author's keen delight in an adventurous life of wanderings in the open air.

I landed at Lisbon on November 12, 1835; and on January 5, 1836, I spurred down the hill of Elvas, on the Portuguese frontier, eager to arrive in old chivalrous romantic Spain. In little more than half an hour we arrived at a brook, whose waters ran vigorously between steep banks. A man who was standing on the side directed me to the ford in the squeaking dialect of Portugal; but whilst I was yet splashing through the water, a voice from the other bank hailed me, in the magnificent language of Spain, in this guise: "Charity, Sir Cavalier, for the love of God bestow an alms upon me, that I may23 purchase a mouthful of red wine!" In a moment I was on Spanish ground, and, having flung the beggar a small piece of silver, I cried in ecstasy: "Santiago y cierra España!" and scoured on my way with more speed than before.

I was now within half a league of Badajoz, where I spent the next three weeks. It was here that I first fell in with those singular people, the Zincali, Gitanos, or Spanish gypsies. My time was chiefly devoted to the gypsies, among whom, from long intercourse with various sections of their race in different parts of the world, I felt myself much more at home than with the silent, reserved men of Spain, with whom a foreigner might mingle for half a century without having half a dozen words addressed to him. So when the fierce gypsy, Antonio Lopez, offered to accompany me as guide on my journey towards Madrid, I accepted his offer. After a few days of travelling in his company I was nearly arrested on suspicion by a national guard, but was saved by my passport. In fact, my appearance was by no means calculated to prepossess people in my favour. Upon my head I wore an old Andalusian hat; a rusty cloak, which had perhaps served half a dozen generations, enwrapped my body. My face was plentifully bespattered with mud, and upon my chin was a beard of a week's growth.

I took leave of Antonio at the summit of the Pass of Mirabete, and descended alone, occasionally admiring one of the finest prospects in the world; before me outstretched lay immense plains, bounded in the distance by huge mountains, whilst at the foot of the hill rolled the Tagus in a deep narrow stream, between lofty banks.

Early in February I reached Madrid. I hoped to obtain permission from the government to print the new Testament in the Castilian language, for circulation in Spain, and lost no time in seeing Mendizabal, the Prime Minister. He was a bitter enemy to the Bible Society;24 but I pressed upon him so successfully that eventually I obtained a promise that at the expiration of a few months, when he hoped the country would be in a more tranquil state, I should be allowed to print the Scriptures. He told me to call upon him again at the end of three months. Before that time had elapsed, however, he had fallen into disgrace, and his Ministry had been succeeded by another. At the outset, in spite of assistance from the British Minister, I could only get evasions from the new government.

I had nothing to do but wait, and I used to loiter for hours along the delightful banks of the canal that runs parallel with the River Manzanares, listening to the prattle of the narangero, or man who sold oranges and water. He was a fellow of infinite drollery; his knowledge of individuals was curious and extensive, few people passing his stall with whose names, character, and history he was not acquainted.

"Those two boys are the children of Gabiria, comptroller of the Queen's household, and the richest man in Madrid. They are nice boys, and buy much fruit. The old woman who is lying beneath yon tree is the Tia Lucilla; she has committed murders, and as she owes me money, I hope one day to see her executed. This man was of the Walloon guard—Señor Don Benito Mol, how do you do?"

This last-named personage instantly engrossed my attention; he was a bulky old man, with ruddy features, and eyes that had an expression of great eagerness, as if he were expecting the communication of some important tidings. He returned the salutation of the orange-man, and, bowing to me, forthwith produced two scented wash-balls, which he offered for sale in a rough dissonant jargon.

Upon my asking him who he was, the following conversation ensued between us.

"I am a Swiss of Lucerne, Benedict Mol by name,25 once a soldier in the Walloon guard, and now a soap-boiler, at your service."

"You speak the language of Spain very imperfectly," said I. "How long have you been in the country?"

"Forty-five years," replied Benedict. "But when the guard was broken up I went to Minorca, where I lost the Spanish language without acquiring the Catalan. I will now speak Swiss to you, for, if I am not much mistaken, you are a German man, and understand the speech of Lucerne. I intend shortly to return to Lucerne, and live there like a duke."

"Have you, then, realised a large capital in Spain?" said I, glancing at his hat and the rest of his apparel.

"Not a cuart, not a cuart; these two wash-balls are all that I possess."

"Perhaps you are the son of good parents, and have lands and money in your own country wherewith to support yourself?"

"Not a heller, not a heller; my father was hangman of Lucerne, and when he died his body was seized to pay his debts." When he went back to Lucerne, added Benedict, it would be in a coach drawn by six mules, with treasure, a mighty schatz, which lay in a certain church at Compostella, in Galicia. He had learnt the secret of it from a dying soldier of the Walloon guard, who, with two companions, had buried in the church a great booty they had made in Portugal. It consisted of gold moidores and of a packet of huge diamonds from the Brazils. The whole was contained in a large copper kettle. "It is very easy to find, for the dying man was so exact in his description of the place where it lies that were I once at Compostella, I should have no difficulty in putting my hand upon it. Several times I have been on the point of setting out on the journey, but something has always happened to stop me."

At various times during the next two years I again met Benedict Mol.

26When next I called upon the new Prime Minister, Isturitz, I found him well disposed to favour my views, and I obtained an understanding that my Biblical pursuits would be tolerated in Spain. The Minister was in a state of extreme depression, which was indeed well grounded; for within a week there occurred a revolution in which his party, the Moderados, were overthrown by the Nacionals. I watched the fighting from an upper window, in the company of my friend D——, of the "Morning Chronicle." Afterwards I returned to England, for the purpose of consulting with my friends, and planning a Biblical campaign.

II.—Travels in Northern Spain

In November I sailed from the Thames to Cadiz, and reached Madrid by Seville and Cordova. I found that I could commence printing the Scriptures without any further applications to the government. Within three months of my arrival an edition of the New Testament, consisting of 5,000 copies, was published at Madrid. I then prepared to ride forth, Testament in hand, and endeavour to circulate the Word of God amongst the Spaniards.

First, I purchased a horse. He was a black Andalusian stallion of great power and strength, but he was unbroke, savage, and furious. A cargo of Bibles, however, which I hoped occasionally to put on his back, would, I had no doubt, thoroughly tame him. I then engaged a servant, a wandering Greek, named Antonio Buchini; his behaviour was frequently in the highest degree extraordinary, but he served me courageously and faithfully. The state of the surrounding country was not very favourable for setting forth; Cabrera, the Carlist, was within nine leagues of Madrid, with an army nearly 10,000 strong; nevertheless, about the middle of27 May I bade farewell to my friends, and set out for Salamanca.

A melancholy town is Salamanca; the days of its collegiate glory are long since past, never more to return; a circumstance, however, which is little to be regretted, for what benefit did the world ever derive from scholastic philosophy? The principal bookseller of the town consented to become my agent here, and I, in consequence, deposited in his shop a certain number of New Testaments. I repeated this experiment in all the large towns which I visited and distributed them likewise as I rode along.

The posada where I put up at Salamanca was a good specimen of the old Spanish inn. Opposite to my room lodged a wounded officer; he was attended by three broken soldiers, lame or maimed, and unfit for service; they were quite destitute of money, and the officer himself was poor and had only a few dollars. Brave guests for an inn, thought I; yet, to the honour of Spain be it spoken, it is one of the few countries in Europe where poverty is never insulted nor looked upon with contempt. Even at an inn the poor man is never spurned from the door, and if not harboured, is at least dismissed with fair words, and consigned to the mercy of God and his mother. This is as it should be. I laugh at the bigotry and prejudices of Spain; I abhor the cruelty and ferocity which have cast a stain of eternal infamy on her history; but I will say for the Spaniards that in their social intercourse no people in the world exhibit a juster feeling of what is due to the dignity of human nature, or better understand the behaviour which it behoves a man to adopt towards his fellow beings.

We travelled on by Valladolid, Leon and Astorga, and entered the terrific mountains of Galicia. After a most difficult journey, along precipitous tracks that were reported to be infested by brigands, we reached Coruña, where stands the tomb of Mocre, built by the chivalrous28 French in commemoration of the fall of their heroic antagonist. Many acquire immortality without seeking it, and die before its first ray has gilded their name; of these was Moore. There is scarcely a Spaniard but has heard of his tomb, and speaks of it with a strange kind of awe.

At the commencement of August I found myself at St. James of Compostella. A beautiful town is St. James, standing on a pleasant level amidst mountains. Time has been when, with the single exception of Rome, it was the most celebrated resort of pilgrims in the world. Its glory, however, as a place of pilgrimage is rapidly passing away.

I was walking late one night alone in the Alameda, when a man dressed in coarse brown garments took off his hat and demanded charity in uncouth tones. "Benedict Mol," said I, "is it possible that I see you at Compostella?"

It was indeed Benedict. He had walked all the way from Madrid, supporting himself by begging.

"What motive could possibly bring you such a distance?" I asked him.

"I come for the schatz—the treasure. Ow, I do not like this country of Galicia at all; all my bones are sore since I entered Galicia."

"And yet you have come to this country in search of treasure?"

"Ow yaw, but the schatz is buried; it is not above ground; there is no money above ground in Galicia. I must dig it up; and when I have dug it up I will purchase a coach with six mules, and ride out of Galicia to Lucerne."

I gave him a dollar, and told him that as for the treasure he had come to seek, probably it only existed in his own imagination.

29III.—The Alcalde of Finisterra

After a visit to Pontevedra and Vigo, I returned to Padron, three leagues from Compostella, and decided to hire a guide to Cape Finisterra. It would be difficult to assign any plausible reason for the ardent desire which I entertained to visit this place; but I thought that to convey the Gospel to a place so wild and remote might perhaps be considered an acceptable pilgrimage in the eyes of my Maker.

The first guide I employed deserted me; the second did not appear to know the way, and sought to escape from me; and when I tried to pursue him, my horse bolted and nearly broke my neck. I caught the guide at last. After a very rough journey we reached the village of Finisterra, and wound our way up the flinty sides of the huge bluff head which is called the Cape. Certainly in the whole world there is no bolder coast than the Gallegan shore. There is an air of stern and savage grandeur in everything around, which strangely captivates the imagination. After gazing from the summit of the Cape for nearly an hour we descended to the village. On reaching the house where we had taken up our habitation, I flung myself on a rude and dirty bed, and was soon asleep.

I was suddenly, however, seized roughly by the shoulder and nearly dragged from the bed. I looked up in amazement, and I beheld hanging over me a wild and uncouth figure; it was that of an elderly man, built as strong as a giant, in the habiliments of a fisherman; in his hand was a rusty musket.

Myself: Who are you and what do you want? By what authority do you thus presume to interfere with me?

Figure: By the authority of the Justicia of Finisterra. Follow me peaceably, Calros, or it will be the worse with you.

30"Calros," said I, "what does the person mean?" I thought it, however, most prudent to obey his command, and followed him down the staircase. The shop and the portal were now thronged with the inhabitants of Finisterra, men, women, and children. Through this crowd the figure pushed his way with an air of authority. "It is Calros! It is Calros!" said a hundred voices; "he has come to Finisterra at last, and the justicia have now got hold of him."

At last we reached a house of rather larger size than the rest; my guide having led me into a long, low room, placed me in the middle of the floor, and then hurrying to the door, he endeavoured to repulse the crowd who strove to enter with us. I now looked around the room. It was rather scantily furnished; I could see nothing but some tubs and barrels, the mast of a boat, and a sail or two. Seated upon the tubs were three or four men coarsely dressed, like fishermen or shipwrights. The principal personage was a surly, ill-tempered-looking fellow of about thirty-five, whom I discovered to be the alcalde of Finisterra. After I had looked about me for a minute, the alcalde, giving his whiskers a twist, thus addressed me:

"Who are you, where is your passport, and what brings you to Finisterra?"

Myself: I am an Englishman. Here is my passport, and I came to see Finisterra.

This reply seemed to discomfit them for a moment. They looked at each other, then at my passport. At length the alcalde, striking it with his finger, bellowed forth, "This is no Spanish passport; it appears to be written in French."

Myself: I have already told you that I am a foreigner. I, of course, carry a foreign passport.

Alcalde: Then you mean to assert that you are not Calros Rey?

Myself: I never heard before of such a king, nor indeed of such a name.31

Alcalde: Hark to the fellow; he has the audacity to say that he has never heard of Calros the pretender, who calls himself king.

Myself: If you mean by Calros the pretender Don Carlos, all I can reply is that you can scarcely be serious. You might as well assert that yonder poor fellow, my guide, whom I see you have made prisoner, is his nephew, the infante Don Sebastian.

Alcalde: See, you have betrayed yourself; that is the very person we suppose him to be.

Myself: It is true that they are both hunchbacks. But how can I be like Don Carlos? I have nothing the appearance of a Spaniard, and am nearly a foot taller than the pretender.

Alcalde: That makes no difference; you, of course, carry many waistcoats about you, by means of which you disguise yourself, and appear tall or low according to your pleasure.

This last was so conclusive an argument that I had of course nothing to reply to it. "Yes, it is Calros; it is Calros," said the crowd at the door.

"It will be as well to have these men shot instantly," continued the alcalde; " if they are not the two pretenders, they are at any rate two of the factious."

"I am by no means certain that they are either one or the other," said a gruff voice. Our glances rested upon the figure who held watch at the door. He had planted the barrel of his musket on the floor, and was leaning his chin against the butt.

"I have been examining this man," he continued, pointing to myself, "and listening whilst he spoke, and it appears to me that after all he may prove an Englishman; he has their very look and voice."

Here the alcalde became violently incensed. "He is no more an Englishman than yourself," he exclaimed; "if he were an Englishman, would he have come in this32 manner, skulking across the land? Not so I trow. He would have come in a ship."

After a fierce dispute between the alcalde and the guard, it was decided to remove us to Corcuvion, where the head alcalde was to dispose of us as he thought proper.

The head alcalde was a mighty liberal and a worshipper of Jeremy Bentham. "The most universal genius which the world ever produced," he called him. "I am most truly glad to see a countryman of his in these Gothic wildernesses. Stay, I think I see a book in your hand."

Myself: The New Testament.

Alcalde: Why do you carry such a book with you?

Myself: One of my principal motives in visiting Finisterra was to carry this book to that wild place.

Alcalde: Ah, ah! how very singular. Yes, I remember. I have heard that the English highly prize this eccentric book. How very singular that the countrymen of the grand Bentham should set any value upon that old monkish book.

I told him that I had read none of Bentham's writings; but nevertheless I had to thank that philosopher not only for my release, but for hospitable treatment during the rest of my stay in the region of Finisterra.

From Corcuvion I returned to Compostella and Coruña, and then directed my course to Asturias. At Oviedo, I again met Benedict Mol. He had sought to get permission to disinter the treasure, and had not succeeded. He had then tried to reach France, begging by the way. He was in villainous apparel, and nearly barefooted. He promised to quit Spain and return to Lucerne, and I gave him a few dollars.

"A strange man is this Benedict," said my servant Antonio. "A strange life he has led and a strange death he will die—it is written on his countenance. That he will leave Spain I do not believe, or, if he leave it, it33 will only be to return, for he is bewitched about this same treasure."

Soon afterwards I returned to Madrid. During my northern journey, which occupied a considerable portion of the year 1837, I had accomplished less than I proposed to myself. Something, however, had been effected. The New Testament was now enjoying a quiet sale in the principal towns of the north.

I had, moreover, disposed of a considerable number of Testaments with my own hands.

IV.—The Persecution

I spent some months in Madrid translating the New Testament into the Basque and Gypsy languages. During this time the hostility of the priesthood to my labours became very bitter. The Governor of Madrid forbade the sale of Testaments in January, 1838; afterwards all copies of the Gypsy Gospel were confiscated, and in May I was thrown into prison. I went cheerfully enough, knowing that the British Embassy was actively working for my release; and the governor of the prison, one of the greatest rascals in all Spain, greeted me with a most courteous speech in pure sonorous Castilian, bidding me consider myself as a guest rather than a prisoner, and permitting me to roam over every part of the gaol.

What most surprised me with respect to the prisoners was their good behaviour. I call it good when all things are taken into consideration. They had their occasional bursts of wild gaiety, their occasional quarrels, which they were in the habit of settling in a corner with their long knives; but, upon the whole, their conduct was infinitely superior to what might have been expected. Yet this was not the result of coercion, or any particular care which was exercised over them; for perhaps in no part of the world are prisoners so left to themselves34 and so utterly neglected as in Spain. Yet in this prison of Madrid the ears of the visitor are never shocked with horrid blasphemy and profanity, nor are his eyes outraged and himself insulted. And yet in this prison were some of the most desperate characters in Spain. But gravity and sedateness are the leading characteristics of the Spaniards, and the very robber, except in those moments when he is engaged in his occupation, and then no one is more sanguinary, pitiless, and wolfishly eager for booty, is a being who can be courteous and affable, and who takes pleasure in conducting himself with sobriety and decorum.

After a stay of three weeks in the prison I was released, as I expected, with an apology, and I prepared for another journey. While in prison I had been visited by Benedict Mol, again in Madrid. Soon after my release he came in high spirits to bid me farewell before starting for Compostella to dig up the schatz. He was dressed in new clothes; instead of the ragged staff he had usually borne, he carried a huge bamboo rattan. He had endured terrible privations, he said, in the mountains. But one night he had heard among the rocks a mysterious voice telling him that the way to the treasure lay through Madrid. To Madrid he had come, and the government, hoping for a replenishment of its empty treasury, had given him permission to search for the treasure.

"Well, Benedict," I told him, "I have nothing to say save that I hope you will succeed in your digging."

"Thank you, lieber Herr, thank you!" Here he stopped short and started. "Heiliger Gott! Suppose I should not find the treasure, after all?"

"Very rationally said. It is not too late. Put on your old garments, grasp your ragged staff, and help me to circulate the Gospel."

He mused for a moment, then shook his head. "No,35 no," he cried; "I must accomplish my destiny! I shall find it—the schatz—it is still there—it must be there!"

He went, and I never saw him more. What I heard, however, was extraordinary enough. The treasure hunt at Compostella was conducted in a public and imposing manner. The bells pealed, the populace thronged from their houses, troops were drawn up in the square. A procession directed its course to the church; at its head was the captain-general and the Swiss; numerous masons brought up the rear. The procession enters the church, they pass through it in solemn march, they find themselves in a vaulted passage. The Swiss looks around. "Dig here!" said he. The masons labour, the floor is broken up—a horrible fetid odour arises....

Enough; no treasure was found, and the unfortunate Swiss was forthwith seized and flung into the horrid prison of Saint James, amidst the execrations of thousands. Soon afterwards he was removed from Saint James, whither I could not ascertain. It was said that he disappeared on the road.

Where in the whole cycle of romance shall we find anything more wild, grotesque and sad than the easily authenticated history of the treasure-digger of Saint James.

A most successful journey, in which I distributed the Gospel freely in the Sagra of Toledo and La Mancha, was interrupted by a serious illness, which compelled me to return to Madrid, and afterwards to visit England for a rest. On December 31, 1838, I entered Spain for the third time. From Cadiz I travelled to Madrid by Seville, and made a number of short journeys to the villages near the capital. The clergy, however, had induced the government to order the confiscation of all Testaments exposed for sale. Prevented from labouring in the villages, I organised a distribution of Testaments in Madrid itself. I then returned to Seville; but even here I was troubled by the government's orders36 for the seizure of Testaments. I had, however, several hundred copies in my own possession, and I remained in Seville for several months until I had disposed of them. I lived there in extreme retirement; there was nothing to induce me to enter much into society. The Andalusians, in all estimable traits of character, are as far below the other Spaniards as the country which they inhabit is superior in beauty and fertility to the other provinces of Spain.

At the end of July, 1839, I went by steamer down the Guadalquivir to Cadiz, then to Gibraltar, and thence across to Tangier and the land of the Moors. I had a few Spanish Testaments still in my possession, and my object was to circulate them among the Christians of Tangier.

Note.—At this point the narrative abruptly ends. Borrow returned from Morocco to England in the spring of 1840.


37

JAMES BOSWELL

Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

I.—Edinburgh, Fifeshire, and Aberdeen

Boswell's first considerable book was a lively description of his tour in Corsica, but his fame rests on his "Life of Dr. Johnson" (see Lives and Letters), and his "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D." was really the first portion of that great work, and was meant, as he himself said, "to delineate Dr. Johnson's manners and character" more than to give any detailed descriptions of scenery. We have chosen to include it in the travel section of our work, however, as it might be more readily looked for there than under "Johnson" in the department of "Lives and Letters." The journal was published in the autumn of 1785, about nine months after the death of Johnson.

Dr. Johnson had for many years given me hopes that we should go together and visit the Hebrides. In spring, 1773, he talked of coming to Scotland that year with so much firmness that I hoped he was at last in earnest. I knew that if he were once launched from the metropolis he would go forward very well. Luckily, Mr. Justice (now Sir Robert) Chambers conducted Dr. Johnson from London to Newcastle; and Mr. Scott, of University College, Oxford, accompanied him from thence to Edinburgh.

On Saturday, August 14, 1773, late in the evening, I received a note from him, that he had arrived in Boyd's Inn, at the head of the Canongate. I went to him directly. He embraced me cordially, and I exulted in the thought that I had him actually in Caledonia. He was to do me the honour to lodge under my roof. We walked arm-in-arm up the High Street to my house in James's Court. It was a dusky night; but he acknowledged that38 the breadth of the street, and the loftiness of the buildings on each side, made a noble appearance. My wife had tea ready, which it is well known he delighted to drink at all hours; and he showed much complacency upon finding that the mistress of the house was so attentive to his singular habit. On Sunday, after dinner, Principal Robertson came and drank wine with us, and there was some animated dialogue. During the next two days we walked out that Dr. Johnson might see some of the things which we have to show at Edinburgh, such as Parliament House, where the lords of session now hold their courts, the Advocates' Library, St. Giles's great church, the Royal Infirmary, the Abbey of Holyrood House, and the Palace, where our beautiful Queen Mary lived, and in which David Rizzio was murdered.

We set out from Edinburgh on Wednesday, August 18, crossed the Frith of Forth by boat, touching at the island of Inch Keith, and landed in Fife at Kinghorn, where we took a post-chaise, and had a dreary drive to St. Andrews. We arrived late, and were received at St. Leonard's College by Professor Watson. We were conducted to see St. Andrew, our oldest university, and the seat of our primate in the days of episcopacy. Dr. Johnson's veneration for the hierarchy affected him with a strong indignation while he beheld the ruins of religious magnificence. I happened to ask where John Knox was buried. Dr. Johnson burst out: "I hope in the highway! I have been looking at his reformations."

We left St. Andrews August 20, and drove through Leuchars, Dundee, and Aberbrothick to Montrose. Travelling onwards, we had the Grampian Hills in view, and some good land around us, but void of trees and hedges; and the Doctor observed that it was wonderful to see a land so denuded of timber. Beyond Lawrence Kirk we visited and dined with Lord Monboddo, and after a tedious journey we came to Aberdeen. Next morning Principal Campbell and other college professors called39 for us, and we went with them and saw Marischal College.

Afterwards we waited on the magistrates in the Town Hall. They had invited us to present Dr. Johnson with the freedom of the town, which Provost Jopp did with a very good grace. Dr. Johnson was much pleased with this mark of attention, and received it very politely. It was striking to hear the numerous company drinking "Dr. Johnson! Dr. Johnson!" and then to see him with his burgess ticket, or diploma, in his hat, which he wore as he walked along the streets, according to the usual custom. We dined with the provost and a large company of professors at the house of Sir Alexander Gordon, Professor of Medicine, but there was little or no conversation.

II.—Through the Macbeth Country

We resumed our journey northwards on the morning of August 24. Having received a polite invitation to Slains Castle, we proceeded thither, and were graciously welcomed. Lady Errol pressed us to stay all night, and ordered the coach to carry us to see the great curiosity on the coast at Dunbui, which is a monstrous cauldron, called by the country people the Pot. Dr. Johnson insisted on taking a boat and sailing into the Pot, and we found caves of considerable depth on each side.

Returning to the castle, Dr. Johnson observed that its situation was the noblest he had ever seen, better than Mount Edgcumbe, reckoned the first in England. About nine, the earl, who had been absent, came home. His agreeable manners and softness of address prevented that constraint which the idea of his being Lord High Constable of Scotland might otherwise have occasioned. He talked very easily and sensibly with his learned guest. We left Slains Castle next morning, and, driving by Banff and Elgin, where the noble ruins of the cathedral40 were examined by Dr. Johnson with a patient attention, reached Forres on the night of August 26. That afternoon we drove over the very heath where Macbeth met the witches, according to tradition. Dr. Johnson solemnly recited:

How far is't called to Forres? What are these, So withered, and so wild is their attire? They look not like the inhabitants o' the earth, And yet are on't.

From Forres we came to Nairn, and thence to the manse of the minister of Calder, Mr. Kenneth Macaulay, author of the "History of St. Kilda," where we stayed the night, after visiting the old castle, the seat of the Thane of Cawdor. Thence we drove to Fort George, where we dined with the governor, Sir Eyre Coote (afterwards the gallant conqueror of Hyder Ali, and preserver of our Indian Empire), and then got safely to Inverness. Next day we went to Macbeth's Castle. I had a romantic satisfaction in seeing Dr. Johnson actually in it. It perfectly corresponds with Shakespeare's description, which Sir Joshua Reynolds has so happily illustrated in one of his notes on our immortal poet:

This castle has a pleasant seat: the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itselfUnto our gentle senses.

Just as we came out of it a raven perched upon one of the chimney-tops and croaked. Then I repeated:

The raven himself is hoarse, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements.

On Monday, August 30, we began our equitation. We had three horses for Dr. Johnson, myself, and Joseph, my servant, and one which carried our portmanteaus, and two Highlanders walked along with us. Dr. Johnson rode very well. It was a delightful day. Loch Ness and the road upon the side of it, shaded with birch-trees,41 pleased us much. The night was spent at Fort Augustus, and the next two days we travelled through a wild country, with prodigious mountains on each side.

III.—In the Misty Hebrides

We came at last to Glenelg, and next morning we got into a boat for Sky, and reached the shore of Armidale. Sir Alexander Macdonald, chief of the Macdonalds in the Isle of Sky, came down to receive us. Armidale is situated on a pretty bay of the narrow sea which flows between the mainland of Scotland and the Isle of Sky. In front there is a grand prospect of the rude mountains Moidart and Knoidart. Dr. Johnson and I were now full of the old Highland spirit, and were dissatisfied at hearing of racked rents and emigration, and finding a chief not surrounded by his clan. We attempted in vain to communicate to him a portion of our enthusiasm.

On September 6 we set out, accompanied by Mr. Donald Macleod as our guide, for Corrichatachin, in the district of Strath. This farm is possessed by Mr. Mackinnon, who received us with a hearty welcome. The company was numerous and cheerful, and we, for the first time, had a specimen of the joyous social manners of the inhabitants of the Highlands. They talked in their own language with fluent vivacity, and sang many Erse songs.

The following day the Rev. Donald Macqueen arrived to take us to the Island of Rasay, in Macgillichallum's carriage. Along with him came, as our pilot, Mr. Malcolm Macleod, one of the Rasay family, celebrated in the year 1745-46. We got into Rasay's carriage, which was a strong open boat. Dr. Johnson sat high on the stern like a magnificent triton.

The approach to Rasay was very pleasing. We saw before us a beautiful bay, well defended by a rocky coast, a good family mansion, a fine verdure about it,42 with a considerable number of trees, and beyond it hills and mountains in gradation of wildness. A large company came out from the house to meet us as we landed, headed by Rasay himself, whose family has possessed this island above four hundred years.

From Rasay we sailed to Portree, in Sky, and then rode in wretched weather to Kingsburgh. There we were received by Mr. Allan Macdonald and his wife, the celebrated Miss Flora Macdonald. She is a little woman of a genteel appearance, and uncommonly mild and well-bred. Dr. Johnson was rather quiescent, and went early to bed. I slept in the same room with him. Each had a neat bed with tartan curtains. Dr. Johnson's bed was the very bed in which the grandson of the unfortunate King James II. lay on one of the nights after the failure of his rash attempt in 1745-46.

To see Dr. Samuel Johnson lying in that bed in the Isle of Sky, in the house of Miss Flora Macdonald, struck me with such a group of ideas as is not easy for words to describe as they passed through the mind. He smiled, and said: "I have no ambitious thoughts in it." Upon the table I found in the morning a slip of paper on which Dr. Johnson had written with his pencil these words: "Quantum cedat virtutibus aurum" (With virtue weighed, what worthless trash is gold). What the Doctor meant by writing them I could not tell. At breakfast he said he would have given a good deal rather than not have laid in that bed.

Kingsburgh sent us on our way by boat and on horseback to Dunvegan Castle. The great size of the castle, which is built upon a rock close to the sea, while the land around presents nothing but wild, moorish, hilly, and scraggy appearances, gave a rude magnificence to the scene. We were a jovial company, and the laird, surrounded by so many of his clan, was to me a pleasing sight. They listened with wonder and pleasure while Dr. Johnson harangued. The weather having cleared,43 we set out for Ulinish, the house of Mr. Macleod, the sheriff-substitute of the island. From an old tower near the house is an extensive view of Loch Bracadale, and, at a distance, of the Isles of Barra and South Uist; and on the land side the Cuillin, a prodigious range of mountains, capped with rocky pinnacles, in a strange variety of shapes.

From there we came to Talisker, which is a beautiful place with many well-grown trees, a wide expanse of sea and mountains, and, within a quarter of a mile from the house, no less than fifteen waterfalls. Mr. Donald Maclean, the young laird of Col, was now our guide, and conducted us to Ostig, the residence of Mr. Martin Macpherson, minister of Slate. There were great storms of wind and rain which confined us to the house, but we were fully compensated by Dr. Johnson's conversation.

We then returned to Armidale House, from whence we set sail for Mull on October 3; but encountered during the night a dreadful gale, which compelled the skipper to run his vessel to the Isle of Col for shelter. We were detained in Col by storms till October 14, when we safely crossed to Tobermorie, in the Island of Mull.

Ponies were provided for us, and we rode right across the island, and then were ferried to the Island of Ulva, where we were received by the laird, a very ancient chief, whose family has possessed Ulva for nine hundred years. Next morning we took boat for Inchkenneth, where we were introduced by Col to Sir Allan Maclean, the chief of his clan, and his daughters.

On Tuesday, October 19, we took leave of the young ladies, and of our excellent companion, Col. Sir Allan obligingly undertook to accompany us to Icolmkill, and we proceeded thither in a boat with four stout rowers, passing the great cave Gribon on the coast of Mull, the island of Staffa, on which we could not land on account of the high surge, and Nuns' Island. After a tedious sail, it gave us no small pleasure to perceive a light in44 the village of Icolmkill; and as we approached the shore, the tower of the cathedral, just discernible in the moonlight, was a picturesque object. When we had landed upon the sacred place, Dr. Johnson and I cordially embraced.

I must own that Icolmkill did not answer my expectations, but Dr. Johnson said it came up to his. We were both disappointed when we were shown what are called the monuments of the kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Denmark, and of a king of France. They are only some gravestones flat on the earth, and we could see no inscription. We set sail at midday for Mull, where we bade adieu to our very kind conductor, Sir Allan Maclean, and crossed in the ferry-boat to Oban, from whence next day we rode to Inverary.

The Rev. John Macaulay, one of the ministers of Inverary, accompanied us to Inverary Castle, where I presented Dr. Johnson to the Duke of Argyll. Dr. Johnson was much struck by the grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. At dinner, the duchess was very attentive to Dr. Johnson, who talked a great deal, and was so entertaining that she placed her chair close to his, leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. Dr. Johnson was all attention to her grace. From Inverary we passed to Rosedow, the beautiful seat of Sir James Colquhoun, on the banks of the Loch Lomond, and after passing a pleasant day boating round the loch and visiting some of the islands, we proceeded to Cameron, the seat of Commissary Smollett, from which we drove in a post-chaise to Glasgow, inspecting by the way Dunbarton Castle.

IV.—In the West of Scotland

During the day we spent in Glasgow, we were received in the college by a number of the professors, who showed all due respect to Dr. Johnson; and Dr. Leechman, Principal of the University, had the satisfaction of telling45 Dr. Johnson that his name had been gratefully celebrated in the Highlands as the person to whose influence it was chiefly owing that the New Testament was allowed to be translated into the Erse language. On Saturday we set out towards Ayrshire, and on November 2 reached my father's residence, Auchinleck.

My father was not quite a year and a half older than Dr. Johnson. His age, office, and character had long given him an acknowledged claim to great attention in whatever company he was, and he could ill brook any diminution of it. He was as sanguine a Whig and Presbyterian as Dr. Johnson was a Tory and Church of England man; and as he had not much leisure to be informed of Dr. Johnson's great merits by reading his works, he had a partial and unfavourable notion of him, founded on his supposed political tenets, which were so discordant to his own that, instead of speaking of him with that respect to which he was entitled, he used to call him "a Jacobite fellow."

Knowing all this, I should not have ventured to bring them together had not my father, out of kindness to me, desired me to invite Dr. Johnson to his house. All went very smoothly till one day they came into collision. If I recollect right, the contest began while my father was showing him his collection of medals; and Oliver Cromwell's coin unfortunately introduced Charles the First and Toryism. They became exceedingly warm and violent; and in the course of their altercation Whiggism and Presbyterism, Toryism and Episcopacy were terribly buffeted. My father's opinion of Dr. Johnson may be conjectured by the name he afterwards gave him, which was "Ursa Major." However, on leaving Auchinleck, November 8, for Edinburgh, my father, who had the dignified courtesy of an old baron, was very civil to Dr. Johnson, and politely attended him to the post-chaise. We arrived in Edinburgh on Tuesday night, November 9, after an absence of eighty-three days.

46My illustrious friend, being now desirous to be again in the great theatre of life and animated exertion, took a place in the coach, which was to set out for London, on Monday, November 22; but I resolved that we should make a little circuit, as I would by no means lose the pleasure of seeing Sam Johnson at the very spot where Ben Jonson visited the learned and poetical Drummond. Accordingly, we drove on the Saturday to Roslin Castle, surveyed the romantic scene around it, and the beautiful Gothic chapel. After that we proceeded to Hawthornden and viewed the caves, and then drove on to Cranston, the seat of Sir John Dalrymple, where we supped, spent the night, and passed on to the inn at Blackshields. There on Monday morning Dr. Johnson joined the coach for London. Dr. Johnson told me on parting that the time he spent in Scotland, the account of which I have now completed, was the pleasantest part of his life.


47

JAMES BRUCE

Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile

I.—The City of the Dog Star

James Bruce was born at the family residence of Kinnaird in the county of Stirling, Scotland, on December 14, 1730. He was educated at Harrow and Edinburgh, and for five years was a wine and spirit merchant in London. In 1762 he went as British Consul to Algiers, and did not return to England again until June, 1774. In the interim, having travelled through Algiers, Tunis, Syria, some of the islands of the Levant, Lower and Upper Egypt, and the African and Arabian coasts of the Red Sea, he made his famous journeys in Abyssinia, during which he discovered the sources of the Blue Nile. On his return to Europe he met with a great reception from Buffon the naturalist, and the Pope at Rome, but was received with coldness in England, where the stories of his adventures were received with incredulity. His book, "Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the years 1768-73," did not appear till 1790, seventeen years after his return to Europe. After the publication of his great work, Bruce spent the remainder of his life in improving his Scottish estate. On April 26, 1794, at Kinnaird, when going downstairs to hand a lady guest to her carriage, his foot slipped, and he fell headlong, dying next morning.

In 1762 Lord Halifax gave me the appointment of British Consul at Algiers, as affording me the opportunity of exploring the countries of Barbary, and perhaps of making, later on, a discovery of the sources of the Nile. On arrival at Algiers I studied closely surgery and medicine, modern Greek and Arabic, so as to qualify myself to travel without an interpreter.

I remained in Algiers for three years, and started early in 1768 on my travels through that kingdom and Tunis, Crete and Rhodes, Syria, Lower and Upper Egypt. Then I crossed the desert from Assouan to Cosseir on the Red Sea, explored the Arabian Gulf, and after visiting Jidda, arrived at Masuah [Massowah] on48 September 19, 1769. Masuah, which means the "Harbour of the Shepherds," is a small island close upon the Abyssinian shore, and the governor is called the naybe. He himself was cruel, avaricious, and a drunkard, but Achmet, his son, became my friend, as I had cured him of an intermittent fever, and on November 10 he carried me, my servants and baggage, from the island of Masuah to Arkeeko, on the mainland, from which point my party started for the province of Tigré, in Abyssinia, on November 15.

For days we travelled across a gravelly plain, and then over mountains, bare and full of terrible precipices with thickly wooded intervening valleys, and on November 22 we descended into the town of Dixan, in the province of Tigré. It is inhabited by Moors and Christians, and the only trade is that of selling children, stolen or made captives in war, who are sent after purchase to Arabia and India. The priests are openly concerned in this infamous practice. We were frequently delayed by demands from local chiefs for toll dues, and did not arrive at Adowa till December 6. This is the residence of the governor of the province of Tigré—Michael Suhul, ras, or prime minister, of Abyssinia. The mansion of the ras is situated on the top of a hill. It resembles a prison rather than a palace, for there were in it 300 people confined in irons, the object being to extract money from them. Some of them had been there for twenty years, and most of them were kept in cages like wild beasts.

On January 17, 1770, we set out on our way to Gondar, and on the following day reached the plain where the ruins of Axum, supposed to be the ancient capital of Abyssinia, are situated. In one square are forty obelisks of one piece of granite. A road is cut in the mountain of red marble, having on the left a parapet wall about five feet in height. At equal distances there are solid pedestals, upon the tops of which stood originally49 colossal statues of Sirius, Litrator Anubis, or Dog Star. There are 133 of these pedestals, but only two much mutilated figures of the Dog remain. There are also pedestals for figures of the Sphinx. Two magnificent flights of steps several hundred feet long, all of granite, are the only remains of the great Temple.

Within the site of the Temple is a small, mean modern church, very ill kept. In it are what are supposed to be the Ark of the Covenant and the copy of the law which Menilek, the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, is said in their fabulous history to have been stolen from his father on his return from Jerusalem to Ethiopia. These are reckoned the palladia of the country. Another relic of great importance is a picture of the head of Christ crowned with thorns, said to have been painted by Saint Luke. This relic on occasions of war with pagans and Mohammedans is brought out and carried with the army. Within the outer gate of the church are three small enclosures with octagon pillars in the angles, on the top of which were formerly images of the Dog Star. Upon a stone in the middle of one of these enclosures the kings of the country have been crowned since the days of paganism; and below it is a large oblong slab of freestone, on which there is a Greek inscription, the translation of which is "Of King Ptolemy Euergetes, or the Beneficent."

We left Axum on January 20, and on the same day we saw three travellers cutting three pieces of flesh, thicker and longer than our ordinary beefsteaks, from the higher part of the buttock of a cow. The beast was thrown on the ground, and one man held the head, while two others were busy in cutting out the flesh.

I have been told that my friends have disbelieved this statement. I pledge myself never to retract the fact here advanced, that the Abyssinians do feed in common upon live flesh, and that I myself for several years have been a partaker of that disagreeable and beastly diet.

50Travelling pleasantly enough, though finding it difficult to get food from the natives, we came on February 4 to the foot of Debra Toon, one of the highest mountains of the romantic range of Hanza. The toilsome ascent of Lamalmon, an extensive table-land of great fertility, was begun on February 8, and on the 14th we arrived at Gondar, the metropolis of Abyssinia.

II.—Savage Native Practices

Gondar is situated on the flat summit of a hill of considerable height, and consists of 10,000 families in time of peace. The houses are chiefly of clay, with roofs thatched in the form of cones. The king's palace is a square building on the west side of the town, flanked with towers, and originally four stories high, but now only two. The audience chamber is 120 feet long, and the upper windows command a magnificent view of the great lake Tzana. The palace and contiguous buildings are surrounded by a stone wall 30 feet high, 1 miles in circumference. A little way from Gondar to the north is Koscam, the palace of the iteghé and the king's other wives. Tecla Haimanout was at this time king, and Suhul Michael was ras, or prime minister. They were absent at the time of my arrival.

Petros, an important Greek, who was the only one in Gondar to whom I had recommendations, came in a state of great dread to me, saying that he had seen at Michael's encampment, a few miles from Gondar, the stuffed skin of an intimate friend of his own swinging upon a tree, and drying in the wind beside the tent of the ras. The iteghé and Ozoro Esther, wife of Ras Michael, sent for me to the palace at Koscam to attend, as a medical man, the royal families, because small-pox was then raging in the city and surrounding districts. I saved the life of Ayto Confu, the favourite son of51 Ozoro Esther, and others; and thereafter became friends of the queen and her suite in the palace.

I rode out on March 8 to meet Ras Michael at Azazo, the scene of a great battle which had been fought with Fasil, a Galla chief, who had broken out in rebellion. The first horrid spectacle exhibited by him consisted of pulling out the eyes of twelve Galla chiefs, who had been taken prisoners. They were then turned out into the fields to be devoured by hyenas. Next day the army of 30,000 men marched in triumph into Gondar. On March 14, I had an interview with the ras, and he said that to prevent my being murdered for my goods and instruments, and being bothered by the monks about religious matters, the king, on his recommendation, had appointed me baalomaal, the commander of the Koccob Horse.

In the course of the campaign between the king and his rebel governors, I joined his majesty's forces, and on May 18, 1770, I found myself at Dara, fourteen miles from the great cataract of the Nile, which I obtained permission to visit. The shum, or head of the people of the district, took me to a bridge, which consisted of one arch of twenty-five feet in breadth, with the extremities firmly based on solid rock on both sides. The Nile is here confined between two rocks, and runs in a deep channel with great, roaring, impetuous velocity. The cataract itself was the most magnificent sight that ever I beheld. Its height is forty feet. The river had been increased by the rains, and fell in one sheet of water half a mile in breadth, with a noise that was truly terrible, and made me for a time perfectly dizzy.

Returning to the king's army, I rode through a country of smoking ruins and awful silence. The miserable natives, though Christians, were being hunted to be sold into slavery to the Turks. I found that the campaign was finished, and that we were to return to Gondar, on reaching which, on May 30, Fasil returned to his allegiance.52 Having successfully prescribed for Fasil's principal general, the king was so pleased that he promised me any favour. I asked the village of Geesh at the source of the Nile. Whereupon the king said:

"I do give the village of Geesh and its fountains to Yagoube (which was my name) and his posterity for ever, never to appear under another name in the Deftar (land register), and never to be taken from him, or exchanged in peace or war."

On June 5 the king and Michael retired to Tigré; Gusho and Powussen—two of the rebel governors—entered Gondar in triumph, and proclaimed a young man, reputed to be the son of Yasous II., who died in 1753, king under the name of Socinios. I remained at Gondar unmolested until October 28, 1770, when I determined to make an attempt to reach the head of the Nile, and with my followers and instruments marched through the country of the Aroussi, much the most pleasant territory in Abyssinia, being finely shaded with forests of the Acacia Vera, the tree which produces the gum arabic. Below these trees grew wild oats of prodigious height and size. I often made the grain into cakes in remembrance of Scotland.

III.—At the Source of the Nile

After passing the Assar River, going in a south-east direction, we had for the first time a distinct view of the high mountain of Geesh, the long-wished-for end of our dangerous and troublesome journey. This was on November 2, 1770, and on the following day we rode through a marshy plain in which the Nile winds more in the space of four miles than I believe any river in the world. It is not here more than 20 feet broad and one deep. After this, we pushed forward to a terrible range of mountains, in which is situated the village of Geesh, where are the long-expected fountains of the53 Nile. These mountains are disposed one range behind the other, nearly in the form of arcs, and three concentrate circles, which seems to suggest the idea that they are the Montes Lunæ of antiquity, or the Mountains of the Moon, at the foot of which the Nile was said to rise. The highest, Amid-Amid, does not exceed half a mile in height. Crossing the mountains, we had a distinct view of the territory of Sacala, the mountain of Geesh, and the church of St. Michael.

Immediately below us was the Nile itself, now a mere brook, with scarcely water enough in it to turn a mill. I could not satiate myself with the sight, revolving in my mind all those classic prophecies that had given the Nile up to perpetual obscurity and concealment. I ran down the hill towards a little island of green sods, and I stood in rapture over the principal fountain of the Nile, which rises in the middle of it. This was November 4, 1770.

It is easier to imagine than to describe the situation of my mind at that moment, standing on that spot which had baffled the genius, industry and inquiry of both ancients and moderns over a course of nearly 3,000 years. Though a mere private Briton, I triumphed here in my own mind over kings and their armies.

The Agows of Damot pay divine honours to the Nile, sacrificing multitudes of cattle to the spirit which is supposed to reside at its source. From the edge of the cliff at Geesh the ground slopes to the marsh, in whose centre is a hillock, which is the altar on which the religious ceremonies of the Agows are performed. A shallow trench surrounds it, and collects the water which flows from a hole in the middle of the hillock, three feet in diameter and six feet in depth. This is the principal fountain of the Nile.

Ten feet from this spring is a second fountain, about eleven inches in diameter and eight feet deep; and at twenty feet distance there is a third, two feet in diameter54 and six feet in depth. Both of these are enclosed, like the first, by an altar of turf. The water from all these joins and flows eastward in quantities sufficient to fill a pipe of about two inches in diameter.

I made no fewer than thirty-five observations with the view of determining with the utmost precision the latitude of the fountains of the Nile, and I found the mean result to be 10° 59' 25" north latitude. Equally careful observations proved them to be 36° 55' 30" east longitude. The mercury in the barometer indicated a height above the sea of more than two miles. The Shum of Geesh, whose title is kefla abay, "the Servant of the Nile," told me that the Agows called the river "The Everlasting God, Light of the World, Eye of the World, God of Peace, Saviour, Father of the Universe."

Once a year, on the first appearance of the Dog Star, the kefla abay assembles all the heads of the clans at the principal altar, where a black heifer that never bore a calf is sacrificed. The carcase, which is washed all over with Nile water, is divided among the different tribes, and eaten on the spot, raw, and with Nile water. The bones are burned to ashes, and the head, wrapped in the skin, is carried into a huge cave. On November 9 I traced on foot the whole course of the river to the plain of Guotto, and next day we left Geesh on our return to Gondar, which was reached on the 19th.

IV.—The Return to Egypt

Shortly afterwards Socinios, the usurping king, fled on the approach of King Tecla and Ras Michael with 20,000 men. On their entry into the city, those who had sympathised with the usurper were executed in hundreds with a wanton cruelty which shocked and disgusted me. The bodies of the victims were cut in pieces and scattered about the streets, and hundreds of hyenas came down from the neighbouring mountains to feed on55 the human carrion. I determined to do the best I could to escape from this bloody country, but was constrained to take a part in the civil war, and commanded a force of heavy cavalry in King Tecla's army in the three battles of Serbraxos. My performances so pleased the king that he decorated me with a heavy gold chain containing 184 links. The upshot of the campaign was that Michael was banished to Begender and the former rebel Gusho appointed ras in his place.

After many delays I was allowed to depart for Egypt on September 28, 1771, and, passing through the Shangalla country, I reached, on January 2, 1772, the enchanted mountain country of Tcherkin, which abounded in game—elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, etc. Here they have an extraordinary way of hunting the elephant by severing the tendon above the heel of the hind leg with a sharp sword. At Hor Cacamoot, which means the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I was on January 20 attacked with dysentery, and compelled to remain there until March 17. Many hardships were endured and servants lost in a simoom which overtook us in the march to the Atbara, and after numerous adventures in the country of the Nubas—pagans, negroids, worshippers of the moon—I arrived on April 29 at Sennaar, where I was compelled to remain four months.

Summoned to wait upon the king, I found him in a clay-built palace covering a very extensive area, and of one story. The dress of the king was simply a loose shirt of Surat blue cotton cloth. I was asked to treat medically the three principal queens. The favourite was six feet high, and corpulent beyond all proportion. She seemed to me, next the elephant and the rhinoceros, to be the largest living creature I had ever met. A ring of gold passed through her upper lip and weighed it down like a flap to cover her chin. Her ears reached to her shoulders, and had the appearance of wings. In56 each was a large ring of gold; she had a gold necklace of several rows, and her ankles bore manacles of gold.

At Sennaar the Nile gets its name of Babar El Azergue, the Blue River. The meat diet of the upper classes is beef, partly roasted and partly raw. That of the common people is camel's flesh, the liver and spare-rib of which are eaten raw. During my stay here I was compelled to part with all but six of the 184 links of the gold chain which I received from the king of Abyssinia, to pay for supplies, and I was glad when permitted to depart on September 2, 1772.

On October 26 we arrived at Gooz, the capital of Barbar. There we made preparations to cross the great desert, beginning the journey on November 9. One day we saw twenty moving pillars of sand. On another occasion we met the simoom, the purple haze in rushing past threatening suffocation. Many of the wells had dried up, our water and our provisions became exhausted, our camels died, all of the party suffered from thirst and fever, and on November 25, in order to save our lives, we abandoned my valuable papers, quadrant, telescopes, and other instruments, at Saffieha.

Two days afterwards we got a view of a range of hills marking the course of the Nile. In the evening we heard the noise of water, and saw a flock of birds. Christians, Moors, and Turks all burst into tears, embracing one another and thanking God for our deliverance. That night we encamped at Seielut, and next morning we came on foot to Assouan. With one accord we ran to the Nile to drink. I sat down under the shade of a palm and fell into a profound sleep. We were received heartily by the aga, and after resting five or six days to recover, we retraced our steps to Saffieha, and I had the satisfaction of recovering all my baggage. On December 11 we left Assouan, and sailed down the Nile for Cairo, where we arrived on January 10, 1773.


57

JOHN LEWIS BURCKHARDT

Travels in Nubia

I.—On the Eastern Bank of the Nile

John Lewis Burckhardt was born at Lausanne, Switzerland, Nov. 24, 1784. He declined a diplomatic appointment in Germany, and came to England in 1806, bringing with him letters of introduction to Sir Joseph Banks, from Professor Blumenbach, the celebrated naturalist of Göttingen. He tendered his services as an explorer to the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa. His offer was accepted, and Burckhardt left England on March 2, 1809, and proceeded to Syria, where, disguised as an Indian Mohammedan merchant, he spent two and a half years, learning among Arab tribes different dialects of Arabic. In 1812, he went to Egypt, intending to join a caravan for Fezzan in order to explore the sources of the Niger; but, being frustrated in that, he made his two expeditions into Nubia which form the subject of the present epitome. In June, 1815, he returned to Cairo, and prepared his journals for publication. After making a tour to Suez and Sinai in 1816, he was suddenly cut off by dysentery in Cairo on October 15, 1817. Although he did not learn English until he was twenty-four years of age, Burckhardt's journals are written with remarkable spirit, more especially considering that his notes had all to be taken secretly.

I left Assouan on February 24, 1813, to make my journey through Nubia. Assouan is the most romantic spot in Egypt, but little deserving the lofty praise which some travellers have bestowed upon it for its antiquities and those of the neighbouring island of Elephantine. I carried with me nothing but my gun, sabre, and pistol, a provision bag, and a woollen mantle, which served either for a carpet or a covering during the night. I was dressed in the blue gown of the merchants of Upper Egypt. After estimating the expense I was likely to incur in Nubia, I put eight Spanish dollars into my purse in conformity with the principle I have consistently acted58 upon during my travels—viz., that the less the traveller spends while on the march, and the less money he carries with him, the less likely are his travelling projects to miscarry.

After crossing the mountain opposite Philæ, I passed the night in the house of a sheikh at Wady Debot, where I first tasted the country dish which during my journey became my constant food—viz., thin unleavened and slightly-baked cakes of dhourra, served with sweet or sour milk. From here to Dehmyt, the grand chain of mountains on the east side of the Nile is uninterrupted; but from the latter place to the second cataract, beyond Wady Halfa, the mountains are of sandstone, except some granite rocks above Talfa. The shore widens at Korosko, and groves of date-trees adorn the banks all the way past Derr to Ibrim. The rich deposit of the river on the eastern bank yields large crops of dhourra and cotton. It is different on the western shore, where the desert sands, blown by the north-west winds, are swept up to the very brink of the river.

It is near Derr that occurs the most ancient known temple, entirely hewn out of the sandstone rock. The gods of Egypt seemed to have been worshipped here long before they were lodged in the gigantic temples of Karnac and Gorne. At Ibrim there is an aga, independent of the governors of Nubia, and the inhabitants pay no taxes. They are descendants of Bosnian soldiers who were sent by the great Sultan Selym to garrison the castle of Ibrim, now a ruin, against the Mamelouks. In no parts of the Eastern world have I ever found property in such perfect security as in Ibrim. The Ababde Arabs between Derr and Dongola are very poor. They pride themselves on the purity of their race and the beauty of their women, and refuse to intermarry with the Nubians.

Beyond Wady Halfa is the second cataract, and the foaming waters dashing against the black-and-green59 rocks, or forming quiet pools and lakes, so that the Nile expands to two miles in breadth, is a most impressive sight. The rapids render navigation impossible between here and Sukkot, a distance of a hundred miles, and the river is hemmed in sometimes by high banks, as at Mershed, where I could throw a stone over to the opposite side. The rock, which had been sandstone hitherto, changes its nature at the second cataract to granite and quartz.

At Djebel Lamoule, which we reached on March 9, we had to follow a mountain track, and, on approaching the river again, the Arab who acted as guide tried to extract from me a present by collecting a heap of sand, and placing a stone at each extremity to indicate that a traveller's tomb is made. I immediately alighted from my camel, and began to make another tomb, telling him that it was intended for his own sepulchre, for, as we were brethren, it was but just that we should be buried together. At this he began to laugh. We mutually destroyed each other's labour, and in riding along he exclaimed from the Koran: "No mortal knows the spot on earth where his grave shall be digged." In the plain of Aamara, which begins the district of Say, there is a fine Egyptian temple, the six columns of which are of calcareous stone—the only specimen of that material to be met with, those in Egypt being all sandstone.

On March 13 we reached the territory of Mahass, and at the castle of Tinareh I visited the camp of Mohammed Kashefs, a Mamelouk chief who had captured the castle from a rebel cousin of the Mahass king. He behaved like a madman, got very drunk on palm wine, and threatened to cut off my head on suspicion of my being an agent of the pasha of Egypt, who was the enemy of the Mamelouks. Had it not been for the arrival of the nephew of the governor of Sukkot, the threat would in all probability have been carried into execution.

60II.—Discoveries in Egyptian Temples

On March 15 my guide and I escaped from the Mamelouk's camp, and at Kolbé crossed to the west side of the river by swimming at the tail of our camels, each beast having an inflated goatskin tied to its neck. I thought it wise to return down the Nile to Assouan, and we pushed on as hard as our camels could proceed. Passing the cataracts at Wady Samme and Wady Halfa, we came to Wady Fereyg, where there is a mountain on both sides of the Nile. At the bottom of that, on the west side, is a hitherto undiscovered temple named Ebsambal. The temple stands about twenty feet above the surface of the water, entirely cut out of the almost perpendicular rocky side of the mountain, and is in complete preservation. In front of the entrance are six erect colossal figures representing juvenile persons, three on each side of the entrance, in narrow recesses. Their height from the ground to the knee is about 6 feet. The spaces of the smooth rock between the niches are covered with hieroglyphics, as are also the walls of the interior. The statues represent Osiris, Isis, and a youth, and each has small figures beside it four feet high.

I was about to climb the mountain to rejoin my guide and the camels, when I fell in with what is yet visible of four immense colossal statues cut out of the rock at a distance of 200 yards from the temple. They stand in a deep recess excavated in the mountain, and are almost entirely buried beneath the sands, which are blown down here in torrents. The entire head and part of the breast and arms of one of the statues are yet above the surface. The head has a most expressive youthful countenance, approaching nearer to the Grecian model of beauty than that of any ancient Egyptian figure I have seen. Indeed, were it not for a thin, oblong beard, it would pass for a61 head of Pallas. This statue measures seven yards across the shoulders, and could not, if in an upright posture, be less than sixty-five or seventy feet in height. The ear is one yard and four inches in length.

On the wall of the rock in the centre of the four statues is a figure of the hawk-headed Osiris, surmounted by a globe; beyond which, I suspect, could the sand be cleared away, a vast temple would be discovered, to the entrance of which the colossal figures serve as ornaments. I should pronounce these works to belong to the finest period of Egyptian sculpture, and that the hieroglyphics are of the same age as those on the temple of Derr.

I continued my journey along the west bank of the Nile, and in the course of several days inspected the ruins of all the known ancient temples and early Greek churches. Summing up my impressions of the temples, I would say that we find in Nubia specimens of all the different eras of Egyptian architecture and history, which indeed can only be traced in Nubia; for all the remaining temples in Egypt, that of Gorne, perhaps, excepted, appear to have been erected in an age when the science of architecture had nearly attained to perfection.

III.—Across the Nubian Desert

I reached Assouan on March 30, after an absence of thirty-five days, having travelled at the rate of ten hours each day. On April 9, I proceeded to Esné, which I had made my headquarters in Upper Egypt.

I remained at Esné till the spring of 1814, waiting for an opportunity to start with a caravan of slave-traders towards the interior parts of Nubia in a more easterly direction than I had been in my journey towards Dongola. At the end of February I heard that a caravan was on the point of starting from Daraou, three days' journey north of Esné, for the confines of Sennaar, and 62 I determined to accompany it and try my fortune on this new route without any servant and in the garb of a poor trader.

The start was made on March 2, 1814, and from the first day of our departure my companions treated me with neglect, and even with contempt. Although they had no idea I was a Frank, they imagined that I was of Turkish origin, an opinion sufficient to excite the ill-treatment of Arabs, who bear the most inveterate hatred to the Osmanli. From the small quantity of merchandise I had, they considered I was a trader running away from my creditors, but I succeeded in convincing them that I was travelling in search of a lost cousin who had made an expedition to Darfour and Sennaar in Nubia, in which the whole of my property was engaged.

At Wady el Nabeh, the wells of which have a great repute all through Nubia, and which we reached on March 14, we met a band of Ababdes driving thirty slaves before them, which they were taking to sell in Egypt. In general, I found the dreaded Nubian deserts—as far as Shigré, at least, which we reached on March 16 with difficulty, on account of shortage of water—of much less dreary appearance than the great Syrian desert, and still less so than the desert of Suez and Tyh. The high mountains of Shigré consist of huge blocks of granite heaped upon one another in the wildest confusion.

During the whole march we were surrounded on all sides by lakes of mirage, called by the Arabs "serab." Its colour was of the purest azure, and so clear that the shadows of the mountains which bordered the horizon were reflected on it with the greatest precision, and the delusion of its being a sheet of water was thus rendered still more perfect. We experienced great suffering from the reckless waste of water and the dryness of the wells which were expected to yield supplies; and so serious did it become that twelve of the strongest of the camels63 were selected to hasten forward to fetch a supply of water from the nearest part of the Nile. They returned the following morning from their desperate mission, bringing with them plentiful supplies of the delicious water of the Nile, in which we revelled, enabling us to reach Berber on March 23, the whole desert journey having taken us twenty-two days.

The governor of Berber, which consists of four villages, is called the mek, and is nominated by the king of Sennaar. He, however, exercises a feeble authority over the Arabs. The people of Berber are a handsome race. The men are taller, larger-limbed, and stronger than the Egyptians, and red-brown in colour. The features are not those of the negro, the face being oval, and the nose perfectly Grecian. They say, "We are Arabs, not negroes." The practice of drunkenness and debauchery is universal, and everything discreditable to humanity is found in their character.

I remained a fortnight in Berber, and on April 7 our caravan, reduced to two-thirds of its original numbers, set out for Shendy. Three days afterwards we came to Damer, a town of 500 houses, neat and clean, with regular tree-shaded streets. The inhabitants are Arabs of the tribe of Medja-ydin, and the greater part of them are Fokera, or religious men. They have a pontiff called El Faky El Kebir (the great faky), who is their chief and judge. In the mosque there is a famous school attended by young men from Darfour, Sennaar, Kordofan, and other parts of the Soudan; and the affairs of this little hierarchical state appeared to be conducted with great prudence. From Damer we passed on to Shendy, where we arrived on April 18.

This is a place of 1,000 houses, and the present mek owns large salt-works near the town, where the ground is largely impregnated with salt. Merchants from Sennaar buy up the salt and trade it as far as Abyssinia. Next to Sennaar and Cobbé in Darfour, Shendy is the64 largest town in the Eastern Soudan. Debauchery and drunkenness are as fashionable here as in Berber. The people are better dressed, and the women have rings of gold in their noses and ears. Shendy is the centre of considerable trade, but its principal market is for slaves, who are chiefly negroes, stolen from the interior.

The Abyssinian slave-women are reckoned the best and most faithful of all, and are bought for the harems of the Arab chiefs. As to the slave-traffic as a whole, laudable as the efforts of England have been to abolish this infamous trade in Western and South-western Africa, there does not appear to be the smallest hope of the abolition of slavery in Africa itself. It is not from foreign nations that the blacks can hope for deliverance. This great work must be effected by themselves, and this can only be done by the education of the sons of Africa in their own country and by their own countrymen.

IV.—Among Savage Arab Tribes

In the caravan for Souakin, which left Shendy on May 17, I joined myself as a poor man to a party of black traders from Western Africa. After five days spent in traversing sandy and gravelly plains, we came to the Atbara river, which has a greater variety of natural vegetation than I had seen anywhere on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. Having crossed the Atbara, our route lay to the S.E., and we soon entered the country of the Bisharein Arabs—a bold and handsome race.

The moral character of both sexes is wholly bad. They are treacherous, cruel, avaricious, and revengeful, and are restrained in the indulgence of their passions by no laws either human or divine. However, they have a dread, especially the women, of a white man, and the latter shriek at the sight of what they consider an out-cast 65 of nature, saying, "God preserve us from the devil." On May 31 the caravan broke into two parts, one taking the direct road through the desert to Souakin, the other proceeding by Taka; and I determined to accompany the latter. We followed the course of the Atbara, and, after crossing stretches of the desert, came, on June 3, to the village of Goz Radjeb, the centre of the country of the Hadendoa, a tribe of the Bisharein. A Hadendoa seldom scruples to kill his companion on the road in order to possess himself of the most trifling article of value, but a retaliation of blood exists in full force. They are not given to hospitality, as other Arabs are, and they boast of their treachery. On June 6, we came to the district of Taka, fertile and populous owing to the regular inundation of the Atbara and its tributaries. A valley in the eastern mountains is noted for its splendid breed of cattle and fine dhourra. The Bisharein here eat the blood of animals coagulated over the fire, and the liver and kidneys raw.

In an adjoining valley we encountered another tribe of Bisharein called the Hallenga, who draw their origin from Abyssinia. They have a horrible custom in connection with the revenge of blood. When the slayer has been seized by the relatives of the deceased, a family feast is proclaimed, at which the murderer is brought into the midst of them, bound upon an angareyg, and while his throat is slowly cut with a razor, the blood is caught in a bowl and handed round amongst the guests, every one of whom is bound to drink of it at the moment the victim breathes his last.

A stay was made at Filik, the principal town of Taka, till June 15, when the caravan struck N.E. by N., and marched alternately through sandy and fertile country, across mountains of no great height, and plains with herds of ostriches and fine cattle. The low grounds were frequently intersected by the beds of torrential streams. One day, we crossed a rocky plain with the66 soil strongly impregnated with salt, and pastured by large herds of camels which the Arabs here keep for their milk and flesh alone, seldom using them as beasts of burden.

On June 26 we arrived at El Geyf, an environ of Souakin—the town itself, which consists of 600 houses, being on one of the islands in the bay of Souakin. The inhabitants of Souakin are a motley race, and are governed by the Emir el Hadherebe, a chief of the Bisharein tribe on the neighbouring mainland, who is chosen by the five first families of the tribe, but is nominally dependent upon the pasha of Djidda.

The manners of the people partake of the vices of their neighbours in the desert, and in cruelty surpass them, and the law of the strongest is alone respected. I was ill-treated by the aga, the representative of the Turkish Government, until I produced the firmans which I had concealed in a secret pocket, given me by Mohammed Aly, the viceroy of Egypt, and by Ibrahim Pasha, his son. When the aga saw these with their handsome seals, he regarded me as a great personage; but I refused to take up my abode in his house, which hospitality he offered, and continued to live in the camp of the black merchants on the mainland.

I had intended proceeding to Mokha by ship and then on to Sana, the capital of the Yemen, from which place to make the pilgrimage to Mekka. However, having heard of the war in the Hedjaz in Arabia, I abandoned my project, and sailed from Souakin, on July 6, for Djidda, where I arrived on July 16, and afterwards joined Mohammed Aly.


67

SIR RICHARD BURTON

Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah

I.—The Pilgrim Ship

Sir Richard F. Burton, K.C.M.G., was born at Barham House, Hertfordshire, England, March 19, 1821. He was intended for the Church, and spent a year at Oxford; but showed no clerical leanings, and found a more congenial profession when he obtained a cadetship in the Indian Army in 1842. During the next few years he acquired an extraordinary knowledge of Mohammedan usages and languages that was afterwards to serve him in good stead. In 1849 he returned to England; in 1851 published three books on Indian subjects, and in April, 1853, set forth on his cherished and daring project of visiting in disguise the sacred cities of Islam. The voyage was a particularly dangerous one, Burton frequently having to defend his life, though in so doing he never took another life during the whole of the journey. The account of his "Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah" was published in 1855. Afterwards he travelled in Somaliland, Central Africa, North and South America, and elsewhere, and unfailingly published books on his journeys. He died at Trieste on October 20, 1890.

Early in the morning of April 4, 1853, a "Persian prince" embarked at Southampton for Alexandria. The "prince" was myself, about to undertake a journey for the purpose of removing that opprobrium to modern adventure, the huge white blot which on our maps still notes the eastern regions of Arabia. I had hoped to make a more extended tour, but the East India Company had only granted me a year's furlough, refusing the three years that I had asked on the ground that my project was too dangerous. The attempt was one that could not be made save in Mohammedan disguise, and in order to conceal my identity effectively, I had thought it prudent to assume this disguise ere leaving England. I68 as amply supplied with funds by the Royal Geographical Society.

Several months were spent by me at Alexandria and Cairo in thoroughly familiarising myself once again with Moslem tongues and usages, partly forgotten during a four years' stay in the West. I diligently studied the Koran, and became an adept at Mohammedan religious practices; and my knowledge of medicine, by enabling me to set up as a doctor, brought me into the close contact with all classes of Moslems that I required for my purpose. I soon dropped the character of a Persian for that of a wandering dervish; but afterwards a still more convenient disguise occurred to me, and I visited El Medinah and Meccah as an Afghan Pathan who had been educated at Rangoon.

Pilgrims to the holy shrines arriving at Alexandria are divided into bodies, and distributed to the three great roads, namely, Suez, Cosseir, and the Haj route by land round the Gulf of Akabah. My route was by Suez, and at Suez I and my fellow-pilgrims had a long wait for a vessel to convey us to Yambu, the port of disembarkation for El Medinah. During this wait I had vexatious difficulties over my passport, which were only solved by an appeal to the British consul.

I must now briefly describe the party into which fate threw me. First of all comes Omar Effendi, a plump and beardless Circassian, of yellow complexion and bilious temperament; he dresses respectably, pays regularly, hates the fair sex, has a mild demeanour, but when roused becomes furious as a tiger. His confidential negro servant, Saad, known as the Devil, was born and bred a slave, obtained manumission, and has wandered as far afield as Russia and Gibraltar. He is the pure African, merry at one moment and sulky at another, affectionate and abusive, reckless and crafty, quarrelsome and unscrupulous to the last degree.

Shaykh Hamid el Lamman, of El Medinah, is a perfect69 specimen of the town Arab—his face a dirty brown, his beard untrimmed, his only garment, an ochre-coloured blouse, exceedingly unclean. He can sing, slaughter a sheep, deliver a grand call to prayer, shave, cook, fight, and vituperate. Salih Shakkar is a Turk on his father's side, an Arab on his mother's; he is as avaricious as an Arab, and as supercilious as a Turk. All these people borrowed money from me. To their number must be added Mohammed, a hot-headed Meccan youth, whom I had met in Cairo, and who appointed himself my companion; and Shaykh Nur, my Indian servant.

Through the activity of Saad the Devil—not disinterested activity, for he wanted to pay nothing himself and to make us pay too much—we were at last able to book passages on the vessel Golden Thread. Amid infinite clamour and excitement on a hot July morning we boarded her, only to be threatened with loss of our places on the poop by a rush of Maghrabi pilgrims, men from Western Africa, desperately poor and desperately violent. Saad the Devil disposed of the intruders by the simple process of throwing them into the hold. There the Maghrabis fell out with a few Turks, and in a few minutes nothing was to be seen but a confused mass of humanity, each item indiscriminately scratching, biting, punching, and butting.

A deputation of us waited upon Ali Murad, the owner, to inform him of the crowded state of the vessel. He told us to be good, and not fight; to trust in Allah, and that Allah would make all things easy for us. His departure was the signal for a second fray. This time the Maghrabis swarmed towards the poop like angry hornets; Saad provided us with a bundle of long ashen staves, and we laid on with might and main. At length it occurred to me to roll an earthen jar full of water—weighing about a hundred pounds—upon the assailants. After this they shrank back and offered peace.

It was twelve days before we reached Yambu. The70 vessel had no compass, no log, no sounding-line, nor even the suspicion of a chart. Each night we anchored, usually in one of the many inlets of the Arabian coast, and when possible we went ashore. The heat during the day was insufferable, the wind like the blast of a lime-kiln; we lay helpless and half senseless, without appetite and without energy, feeling as if a few more degrees of heat would be death. Nothing, on the other hand, could have been more delicious than the hour of sunrise. The air was mild and balmy as that of an Italian spring; the mountains, grim and bare during full daylight, mingled their summits with the jasper tints of the sky; at their base ran a sea of amethyst. Not less lovely was the sunset, but after a quarter of an hour its beauty faded, and the wilderness of white crags and pinnacles was naked and ghastly under the moon.

On arriving at Yambu we had to treat for camels, and make provision for the seven days' journey to El Medinah. As I had injured my foot on the voyage, I bought a shugduf or litter, a vehicle appropriated to women and infirm persons; it had the advantage that notes were more easily taken in it than on a dromedary's back. At 7 p.m. on July 18 we passed through the gate of Yambu, and took a course due east. My companions, as Arabs will do on such occasions, began to sing.

II.—In the Footsteps of Mohammed

Our little party consisted of twelve camels, and we travelled in Indian file, head tied to tail, with but one outrider, Omar Effendi, whose rank required him to mount a dromedary with showy trappings. In two hours we began to pass over undulating ground with a perceptible rise. At three in the morning we reached the halting-place and lay down to sleep; at nine we breakfasted off a biscuit, a little rice, and milkless tea, and71 slept again. Dinner, consisting chiefly of boiled rice with clarified butter, was at two; and at three we were ready to start. Towards sunset there was a cry of thieves, which created vast confusion; but the thieves were only half a dozen in number, and fled when a few bullets were sent in their direction.

Next day we travelled through a country fantastic in its desolation—a mass of huge hills, barren plains, and desert vales. The third day was spent uncomfortably at El Hamra, a miserable collection of hovels made of unbaked brick and mud. It was reported that Saad, the great robber-chief, was in the field, and there was consequently danger that our march would be delayed. The power of this ruffian is a standing proof of the imbecility of the Turkish Government.

The Holy Land of El Hejaz drains off Turkish gold and blood in abundance, and the lords of the country hold in it a contemptible position. If they catch a thief, they dare not hang him. They must pay blackmail, and yet be shot at in every pass. They affect superiority over the Arabs, hate them, and are despised by them. Happily, we were overtaken at El Hamra by a Meccan caravan which had influence to procure a military escort; so we were able to proceed, with no serious hindrance, to Bir Abbas.

In the evening of our first melancholy day at this hot, sandy, barren spot, firearms were heard in the distance, betokening an engagement between the troops and the Bedouins. It was not until the following night that we were allowed to start. At dawn we entered an ill-famed gorge called the Pilgrims' Pass. Presently, thin blue curls of smoke rose from the cliffs on the left, and there rang out the sharp cracks of the hillmen's matchlocks. From their perches on the rocks they fired upon us with perfect comfort and no danger to themselves, aiming chiefly at our Albanian escort. We had nothing to do but blaze away as much powder, and veil ourselves in72 as much smoke as possible; we lost twelve men in the affair, besides several of the animals.

We journeyed on through desolate mountain country, all of my companions in the worst of tempers. I spent a whole day trying to recover from Saad the Devil the money I had lent him at Suez. Ultimately, he flung the money down before me without a word. But I had been right in my persistence; had I not forced him to repay me he would have asked for more. At last, after an abominably bad night's travelling, we climbed up a flight of huge steps cut in black basalt. My companions pressed on eagerly, speaking not a word. We passed through a lane of black scoria, with steep banks on both sides.

"O, Allah! This is the sanctuary of the Prophet! O open the gates of Thy mercy!" "O, Allah! Bless the last of Prophets with blessings in number as the stars of heaven!" "Live for ever, O most excellent of Prophets!" Such were the exclamations that burst from our party as the Holy City, the burial place of Mohammed, lay before us in its fertile girdle of gardens and orchards.

At our feet was a spacious plain, bounded in front by undulating ground; on the left by the grim rocks of Mount Ohod; on the right by the gardens of Kuba. On the north-west of the town wall was a tall white-washed fort, partly built upon rock. In the suburb El Munakhah, near at hand, rose the brand-new domes and minarets of the five mosques. Farther away to the east could be seen the gem of El Medinah, the four tall towers, and the flashing green dome under which rest the Prophet's remains.

We proceeded towards the gate, from which an eager multitude poured forth to greet friends in the caravan. I took my abode with Shaykh Hamid, who abandoned his former dirt and shabbiness and appeared clean, well-dressed, and with neatly trimmed moustache and beard. He was to pilot me through the intricate ceremonies of73 the visits to the Prophet's tomb and the other holy places, and in the evening I set out with him for the Haram, or sanctuary of the Prophet.

The Prophet's mosque at El Medinah is the second of the three most venerable places in the world, according to Islamic belief; it is peculiarly connected with Mohammed, as Meccah is with Abraham, and Jerusalem with Solomon. On entering it, I was astonished at the mean and tawdry appearance of a place so venerated in the Moslem world. There is no simple grandeur about it, as there is about the Kaabah at Meccah; rather does it suggest a museum of second-rate art, decorated with but pauper splendour. The mosque is a parallelogram about 420 feet in length by 340 broad, and the main colonnade in the south of the building, called El Rawzah (the garden), contains all that is venerable. Shaykh Hamid and I fought our way in through a crowd of beggars with our hands behind us, and beginning with the right feet, we advanced towards the holy places. After preliminary prayers at the Prophet's pulpit, we reached the mausoleum, an irregular square in the south-east corner, surrounded by walls and a fence. Three small windows enable one to peer at the three tombs within—Mohammed's, Abubekr's, and Omar's. After long praying I was permitted to look through the window opposite the Prophet's tomb. I could see nothing but a curtain with inscriptions, and a large pearl rosary denoting the exact position of the tomb. Many other sacred spots had to be visited, and many other prayers uttered, ere we left the building.

The principal places of pious visitation in the vicinity of El Medinah are the mosques of Kuba, the cemetery El Bakia, and the martyr Hamzah's tomb at the foot of Mount Ohod, the scene of one of Mohammed's most famous battles. The mosques of Kuba are the pleasantest to visit, lying as they do among the date-palm plantations, amid surroundings most grateful to the eye74 weary with hot red glare. There were green, waving crops and cool shade; a perfumed breeze, strange luxury in El Hejaz; small birds warbled, tiny cascades splashed from the wells. The Prophet delighted to visit one of the wells at Kuba, the Bir el Aris. He would sit upon its brink with bare legs hanging over the side; he honoured it, moreover, with expectoration, which had the effect, say the historians, of sweetening the water, which before was salt.

On August 28 arrived the great caravan from Damascus, and in the plain outside the city there sprang up a town of tents of every size, colour, and shape. A tribal war prevented me from carrying out my intention of journeying overland to Muscat, so I determined to proceed to Meccah with the Damascus caravan. Accordingly, on August 31 I bade farewell to my friends at El Medinah, and hastened after the caravan, which was proceeding to Meccah along the Darb el Sharki, or eastern road. I had escaped all danger of detection at El Medinah, and was now to travel to Meccah along a route wholly unknown to Europeans.

III.—At the Shrine of the Prophet

Owing to the caravan's annoying practice of night marching, in accordance with the advice of Mohammed, I could see nothing of much of the country through which we travelled. What I did see was mostly a stony and sandy wilderness, with outcrops of black basalt; occasionally we passed through a valley containing camel-grass and acacia trees—mere vegetable mummies—and surrounded with low hills of gravel and clay. At a large village called El Sufayna we encountered the Baghdad caravan, and quarrelled hotly with it for precedence on the route. At the halt before reaching this place a Turkish pilgrim had been mortally wounded by an Arab with whom he had quarrelled. The injured man was75 wrapped in a shroud, placed in a half-dug grave, and left to die. This horrible fate, I learnt, often befalls poor and solitary pilgrims whom illness or accident incapacitates from proceeding.

At El Zaribah, an undulating plain amongst high granite hills, we were ordered to assume the Ihram, or garb that must be worn by pilgrims at Meccah. It consists simply of two strips of white cotton cloth, with narrow red stripes and fringes. The women donned white robes and hideous masks of palm leaves, for during the ceremonies their veils must not touch their faces. We were warned that we must not quarrel or use bad language; that we must not kill game or cause animals to fly from us; that we were not to shave, or cut or oil our hair, or scratch, save with the open palm; and that we must not cover our heads. Any breach of these and numerous other rules would have to be atoned for by the sacrifice of a sheep.

A short distance beyond this point we had a lively skirmish with robbers, during which I earned a reputation for courage by calling for my supper in the midst of the excitement. Meccah lies in a winding valley, and is not to be seen until the pilgrim is close at hand. At length, at one o'clock in the morning, in the course of our eleventh march since leaving El Medinah, I was aroused by general excitement. "Meccah! Meccah!" cried some voices; "the Sanctuary! O the Sanctuary!" exclaimed others. I looked out from my litter, and saw by the light of the southern stars the dim outlines of a large city. We were passing over the last ridge by an artificial cut, and presently descended to the northern suburb. I took up my lodgings at the home of a boy, Mohammed, who had accompanied me throughout the pilgrimage.

The Kaabah, or House of Allah, at Meccah, which has already been accurately described by the traveller Burckhardt, stands in an oblong square, enclosed by a great wall, 257 paces long, and 210 broad. The open space is76 surrounded by colonnades united by pointed arches and surmounted by domes. The Kaabah itself is an oblong, flat-roofed structure, 22 paces long and 18 broad; the height appears greater than the length. It is roughly built of large irregular blocks of the grey Meccah stone. It is supposed to have been built and rebuilt ten times—first by the angels of Allah before the creation—secondly by Adam; thirdly by his son Seth; fourthly by Abraham and his son; the eighth rebuilding was during the lifetime of the Prophet.

On the morning of our arrival we bathed and proceeded in our pilgrim garb to the sanctuary. There it lay, the bourne of my long and weary pilgrimage. Here was no Egyptian antiquity, no Greek beauty, no barbaric gorgeousness; yet the view was strange, unique; and how few have looked upon the celebrated shrine! I may truly say that of all the worshippers there, not one felt for the moment a deeper emotion than did the Haji from the far north. But, to confess humbling truth, theirs was the high feeling of religious enthusiasm; mine was the ecstasy of gratified pride.

After drinking holy water, we approached as near as we could to the sacred Black Stone, the subject of so much sacred Oriental tradition, and prayed before it. The stone was surrounded by a crowd of pilgrims, kissing it and pressing their hearts against it. Then followed the ceremony of circumambulation. Seven times we passed round the Kaabah, which was draped in a huge dark curtain, to which pilgrims clung weeping. The boy Mohammed, by physical violence, made a way to the Black Stone. While kissing it, I narrowly observed it, and came away persuaded that it is a big aërolite. After several other ceremonies, I left the holy place thoroughly exhausted.

I did not enter the interior of the Kaabah until later. Nothing could be more simple; a marble floor, red damask hangings, three columns supporting the cross-beams of77 the ceiling, many lamps said to be of gold, and a safe of aloe-wood, sometimes containing the key of the building, were all that was to be seen. Many pilgrims refuse to enter the Kaabah for religious reasons. Those who tread the hallowed floor are bound, among many other things, never again to walk barefooted, to take up fire with the fingers, or to tell lies. These stipulations, especially the last-named, are too exacting for Orientals.

Meccah is an expensive place during the pilgrimage. The fees levied by the guardians of the Kaabah are numerous and heavy. The citizens make large sums out of the entertainment of pilgrims; they are, for the most part, covetous spendthrifts, who anticipate the pilgrimage by falling into the hands of the usurer, and then endeavour to "skin" the richer Hajis.

On September 12 we set forth for the ceremonies at Mount Arafat, where Adam rejoined Eve after the Fall, and where he was instructed by the archangel Gabriel to erect a house of prayer. At least 50,000 pilgrims were encamped at the foot of the holy mountain. On the day after our arrival we climbed to the sacred spots, and in the afternoon a sermon was preached on the mountain, which I did not hear—being engaged, let me confess, in a flirtation with a fair Meccan. At length the preacher gave the signal to depart, and everyone hurried away with might and main. The plain bristled with tent-pegs, litters were crushed, pedestrians trampled and camels overthrown; single combats with sticks and other weapons took place; briefly, it was a state of chaotic confusion.

Next day was performed, at Muna, on the way back to Meccah, the ceremony of stoning the Shaytan el Kabir, or Great Devil, who is represented by a dwarf buttress placed against a rough wall of stones. The buttress was surrounded by a swarm of pilgrims, mounted and on foot, eager to get as near to the Great Devil as possible. I found myself under the stomach of a fallen dromedary,78 and had great difficulty in extricating myself; the boy Mohammed emerged from the tumult with a bleeding nose. Schooled by adversity, we bided our time ere approaching to cast the seven stones required by the ceremonial.

At Muna sheep were sacrificed by those pilgrims who, like myself, had committed breaches of the rules. Literally, the land stank. Five or six thousand animals were slain and cut up in this Devil's punch-bowl. I leave the reader to imagine the rest. When I had completed El Umrah, or the little pilgrimage—a comparatively simple addition to the other ceremonies—I deemed it expedient to leave Meccah. The danger of detection was constantly before me; for had my disguise been penetrated, even although the authorities had been willing to protect me, I should certainly have been slain by indignant devotees.

Issuing from Meccah into the open plain, I felt a thrill of pleasure—such pleasure as only the captive delivered from his dungeon can experience. At dawn the next morning (September 23) we sighted the maritime plain of Jeddah, situated 44 miles distant from Meccah. Worn out with fatigue, I embarked on a vessel of the Bombay Steam Navigation Company, received the greatest kindness from the officers (I had revealed my identity to the British consul at Jeddah), and in due time arrived at Suez.

Let me conclude in the words of a long-dead brother traveller, Fa-hian, "I have been exposed to perils, and I have escaped them; and my heart is moved with emotions of gratitude that I have been permitted to effect the objects I had in view."


79

SIR WILLIAM BUTLER

The Great Lone Land

I.—The Red River Expedition

Sir William Francis Butler, G.C.B., born at Suirville, Tipperary, Ireland, Oct. 31, 1838, was educated at the Jesuit College, Tullabeg, King's County, and joined the British Army as an ensign in the 69th Regiment in 1858. In 1877 he married Miss Thompson, the celebrated painter of "The Roll Call." Sir William Butler is a versatile writer, his works embracing records of travel, histories of military campaigns, biographies, and fiction. His first book was "The Great Lone Land," published in 1872. Half the volume is devoted to a sketch of the early history of the northwest regions of Canada, and to tracing the causes which led to the rebellion of the settlers—principally half-breeds—under Louis Riel, against the Canadian Government in 1870. He describes the romantic part he took in the bloodless campaign of the expeditionary force under Colonel (now Lord) Wolseley, from Lake Superior to Winnipeg, for its suppression. In the other half of the book he describes his journey on a special mission for the Canadian Government to the Hudson Bay forts and Indian camps in the valleys of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers. Sir William, as a writer, has the rich vocabulary of the cultivated Celt; he presents many striking word pictures of the natural scenery of the regions he traversed. He was almost the first to proclaim the possibilities of the settlement of the Saskatchewan prairies, now receiving such an influx of population from all over the world.

It was a period of universal peace over the world. Some of the great powers were even bent on disarming. To be more precise, the time was the close of the year 1869. But in the very farthest West, somewhere between the Rocky Mountains, Hudson Bay, and Lake Superior, along the river called the Red River of the North, a people, of whom nobody could tell who and what they were, had risen in insurrection.

Had the country bordering on the Red River been an unpeopled wilderness, the plan of transferring the land80 of the Northwest from the Hudson Bay Company to the crown, and from the crown to the Dominion of Canada, might have been an eminently wise one. But, unfortunately, it was a country which had been originally settled by the Earl of Selkirk in 1812 with Scots from the Highland counties and the Orkney Islands, and subsequently by French voyageurs from Lower Canada.

There were 15,000 persons living in peaceful possession of the soil thus transferred, and these persons very naturally objected to have themselves and their possessions signed away without one word of consent or note of approbation. Hence began the rebellion led by Louis Riel, who, with his followers, seized Fort Garry, with all its stores of arms, guns, provisions, dominated the adjacent village of Winnipeg, and established what was called a Provisional Government. The rebels went steadily from violence to pillage, from pillage to robbery, much supplemented by drunkenness and dictatorial debauchery; and, finally, on March 4, 1870, with many accessories of cruelty, shot to death a loyalist Canadian prisoner they had taken, named Thomas Scott.

When, at the beginning of April 1870, news came of the projected dispatch of an armed force from Canada against Louis Riel and his malcontent followers at the Red River, there was one who hailed in the approaching expedition the chance of a solution to the difficulties which had beset him in his career. That one was myself. Going to the nearest telegraph station, I sent a message to the leader: "Please remember me." I sailed at once for Canada, visited Toronto, Quebec, and Montreal, interviewed many personages, and finally received instructions on June 12 from those in authority to proceed west.

The expedition had started some time before for its true base of operations, Fort William, on the north-west shore of Lake Superior. It was to work its way from Lake Superior to the Red River through British territory.81 My instructions were to pass round by the United States, and, after ascertaining the likelihood of a Fenian intervention from the side of Minnesota and Dakota, to arrange for supplies for the expeditionary force from St. Paul; then to endeavour to reach Colonel Wolseley beyond the Red River, with all the tidings I could gather as to the state of parties and the chances of fight. At St. Paul my position was not at all a pleasant one. My identity as a British officer became known, and to escape unnecessary attention I paid a flying visit to Lake Superior and then pushed on to Fort Abercrombie. I could find no evidence at either place that there was a possibility at Vermilion Lakes, eighty miles north of the latter place, of any filibusters making a dash at the communications of the expeditionary force.

Afterwards, at Frog's Point on the Red River, I joined the steamer International, which took me down to a promontory within a couple of hundred yards of the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, where, with the connivance of the captain, I jumped ashore and escaped Riel's scouts, who had heard of my coming, and had been ordered by their leader to bring me into Fort Garry, "dead or alive." After a pursuit of several hours in the dark, in which I had a narrow "shave" of being captured, I reached the lower fort, occupied by loyalists, and thence passed on next day to an Indian settlement. This was on July 23.

Riel, learning where I was, sent a messenger to say that the pursuit of me had all been a mistake, and that I might safely come to Fort Garry. I was anxious to see the position of affairs at the fort, and I repaired thither, passing without challenge a sentry who was leaning lazily against a wall. There were two flagstaffs; one flew a Union Jack in shreds and tatters, and the other a bit of bunting with a fleur-de-lys and a shamrock on a white field. I was conducted to a house, and asked if I wished to see Mr. Riel. "To call upon him?"82 "Yes." "Certainly not!" "But if he calls upon you?" "Then I will see him."

A door opened, and there entered a short, stout man with a large head; a sallow, puffy face; a sharp, restless, intelligent eye; his square-cut, massive forehead overhung by a mass of long and thickly clustering hair, and marked with well-cut eyebrows—altogether a remarkable-looking face. This was Louis Riel. He was dressed in a curious mixture of clothing—a black frock coat, vest, trousers, and Indian mocassins. In the course of the interview he denied he was making preparation to resist the approaching British expeditionary force. Everything he had done had been for the sake of peace and to prevent bloodshed; but if the expedition tried to put him out of his position, they would find they could not do it, and he would keep what was his till a proper governor arrived!

Eventually he said: "Had I been your enemy, you would have known it before. I heard you would not visit me, and although I felt humiliated, I came to see you to show my pacific inclinations."

II.—The Expedition in the Wilderness

An hour later I left the fort, hastened to my old quarters at the Indian settlement, and started by canoe to seek the coming expedition. We paddled down the Red River to Lake Winnipeg, crossing which we entered the mouth of the Winnipeg River, and came to Fort Alexandra, a mile up stream.

This river has an immense volume of water. It descends 360 feet in a distance of 160 miles by a series of terraces; it is full of eddies and whirlpools; has every variety of waterfall, from chutes to cataracts; it expands into lonely pine-cliffed lakes and far-reaching island-studded bays. My Ojibway crew with infinite skill accomplished the voyage up-stream, surmounting falls83 and cataracts by making twenty-seven portages in five days from leaving Fort Alexandra, during which we had only encountered two solitary Indians. It was on the evening of July 30 that we reached the Lake of the Woods. Through a perfect maze of islands, we steered across this wonderfully beautiful sheet of water to the mouth of the Rainy River, up which we paddled to Fort Francis, where we arrived on August 4, and heard, for the first time, news of the expeditionary force.

We were now 400 miles from Fort Garry, and 180 miles beyond the spot where I had counted upon falling in with them. Next morning we paddled up to the foot of a rapid which the river makes as it flows out of the Rainy Lake. Glancing along the broad waters of the lake the glint of something strange caught my sight. Yes, there they were! Coming with the full swing of eight paddles, swept a large North-west canoe, its Iroquois paddlers timing their strokes to an old French chant. We put into the rocky shore, and, mounting upon a crag which guarded the head of the rapid, I waved to the leading canoe as it swept along. In the centre sat a figure in uniform, with a forage-cap on head, and I could see that he was scanning through a field-glass the strange figure that waved a welcome from the rock. Soon they entered the rapid, and at the foot, where I joined the large canoe, Colonel Wolseley called out: "Where on earth have you dropped from?" "From Fort Garry," said I; "twelve days out, sir."

It is unnecessary to describe the voyage to Fort Garry along the same route which I had taken in my canoe. The expeditionary force consisted of 400 of the 60th Rifles, soldiers whose muscles and sinews, taxed and tested by continuous toil, had been developed to a pitch of excellence seldom equalled, and whose appearance and physique told of the glorious climate of these northern solitudes. There were also two regiments of Canadian militia, who had undergone the same hardships. Some84 accidents had occurred during the journey of 600 miles through the wilderness. There had been many "close shaves" of rock and rapid, but no life had been lost.

The expedition camped on August 23 within six miles of Fort Garry. All through the day the river-banks were enlivened with people shouting welcome to the soldiers, and church-bells rang out peals of gladness as the boats passed by. I was scouring the woods, but found no Riel to dispute the passage. Next morning the troops began to disembark from the boats for the final advance to Fort Garry at a bend in the Red River named Point Douglas, two miles from the fort. Preceded by skirmishers and followed by a rear-guard, the little force drew near Fort Garry. There was no sign of occupation; no flag on the flagstaff, no men upon the walls, no sign of resistance visible. The gate facing the Assiniboine River was open, and two mounted men entered the fort at a gallop. On the top steps stood a tall, majestic-looking man—an officer of the Hudson Bay Company, who alternately welcomed with uplifted hat the new arrivals, and denounced in no stinted terms one or two miserable-looking men who cowered beneath his reproaches.

With insult and derision Riel and his colleagues had fled from the scene of their triumph and their crimes. On the bare flagstaff in the fort the Union Jack was once more hoisted, and from the battery found in the square a royal salute of twenty-one guns told settler and savage that the man who had been "elevated by the grace of Providence and the suffrages of his fellow-citizens to the highest position in the government of his country," had been ignominiously expelled therefrom. The breakfast in Government House was found untouched, and thus that tempest in the teacup, the revolt of Red River, found a fitting conclusion in the president's untasted tea!

Colonel Wolseley had been given no civil authority,85 and a wild scene of drunkenness and debauchery among the voyageurs and Indians followed the arrival of the troops; but when the Hon. Mr. Archibald, the Civil Governor, reached Winnipeg, he set matters completely to rest. Before ten days elapsed the regular troops commenced their return journey to Canada. On September 10, Colonel Wolseley also took his leave, and I was left alone in Fort Garry. The Red River expedition was over. My long journey seemed finished; but I was mistaken, for it was only about to begin.

III.—In the Far North-west

Early in the second week of October the Hon. Mr. Archibald, Lieutenant-governor of Manitoba, offered me, and I accepted, a mission to the Saskatchewan Valley and through the Indian countries of the West, and on the 24th of that month I quitted Fort Garry and commenced my long journey. My instructions were to inquire into the state of affairs in the territory; to obtain every particular in connection with the rise and spread of the scourge of small-pox, from which thousands of Indians, Esquimaux, and others had lately perished; to distribute medicines suitable for its treatment to every fort, post, clergyman, or intelligent person belonging to the settlements, or outside the Hudson Bay Company's posts.

I made the first stage of 230 miles in five days to Fort Ellice, where we stayed a couple of days to make preparations for the winter journey into the Great Lone Land. It was near the close of the Indian summer, and we travelled at the rate of fifty miles a day, I riding my little game horse Blackie, while the Red River cart, containing the baggage and medicines, was drawn by six horses—three in the shafts for a spell, the other three running free alongside.

Between Fort Ellice and Carlton Fort you pass86 through the region of the Touchwood Hills, around which are immense plains scored with the tracks of the countless buffaloes which, until a few years ago, roamed in vast herds between the Saskatchewan and Assiniboine. On November 4, and on several successive days thereafter, snowstorms burst upon us, and the whole country around was hidden in the dense mist of driving snowflakes.

On the 7th we emerged upon a hill plateau, and 300 feet below was raging the mighty South Saskatchewan, with great masses of floating, grinding ice. We contrived a raft made from the box of the wagon, but we could not accomplish the passage in it. Later on, hard frost having set in, we were able to cross the river on foot, with the loss of my horse Blackie, and when half a dozen of the twenty miles to Carlton Fort had been covered we met a party from it, including the officer in charge. The first question was, "What of the plague?" And the answer was that it had burned itself out.

On November 14, we set out again on our western journey, and crossed the North Saskatchewan. On account of the snow we had discarded our cart and used sleds. Travelling over hill and dale and frozen lake, we lost the way in the wilderness, but, taking a line by myself, steering by the stars, I came on November 17 to Fort Pitt, after having been fifteen hours on end in the saddle.

Fort Pitt was free of small-pox, but 100 Crees had perished close around its stockades. The unburied dead lay for days, until the wolves came and fought over the decaying bodies. The living remnant had fled in despair six weeks before my arrival. When we renewed our journey on November 20, the weather became comparatively mild, and our course lay through rich, well-watered valleys with groves of spruce and pine. Edmonton, which we reached on November 26, is the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company's Saskatchewan 87 trade and the residence of a chief factor of the corporation.

My objective after leaving Edmonton on December 1 was Rocky Mountain House, 180 miles distant by horse-trail. Our way led over hills and plains and the great frozen Gull Lake to the Pas-co-pee, or Blind Man's River, where we camped on December 3. At midnight there was a heavy storm of snow. Next morning we rode through the defiles of the Three Medicine Hills, and after midday, at the western termination of the last gorge, there lay before me a sight to be long remembered. The great chain of the Rocky Mountains rose their snow-clad sierras in endless succession and in unclouded glory. The snow had cleared the atmosphere, the sky was coldly bright.

An immense plain stretched from my feet to the mountains—a plain so vast that every object of hill and wood and lake lay dwarfed into one continuous level. And at the back of this level, beyond the pines and lakes and the river courses, rose the giant range, solid, impassable, silent—a mighty barrier rising amidst an immense land, standing sentinel over the plains and prairies of America, over the measureless solitudes of this Great Lone Land.

That night there came a frost, and on the morning of November 5 my thermometer showed 22 degrees below zero. Riding through the foot hills and pine woods we suddenly emerged on the high banks of the Saskatchewan, and in the mid distance of a deep valley was the Mountain House. There was great excitement at my arrival. My journey from the Red River had occupied 41 days, and I had ridden in that time 1,180 miles.

IV.—On the Dog Trail to Fort Garry

I said good-bye to my friends at the Mountain House on December 12, and once more turned my footsteps88 eastward. Without incident we reached Edmonton, and there changed horses and travelled thenceforth, setting out on December 20, with three trains of dogs—one to carry myself, and the others to carry provisions and baggage. In fifty days of dog travel we covered a distance of 1,300 miles, with the cold sometimes 45 degrees below zero. Great as were the hardships and privations, the dog trail had many moments of keen pleasure. It was January 19 when we reached the high ground which looks down upon the forks of the Saskatchewan River.

We now entered the great sub-Arctic pine forest, the most important preserve of those animals whose skins are rated in the markets of Europe at four times their weight in gold. On January 22, 1871, we reached Fort-a-la-Corne, where an old travel-worn Indian came with a mail which contained news of the surrender of Metz, the investment of Paris, the tearing up of the Treaty of Paris by the Prussians; and on being questioned the old man said he had heard at Fort Garry that there was war, and that England was gaining the day!

To cross with celerity the 700 miles lying between me and Fort Garry became the chief object of my life. The next morning, with the lightest of equipment, I started for Cumberland House, the oldest post of the Hudson Bay Company in the interior. There I obtained, at fabulous expense, a train of pure Esquimaux dogs, and started on January 31 through a region of frozen swamp for fully 100 miles. On February 7 we reached Cedar Lake, thence sped on to Lake Winnipegoosis and Shoal Lake, across a belt of forest to Waterhen River, which carries the surplus floods of Lake Winnipegoosis to Lake Manitoba, the whole length of which we traversed, camping at night on the wooded shore, and on February 19 arrived at a mission-house fifty miles from Fort Garry. Not without a feeling of regret was the old work89 of tree-cutting, fire-making, supper-frying, and dog-feeding gone through for the last time.

My mission was accomplished; but in the after-time, 'midst the smoke and hum of cities, 'midst the prayer of churches, it needs but little cause to recall again to the wanderer the message of the immense meadows where far away at the portals of the setting sun lies the Great Lone Land.

The Wild North Land

I.—From Civilisation to Savagery

This was Sir William Francis Butler's second book on the regions and the people of the great Northwest of Canada. The fascination of the wilderness had got a grip upon him, and he conveys something of the same fascination to the reader, whom he allures through the immense and solemn aisles of the great sub-Arctic forest, makes him a joint-hunter after the bison on the Great Prairie, or after the marten and the beaver on the tributary streams to the Saskatchewan and the Assiniboine rivers. The reader is carried into the fastnesses of the rapidly-disappearing Red Man in mid-winter, and there are graphic revelations of the daring deeds of the half-breed descendants of the white pioneers of the Hudson Bay Company and the habitants from Lower Canada, who were the great discoverers and exploiters of the vast country between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, and beyond to the Pacific. Sir William's story is restrained and convincing, and his descriptions of his adventures in the Wild North Land and its wonderful scenery charm by their eloquence and poetic beauty.

It was late in the month of September, 1872, when, after a summer of travel in Canada and the United States, I drew near the banks of the Red River of the North. Two years had worked many changes in scene and society. A "city" stood on the spot where, during a former visit, a midnight storm had burst upon me in 90 the then untenanted prairie. Representative institutions had been established in the new province of Manitoba. Civilisation had developed itself in other ways, but amidst these changes of scene and society there was one thing still unchanged on the confines of the Red River. Close to the stream of Frog's Point an old friend met me with many tokens of recognition. It was my Esquimaux dog, Cerf-Vola, who had led my train from Cumberland on the lower Saskatchewan, across the ice of the Great Lakes. To become the owner of this old friend again and of his new companions, Spanker and Pony, was a work of necessity.

In the earliest days of October all phases of civilisation were passed with little regret, and at the Rat Creek, near the southern shore of Lake Manitoba, I bade good-bye to society, pushed on to the Hudson Bay Company's post of Beaver Creek, from which point, with one man, three horses, three dogs, and all the requisites of food, arms and raiment, I started on October 14 for the North-west. I was virtually alone. My only human associate was a worthless half-breed taken at chance. But I had other companions. A good dog is so much more a nobler beast than an indifferent man that one sometimes gladly exchanges the society of the one for that of the other; and Cerf-Vola was that dog.

A long distance of rolling plain, of hills fringed with thickets, of treeless wastes and lakes spreading into unseen declivities, stretches from between the Qu'-Appelle to the Saskatchewan rivers. Through it the great trail to the North lays its long, winding course, and over it broods the loneliness of the untenanted. Alone in the vast waste Mount Spathanaw Watchi lifts his head; a lonely grave at top; around 400 miles of horizon. Reduced thus to its own nakedness, space stands forth with almost terrible grandeur. It was October 25 when I once more drew near the South Saskatchewan, and crossing to the southern shore I turned 91 eastward through a rich undulating land, and made for the Grand Forks of the Saskatchewan, which we reached in the last days of October.

It is difficult to imagine a wilder scene than that presented from the tongue of land which rises over the junction of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers. One river has travelled through 800 miles of rich rolling landscape; the other has run its course of 900 miles through arid solitudes. Both have their sources in mountain summits where the avalanche thundered forth to solitude the tiding of their birth.

II.—The Twin Dwellers of the Prairie

At the foot of the high ridge which marks the junction of these two rivers was a winter hut built by two friends who proposed to accompany me part of the long journey I meant to take into the Wild North Land. Our winter stock of meat had first to be gathered in, and we accordingly turned our faces westward in quest of buffalo. The snow had begun to fall in many storms, and the landscape was wrapped in its winter mantle. The buffalo were 200 miles distant on the Great Prairie. Only two wild creatures have made this grassy desert their home—the Indian and the bison. Of the origin of the strange, wild hunter, the keen untutored scholar of Nature, who sickens beneath our civilisation, and dies amidst our prosperity, fifty writers have broached various theories; but to me it seems that he is of an older and more remote race than our own—a stock coeval with a shadowy age, a remnant of an earlier creation which has vanished from the earth, preserved in these wilds.

As to the other wild creatures who have made their dwelling on the Great Prairie, the millions and millions of dusky bison, during whose migration from the Far South to the Far North the earth trembled beneath92 their tramp, and the air was filled with the deep, bellowing of their unnumbered throats, no one can tell their origin. Before the advent of the white man these twin dwellers on the Great Prairie are fast disappearing.

It was mid-November before we reached the buffalo, and it was on December 3, having secured enough animals to make the needful pemmican—a hard mixture of fat and dried buffalo meat pounded down into a solid mass—for our long journey, that, with thin and tired horses, we returned to the Forks of the Saskatchewan. The cold had set in unusually early, and even in mid-November the thermometer had fallen to thirty degrees below zero, and unmittened fingers in handling the rifle became frozen. During the sixteen days in which we traversed the Great Prairie on our return journey we had not seen one human being moving over it. The picture of desolation was complete.

When the year was drawing to its close, two Cree Indians pitched their lodge on the opposite side of the North Saskatchewan and afforded us not a little food for amusement in the long winter evenings. In the Red Man's mental composition there is mixed up much simplicity and cunning, close reasoning, and child-like suspicion, much natural quickness, sense of humour, credulousness, power of observation, faith and fun and selfishness.

Preparations had been made for my contemplated journey to the frozen North. I only waited the arrival of the winter packet which was to be carried 3,000 miles to distant stations of the Hudson Bay Company. A score of different dog teams had handled it; it had camped more than 100 nights in the Great Northern forests; but the Indian postman, with dogs and mail, had disappeared in a water-hole in the Saskatchewan river. On February 3, therefore, I set out with my dog team, but without letters.

Two days afterwards we came to Carlton Fort, where93 there was a great gathering of "agents" from all the forts of the Hudson Bay Company in the north and west, many of them 2,000 miles distant, and one 4,000 miles. These "agents," or "winterers," as they are sometimes called, have to face for a long season hardship, famine, disease, and a rigorous climate. God knows their lives are hard. They hail generally from the remote isles or highlands of Scotland. The routine of their lives is to travel on foot a thousand miles in winter's darkest time, to live upon the coarsest food, to feel cold such as Englishmen in England cannot even comprehend, often to starve, always to dwell in exile from the great world. Perchance, betimes, the savage scene is lost in a dreamy vision of some lonely Scottish loch, some Druid mound in far-away Lewis, some vista of a fireside, when storm howled and waves ran high on the beach at Stornoway.

III.—The Frozen Trail

It was brilliant moonlight on February 11 when we left Fort Carlton, and days of rapid travel carried us far to the north into the great sub-Arctic forest, a line of lakes forming its rampart of defence against the wasting fires of the prairie region. The cold was so intense that, at mid-day with the sun shining, the thermometer stood at 26 degrees below zero. Right in our teeth blew the bitter blast; the dogs, with low-bent heads, tugged steadily onward; the half-breeds and Indians who drove our teams wrapped their blankets round their heads. To run was instantly to freeze one's face; to lie on the sled was to chill through the body to the very marrow. It was impossible to face it long, and over and over again we had to put in to shore amongst the trees, make a fire, and boil some tea. Thus we trudged, until we arrived at the Forks of the Athabasca on the last day of February.

94In the small fort at the Forks we camped for four days to enjoy a rest, make up new dog trains—Cerf-Vola never gave out—and partake of the tender steak of the wood-buffalo. For many days I had regularly used snow-shoes, and now I seldom sought the respite of the sled, but tramped behind the dogs. Over marsh and frozen river and portage we lagged till, on March 6, a vast lake opened out upon our gaze, on the rising shore of which were the clustered buildings of a large fort, with a red flag flying above them in the cold north blast. The lake was Athabasca, the clustered buildings Fort Chipewyan, and the flag—well, we all knew it; but it is only when the wanderer's eye meets it in some lone spot like this that he turns to it as the emblem of a home which distance has shrined deeper in his heart.

Athabasca means "the meeting place of many waters." In its bosom many rivers unite their currents, and from its northwestern rim pours the Slave River, the true Mackenzie. Its first English discoverer called it the "Lake of the Hills." A more appropriate title would have been the "Lake of the Winds," for fierce and wild storms sweep over its waves.

Once more the sleds were packed, once more the untiring Cerf-Vola took his place in the leading harness, and the word "march" was given. On the evening of March 12 I camped alone in the wilderness, for the three Indians and half-breeds who accompanied me were alien in every thought and feeling, and on the fourth day after we were on the banks of the Peace River.

Through 300 miles of mountain the Peace River takes its course. Countless creeks and rivers seeks its waters; 200 miles from its source it cleaves the main Rocky Mountain chain through a chasm whose straight, steep cliffs frown down on the black water through 6,000 feet of dizzy verge. Farther on it curves, and for 500 miles flows in a deep, narrow valley, from 700 feet95 to 800 feet below the level of the surrounding plateau. Then it reaches a lower level, the banks become of moderate elevation, the country is densely wooded, the large river winds in serpentine bends through an alluvial valley; the current, once so strong, becomes sluggish, until at last it pours itself through a delta of low-lying drift into the Slave River, and its long course of 1,100 miles is ended.

For 900 miles there are only two breaks in the even flow of its waters—one at a point 250 miles from its mouth, a fall of eight feet with a short rapid above it; the other is the great mountain cañon on the outer and lower range of the Rocky Mountains, where a portage of twelve miles is necessary. This Peace River was discovered in 1792 by a daring Scotsman named Alexander Mackenzie, who was the first European that ever passed the Rocky Mountains and crossed the northern continent of America. The Peace River is the land of the moose, and, winter and summer, hunter and trader, along the whole length of 900 miles, between the Peace and Athabasca, live upon its delicious venison.

This, too, is the country of the Beaver Indians. It is not uncommon for a single Indian to render from his winter trapping 200 marten skins, and not less than 20,000 beavers are annually killed by the tribe. Towards the end of March the sun had become warm enough to soften the surface snow, and therefore we were compelled to travel during the night, when the frost hardened it, and sleep all day.

On April 1, approaching the fort of Dunvegan, we were steering between two huge walls of sandstone rock which towered up 700 feet above the shore. Right in our onward track stood a large, dusky wolf. My dogs caught sight of him, and in an instant they gave chase. The wolf kept the centre of the river, and the carriole bounded from snow-pack to snow-pack, or shot along the level ice. The wolf, however, sought refuge amidst96 the rocky shore, and the dogs turned along the trail again. Two hours later we reached Dunvegan, after having travelled incessantly for four-and-twenty hours. Here I rested for three days, and then pushed on to Fort St. John—our last dog march.

IV.—Through Cañon and Rapid

The time of winter travel had drawn to its close; the ice-road had done its work. From April 15 the river began to break its ice covering, and on April 20 spring had arrived; and with bud and sun and shower came the first mosquito. I left Fort St. John on April 22, having parted with my dog train, except the faithful, untiring Cerf-Vola; crossed the river on an ice bridge at great risk, and horses and men scrambled up 1,000 feet to the top of the plateau. There we mounted our steeds, and for two days followed the trail through a country the beauty of which it is not easy to exaggerate, and reached Half-way River, which we forded at infinite risk on a roughly constructed raft, the horses being compelled to swim the torrent.

Crossing the Peace River at the fort known as Hudson's Hope in a frail canoe, I narrowly escaped drowning by the craft upsetting, losing gun and revolver, although, wonderful to relate, the gun was recovered next day by my half-breed attendant, who dredged it with a line and fish-hook! From Hudson's Hope we made the portage of ten miles which avoids the great cañon of the Peace River at the farther end of which the river becomes navigable for canoes; and there we waited till April 29, when the ice in the upper part of the river broke up.

I took the opportunity of the delay to explore the cañon, which at this point is 900 feet deep. Advancing cautiously to the smooth edge of the chasm, I seized hold of a spruce-tree and looked down. Below lay one97 of those grim glimpses which the earth holds hidden, save from the eagle and the mid-day sun. Caught in a dark prison of stupendous cliffs, hollowed beneath so that the topmost ledge literally hung over the boiling abyss of water, the river foamed and lashed against rock and precipice. The rocks at the base held the record of its wrath in great trunks of trees, and blocks of ice lying piled and smashed in shapeless ruin. It is difficult to imagine by what process the mighty river had cloven asunder this wilderness of rock—giving us the singular spectacle, after it had cleared the cañon, of a wide, deep, tranquil stream flowing through the principal mountain range of the American continent.

On May Day we started, a company of four—Little Jacques (a French miner and trapper) as captain of the boat, another miner, my Scottish half-breed servant, Kalder, myself, and Cerf-Vola—to pole and paddle up-stream, fighting the battle with the current. Many a near shave we had with the ice-floes and ice-jams. A week afterwards we emerged from the pass to the open country, and before us lay the central mountain system of north British Columbia, the highest snowcapped peak of which I named Mount Garnet Wolseley, and there we camped. A mile from camp a moose emerged from the forest; I took bead on him and fired, aiming just below his long ears. There was a single plunge in the water; the giant head went down, and all was quiet. We towed him ashore and cut him up as he lay stranded like a whale. Directly opposite the camp a huge cone mountain arose up some eight or nine thousand feet above us, and just ere evening fell his topmost peak, glowing white in the sunlight, became mirrored in the clear, quiet river, while the life stream of the moose flowed out over the tranquil surface, dyeing the nearer waters into brilliant crimson.

We came to the forks of the Peace River on May 9, took that branch known as the Ominica, and through98 perils without number attempted to conquer in our canoe the passage of the deep black cañon. Again and again we were beaten back, and even lost our canoe in the rapids, although we afterwards recovered it by building a raft. We discovered a mining prospector who had a canoe at the upper end of the cañon, and agreed to exchange canoes—he taking ours for his voyage down the river, while we took his, after making a portage to a spot above the cañon, where it had been cached.

Three days after we entered the great central snowy range of north British Columbia; and on the night of May 19 camped at last at the mouth of the Wolverine Creek by quiet water. There we parted with the river, having climbed up to near the snow-line, and next day reached the mining camp of Germansen, where I stayed several days and became acquainted personally or by reputation with the leading "boys" of the northern mining country. Twelve miles from Germansen there was another mining camp, the Mansen, and from thence on to May 25 I started, in company with an express agent, to walk across the Bald Mountains, on the topmost ridge of which the snow ever dwells. On the other side of the mountains we packed our goods on horses which we had obtained, and pushed forward, only to encounter storms of snow and sleet on the summit of the table-land which divides the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans.

Then followed the trail of the long ascent up Look-Out Mountain, from which we gazed on 500 snowy peaks along the horizon, while the slopes immediately beneath us were covered with the Douglas pine, the monarch of the Columbian forest. It was May 29 when we entered the last post of the Hudson Bay Company, St. James Fort on the southeast shore of the beautiful Stuart's Lake, the favourite home of innumerable salmon and colossal sturgeon, some of the latter weighing as much as 800 lb. After a day's delay I parted with99 my half-breed Kalder, took canoe down the Stuart River to the spot where the trail crosses the stream, and then camped for the night. Having procured horses, we rode through a rich land which fringes the banks of the Nacharcole River. Then during the first two days of June we journeyed through a wild, undulating country, filled with lakes and rolling hills, and finally drew rein on a ridge overlooking Quesnelle. Before me spread civilisation and the waters of the Pacific; behind me vague and vast, lay a hundred memories of the Wild North Land; and for many reasons it is fitting to end this story here.


100

JAMES COOK

Voyages Round the World

I.—To the South Seas

Captain James Cook, son of a farm labourer, was born at Martin Cleveland, England, on October 27, 1728. Picking up knowledge at the village school, tending cows in the fields, apprenticed at Staithes, near Whitby, the boy eventually ran away to sea. In 1755, volunteering for the Royal Navy, he sailed to North America in the Eagle; then, promoted to be master of the Mercury, he did efficient service in surveying the St. Lawrence in co-operation with General Wolfe. His first voyage of discovery was in the Endeavour with a party to observe the transit of Venus in 1768, and after three years he returned, to start again, on his second voyage, in 1772, with the Resolution and Adventure to verify reports of a southern continent in the Pacific. His third and last voyage in the Resolution led him to explore the coast of North America as far as Icy Cape, and returning to the Sandwich Islands, he met his death while pacifying some angry natives on the shore of Owhyhee (Hawaii), on February 14, 1779. The original folio edition of the "Voyages" was published in 1784, compiled from journals of Cook, Banks, Solander, and others who accompanied him.

We left Plymouth Sound on August 26, 1768, and spent five days at Madeira, where Nature has been very liberal with her gifts, but the people lack industry. On reaching Rio de Janeiro, the captain met with much incivility from the viceroy, who would not let him land for a long time; but when we walked through the town the females showed their welcome by throwing nosegays from the windows. Dr. Solander and two other gentlemen of our party received so many of these love-tokens that they threw them away by hatfuls.

When we came in sight of Tierra del Fuego, the captain went ashore to discourse with the natives, who rose up and threw away the small sticks which they held in101 their hands, as a token of amity. Snow fell thick, and we were warned by the doctor that "whoever sits down will sleep, and whoever sleeps will wake no more." But he soon felt so drowsy that he lay down, and we could hardly keep him awake. Setting sail again, we passed the strait of Le Maire and doubled Cape Horn, and then, as the ship came near to Otaheite, where the transit of Venus was observed, the captain issued a new rule to this effect: "That in order to prevent quarrels and confusion, every one of the ship's crew should endeavour to treat the inhabitants of Otaheite with humanity, and by all fair means to cultivate a friendship with them."

On New Year's Day, 1770, we passed Queen Charlotte's Sound, calling the point Cape Farewell. We found the natives of New Zealand modest and reserved in their behaviour, and, sailing northward for New Holland, we called a bay Botany Bay because of the number of plants discovered there, and another Trinity Bay because it was discovered on Trinity Sunday. After much dangerous navigation, the ship was brought to in Endeavour River to be refitted. On a clear day, Mr. Green, the astronomer, and other gentlemen had landed on an island to observe the transit of Mercury, and for this reason this spot was called Mercury Bay.

Later, we discovered the mainland beyond York Islands, and here the captain displayed the English colours, and called it New South Wales, firing three volleys in the name of the king of Great Britain. After we had left Booby Island in search of New Guinea, we came in sight of a small island, and some of the officers strongly urged the captain to send a party of men on shore to cut down the cocoanut-trees for the sake of the fruit. This, with equal wisdom and humanity, he peremptorily refused as unjust and cruel, sensible that the poor Indians, who could not brook even the landing of a small party on their coast, would have made vigorous efforts to defend their property.

102Shortly afterwards, we were surprised at the sight of an island W.S.W., which we flattered ourselves was a new discovery. Before noon we had sight of houses, groves of trees, and flocks of sheep, and after the boat had put off to land, horsemen were seen from the ship, one of whom had a lace hat on, and was dressed in a coat and waistcoat of the fashion of Europe. The Dutch colours were hoisted over the town, and the rajah paid us a visit on board, accepting gifts of an English dog and a spying-glass. During a short stay on shore for the purchase of provisions, we found that the Dutch agent, Mr. Lange, was not keeping faith with us. At his instigation the Portuguese were driving away such of the Indians as had brought palm-syrup and fowls to sell.

At this juncture Captain Cook, happening to look at the old man who had been distinguished by the name of Prime Minister, imagined that he saw in his features a disapprobation of the present proceedings, and willing to improve the advantage, he grasped the Indian's hand, and gave him an old broadsword. This well-timed present produced all the good effects that could be wished. The prime minister was enraptured at so honourable a mark of distinction, and, brandishing his sword over the head of the impertinent Portuguese, he made both him and the men who commanded the party sit down behind him on the ground, and the whole business was accomplished.

This island of Savu is between twenty and thirty miles long; the women wear a kind of petticoat held up by girdles of beads, the king and his minister a nightgown of coarse chintz, carrying a silver-headed cane.

On October 10, 1770, the captain and the rest of the gentlemen went ashore on reaching the harbour of Batavia. Here the Endeavour had to be refitted, and intermittent fever laid many of our party low. Our surgeon, Dr. Monkhouse, died, our Indian boy, Tayeto, paid the debt of Nature, and Captain Cook himself was taken ill.

103We were glad to steer for Java, and on our way to the Cape of Good Hope the water was purified with lime and the decks washed with vinegar to prevent infection of fever. After a little stay at St. Helena we sighted Beachy Head, and landed at Deal, where the ship's company indulged freely in that mirth and social jollity common to all English sailors upon their return from a long voyage, who as readily forget hardships and dangers as with alacrity and bravery they encounter them.

II.—Round the World via the Antarctic

The King's expectation not being wholly answered, Captain Cook was appointed to the Resolution, and Captain Furneaux to the Adventure, both ships being fully equipped, with instructions to find Cape Circumcision, said to be in latitude 54° S. and about 11° 20' E. longitude from Greenwich. Captain Cook was to endeavour to discover whether this was part of the supposed continent or only the promontory of an island, and then to continue his journey southward and then eastward.

On Monday, July 13, 1772, the two ships sailed from Plymouth, passing the Eddystone, and after visiting the islands of Canaria, Teneriffe, and others, reached the Cape of Good Hope on September 29. Here we stayed until November 22, when we directed our course towards the Antarctic circle, meeting on December 8 with a gale of such fury that we could carry no sails, and were driven by this means to eastward of our intended course, not the least hope remaining of our reaching Cape Circumcision.

We now encountered in 51º 50' S. latitude and 21º 3' E. longitude some ice islands. The dismal scene, a view to which we were unaccustomed, was varied as well by birds of the petrel kind as by several whales which made their appearance among the ice, and afforded us some idea of a southern Greenland. But though the 104 appearance of the ice with the waves breaking over it might afford a few minutes' pleasure to the eye, yet it could not fail to fill us with horror when we reflected on our danger, for the ship would be dashed to pieces in a moment were she to get against the weather side of these islands, where the sea runs high. Captain Cook had directed the Adventure, in case of separation, to cruise three days in that place, but in a thick fog we lost sight of her. This was a dismal prospect, for we now were exposed to the dangers of the frozen climate without the company of our fellow voyagers, which before had relieved our spirits when we considered we were not entirely alone in case we lost our vessel.

The spirits of our sailors were greatly exhilarated when we reached Dusky Bay, New Zealand. Landing a shooting party at Duck Cove, we found a native with his club and some women behind him, who would not move. His fears, however, were all dissipated by Captain Cook going up to embrace him. After a stay here we opened Queen Charlotte's Sound and found the Adventure at anchor; none can describe the joy we felt at this most happy meeting. They had experienced terrible weather, and having made no discovery of land, determined to bear away from Van Diemen's Land, which was supposed to join New Holland and was discovered by Tasman, in 1642 A.D. Here they refitted their ship, and after three months' separation met us again.

During all this arduous experience of seamanship, sometimes involved in sheets of snow, and in mists so dark that a man on the forecastle could not be seen from the quarter-deck, it was astonishing that the crew of the Resolution should continue in perfect health. Nothing can redound more to the honour of Captain Cook than his paying particular attention to the preservation of health among his company. By observing the strictest discipline from the highest to the lowest, his commands were duly observed and punctually executed.

105After a lengthened stay with the New Zealanders, and all hopes of discovering a continent having now vanished, we were induced to believe that there is no southern continent between New Zealand and America, and, steering clear the island, we made our way to Otaheite, where the Resolution lost her lower anchor in the bay. Excursions were made inland, and King Otoo, a personable man, six feet in height, and about thirty years of age, treated the party with great entertainment.

On January 30, 1774, we sailed from New Zealand, and reaching latitude 67° 5' S., we found an immense field of ice with ninety-seven ice-hills glistening white in the distance. Captain Cook says: "I will not say it was impossible anywhere to get further to the south, but the attempting it would have been a dangerous and rash enterprise, and what I believe no man in any situation would have thought of."

We therefore sailed northward again, meeting with heavy storms, and the captain, being taken ill with a colic, and in the extremity of the case, the doctor fed him with the flesh of a favourite dog.

On the discovery of Palmerston Island—named after one of the Lords of the Admiralty—and Savage Island, as appropriate to the character of the natives, we had some adventures with the Mallicos, who express their admiration by hissing like a goose.

We stayed some time in Tanna, with its volcano furiously burning, and then steering south-west, we discovered an uninhabited island, which Captain Cook named Norfolk Island, in honour of the noble family of Howard. We reached the Straits of Magalhaes, and, going north, the captain gave the names of Cumberland Bay and the Isle of Georgia, and then we found a land ice-bound and inhospitable. At last we reached home, landing at Portsmouth on July 30, 1775.

106III.—The Pacific Isles and the Arctic Circle

Former navigators had returned to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope; the arduous task was now assigned to Captain Cook of attempting it by reaching the high northern latitudes between Asia and America. He was then ordered to proceed to Otaheite, or the Society Islands, and then, having crossed the Equator into the northern tropics, to hold such a course as might best probably give success to the attempt of finding out a northern passage.

On the afternoon of July 11, 1776, Captain Cook set sail from Plymouth in the Resolution, giving orders to Captain Clerke to follow in the Discovery. After a short stay at Santa Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe, we were joined by the Discovery at Cape Town.

Leaving the Cape, we passed some islands, which Captain Cook named Princes Islands, and made for the land discovered by M. de Kerguelen. Here, in a bay, we celebrated Christmas rejoicings amid desolate surroundings. The captain named it Christmas Harbour, and wrote on the other side of a piece of parchment, found in a bottle, these words: Naves Resolution et Discovery de Rege Magnæ Britanniæ Decembris 1776, and buried the same beneath a pile of stones, waving above it the British flag.

Having failed to see a human being on shore, he sailed to Van Diemen's Land, and took the ships into Adventure Bay for water and wood. The natives, with whom we were conversant, seemed mild and cheerful, with little of that savage appearance common to people in their situation, nor did they discover the least reserve or jealousy in their intercourse with strangers.

On our landing at Annamooka, in the Friendly Islands, we were entertained with great civility by Toobou, the chief, who gave us much amusement by a sort of pantomime,107 in which some prizefighters displayed their feats of arms, and this part of the drama concluded with the presentation of some laughable story which produced among the chiefs and their attendants the most immoderate mirth. This friendly reception was also repeated in the island of Hapaee, where Captain Cook ordered an exhibition of fireworks, and in return the king, Feenou, gave us an exhibition of dances in which twenty women entered a circle, whose hands were adorned with garlands of crimson flowers, and many of their persons were decorated with leaves of trees, curiously scalloped, and ornamented at the edges. In the island of Matavai it is impossible to give an adequate idea of the joy of the natives on our arrival. The shores everywhere resounded with the name of Cook; not a child that could lisp "Toote" was silent.

Before proceeding to the northern hemisphere we passed a cluster of isles which Captain Cook distinguished by the name of Sandwich Islands, in honour of the Earl of Sandwich. They are not inferior in beauty to the Friendly Islands, nor are the inhabitants less ingenious or civilised.

When in latitude 44° N., longitude 234° 30', the long expected coast of New Albion, so named by Sir Francis Drake, was descried at a distance of ten leagues, and pursuing our course we reached the inlet which is called by the natives Nootka, but Captain Cook gave it the name of King George's Sound, where we moored our vessels for some time. The inhabitants are short in stature, with limbs short in proportion to the other parts; they are wretched in appearance and lost to every idea of cleanliness. In trafficking with us some displayed a disposition to knavery, and the appellation of thieves is certainly applicable to them.

Between the promontory which the captain named Cape Douglas after Dr. Douglas, the Dean of Windsor, and Point Banks is a large, deep bay, which received the108 name of Smoky Bay; and northward he discovered more land composed of a chain of mountains, the highest of which obtained the name of Mount St. Augustine. But the captain was now fully convinced that no passage could be discovered by this inlet. Steering N.E., we discovered a passage of waves dashing against rocks; and, on tasting the water, it proved to be a river, and not a strait, as might have been imagined. This we traced to the latitude of 61° 30' and the longitude of 210°, which is upwards of 210 miles from its entrance, and saw no appearance of its source. [Here the captain having left a blank in his journal, which he had not filled up with any particular name, the Earl of Sandwich very properly directed it to be called Cook's River.] The time we spent in the discovery of Cook's River ought not to be regretted if it should hereafter prove useful to the present or any future age, but the delay thus occasioned was an effectual loss to us, who had a greater object in view. The season was far advanced, and it was now evident that the continent of North America extended much further to the west than we had reason to expect from the most approved charts. A bottle was buried in the earth containing some English coins of 1772, and the point of land was called Point Possession, being taken under the flag in the name of His Majesty.

After passing Foggy Island, which we supposed from its situation to be the island on which Behring had bestowed the same appellation, we were followed by some natives in a canoe who sent on board a small wooden box which contained a piece of paper in the Russian language. To this was prefixed the date 1778, and a reference made therein to the year 1776, from which we were convinced that others had preceded us in visiting these dreary regions.

While staying at Oonalaska we observed to the north of Cape Prince of Wales, neither tide nor current either on the coast of America or that of Asia. This circumstance109 gave rise to an opinion which some of our people entertained, that the two coasts were connected either by land or ice, and that opinion received some degree of strength from our never having seen any hollow waves from the northward, and from our seeing ice almost all the way across.

We were now by the captain's intention to proceed to Sandwich Islands in order to pass a few of the winter months there, if we should meet with the necessary refreshments, and then direct our course to Kamtchatka in the ensuing year.

IV.—Life's Voyage Suddenly Ended

We reached the island called by the natives Owhyhee with the summits of its mountains covered with snow. Here an eclipse of the moon was observed. We discovered the harbour of Karakakooa, which we deemed a proper place for refitting the ships, our masts and rigging having suffered much. On going ashore Captain Cook discovered the habitation of the Society of Priests, where he was present at some solemn ceremonies and treated with great civility. Afterwards the captain conducted the king, Terreeoboo, on to the ship with every mark of attention, giving him a shirt, and on our visits afterwards on shore we trusted ourselves among the natives without the least reserve.

Some time after, however, we noticed a change in their attitude. Following a short absence in search of a better anchorage, we found our reception very different, in a solitary and deserted bay with hardly a friend appearing or a canoe stirring. We were told that Terreeoboo was absent, and that the bay was tabooed. Our party on going ashore was met by armed natives, and a scuffle arose about the theft of some articles from the Discovery, and Pareea, our friendly native, was, through a misunderstanding, knocked down with an oar. Then110 Terreeoboo came and complained of our having killed two of his people.

On Sunday, February 14, 1779, that memorable day, very early in the morning, there was excitement on shore, and Captain Cook, taking his double-barrelled gun, went ashore to seize Terreeoboo, and keep him on board, according to his usual practice, until the stolen boat should be returned. He ordered that every canoe should be prevented from leaving the bay, and the captain then awoke the old king and invited him with the mildest terms to visit the ship. After some disputation he set out with Captain Cook, when a woman near the waterside, the mother of the king's two boys, entreated him to go no further, and two warriors obliged him to sit down. The old king, filled with terror and dejection, refused to move, notwithstanding all the persuasions of Captain Cook, who, seeing further attempts would be risky, came to the shore. At the same time two principal chiefs were killed on the opposite side of the bay. A native armed with a long iron spike threatened Captain Cook, who at last fired a charge of small shot at him, but his mat prevented any harm. A general attack upon the marines in the boat was made, and with fury the natives rushed upon them, dangerously wounding several of them.

The last time the captain was distinctly seen he was standing at the water's edge, ordering the boats to cease firing and pull in, when a base assassin, coming behind him and striking him on the head with his club, felled him to the ground, in such a direction that he lay with his face prone to the water.

A general shout was set up by the islanders on seeing the captain fall, and his body was dragged on shore, where he was surrounded by the enemy, who, snatching daggers from each other's hands, displayed a savage eagerness to join in his destruction. It would seem that vengeance was directed chiefly against our captain, by whom they supposed their king was to be111 dragged on board and punished at discretion; for, having secured his body, they fled without much regarding the rest of the slain, one of whom they threw into the sea.

Thus ended the life of the greatest navigator that this or any other nation could ever boast of, who led his crews of gallant British seamen twice round the world, reduced to a certainty the non-existence of a southern continent, about which the learned of all nations were in doubt, settled the boundaries of the earth and sea, and demonstrated the impracticability of a north-west passage from the Atlantic to the great southern ocean, for which our ablest geographers had contended, and in pursuit of which vast sums had been spent in vain, and many mariners had miserably perished.


112

WILLIAM DAMPIER

New Voyage Round the World

I.—Buccaneering in Southern Seas

William Dampier, buccaneer and circumnavigator, was born at East Coker, Somersetshire, England, in 1652, and died in London in March, 1715. At sea, as a youth, he fought against the Dutch in 1673, and remained in Jamaica as a plantation overseer. Next he became a logwood cutter on the Bay of Campeachy, and finding himself short of wood to barter for provisions, joined the privateers who waged piratical war on Spaniards and others, making "many descents among the villages." Returning to England in 1678, he sailed again in that year for Jamaica; "but it proved to be a voyage round the world," as described in his book, and he did not reach home till 1691. In 1698 he was given command of a ship, in which he explored the Australian coast, but in returning was wrecked on the Isle of Ascension. In 1711 he piloted the expedition of Captain Woodes-Rogers which rescued Alexander Selkirk from the Island of Juan Fernandez. The "New Voyage Round the World," which was first published in 1697, shows Dampier to be a man of considerable scientific knowledge, his observations of natural history being trustworthy and accurate.

I first set out of England on this voyage at the beginning of the year 1679, in the Loyal Merchant, of London, bound for Jamaica, Captain Knapman commander. I went a passenger, designing when I came thither to go from thence to the Bay of Campeachy, in the Gulf of Mexico, to cut logwood. We arrived safely at Port Royal in Jamaica, in April, 1679, and went immediately ashore. I had brought some goods with me from England, which I intended to sell here, and stock myself with rum and sugar, saws, axes, hats, stockings, shoes, and such other commodities as I knew would sell among the Campeachy logwood-cutters. About Christmas one Mr. Hobby invited me to go a short trading voyage to113 the country of the Mosquito Indians. We came to an anchor in Negril Bay, at the west end of Jamaica; but, finding there Captains Coxon, Sawkins, Sharpe, and other privateers, Mr. Hobby's men all left him to go with them upon an expedition; and being thus left alone, after three or four days' stay with Mr. Hobby, I was the more easily persuaded to go with them too.

I was resolved to march by land over the Isthmus of Darien. Accordingly, on April 5, 1680, we went ashore on the isthmus, near Golden Island, one of the Sambaloes, to the number of between 300 and 400 men, carrying with us such provisions as were necessary, and toys wherewith to gratify the wild Indians. In about nine days' march we arrived at Santa Maria, and took it, and after a stay there of about three days, we went on to the South Sea coast, and there embarked ourselves in such canoes and periagoes as our Indian friends furnished us withal. We were in sight of Panama on April 23, and having in vain attempted Pueblo Nuevo, before which Sawkins, then commander-in-chief, and others, were killed, we made some stay at the isle of Quibo.

About Christmas we were got as far as the isle of Juan Fernandez, where Captain Sharpe was, by general consent, displaced from being commander, the company being not satisfied either with his courage or behaviour. In his stead Captain Watling was advanced; but he being killed shortly after before Arica, where we were repulsed with great loss, we were without a commander. Off the island of Plata we left Captain Sharpe and those who were willing to go with him in the ship, and embarked into our launch and canoes. We were in number forty-four white men who bore arms; a Spanish Indian, who bore arms also, and two Mosquito Indians, who always have arms among the privateers, and are much valued by them for striking fish and turtle, or tortoise, and manatee, or sea-cow; and five 114 slaves taken in the South Seas, who fell to our share. We sifted as much flour as we could well carry, and rubbed up twenty or thirty pounds of chocolate, with sugar to sweeten it; these things and a kettle the slaves carried on their backs after we landed.

We gave out that if any man faltered in the journey overland he must expect to be shot to death; for we knew that the Spaniards would soon be after us, and one man falling into their hands might well be the ruin of us all. Guided by the Indians, we finished our journey from the South Sea to the North in twenty-three days.

II.—Adventures with the Privateers

It was concluded to go to a town called Coretaga (Cartagena), and march thence on Panama. I was with Captain Archembo; but his French seamen were the saddest creatures ever I was among. So, meeting Captain Wright, who had taken a Spanish tartane (a one-masted vessel) with four petereroes for stone shot, and some long guns, we that came overland desired him to fit up his prize and make a man-of-war of her for us. This he did, and we sailed towards Blewfields River, where we careened our tartane.

While we lay here our Mosquito men went in their canoe and struck some sea-cow. This creature is about the bigness of a horse, and ten or twelve feet long. The mouth of it is much like the mouth of a cow, having great thick lips. The eyes are no bigger than a small pea; the ears are only two small holes on the side of the head; the neck is short and thick, bigger than the head. The biggest part of this creature is at the shoulders, where it has two large fins, one at each side of its belly.

A calf that sucks is the most delicate meat; privateers commonly roast them. The skin of the manatee is of115 great use to privateers, for they cut them out into straps, which they make fast on the sides of their canoes, through which they put their oars in rowing, instead of pegs. The skin of the bull, or of the back of the cow, they cut into horsewhips, twisted when green, and then hung to dry.

The Mosquitoes, two in a canoe, have a staff about eight feet long, almost as big as a man's arm at the great end, where there is a hole to place the harpoon in. At the other end is a piece of light wood, with a hole in it, through which the small end of the staff comes; and on this piece of bob-wood there is a line of ten or twelve fathoms wound neatly about, the end of the line made fast to it. The other end of the line is made fast to the harpoon, and the Mosquito man keeps about a fathom of it loose in his hand.

When he strikes, the harpoon presently comes out of the staff, and as the manatee swims away the line runs off from the bob; and although at first both staff and bob may be carried under water, yet as the line runs off it will rise again. When the creature's strength is spent they haul it up to the canoe's side, knock it on the head, and tow it ashore.

When we had passed by Cartagena we descried a sail off at sea and chased her. Captain Wright, who sailed best, came up with her and engaged her; then Captain Yanky, and they took her before we came up. We lost two or three men, and had seven or eight wounded. The prize was a ship of twelve guns and forty men, who had all good small arms; she was laden with sugar and tobacco, and had eight or ten tons of marmalade on board. We went to the Isle of Aves, where the Count d'Estrées's whole squadron, sent to take Curaçoa for the French, had been wrecked. Coming in from the eastward, the count fell in on the back of the reef, and fired guns to give warning to the rest. But they, supposing their admiral was engaged with enemies, crowded all sail and116 ran ashore after him, for his light in the maintop was an unhappy beacon. The men had time enough to get ashore, yet many perished. There were about forty Frenchmen on board one of the ships, where there was good store of liquor. The afterpart of her broke away and floated off to sea, with all the men drinking and singing, who, being in drink, did not mind the danger, but were never heard of afterwards.

Captain Payne, commander of a privateer of six guns, had a pleasant accident at this island. He came hither to careen, therefore hauled into the harbour and unrigged his ship. A Dutch ship of twenty guns seeing a ship in the harbour, and knowing her to be a French privateer, came within a mile of her, intending to warp in and take her next day, for it is very narrow going in. Captain Payne got ashore, and did in a manner conclude he must be taken; but spied a Dutch sloop turning to get into the road, and saw her, at the evening, anchor at the west end of the island. In the night he sent two canoes aboard the sloop, took her, and went away in her, making a good reprisal, and leaving his own empty ship to the Dutchman.

While we lay on the Caracas coast we went ashore in some of the bays, and took seven or eight tons of cacao; and after that three barques, one laden with hides, the second with European commodities, the third with earthenware and brandy. With these three barques we went to the island of Roques, where we shared our commodities. Twenty of us took one of the vessels, and our share of the goods, and went directly for Virginia, where we arrived in July 1682.

III.—On Robinson Crusoe's Island

I now enter upon the relation of a new voyage, proceeding from Virginia by the way of Tierra del Fuego and the South Seas, the East Indies, and so on, till my117 return to England by way of the Cape of Good Hope. On August 23, 1683, we sailed from Achamack (Accomack), in Virginia, under the command of Captain Cook. On February 6 we fell in with the Straits of Le Maire, and on February 14, being in latitude 57°, and to the west of Cape Horn, we had a violent storm, which held us till March 3—thick weather all the time, with small, drizzling rain. The nineteenth day we saw a ship, and lay muzzled to let her come up with us, for we supposed her to be a Spanish ship. This proved to be one Captain Eaton, from London. Both being bound for Juan Fernandez's Isle, we kept company, and we spared him bread and beef, and he spared us water.

On March 22, 1684, we came in sight of the island, and the next day got in and anchored. We presently went ashore to seek for a Mosquito Indian whom we left here when we were chased hence by three Spanish ships in the year 1681, a little before we went to Africa. This Indian lived here alone above three years. He was in the woods hunting for goats when Captain Watling drew off his men, and the ship was under sail before he came back to shore.

He had with him his gun and a knife, with a small horn of powder and a few shot. These being spent, he contrived a way, by notching his knife, to saw the barrel of his gun into small pieces, wherewith he made harpoons, lances, hooks, and a long knife; heating the pieces first in the fire, which he struck with his gun-flint, and a piece of the barrel of his gun, which he hardened, having learnt to do that among the English. The hot pieces of iron he would hammer out and bend as he pleased with stones, and saw them with his jagged knife, or grind them to an edge by long labour, and harden them to a good temper as there was occasion. With such instruments as he made in that manner he got such provision as the island afforded, either goats or fish. He told us that at first he was forced to eat seal,118 which is very ordinary meat, before he had made hooks; but afterwards he never killed any seals but to make lines, cutting their skins into thongs.

He had, half a mile from the sea, a little house or hut, which was lined with goatskin. His couch, or barbecue of sticks, lying along about two feet distant from the ground, was spread with the same, as was all his bedding. He had no clothes left, having worn out all those he brought from Watling's ship, but only a skin about his waist. He saw our ship the day before we came to an anchor, and did believe we were English, and therefore killed three goats in the morning before we came to anchor, and dressed them with cabbage to treat us when we came ashore.

This island is about twelve leagues round, full of high hills and small, pleasant valleys, which, if manured, would probably produce anything proper for the climate. The sides of the mountains are part woodland and part savannahs, well stocked with wild goats descended from those left here by Juan Fernandez in his voyage from Lima to Valdivia. Seals swarm as thick about this island as though they had no other place to live in, for there is not a bay nor rock that one can get ashore on but is full of them. They are as big as calves, the head of them like a dog, therefore called by the Dutch sea-hounds. Here are always thousands—I might say millions—of them sitting on the bays, or going and coming in the sea round the island. When they come out of the sea they bleat like sheep for their young, and though they pass through hundreds of other young ones before they come to their own, yet they will not suffer any of them to suck. A blow on the nose soon kills them. Large ships might here load themselves with sealskins and train-oil, for they are extraordinary fat.

Our passage lay now along the Pacific Sea. We made the best of our way towards the line, and fell in with the mainland of South America. The land is of a most119 prodigious height. It lies generally in ridges parallel to the shore, three or four ridges one within another, each surpassing the other in height. They always appear blue when seen at sea; sometimes they are obscured with clouds, but not so often as the high lands in other parts of the world—for there are seldom or never any rains on these hills, nor are they subject to fogs. These are the highest mountains that ever I saw, far surpassing the peak of Teneriffe, or Santa Marta, and, I believe, any mountains in the world.

IV.—More Buccaneering Exploits

On May 3 we descried a sail. Captain Eaton, being ahead, soon took her; she was laden with timber. Near the island of Lobos we chased and caught three sail, all laden with flour. In the biggest was a letter from the viceroy of Lima to the president of Panama, assuring him there were enemies in that sea, for which reason he had despatched this flour, and desiring him to be frugal of it, for he knew not when he should send more. In this ship were likewise seven or eight tons of marmalade of quinces, and a stately mule sent to the president, and a very large image of the Virgin Mary in wood, carved and painted, to adorn a new church at Panama. She brought also from Lima 800,000 pieces of eight to carry with her to Panama; but while she lay at Huanchaco, taking in her lading of flour, the merchants, hearing of Captain Swan's being at Valdivia ordered the money ashore again.

On September 20 we came to the island of Plata, so named, as some report, after Sir Francis Drake took the Cacafuego—a ship chiefly laden with plate, which they say he brought hither and divided with his men. Near it we took an Indian village called Manta, but found no sort of provision, the viceroy having sent orders to all seaports to keep none, but just to supply themselves.120 At La Plata arrived Captain Swan, in the Cygnet, of London. He was fitted out by very eminent merchants of that city on a design only to trade with Spaniards or Indians; but, meeting with divers disappointments, and being out of hopes to obtain a trade in these seas, his men forced him to entertain a company of privateers, who had come overland under the command of Captain Peter Harris. Captains Davis and Swan sent our small barque to look for Captain Eaton, the isle of Plata to be the general rendezvous; and on November 2 we landed 110 men to take the small Spanish seaport town of Payta. The governor of Piura had come the night before to Payta with a hundred armed men to oppose our landing, but our men marched directly to the fort and took it without the loss of one man, whereupon the governor of Piura, with all his men, and the inhabitants of the town, ran away as fast as they could. Then our men entered the town, and found it emptied both of money and goods. There was not so much as a meal of victuals left for them. We anchored before the town, and stayed till the sixth day in hopes to get a ransom. Our captains demanded 300 packs of flour, 300 lb. of sugar, twenty-five jars of wine, and a thousand jars of water, but we got nothing of it. Therefore Captain Swan ordered the town to be fired.

Once in three years the Spanish Armada comes to Porto Bello, then the Plate Fleet also from Lima comes hither with the king's treasure, and abundance of merchant ships, full of goods and plate. With other privateers we formed the plan, in 1685, of attacking the Armada and capturing the treasure. On May 28 we saw the Spanish fleet three leagues from the island of Pacheque—in all fourteen sail, besides periagoes. Our fleet consisted of but ten sail. Yet we were not discouraged, but resolved to fight them, for being to windward, we had it in our choice whether we would fight or not. We bore down right afore the wind upon our121 enemies, but night came on without anything besides the exchanging of a few shot. When it grew dark the Spanish admiral put out a light as a signal to his fleet to anchor. We saw the light in the admiral's top about half an hour, and then it was taken down. In a short time after we saw the light again, and being to windward, we kept under sail, supposing the light to have been in the admiral's top.

But, as it proved, this was only a stratagem of theirs, for this light was put out a second time at one of their barques' topmast head, and then she went to leeward, which deceived us. In the morning, therefore, contrary to our expectations, we found they had got the weather-gauge of us, and were coming upon us with full sail. So we ran for it, and after a running fight all day, were glad to escape. Thus ended this day's work, and with it all that we had been projecting for four or five months.

The town of Puebla Nueva was taken with 150 men, and in July, being 640 men in eight sail of ships, we designed to attempt the city of Leon. We landed 470 men to march to the town, and I was left to guard the canoes till their return. With eighty men Captain Townley entered the town, and was briskly charged in a broad street by 170 or 200 Spanish horsemen; but two or three of their leaders being knocked down, the rest fled. The Spaniards talked of ransom, but only to gain time to get more men. Our captains therefore set the city on fire, and came away.

V.—Home by the East Indies

Afterwards we steered for the coast of California, and some of us taking the resolution of going over to the East Indies, we set out from Cape Corrientes on March 31, 1686. We were two ships in company, Captain Swan's ship, and a barque commanded under Captain Swan by Captain Tait, and we were 150 men—100122 aboard of the ship, and 50 aboard the barque, besides slaves. It was very strange that in all the voyage to Guam, in the Ladrones, we did not see one fish, not so much as a flying fish.

From Guam we went to Mindanao in the Philippines. About this time some of our men, who were weary and tired with wandering, ran away into the country. The whole crew were under a general disaffection, and full of different projects, and all for want of action. One day that Captain Swan was ashore, a Bristol man named John Reed peeped into his journal and lighted on a place where Captain Swan had inveighed bitterly against most of his men. Captain Tait, who had been abused by Captain Swan, laid hold of this opportunity to be revenged. So we left Captain Swan and about thirty-six men ashore in the city, and sailed from Mindanao. Among the Pescadores we had a storm in which the violent wind raised the sea to a great height; the rain poured down as through a sieve; it thundered and lightened prodigiously, and the sea seemed all of a fire about us. I was never in such a violent storm in all my life; so said all the company. Afterwards we came to Grafton and Monmouth islands, the island of Celebes, and others.

Being clear of all the islands, we stood off south, and on January 4, 1688, we fell in with the land of New Holland, a part of Terra Australis Incognita. It is not yet determined whether it is an island or a main continent, but I am certain that it does not join Asia, Africa, or America.

We sailed from New Holland to Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands, where, being anxious to escape from the ship, I desired Captain Reed to set me ashore. Mr. Robert Hall, and a man named Ambrose, whose surname I have forgot, were put ashore with me. From the Nicobar people we bought for an axe a canoe, in which we stowed our chests and clothes, and in this frail craft123 we three Englishmen, with four Malays and a mongrel Portuguese, made our way to Achin. The hardships of this voyage, with the scorching heat of the sun at our first setting out, and then the cold rain in a fearful storm, cast us all into fevers. Three days after our arrival our Portuguese died. What became of our Malays I know not. Ambrose lived not long after.

In January, 1691, there came to an anchor in Bencouli Road the Defence, Captain Heath commander, bound for England. On this ship I obtained a passage to England, where we arrived on September 16, 1691.


124

CHARLES DARWIN

The Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle

I.—To the South American Coast

The "Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World" was Darwin's first popular contribution to travel and science. His original journal of the part he took in the expedition, as naturalist of the surveying ships Adventure and Beagle, was published, together with the official narratives of Captains Fitzroy and King, a year after the return of the latter vessel to England in October, 1836. It was not till 1845 that Darwin issued his independent book, of which the following is an epitome, written from the notes in his journal. It immediately attracted considerable popular and scientific attention, and many editions and cheap reprints have been issued during the past half century. It is said that Darwin at first considered himself more as a collector than as a scientific worker; but experience soon brought to him the keen enjoyment of the original investigator. The most striking feature of the book is the combined minuteness and breadth of his observations and descriptions. There can be no doubt that it was the gathered results of his discoveries, and the study of his collected specimens of the zoology, botany, and geology of the countries visited; his graphic presentation of their physical geography; and their synthetic analysis, which laid the foundations of his great generalisations of the "Origin of Species." (See Science.)

After having been twice driven back by heavy south-west gales, H.M.S. Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N., sailed from Devonport on December 27, 1831. The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826-30; to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and of some of the islands in the Pacific; and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the world.

125 On January 16, 1832, we touched at Porto Praya, St. Jago, in the Cape de Verde archipelago, and sailed thence to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Delight is a weak term to express the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion which fill the mind of a naturalist in wandering through the Brazilian tropical forest. The noise from the insects is so loud that it may be heard at sea several hundred yards from the shore, yet within the recesses of the forest a universal silence seems to reign. The wonderful and beautiful flowering parasites invariably struck me as the most novel object in these grand scenes. Among the cabbage-palms, waving their elegant heads fifty feet from the ground, were woody creepers, two feet in circumference, themselves covered by other creepers.

The humming birds are fond of shady spots, and these little creatures, with their brilliant plumage, buzzing round the flowers with wings vibrating so rapidly as scarcely to be visible, seek the tiny insects in the calyx rather than the fabled honey. Insects are particularly numerous, the bees excepted. The Beagle was employed surveying the extreme southern and eastern coasts of America south of the Plata during the two succeeding years. The almost entire absence of trees in the pampas of Uruguay, the provinces of Buenos Ayres [now Argentina], and Patagonia is remarkable.

Fifteen miles from the Rio Negro, the principal river on the whole line of coast between the Strait of Magellan and the Plata, are several shallow lakes of brine in winter, which in summer are converted into fields of snow-white salt two and a half miles long and one broad. The border of the lakes is formed of mud, which is thrown up by a kind of worm. How surprising it is that any creature should be able to exist in brine, and that they should be crawling among crystals of sulphate of soda and lime!

The valley of the Rio Negro, broad as it is, has merely 126 been excavated out of the sandstone plain; and everywhere the landscape wears the same sterile aspect.

II.—Fossil Monsters of the Pampas

The pampas are formed from the mud, gravel, and sand thrown up by the sea during the slow elevation of the land; and the section disclosed at Punta Alta, a few miles from Bahia Blanca, was interesting from the number and extraordinary character of the remains of gigantic land animals embedded in it. I also found remains of immense armadillo-like animals on the banks of a tributary of the Rio Negro; and, indeed, I believe that the whole area of the pampas is one wide sepulchre of these extinct colossal quadrupeds. The following, which I unearthed, are now deposited in the College of Surgeons, London.

(1) Head and bones of a megatherium, the huge dimensions of which are expressed by its name; (2) the megalonyx, a great allied animal; (3) the perfect skeleton of a scelidorium, also an allied animal, as large as a rhinoceros, in structure like the Cape ant-eater, but in some other respects approaching the armadilloes; (4) the mylodon Darwinii, a closely related genus, and little inferior in size; (5) another gigantic dental quadruped; (6) another large animal very like an armadillo; (7) an extinct kind of horse (it is a marvellous fact in the history of the mammalia that, in South America, a native horse should have lived and disappeared, to be succeeded in after ages by the countless herds descended from the few introduced with the Spanish colonists); (8) a pachydermatous animal, a huge beast with a long neck like a camel; (9) the toxodon, perhaps the strangest animal ever discovered; in size it equalled an elephant, or megatherium, but was intimately related to the Gnawers, the order which at the present day includes most of the smallest quadrupeds; and judging from127 the position of the eyes, ears, and nostrils, it was probably aquatic.

We have good evidence that these gigantic quadrupeds, more different from those of the present day than the oldest of the Tertiary quadrupeds of Europe, lived whilst the sea was peopled with most of its present inhabitants. These animals migrated on land, since submerged, near Behring's Strait, from Siberia into North America, and thence on land, since submerged, in the West Indies into South America, where they mingled with the forms characteristic of that southern continent, and have since become extinct.

The existing animals of the pampas include the puma, the South American lion, while the birds are numerous. The largest is the ostrich, which is found in groups. The ostriches are fleet in pace, prefer running against the wind, and freely take to the water. At first start they expand their wings, and, like a vessel, make all sail. Of mammalia, the jaguar, or South American tiger, is the most formidable. It frequents the wooded and reedy banks of the great rivers. There are four species of armadilloes, notable for their smooth, hard, defensive covering. Of reptiles there are many kinds. One snake, a trigonocephalus, has in some respects the structure of a viper with the habits of a rattlesnake. The expression of this snake's face is hideous and fierce. I do not think I ever saw anything more ugly, excepting, perhaps, some of the viper-bats.

III.—In the Extreme South

From the Rio Plata the course of the Beagle was directed to the mouth of the Santa Cruz river, on the coast of Patagonia. One evening, when we were about ten miles from the bay of San Blas, vast numbers of butterflies, in bands and flocks of countless myriads, extended as far as the eye could range. One dark night, with a 128 fresh breeze, the foam and every part of the surface of the waves glowed with a pale light. The vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorus, and in her wake she was followed by a milky train. I am inclined to consider that the phosphorescence is the result of organic particles, by which process (one is tempted almost to call it a kind of respiration) the ocean becomes purified.

The geology of Patagonia is interesting. For hundreds of miles of coast there is one great deposit composed of shells—a white pumiceous stone like chalk, including gypsum and infusoria. At Port St. Julian it is eight hundred feet thick, and is capped by a mass of gravel forming probably one of the largest beds of shingle in the world, extending to the foot of the Cordilleras. For 1,200 miles from the Rio Plata to Tierra del Fuego the land has been raised by many hundred feet, and the uprising movement has been interrupted by at least eight long periods of rest, during which the sea ate deep back into the land, forming at successive levels the long lines of cliffs, or escarpments, which separate the different plains as they rise like steps one behind the other. What a history of geological change does the simply constructed coast of Patagonia reveal! In some red mud, capping the gravel, I discovered fossil bones which showed the wonderful relationship in the same continent between the dead and the living, and will, I have no doubt, hereafter throw more light on the appearance of organic beings on our earth and their disappearance from it than any other class of facts. Patagonia is sterile, but is possessed of a greater stock of rodents than any other country in the world. The principal animals are the llamas, in herds up to 500, and the puma, which, with the condor and other carrion hawks, preys upon them.

From the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle twice made a compass of the Falkland Islands, and archipelago in129 nearly the same latitude. It is a delicate and wretched land, everywhere covered by a peaty soil and wiry grass of one monotonous colour. The only native quadruped is a large wolf-like fox, which will soon be as extinct as the dodo. The birds embrace enormous numbers of sea-fowl, especially geese and penguins. The wings of a great logger-headed duck called the "steamer" are too weak for flight; but, by their aid, partly by swimming, partly flapping, they move very quickly. Thus we found in South America three birds who use their wings for other purposes besides flight—the penguins as fins, the "steamers" as paddles, and the ostrich as sails.

Tierra del Fuego may be described as a mountainous land, separated from the South American continent by the Strait of Magellan, partly submerged in the sea, so that deep inlets and bays occupy the place where valleys should exist. The mountain-sides, except on the exposed western coasts, are covered from the water's edge upwards to the perpetual snow-line by one great forest, chiefly of beeches. Viewing the stunted natives on the west coast, one can hardly conceive that they are fellow-creatures and inhabitants of the same world; and I believe that in this extreme part of South America man exists in a lower state of improvement than in any other part of the globe. The zoology of Tierra del Fuego is very poor. In the gloomy woods there are few birds, but where flowers grow there are humming birds, a few parrots and insects, but no reptiles.

IV.—The Wonders of the Cordilleras

After encountering many adventures in these Antarctic seas, among which was a narrow escape from shipwreck in a fierce gale off Cape Horn, and amidst hitherto unexplored Antarctic islands, the Beagle set a course northward in the open Pacific for Valparaiso, the chief seaport of Chile, which was reached on July 23, 1834. 130 Chile is a narrow strip of land between the Cordilleras and the Pacific, and this strip itself is traversed by many mountain lines which run parallel to the great range. Between these outer lines and the main Cordilleras a succession of level basins, generally opening into each other by narrow passages, extend far to the southward. These basins, no doubt, are the bottoms of ancient inlets and deep bays such as at the present day intersect every part of Tierra del Fuego.

From November, 1834, to March, 1835, the Beagle was employed in surveying the island of Chiloe and the broken line called the Chonos Archipelago. This archipelago is covered by one dense forest, resembling that of Tierra del Fuego, but incomparably more beautiful. There are few parts of the world within the temperate regions where so much rain falls. The winds are very boisterous, and the sky almost always clouded. Fortunately, for once, while we were on the east side of Chiloe the day rose splendidly clear, and we could see the great range of the Andes on the mainland with three active volcanoes, each 7,000 feet high.

While at Valdivia, on the mainland, on February 20, 1835, the worst earthquake ever recorded in Chile occurred, and it was followed for twelve days by no less than 300 tremblings. A bad earthquake at once destroys our oldest associations; the earth, the very emblem of solidity, has moved beneath our feet like a thin crust over a fluid. One second of time has created in the mind a strange idea of insecurity which hours of reflection would not have produced. The most remarkable effect was the permanent elevation of the land round the Bay of Concepcion by several feet. The convulsion was more effectual in lessening the size of the island of Quiriquina off the coast than the ordinary wear and tear of the sea and weather during the course of a whole century; but on the other hand, on the Island of St. Maria putrid mussel-shells, still adhering to the rocks, were found ten131 feet above high-water mark. Near Juan Fernandez Island a volcano uprose from under the water close to the shore, and at the same instant two volcanoes in the far-off Cordilleras bust forth into action.

The space from which volcanic matter was actually erupted is 720 miles in one line and 400 miles in another line at right-angles from the first; hence, in all probability, a subterranean lake of lava is here stretched out of nearly double the area of the Black Sea. The frequent quakings of the earth on this line of coast are caused, I believe, by the rending of the strata, necessarily consequent on the tension of the land when upraised, and their injection by fluidified rock. This rending and injection would, if repeated often enough, form a chain of hills.

I made the passage of the Cordilleras to Mendoza, the capital of the republic of that name, on horseback. The features in the scenery of the Andes which struck me most were that all the main valleys have on both sides a fringe, sometimes expanding into a narrow plain of shingle and sand. I am convinced that these shingle terraces were accumulated during the gradual elevation of the Cordilleras by the torrents delivering at successive levels their detritus on the beach-heads of long, narrow arms of the sea, first high up the valleys, then lower down and lower down as the land slowly rose.

If this be so, and I cannot doubt it, the grand and broken chain of the Cordilleras, instead of having been suddenly thrown up—as was till lately the universal, and still is the common, opinion of geologists—has been slowly upheaved in mass in the same gradual manner as the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific have arisen within the recent period. The other striking features of the Cordilleras were the bright colours, chiefly red and purple, of the utterly bare and precipitous hills of porphyry; the grand and continuous wall-like dikes; the plainly divided strata, which, where nearly vertical,132 formed the picturesque and wild central pinnacles, but where less inclined composed the great massive mountains on the outskirts of the range; and lastly, the smooth, conical piles of fine and brightly-coloured detritus, which slope up sometimes to a height of more than 2,000 feet.

It is an old story, but not less wonderful, to see shells which were once crawling at the bottom of the sea now standing nearly 14,000 feet above its level. But there must have been a subsidence of several thousand feet as well as the ensuing elevation. Daily it is forced home on the mind of the geologist that nothing, not even the wind that blows, is so unstable as the level of the crust of the earth.

From Valparaiso to Coquimbo, and thence to Copiapo, in Northern Chile, the country is singularly broken and barren. On some of the terraced plains rising to the Cordilleras, covered with cacti, there were large herds of llamas. At one point in the coast range great prostrate silicified trunks of fir trees were very numerous, embedded in a conglomerate. I discovered convincing proof that this part of the continent of South America has been elevated near the coast from 400 feet to 1,300 feet since the epoch of existing shells; and further inland the rise possibly may have been greater. From the evidence of ruins of Indian villages at very great altitude, now absolutely barren, and some fossil human relics, man must have inhabited South America for an immensely long period.

From the port of Iquique, in Peru, a visit was made across the desert to the nitrate of soda mines. The nitrate stratum, between two and three feet thick, lies close to the surface, and follows for 150 miles the margin of the plain. From the troubled state of the country, I saw very little of the rest of Peru.

A month was spent in the Galapagos Archipelago—a group of volcanic islands situated on the Equator between133 500 and 600 miles westward of the coast of America. The little archipelago is a little world within itself. Hence, both in time and space, we seemed to be brought somewhere near to that great fact, that mystery of mysteries, the first appearance of new beings on this earth. The vegetation is scanty. The principal animals are the giant tortoises, so large that it requires six or eight men to lift one. The most remarkable feature of the natural history of this archipelago is that the different islands are inhabited by different kinds of tortoises; and so with the birds, insects, and plants. One is astonished at the amount of creative force, if such an expression may be used, displayed on these small, barren, and rocky islands, and still more so at its diverse, yet analogous, action on points so near each other.

V.—The Coral Islands of the Indian Ocean

Having completed the survey of the coasts and islands of the South American continent, the Beagle sailed across the wide Pacific to Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia, in order to carry out the chain of chronometrical measurements round the world. From Australasia a run was then made for Keeling or Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean. This lonely island, 600 miles from the coast of Sumatra, is an atoll, or lagoon island. The land is entirely composed of fragments of coral.

There is, to my mind, much grandeur in the view of the outer shores of these lagoon islands. The ocean, throwing its waters over the broad barrier-like reef, appears an invincible, all-powerful enemy. Yet these low, insignificant coral islets stand and are victorious; for here another power, as an antagonist, takes part in the contest. Organic forces separate the atoms of carbonate of lime, one by one, from the foaming breakers, and unite them in a symmetrical structure. Let the hurricane tear up its thousand huge fragments, yet what will that134 tell against the accumulated labour of myriads of architects at work night and day, month after month?

There are three great classes of coral reefs—atoll, barrier, and fringing. Now, the utmost depth at which corals can construct reefs is between twenty and thirty fathoms, so that wherever there is an atoll a foundation must have originally existed within a depth of from twenty to thirty fathoms from the surface. The coral formation is raised only to that height to which the waves can throw up fragments and the winds pile up sand. The foundation, such as a mountain peak, therefore, must have sunk to the required level, and not have been raised, as has hitherto been generally supposed.

I venture, therefore, to affirm that, on the theory of the upward growth of the corals during the sinking of the land, all the leading features of those wonderful structures, the lagoon-islands or atolls, as well as the no less wonderful barrier-reefs, whether encircling small islands, or stretching for hundreds of miles along the shores of a continent, are simply explained. On the other hand, coasts merely fringed by reefs cannot have subsided to any perceptible amount, and therefore they must, since the growth of their corals, either have remained stationary or have been upheaved.

The chronometrical measurements were completed in the Indian Ocean by a visit to Mauritius, and thence, voyaging around the Cape of Good Hope, to the islands of St. Helena and Ascension, in the Southern Atlantic, and to the mainland of Brazil at Bahia and Pernambuco, from which the course was set for home. The Beagle made the shores of England at Falmouth on October 2, 1836, after an absence of nearly five years.

On a retrospect, among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, including the spectacles of the Southern Cross, the Cloud of Magellan, and the other constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, the glacier leading its blue stream of ice overhanging the sea in a135 bold precipice, the lagoon-islands raised by the reef-building corals, the active volcano, the overwhelming effects of a violent earthquake—none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man, whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and Decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of nature. No one can stand in those solitudes unmoved and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. And so with the boundless plains of Patagonia, or when looking from the highest crest of the Cordilleras, the mind is filled with the stupendous dimensions of the surrounding masses.


136

FELIX DUBOIS

Timbuctoo the Mysterious

I.—From Paris to the Niger

Felix Dubois has a considerable reputation in France and on the European Continent generally as an African explorer. His sphere of travel has been confined to the Dark Continent north of the Equator. He first published in 1894 "Life on the Black Continent," but his reputation rests mainly on "Timbuctoo the Mysterious," issued in 1897, of which two English translations have appeared. Dubois' style is vivacious and picturesque, with a vein of poetic feeling in some passages. His "Early History of Northern Africa and Timbuctoo," of the architecture of which he has made a special study, is lucid; but in discussing the extension of the British and French spheres of influence and protectorates during the past century he betrays a certain measure of Gallic Anglophobia.

Having fallen asleep in a railway carriage on your departure from Paris, you awake six weeks later on a canoe-barge upon the Niger. The steamer lands you at the entrance to the Senegal, in a country which has belonged to France for centuries. The port of Senegal is Dakar, the finest harbour on the west coast of Africa, and from thence there is a railway to St. Louis. For eight days you travel up the Senegal river in a steamer to Kayes, the port and actual capital of the Sudan; and a narrow-gauge railway carries you from the Senegal to the Niger at Dioubaba.

This town is situated in the heart of lovely mountain and river scenery. The Bakoy river here breaks into a rocky waterfall, some hundreds of yards in length, full of rapids and foaming currents. The horizon is bordered by mountain-tops, and the river banks are covered by gigantic trees festooned with garlands of long creepers. The road from Dioubaba to Bammaku cuts,137 from east to west, the massive Foota Jallon range that separates the basin of the Senegal from that of the Niger, and is so abundantly watered that you fall asleep every night to the sound of some gurgling cascade.

It was not without a certain amount of emotion that I approached the great Niger. After days and days of travel a narrow path widens suddenly, and its rocky sides fall right and left, like the leaves of a door. A vast horizon lies at my feet, bathed in the splendours of a tropical sunset; and down there, in a plain of gold and green and red, shines a silver trail bordered by a line of darkness.

The Niger, with its vast and misty horizons, is more like an inland ocean than a river. I engaged for my voyage up-stream a boat which was a whimsical mixture of a European barge and an aboriginal canoe, in which a thatched hollow served me amidships as bedroom, dining-room, study, and dressing-room. A small folding bedstead was the only piece of furniture. The crew consisted of Bosos, the true sailors of the Niger, of whose skill, patient endurance, and loyalty I had full experience. Alone among them, travelling through an imperfectly conquered, sometimes openly hostile country, never once did I feel that my safety was in any way threatened.

Coming to Lake Debo, a fief of the Niger, we enter a sea of grass. Paddling being no longer possible, my Bosos crew, leaning heavily upon bamboo poles, push the boat vigorously through the grass, which, parting in front, closes together behind us with loud rustling and crackling. We are no longer upon the water, but seem to be sliding under a tropical sun over grassy steppes streaked with watery paths. These Bosos, living at a distance of nearly 900 miles from the coast, possess no idea of the sea, and the question of what becomes of the mighty Niger beyond the regions they know troubles them very little. One unusually intelligent Bosos, 138 when asked what became of the river beyond the towns which he knew, or had heard of, down the Niger, said, "Beyond them? Oh, beyond them the fishes swallow it."

II.—The Valley of the Niger

The country lying to the south of Timbuctoo, which is on the threshold of the great Sahara desert, is the Sudan, otherwise called the Valley and the Buckler of the Niger. It is a vast region traversed to an extent of nearly 2,500 miles by one of the largest rivers in the world. This river rises in the Kouranko chain of mountains, and is really formed by two streams, the Paliko and the Tembi, which unite at a place called Laya. The more important of these is the Tembi, and the wood from which it springs is reputed sacred, and is the subject of innumerable legends and superstitions. Access to it is denied to the profane by the high priests and lesser priests, who represent the diety to mortals. The neighbouring kinglets refer to them before undertaking a war, or other act of importance, and the common herd consult them on all occasions of weight. The spirit of the spring, being eminently practical, will only condescend to attend to them through the medium of sacrifice, but the ceremonies are not very ferocious, merely oxen being offered, and not human victims, as in the neighbouring Dahomey.

The region of the source of the Niger is the land of heavy rainfall, and the slopes of the mountain ranges are channelled by innumerable cascades, rivulets, brooks, and rivers that carry off the heavenly overflow. These countries of the Upper Niger are radiant. Tropical vegetation spreads over them with the utmost prodigality. The river flings itself headlong over the entire low-lying region between Biafaraba and Timbuctoo, covering it and swamping it, until a steppe of barren sand becomes one of the most fertile spots in the universe.139 The Niger is to the Sudan what the Nile is to Egypt; but we find there not one delta, as in Egypt, but three. Thus a most complete system of irrigation is formed, and fertility is spread over thousands of square miles. The rise and fall of the waters is as regular as that of the Nile, and an infinitely greater distance is covered.

Bammaku is an important strategic centre, from which it is easy to send reinforcements to any part of the Sudan that may be momentarily threatened. This precaution is wise, for we do not really know how far we are masters of this splendid country, which is many times larger than France, and contains from ten to fifteen millions of people. There are only 600 Europeans, including officers and other officials, and 4,000 negroes are enrolled as foot-soldiers, cavalry, and transport bearers, while it requires an army of 40,000 men to maintain order in Algeria, about a fourth of the size of the Sudan.

Apart from the fertility of the soil for cereal crops, there are three kinds of trees which grow abundantly everywhere. The most interesting is the karita, or butter-tree, from the nuts of which a vegetable butter is extracted with all the delectable flavour of chocolate. Throughout the whole of the Sudan no other fatty substance is used. The second tree is the flour tree. The flour is enclosed in large pods, is of a yellow colour, rich in sugar, and is used in the manufacture of pastry and confectionery. The third is the cheese-tree, called baga by the natives, from the capsules of which a fine and brilliant vegetable silk is yielded. The principal articles of commerce sent by Bammaku to Timbuctoo are the products of these trees, gold, and kola-nuts.

In the voyage up the river beyond Bammaku we passed the districts in which the principal towns are Nyamina, Sansanding, and Segu, in which are the large cotton-fields, from the produce of which the beautiful fabrics known as pagnes de Segu are made, which are in140 great request in Senegal and the markets of Timbuctoo. Near Segu is an establishment known as the School of Hostages, instituted by the explorer Faidherbe for the education of the sons of kings and chiefs of Senegambia, to enable them to take part in home government, or to enter the civil and military services of Senegal and Sudan.

III.—The Jewel of the Niger Valley

Jenne is the jewel of the valley of the Niger. A vast plain, infinitely flat. In the midst of this a circle of water, and within it reared a long mass of high and regular walls, erected on mounds as high, and nearly as steep, as themselves. When I climbed the banks from my boat and entered the walls, I was completely bewildered by the novelty and strangeness of the town's interior. Regular streets; wide, straight roads; well-built houses of two stories instantly arrested the eye. But the buildings had nothing in common with Arabic architecture. The style was not Byzantine, Roman, or Greek; still less was it Gothic or Western. It was in the ruins of the lifeless towns of ancient Egypt, in the valley of the Nile, that I had witnessed this art before. Arrived at Jenne, the traveller finds himself face to face with an entirely new ethnographical entity—viz., the Songhois.

They themselves invariably told me that they came originally from the Yemen to Egypt on the invitation of a Pharaoh, and settled at Kokia, in the valley of the Nile, whence they spread westward to the Niger in the middle of the seventh century. They built Jenne in 765, made it the market of their country, and founded the Songhois Empire, which, under three distinct dynasties, lasted for a thousand years.

In the sixteenth century a marvellous civilisation appeared in the very heart of the Black Continent. The prosperity of the Sudan, and its wealth and commerce,141 were known far and wide. Caravans returning to the coast proclaimed its splendours in their camel-loads of gold, ivory, hides, musk, and the spoils of the ostrich. So many attractions did not fail to rouse the cupidity of neighbouring territories, chief among them being Morocco. El Mansour, sultan of Morocco, invaded the Sudan in 1590, and in a few years the fall of the Songhois Empire was complete. Two elements of confusion established themselves, and augmented the general anarchy—viz., the Touaregs and the Foulbes, the former coming from the great desert of Sahara, and the latter from the west. Both were pastoral nomads. A petty Foulbe chief, of the country of Noukouna, named Ahmadou, spread a report that he was of the family of the Prophet, and for the next eighty years the Sudan was given over to fire and sword by a succession of rulers who massacred and pillaged in the name of God. Jenne happily escaped serious ruin, because of its situation on an island at the junction of two tributaries of the Niger.

The houses of Jenne are built on the simple lines of Egyptian architecture, with splendid bricks made from clay procured near the town. The grand mosque was long famous in the valley of the Niger, and was considered more beautiful than the Kaabah of Mecca itself. It lasted eighteen centuries, and would have lasted many centuries longer if Ahmadou, the Foulbe conquerer, had not commanded its destruction in 1830. Jenne in the middle ages not only ranked above Timbuctoo as a city, but took a place among the great commercial centres of Islam. Jenne taught the Sudanese the art of commercial navigation, and her fleets penetrated beyond Timbuctoo and the Kong country. Regular lines of flyboats even now carry merchandise and passengers at a fixed tariff, and for a consideration of two and a half francs you can go to Timbuctoo, a twenty days' journey, and for three francs can send thither a hundredweight of goods. 142 The characteristics of the people are sympathy, kindness, and generosity.

Here trades are specialised. Conformably with, and contrary to, Arab usage, it is the men who weave the textiles, and not the women. The latter do the spinning and the dyeing. Masonry is man's work—in negro countries it is the women who build the houses—and in the blacksmith's and other trades the craft descends from father to son.

IV.—Timbuctoo, Queen of the Sudan

The day of my departure from Jenne was occupied in receiving farewell visits from scores of friends, who first believed me a harmless lunatic as "the man with the questions," and then received me with affection. From Jenne to Timbuctoo we journeyed by boat for 311 miles in a labyrinth of meandering tributaries, creeks, and channels along the course of the Niger, and reached at last the Pool of Dai, whose waters appear under the walls of Timbuctoo itself; and then, a few miles further on, we arrived at Kabara, the landing-place and port of Timbuctoo.

Two things arrest attention on disembarking—the sand and the Touaregs. The sand, because you have no sooner set your foot on shore than you flounder about in it as if it were a mire; and it pursues you everywhere—in the country, in the streets, and in the houses. The Touaregs are impressed on you because, though you never see them, everything recalls them. The town is in ruins, but its wretchedness is overpowered by life and movement. The quays are astir with lively bustle, and encumbered with bales, jars, and sacks in the process of unloading. To travel from Kabara to Timbuctoo, only five miles distant, there is a daily convoy—medley of people, donkeys and camels, attended by twenty tirailleurs with rifles on their shoulders.

143An immense and vivid sky, and an immense and brilliant stretch of land, with the grand outlines of a town uniting the two. A dark silhouette, large and long, an image of grandness in immensity—thus appeared the Queen of the Sudan. She is indeed the city of imagination, the Timbuctoo of legends. Her sandy approaches are strewn with bones and carcasses that have been disinterred by wild beasts, the remains of the camels and other animals that have fallen and died in the last stages of the journey.

The illusion of walls, produced by the distinctness with which the town stands out from the white sand, disappears, and three towers at regular intervals dominate the mass. The terraces of square houses are now distinguishable, renewing the first impression of grandeur in immensity. We enter the town, and behold! all the grandeur has suddenly disappeared, though the scene is equally impressive on account of its tragic character rather than its beauty. And this is the great Timbuctoo, the metropolis of the Sudan and the Sahara, with its boasted wealth and commerce! This is Timbuctoo the holy, the learned, that life of the Niger, of which it was written, "We shall one day correct the texts of our Greek and Latin classics by the manuscripts which are preserved there." These ruins, this rubbish, this wreck of a town, is this the secret of Timbuctoo the Mysterious? It is a city of deliquescence.

Jenne had the vein of Egyptian civilisation; the origin of Timbuctoo has to be sought in a different direction, for her past is connected with the Arabian civilisation of Northern Africa—the world of the Berbers and all those white people whom we have known under the name of Touaregs in the Sahara, Kabyles in Algeria, Moors in Morocco and Senegal, and Foulbes in their infiltrations into the Sudan, who had been crowded back into the interior by the invasions of Phœnician and Roman colonists. So also, when the Moors were driven144 out of Spain back to Morocco, to find their ancient patrimony in the hands of Arabs, they were forced to prolong their exodus into the south, and became nomads about the great lakes on the left bank of the Niger, in the neighbourhood of Oualata and Timbuctoo, carrying with them the name of Andalusians, which they bear to the present day.

Touareg is a generic name for a large number of tribes descended from the Berbers. Being driven into the desert, to the terrible glare of which they were not accustomed, nor their lungs to its sandstorms, they adopted the head-dress of two veils. Being perpetually kept on the march, every social and political organisation disappeared, and they gradually lost all notion of law and order. Like the Jews, and all other people thrown out of their natural paths, their souls and brains became steeped in vice. Their nomadic life reduced them to the level of vagabonds, thieves, and brigands, and the only law they recognised was the right of the strongest. Travellers and merchants were their principal victims, and when these failed, they robbed and killed each other.

They adopted a vague form of Islamism which they reduced to a belief in talismans, and the Sudanese bestowed upon them three epithets which epitomise their psychology—"Thieves, Hyenas, and the Abandoned of God." Yet it was to these people that Timbuctoo owed its origin, for it was there that they established a permanent camp. It was under the dominion of Askia the Great, who drove the Touaregs out of the city, that Timbuctoo became the great and learned city whose fame spread even to Europe, and its apogee was reached in 1494-1591.

The decadence of the city began with the Moorish conquest in the latter year, and it became the scene of repeated incursions by various tribes—Touaregs, Foulbes, Roumas. Under the hands of a thousand tyrants145 the inhabitants were robbed, ill-treated, and killed on the least provocation. To avoid being pillaged in the open street, and seeing their houses despoiled, they adopted a new manner of living. They transformed their garments and dwellings, and ceasing to be Timbuctoo the Great, they became Timbuctoo the Mysterious. By these means the town acquired a tumble-down and battered appearance. Timbuctoo is the meeting place, says an old Sudanese chronicle, of all who travel by camel or canoe. The camel represents the commerce of Sahara and the whole of Northern Africa, while the canoe represents the trade of the Sudan and Nigeria.

A great part of the trade is in rock-salt, derived from the mines of Taoudenni, near Timbuctoo. Large caravans from Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli, numbering from 600 to 1,000 camels, and from three to five hundred men, arrive from December to January, and from July to August. Their freight represents from six hundred thousand to a million francs' worth of goods. Smaller caravans of sixty or a hundred camels arrive all the year round, and between fifty and sixty thousand camels encamp annually in the caravan suburb before the northern walls of the city. The city is simply a temporary depot, and the permanent population are merely brokers and contractors, or landlords of houses which are let to travelling merchants. The chief manufacturing industry of the city is exquisite embroidered robes, which cost from three to four thousand francs each, and are principally exported to Morocco.

An ancient Sudanese proverb says, "Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, and silver from the country of the white men, but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom are only to be found in Timbuctoo." It would be an exaggeration to put the university in the mosque of Sankoré on a level with those of Egypt, Morocco, or Syria, but it was the great intellectual nucleus of the Sudan, and also one of the great scientific146 centres of Islam itself. Her collection of ancient manuscripts leaves us in no doubt upon the point. There is an entire class of the population devoted to the study of letters. They are called Marabuts, or Sheikhs, and from them doctors, priests, schoolmasters, and jurists are drawn.

V.—The Romance of the Modern Conquest

The prosperity of the French Sudan is so closely connected with that of its principal market that if the general anarchy had been prolonged in Timbuctoo all the sacrifices of human life and money France had made on her threshold would have remained sterile. The French Government decided that the sooner an end was put to the ruinous dominion of the Touaregs the better it would be. Up to the last moment England endeavoured to put her hand upon the commerce of Timbuctoo. Failing in her efforts from Tripoli and the Niger's mouth, she attempted to secure a footing by way of Morocco, and was installed towards 1890 at Cape Juby. It was then too late. French columns and posts had been slowly advanced by the Senegal route, and in 1893 Jenne was captured.

In the following year a flotilla of gunboats was dispatched while two columns of troops followed up to anticipate any concentration of nomad Touaregs, which might prevent the occupation of the Mysterious City. From the flotilla a detachment of nineteen men was landed. Of these only seven were Europeans, the remainder being Senegalese negroes. They had two machine guns with them, and, under the command of a naval lieutenant, Boiteux by name, they marched to the walls of Timbuctoo, and demanded that the rulers of the city should surrender it, and that they should sign a treaty of peace placing the country under the protectorate of France. The city was occupied, temporary147 fortlets were run up, and the nineteen mariners held them till January 10, 1894, when the first of the two of the French columns entered the town. Twenty-five days later the second column arrived.

The French occupation of Timbuctoo the Mysterious was complete, and Cape Juby was evacuated by England. Two large forts have now replaced the improvised fortifications, and their guns command every side of the town. Under their protection the inhabitants are reviving. The long nightmare of the Touaregs is being slowly dispelled. Houses are being repaired and rebuilt; the occupants leave their doors ajar, and resume their beautifully embroidered robes; and one can picture the city becoming a centre of European civilisation and science as it was formerly of Mussulman culture.


148

RICHARD HAKLUYT

The Principall Navigations

I.—Of the Book and Why it was Made

Richard Hakluyt, born about 1552 in Herefordshire, England, was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, and became in 1590 rector of Wetheringsett, in Suffolk, where he compiled and arranged "The Principall Navigations, Voyages, Traffikes, and Discoveries of the English Nation to the Remote Quarters of the Earth at any Time within the Compass of these 1600 Years." He grew to manhood in the midst of the most stirring period of travel and discovery that England has known. Under Elizabeth, English sailors and English travellers were penetrating beyond the dim borders of the known world, and almost every returning ship brought back fresh news of strange lands. "Richard Hakluyt, Preacher," tells how his interest was attracted towards this subject of travel and exploration which he made his own. He published other records of travel, but it is through the "Principall Navigations" that his name has been perpetuated. Hakluyt died on November 23, 1616.

I do remember that being a youth, and one of her Majestie's scholars at Westminster, that fruitfull nurserie, it was my happe to visit the chamber of Master Richard Hakluyt, my cousin, a gentleman of the Middle Temple, at a time when I found lying open upon his borde certeine bookes of cosmographie, with an universall mappe; he seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began to instruct my ignorance, by showing me the division of the earth into three parts, after the old account, and then, according to the latter and better distribution, into more. He pointed out with his wand to all the known seas, gulfs, bayes, streights, capes, rivers, empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, and territories of each part, with declaration also of their speciall commodities, and particular wants, which by the benefit of traffike, and intercourse of merchants, are plentifully supplied.

149 From the mappe he brought me to the Bible, and turning to the 107th Psalme, directed me to the 23rd and 24th verses, where I read that "they which go downe to the sea in ships, and occupy by the great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deepe," etc.

Which words of the prophet together with my cousin's discourse (things of high and rare delight to my young nature), tooke in me so deepe an impression that I constantly resolved, if ever I were preferred to the university, where better time, and more convenient place might be ministered for these studies, I would, by God's assistance, prosecute that knowledge and kinde of literature, the doores whereof were so happily opened before me.

According to which my resolution when, not long after, I was removed to Christ Church in Oxford, my exercises of duty first performed, I fell to my intended course, and by degrees read over whatsoever printed or written discoveries and voyages I found extant, either in the Greeke, Latine, Italian, Spanish, Portugall, French, or English languages. In continuance of time I grew familiarly acquainted with the chiefest captaines at sea, the gretest merchants, and the best mariners of our nation, by which means having gotten somewhat more than common knowledge.

I passed at length the narrow seas into France. There I both heard in speech and read in books other nations miraculously extolled for their discoveries and notable enterprises by sea, but the English, of all others, for their sluggish security and continuall neglect of the like attempts, either ignominiously reported or exceedingly condemned. Thus, both hearing and reading the obluquie of our nation, and finding few or none of our owne men able to replie heerin, and further, not seeing any man to have care to recommend to the world the industrious labors and painefull travels of our countrymen, myselfe returned from France, determined to undertake the burden of that worke, wherein all others 150 pretended either ignorance or lacke of leasure, whereas the huge toile, and the small profit to insue, were the chiefe causes of the refusall.

I calle the worke a burden, in consideration that these voyages lay so dispersed and hidden in severall hucksters' hands that I now wonder at myselfe to see how I was able to endure the delays, curiosity, and backwardnesse of many from whom I was to receive my originals. And thus, friendly reader, thou seest the briefe summe and scope of my labours for the commonwealth's sake, and thy sake, bestowed upon this work, which may, I pray, bring thee no little profit.

II.—The Victories of King Arthur in Foreign Lands

Arthur, which was sometimes the most renowned king of the Britaines, was a mightie and valiant man, and a famous warriour. This kingdome was too little for him, and his minde was not contented with it. He therefore valiantly subdued all Scantia, which is now called Norway, and islands beyond Norway, to wit, Island and Greenland, Sweueland, Ireland, Gotland, Denmarke, and all the other lands and islands of the East Sea, even into Russia, and many others islands beyond Norway, even under the North Pole, which are appendances of Scantia, now called Norway. These people were wild and savage, and held not in them the love of God nor of their neighbours, because all evill cometh from the North; yet there were among them certeine Christians living in secret. But King Arthur was an exceeding good Christian, and caused them to be baptised and thorowout all Norway to worship one God, and to receive and keepe inviolably for ever faith in Christ onely.

At that time, all the noble men of Norway tooke wives of the noble nation of the Britaines, whereupon the151 Norses say that they are descended of the race and blood of this kingdome. The aforesaid King Arthur obteined also, in those days of the Pope and court of Rome, that Norway should be for ever annexed to the crown of Britaine for the inlargement of this kingdome, and he called it the chamber of Britaine. For this cause the Norses say that they ought to dwell with us in this kingdome—to wit, that they belong to the crowne of Britaine; for they had rather dwell here than in their owne native countrey, which is drie and full of mountaines, and barren, and no graine growing there, but in certain places. But this countrey of Britaine is fruitfull, wherein corne and all other good things do grow and increase, for which cause many cruell battles have been often-times fought betwixt the Englishmen and the people of Norway, and infinite numbers of people have been slaine, and the Norses have possessed many lands and islands of this Empire, which unto this day they doe possess, neither could they ever afterwards be fully expelled.

III.—How Martin Frobisher Sought a Passage to Cathaya by the North-West

It appeareth that not onely the middle zone but also the zones about the Poles are habitable. Which thing, being well considered, and familiarly knowen to our generall, Captaine Frobisher, as well for that he is thorowly furnished of the knowledge of the sphere and all other skilles appertaining to the arte of navigation, as also for the confirmation he hath of the same by many yeares experience, both by sea and land, and being persuaded of a new and nerer passage to Cathaya than by Capo di Buona Sperança; he began first with himself to devise, and then with his friends to conferre, and declared unto them that that voyage was not onely possible by the North-west, but he could prove easie to be performed.

And, further, he determined and resolved with himselfe152 to go make full proofe thereof, and to accomplish or bring true certificate of the truth, or else never to return againe, knowing this to be the onely thing of the world that was left yet undone, whereby a notable minde might be made famous and fortunate. But, although his will were great to performe this notable voyage, yet he wanted altogether meanes and ability to set forward, and performe the same. He layed open to many great estates and learned men the plot and summe of his device. And so, by litle and litle, with no small expense and paine, he brought his cause to some perfection, and had drawen together so many adventurers and such summes of money as might well defray a reasonable charge to furnish himselfe to sea withall.

He prepared two small barks of twenty and five and twenty tunne apiece, wherein he intended to accomplish his pretended voyage. Wherefore, being furnished with the aforesayd two barks, and one small pinnesse of ten tun burthen, having therein victuals and other necessaries for twelve months provision, he departed upon the sayd voyage from Blacke-wall the fifteenth of June, Anno Domini, 1576. One of the barks wherein he went was named the Gabriel, and the other the Michael, and, sailing northwest from England upon the eleventh of July he had sight of an high and ragged land which he judged to be Frisland, but durst not approch the same, by reason of the great store of ice that lay alongst the coast, and the great mists that troubled them not a litle. Not farre from thence he lost company of his small pinnesse, which by meanes of a great storme he supposed to be swallowed up of the sea, wherein he lost onely foure men. Also the other barke, named the Michael, mistrusting the matter, conveyed themselves privily away from him, and returned home, with great report that he was cast away.

The worthy captaine, notwithstanding these discomforts, although his mast was sprung, and his toppe mast153 blowen overboord with extreame foul weather, continued his course towards the north-west, knowing that the sea at length must needs have an ending, and that some land should have a beginning that way; and determined, therefore, at the least to bring true proofe what land and sea the same might be so farre to the north-westwards, beyond any man that had heretofore discovered. And the twentieth of July he had sight of an high land which he called Queen Elizabeth's Forland, after her majestie's name, and sailing more northerly alongst that coast, he descried another forland with a great gut, baye, or passage, divided as it were two maine lands or continents asunder.

He determined to make proofe of this place, to see how farre that gut had continuance, and whether he might carry himself thorow the same into some open sea on the backe side, whereof he conceived no small hope, and so entered the same the one and twentieth of July, and passed above fifty leagues therein as he reported, having upon either hand a great maine, or continent. And that land upon his right hand as he sailed westward he judged to be the continent of Asia, and there to be divided from the firme of America, which lieth upon the left hand over against the same. This place he named after his name, Frobisher's Streights.

After our captaine, Martin Frobisher, had passed sixty leagues into this foresayed streight, he went ashore, and found signes where fire had bene made.

He saw mighty deere that seemed to be mankinde, which ranne at him, and hardly he escaped with his life in a narrow way where he was faine to use defence and policy to save his life. In this place he saw and perceived sundry tokens of the peoples resorting thither. And, being ashore upon the top of a hill, he perceived a number of small things fleeting in the sea afarre off, which he supposed to be porposes or seales, or some kinde of strange fish; but, coming neerer, he discovered154 them to be men in small boats made of leather. And, before he could descend downe from the hill, certeine of those people had almost cut off his boat from him, having stolen secretly behinde the rocks for that purpose, when he speedily hasted to his boat, and bent himselfe to his halberd, and narrowly escaped the danger, and saved his boat.

Afterwards, he had sundry conferences with them, and they came aboord his ship, and brought him salmon and raw flesh and fish, and greedily devoured the same before our men's faces.

After great courtesie, and many meetings, our mariners, contrary to their captaine's direction, began more easily to trust them, and five of our men, going ashore, were by them intercepted with their boat, and were never since heard of to this day againe, so that the captaine, being destitute of boat, barke, and all company, had scarsely sufficient number to conduct back his barke againe. He could not now convey himselfe ashore to rescue his men—if he had been able—for want of a boat; and againe the subtile traitours were so wary, as they would after that never come within our men's danger.

The captaine notwithstanding, desirous to bring some token from thence of his being there, was greatly discontented that he had not before apprehended some of them; and, therefore, to deceive the deceivers he wrought a prety policy, for, knowing wel how they greatly delited in our toyes, and specially in belles, he rang a pretty lowbel, making signes that he would give him the same that would come and fetch it. And to make them more greedy of the matter he rang a louder bel, so that in the end one of them came nere the ship side to receive the bel; which when he thought to take at the captaine's hand he was thereby taken himselfe; for the captaine, being readily provided, let the bel fall and caught the man fast, and plucked him with main force, boat and all, into his barke out of the sea. Whereupon, when he155 found himself in captivity, for very choler and disdaine he bit his tongue in twain within his mouth; notwithstanding, he died not thereof, but lived until he came in England, and then he died of cold.

Nor with this new pray (which was a sufficient witnesse of the captaine's farre and tedious travell towards the unknowen parts of the world, as did well appeare by this strange infidell, whose like was never seene, read, nor heard of before, and whose language was neither knowen nor understood of any), the sayd Captaine Frobisher returned homeward, and arrived in England in Harwich, the second of October following, and thence came to London, 1576, where he was highly commended by all men for his notable attempt, but specially for the great hope he brought of the passage to Cathaya.

IV.—The Valiant Fight of the Content against some Spanish Ships

Three ships of Sir George Carey made a notable fight against certaine Spanish galleys in the West Indies, and this is the relation of it.

The 13th of June, 1591, being Sunday, at five of the clock in the morning we descried six saile of the King of Spain, his ships. We met with them off the Cape de Corrientes, which standeth on the Island of Cuba. The sight of the foresayd ships made us joyfull, hoping that they should make our voyage. But as soon as they descryed us they made false fires one to another, and gathered their fleet together. We, therefore, at six of the clock in the morning, having made our prayers to Almighty God, prepared ourselves for the fight. We in the Content bare up with their vice-admiral, and (ranging along by his broadside aweather of him) gave him a volley of muskets and our great ordinance; then, coming up with another small ship ahead of the former, we hailed her in such sort that she payd roome.

156Thus being in fight with the little ship, we saw a great smoke come from our admiral, and the Hopewel and Swallow, forsaking him with all the sailes they could make; whereupon, bearing up with our admiral (before we could come to him) we had both the small ships to windward of us, purposing (if we had not bene too hotte for them) to have layd us aboord.

Thus we were forced to stand to the northwards, the Hopewel and the Swallow not coming in all this while to ayde us, as they might easily have done. Two of their great ships and one of their small followed us. They having a loom gale (we being altogether becalmed) with both their great ships came up faire by us, shot at us, and on the sudden furled their sprit sailes and mainsailes, thinking that we could not escape them. Then falling to prayer, we shipped our oars that we might rowe to shore, and anker in shallow water, where their great ships could not come nie us, for other refuge we had none.

Then one of their small ships being manned from one of their great, and having a boat to rowe themselves in, shipped her oars likewise, and rowed after us, thinking with their small shot to have put us from our oars until the great ships might come up with us; but by the time she was within musket shot, the Lord of His mercie did send us a faire gale of wind at the north-west, off the shore, what time we stood to the east.

Afterward (commending our selves to Almightie God in prayer, and giving him thankes for the winde which he had sent us for our deliverance) we looked forth, and descryed two saile more to the offen; these we thought to have bene the Hopewel and the Swallow that had stoode in to ayde us; but it proved farre otherwise, for they were two of the king's gallies.

Then one of them came up, and (hayling of us whence our shippe was) a Portugall which we had with us, made them answere, that we were of the fleete of Terra Firma,157 and of Sivil; with that they bid us amaine English dogs, and came upon our quarter star-boord, and giving us five cast pieces out of her prowe they sought to lay us aboord; but we so galled them with our muskets that we put them from our quarter. Then they winding their gallie, came up into our sterne, and with the way that the gallie had, did so violently thrust into the boorde of our captaine's cabbin, that her nose came into its minding to give us all their prowe and so to sinke us. But we, being resolute, so plyed them with our small shot that they could have no time to discharge their great ordnance; and when they began to approch we heeved into them a ball of fire, and by that meanes put them off; whereupon they once again fell asterne of us, and gave us a prowe.

Then, having the second time put them off, we went to prayer, and sang the first part of the 25th Psalme, praysing God for our safe deliverance. This being done, we might see two gallies and a frigat, all three of them bending themselves together to encounter us; whereupon we (eftsoones commending our estate into the hands of God) armed ourselves, and resolved (for the honour of God, her majestie, and our countrey) to fight it out till the last man.

Then, shaking a pike of fire in defiance of the enemie, and weaving them amaine, we bad them come aboord; and an Englishman in the gallie made answer that they would come aboord presently. Our fight continued with the ships and with the gallies from seven of the clocke in the morning till eleven at night.

Howbeit God (which never faileth them that put their trust in Him) sent us a gale of winde about two of the clocke in the morning, at east-north-east, which was for the preventing of their crueltie and the saving of our lives. The next day being the fourteenth of June in the morning, we sawe all our adversaries to lee-ward of us; and they, espying us, chased us till158 ten of the clocke; and then, seeing they could not prevaile, gave us over.

Thus we give God most humble thankes for our safe deliverance from the cruell enemie, which hath beene more mightie by the Providence of God than any tongue can expresse; to whom bee all praise, honour, and glory, both now and ever, Amen.


159

A. W. KINGLAKE

Eothen

I.—Through Servia to Constantinople

Alexander William Kinglake, born near Taunton, England, Aug. 5, 1809, was the eldest son of William Kinglake, banker and solicitor, of Taunton. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he was a friend of Tennyson and Thackeray. In 1835 he made the Eastern tour described in "Eothen [Greek, 'from the dawn'], or Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East," which was twice re-written before it appeared in 1844. It is more a record of personal impressions of the countries visited than an ordinary book of travel, and is distinguished for its refined style and delightful humour. Kinglake accompanied St. Arnaud and his army in the campaign which resulted in the conquest of Algiers for France. In 1854 he went to the Crimea with the British troops, met Lord Raglan, and stayed with the British commander until the opening of the siege of Sebastopol. At the request of Lady Raglan he wrote the famous history of the "Invasion of the Crimea," which appeared at intervals between 1863 and 1887. He died on January 2, 1891.

At Semlin I was still encompassed by the scenes and sounds of familiar life, yet whenever I chose to look southward I saw the Ottoman fortress—austere, and darkly impending high over the vale of the Danube—historic Belgrade. I had come to the end of wheel-going Europe, and now my eyes would see the splendour and havoc of the East. We managed the work of departure from Semlin with nearly as much solemnity as if we had been departing this life. The plague was supposed to be raging in the Ottoman Empire, and we were asked by our Semlin friends if we were perfectly certain that we had wound up all our affairs in Christendom.

We soon reached the southern bank in our row-boat, and were met by an invitation from the pasha to pay160 him a visit. In the course of an interesting interview, conducted with Oriental imagery by our dragoman, we informed the pasha that we were obliged for his hospitality and the horses he had promised for our journey to Constantinople, whereupon the pasha, standing up on his divan, said, "Proud are the sires and blessed are the dams of the horses that shall carry your excellency to the end of your prosperous journey."

Our party, consisting of my companion, Methley, our personal servants, interpreter, and escort, started from Belgrade, as usual, hours after the arranged time, and night had closed in as we entered the great Servian forest through which our road lay for more than a hundred miles. When we came out of the forest our road lay through scenes like those of an English park. There are few countries less infested by "lions in the path," in the shape of historic monuments, and therefore there were no perils. The only robbers we saw anything of had been long since dead and gone.

The poor fellows had been impaled upon high poles, and so propped up by the transverse spokes beneath them that their skeletons, clothed with some white, wax-like remains of flesh, still sat up lolling in the sunshine, and listlessly stared without eyes. After a fifteen days' journey we crossed the Golden Horn, and found shelter in Stamboul.

All the while I stayed at Constantinople the plague was prevailing. Its presence lent a mysterious and exciting, though not very pleasant, interest to my first knowledge of a great Oriental city. Europeans, during the prevalence of the plague, if they are forced to enter into the streets, will carefully avoid the touch of every human being they pass. The Moslem stalks on serenely, as though he were under the eye of his God, and were "equal to either fate."

In a steep street or a narrow alley you meet one of those coffin-shaped bundles of white linen which implies161 an Ottoman lady. She suddenly withdraws the yashmak, shines upon your heart and soul with all the pomp and might of her beauty. This dazzles your brain; she sees and exults; then with a sudden movement she lays her blushing fingers upon your arm and cries out, "Yumourdjak!" (plague), meaning, "There is a present of the plague for you." This is her notion of a witticism.

II.—The Troad, Smyrna, and Cyprus

While my companion, Methley, was recovering from illness contracted during our progress to Constantinople, I studied Turkish, and sated my eyes with the pomps of the city and its crowded waters. When capable of travelling, we determined to go to Troad together. Away from our people and our horses, we went loitering along the plains of Troy by the willowy banks of a stream which I could see was finding itself new channels from year to year, and flowed no longer in its ancient track. But I knew that the springs which fed it were high in Ida—the springs of Simois and Scamander. Methley reminded me that Homer himself had warned us of some such changes. The Greeks, in beginning their wall, had neglected the hecatombs due to the gods, and so, after the fall of Troy, Apollo turned the paths of the rivers that flow from Ida, and sent them flooding over the wall till all the beach was smooth and free from the unhallowed works of the Greeks.

After a journey of some days, we reached Smyrna, from which place private affairs obliged Methley to return to England. Smyrna may be called the chief town of the Greek race, against which you will be cautioned so carefully as soon as you touch the Levant. For myself, I love the race, in spite of their vices and their meannesses. I remember the blood that is in them. I162 sailed from Smyrna in the Amphitrite—a Greek brigantine which was confidently said to be bound for the coast of Smyrna. I knew enough of Greek navigation to be sure that our vessel should touch at many an isle before I set foot upon the Syrian coast. My patience was extremely useful to me, for the cruise altogether endured some forty days. We touched at Cyprus, whither the ship ran for shelter in half a gale of wind. A Greek of Limasol who hoisted his flag as English Vice-Consul insisted upon my accepting his hospitality. The family party went off very well. The mamma was shy at first, but she veiled the awkwardness she felt by affecting to scold her children, who had all of them immortal names. Every instant I was delighted by some such phrases as these: "Themistocles, my love, don't fight," "Alcibiades, can't you sit still?" "Socrates, put down the cup!" "Oh, fie! Aspasia, don't be naughty!"

The heathenish longing to visit the scene where for Pallas Athene "the hundred altars glowed with Arabian incense, and breathed with the fragrance of garlands ever fresh," found disenchantment when I spent the night in the cabin of a Greek priest—not a priest of the goddess, but of the Greek church—where there was but one room for man, priest, and beast. A few days after, our brigantine sailed for Beyrout.

At Beyrout I soon discovered that the standing topic of interest was the Lady Hester Stanhope, who lived in an old convent on the Lebanon range at a distance of a day's journey from the town, and was acknowledged as an inspired being by the people of the mountains, and as more than a prophet.

I visited Lady Hester in her dwelling-place, a broad, grey mass of irregular buildings on the summit of one of the many low hills of Lebanon. I was received by her ladyship's doctor, and apartments were set apart for myself and my party. After dinner the doctor conducted me to Miladi's chamber, where the lady prophetess received 163 me standing up to the full of her majestic height, perfectly still and motionless until I had taken my appointed place, when she resumed her seat on a common European sofa.

Her ladyship addressed to me some inquiries respecting my family; and then the spirit of the prophetess kindled within her, and for hours and hours this wondrous white woman poured forth her speech, for the most part concerning sacred and profane mysteries. Now and again she adverted to the period when she exercised astonishing sway and authority over the wandering Bedouin tribes in the desert which lies between Damascus and Palmyra.

Lady Hester talked to me long and earnestly on the subject of religion, announcing that the Messiah was yet to come. She strived to impress me with the vanity and falseness of all European creeds, as well as with a sense of her own spiritual greatness. Throughout her conversation upon these high topics, she skilfully insinuated, without actually asserting, her heavenly rank.

III.—Nazareth, Jordan, and the Dead Sea

I crossed the plain of Esdraelon, and entered amongst the hills of beautiful Galilee. It was at sunset that my path brought me sharply round into the gorge of a little valley, and close upon a grey mass of dwellings that lay happily nestled in the lap of the mountain. It was Christian Nazareth.

Within the precincts of the Latin convent, in which I was quartered, there stands a great Catholic church, which encloses the sanctuary—the dwelling of the Blessed Virgin. This is a grotto, forming a little chapel, to which you descend by steps.

The attending friar led me down, all but silently, to the Virgin's home. Religion and gracious custom commanded me that I fall down loyally and kiss the rock164 that blessed Mary pressed. With a half-consciousness, a semblance of a thrilling hope that I was plunging deep into my first knowledge of some most holy mystery, or of some new, rapturous, and daring sin, I knelt and bowed down my face till I met the smooth rock with my lips.

One moment—my heart, or some old pagan demon within me, woke up, and fiercely bounded—my bosom was lifted and swam as though I had touched her warm robe. One moment—one more, and then—the fever had left me. I rose from my knees. I felt hopelessly sane. The mere world reappeared. My good old monk was there, dangling his keys with listless patience; and as he guided me from the church, and talked of the refectory and the coming repast, I listened to his words with some attention and pleasure.

Having engaged a young Nazarene as guide to Jerusalem, our party passed by Cana, and the house in which the water had been turned into wine, and came to the field in which our Saviour had rebuked the Scotch Sabbath-keepers of that period by suffering His disciples to pluck corn on the Sabbath day.

I rode over the ground on which the fainting multitude had been fed, and was shown some massive fragments—relics, I was told, of that wondrous banquet, now turned into stone. The petrifaction was most complete. I ascended the heights on which our Lord was standing when He wrought the miracle, and looked away eagerly eastward. There lay the Sea of Galilee, less stern than Wastwater, less fair than gentle Windermere, but still with the winning ways of an English lake. My mind, however, flew away from the historical associations of the place, and I thought of the mysterious desert which stretched from these grey hills to the gates of Bagdad.

I went on to Tiberias, and soon got afloat upon the water. In the evening I took up my quarters in the Catholic church. Tiberias is one of the four holy cities,165 the others being Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safet; and, according to the Talmud, it is from Tiberias, or its immediate neighbourhood, that the Messiah is to arise. Except at Jerusalem, never think of attempting to sleep in a "holy city."

After leaving Tiberias, we rode for some hours along the right bank of the Jordan till we came to an old Roman bridge which crossed the river. My Nazarene guide, riding ahead of the party, led on over the bridge. I knew that the true road to Jerusalem must be mainly by the right bank, but I supposed that my guide had crossed the bridge in order to avoid some bend in the river, and that he knew of a ford lower down by which we should regain the western bank. For two days we wandered, unable to find a ford across the swollen river, and at last the guide fell on his knees and confessed that he knew nothing of the country. Thrown upon my own resources, I concluded that the Dead Sea must be near, and in the afternoon I first caught sight of those waters of death which stretched deeply into the southern desert. Before me and all around as far as the eye could follow, blank hills piled high over hills, pale, yellow, and naked, walled up in her tomb for ever the dead and damned of Gomorrah.

The water is perfectly bright and clear, its taste detestable. My steps were reluctantly turned towards the north. On the west there flowed the impassable Jordan, on the east stood an endless range of barren mountains, on the south lay the desert sea. Suddenly there broke upon my ear the ludicrous bray of a living donkey. I followed the direction of the sound, and in a hollow came upon an Arab encampment. Through my Arab interpreter an arrangement was come to with the sheikh to carry my party and baggage in safety to the other bank of the river on condition that I should give him and his tribe a "teskeri," or written certificate of their good conduct, and some baksheish.

166The passage was accomplished by means of a raft formed of inflated skins and small boughs cut from the banks of the river, and guided by Arabs swimming alongside. The horses and mules were thrown into the water and forced to swim over. We camped on the right side of the river for the night, and the Arabs were made most savagely happy by the tobacco with which I supplied them, and they spent the whole night in one smoking festival. I parted upon very good terms from this tribe, and in three hours gained Rihah, a village said to occupy the ancient site of Jericho. Some hours after sunset I reached the convent of Santa Saba.

IV.—Jerusalem and Bethlehem

The enthusiasm that had glowed, or seemed to glow, within me for one blessed moment when I knelt by the shrine of the Blessed Virgin at Nazareth was not rekindled at Jerusalem. In the stead of the solemn gloom, and a deep stillness which by right belonged to the Holy City, there was the hum and the bustle of active life. It was the "height of the season." The Easter ceremonies drew near, and pilgrims were flocking in from all quarters. The space fronting the church of the Holy Sepulchre becomes a kind of bazaar. I have never seen elsewhere in Asia so much commercial animation. When I entered the church I found a babel of worshippers. Greek, Roman, and Armenian priests were performing their different rites in various nooks, and crowds of disciples were rushing about in all directions—some laughing and talking, some begging, but most of them going about in a regular, methodical way to kiss the sanctified spots, speak the appointed syllables, and lay down their accustomed coins. They seemed to be not "working out," but "transacting" the great business of salvation.

The Holy Sepulchre is under the roof of this great167 church. It is a handsome tomb of oblong form, partly subterranean. You descend into the interior by a few steps, and there find an altar with burning tapers. When you have seen enough of it you feel, perhaps, weary of the busy crowd, and ask your dragoman whether there will be time before sunset to procure horses and take a ride to Mount Calvary.

"Mount Calvary, signor! It is upstairs—on the first floor!" In effect you ascend just thirteen steps, and then are shown the now golden sockets in which the crosses of our Lord and the two thieves were fixed.

The village of Bethlehem lies prettily couched on the slope of a hill. The sanctuary is a subterranean grotto, and is committed to the joint guardianship of the Romans, Greeks, and Armenians, who vie with each other in adorning it. Beneath an altar gorgeously decorated, and lit with everlasting fires, there stands the low slab of stone which marked the holy site of the Nativity, and near to this is a hollow scooped out of the living rock. Here the infant Jesus was laid. Near the spot of the Nativity is the rock against which the Blessed Virgin was leaning when she presented her babe to the adoring shepherds.

V.—To Cairo and the Pyramids

Gaza is upon the edge of the desert, to which it stands in the same relation as a seaport to the sea. It is there that you charter your camels, "the ships of the desert," and lay in your stores for the voyage. The agreement with the desert Arabs includes a safe conduct through their country as well as the hire of the camels. On the ninth day, without startling incident, I arrived at the capital of Egypt.

Cairo and the plague! During the whole time of my stay, the plague was so master of the city, and showed himself so staringly in every street and alley,168 that I can't now affect to dissociate the two ideas. I was the only European traveller in Cairo, and was provided with a house by one Osman Effendi, whose history was curious. He was a Scotchman born, and landed in Egypt as a drummer-boy with Mackenzie Fraser's force, taken prisoner, and offered the alternative of death or the Koran.

He did not choose death, and followed the orthodox standard of the Prophet in fierce campaigns against the Wahabees. Returning to Cairo in triumph from his Holy Wars, Osman began to flourish in the world, acquired property, and became effendi, or gentleman, giving pledge of his sincere alienation from Christianity by keeping a couple of wives. The strangest feature in Osman's character was his inextinguishable nationality. In his house he had three shelves of books, and the books were thoroughbred Scotch! He afterwards died of the plague, of which visitation one-half of the whole people of the city, 200,000 in number, were carried off. I took it into my pleasant head that the plague might be providential or epidemic, but was not contagious, and therefore I determined that it should not alter my habits in any one respect. I hired a donkey, and saw all that was to be seen in the city in the way of public buildings—one handsome mosque, which had been built by a wealthy Hindoostanee merchant, and the citadel. From the platform of the latter there is a superb view of the town. But your eyes are drawn westward over the Nile, till they rest upon the massive enormities of the Ghizeh pyramids. At length the great difficulty which I had in procuring beasts for my departure was overcome, and with two dromedaries and three camels I and my servants gladly wound our way from out the pest-stricken city.

Of course, I went to see and explore the pyramids of Ghizeh, Aboucir, and Sakkara, which I need not describe. Near the pyramids, more wondrous and more169 awful than all else in the land of Egypt, there sits the lonely sphinx. Upon ancient dynasties of Ethiopian and Egyptian kings, upon conquerors, down through all the ages till to-day, this unworldly sphinx has watched like a Providence with the same earnest eyes, and the same sad, tranquil mien. And we shall die, and Islam will wither away, and the Englishman, leaning far over to hold his loved India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile and sit in the seats of the faithful, and still that sleepless rock will lie watching and watching the works of the new, busy race with those same sad, earnest eyes, the same tranquil mien everlasting.

I accomplished the journey to Suez after an exciting adventure in the desert. There are two opinions as to the point at which the Israelites passed the Red Sea. One is that they traversed only the very small creek at the northern extremity of the inlet, and that they entered the bed of the water at the spot on which Suez now stands. The other is that they crossed the sea from a point eighteen miles down the coast.

From Suez I crossed the desert once more to Gaza, and thence to Nablous and Safet—beautiful on its craggy height. Thereafter, for a part of two days, I wound under the base of the snow-crowned Djibel El Sheik, and then entered upon a vast plain. Before evening came there were straining eyes that saw, and joyful voices that announced, the sight of the holy, blessed Damascus. This earthly paradise of the Prophet is a city of hidden palaces, of copses and gardens, fountains and bubbling streams.

The path by which I crossed the Lebanon is like that of the Foorca in the Bernese Oberland, and from the white shoulder of the mountain I saw the breadth of all Syria west of the range. I descended, passing the group of cedars which is held sacred by the Greek Church. They occupy three or four acres on the mountain-side, and many of them are gnarled in a way that170 implies great age; but I saw nothing in their appearance that tended to prove them contemporaries of the cedars employed in Solomon's temple. Beyrout was reached without further adventure, and my eastern travel practically ended.


171

AUSTEN HENRY LAYARD

Nineveh and Its Remains

I.—Mosul and its Hidden Mysteries

Sir Austen Henry Layard, the most famous of all Oriental archæological explorers and discoverers, was born in Paris, on March 5, 1817, and died on July 5, 1894. Intended for the English legal profession, but contracting a dislike to the prospect, he determined to make himself familiar with the romantic regions of the Near East, and travelled in all parts of the Turkish and Persian Empires, and through several districts of Arabia. The desire came upon him to investigate the mysterious mounds on the great plains of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and he began that series of excavations which resulted in the most sensational discoveries of modern times, for he unearthed the remains of the long-buried city of Nineveh. With the marvellous, massive, and sublime sculptures of winged, human-headed bulls and lions, and eagle-headed deities, he enriched the galleries of the British Museum, England thus becoming possessed of the finest collection of the kind in the world. Layard's two volumes, "Nineveh and Its Remains" (1848) and "Monuments of Nineveh" (1850), are unique records of special enterprise and skill.

During the autumn of 1839 and winter of 1840, I had been wandering through Asia Minor and Syria, scarcely leaving untrod one spot hallowed by tradition, or unvisited one spot consecrated by history. I was accompanied by one no less curious and enthusiastic than myself—Edward Ledwich Mitford, afterwards engaged in the civil service in Ceylon. We were both equally careless of comfort and unmindful of danger. We rode alone; our arms were our only protection; and we tended our own horses, except when relieved from the duty by the hospitable inhabitants of a Turcoman village or an Arab tent.

We left Aleppo on March 18, took the road through172 Bir and Orfa, and, traversing the low country at the foot of the Kurdish hills, reached Mosul on April 10.

During a short stay in the town we visited the great ruins on the east bank of the river which have been generally believed to be the remains of Nineveh. We rode into the desert and explored the mound of Kalah Shergat, a vast, shapeless mass, covered with grass, with remains of ancient walls laid open where the winter rains had formed ravines.

A few fragments of ancient pottery and inscribed bricks proved that it owed its construction to the people who had founded the city of which the mounds of Nimroud are the remains. These huge mounds of Assyria made a deeper impression upon me than the temples of Baalbec and the theatres of Ionia. My curiosity had been greatly excited, and I formed the design of thoroughly examining, whenever it might be in my power, the ruins of Nimroud.

It was not till the summer of 1842 that I again passed through Mosul on my way to Constantinople. I found that M. Botta had, since my first visit, commenced excavations on the opposite side of the Tigris in the large mound of Kouyunjik, and in the village of Khorsabad. To him is due the honour of having found the first Assyrian monument. He uncovered an edifice belonging to the age preceding the conquests of Alexander. This was a marvellous and epoch-making discovery.

My first step on reaching Mosul was to present my letters to Mohammed Pasha, governor of the province. His appearance matched his temper and conduct, and thus was not prepossessing. Nature had placed hypocrisy beyond his reach. He had one eye and one ear, was short and fat, deeply marked by small-pox, and uncouth in gestures and harsh in voice. At the time of my arrival the population was in despair at his exactions and cruelties.

The appearance of a stranger led to hopes, and reports 173 were whispered about the town that I was the bearer of the news of the disgrace of the tyrant. But his vengeance speedily fell on the principal inhabitants, for such as had hitherto escaped his rapacity were seized and stripped of their property, on the plea that they had spread reports detrimental to his authority.

Such was the pasha to whom I was introduced two days after my arrival by the British Vice-Consul, M. Rassam. I understood that my plans must be kept secret, though I was ready to put them into operation. I knew that from the authorities and people of the town I could only look for the most decided opposition. On November 8, having secretly procured a few tools, I engaged a mason at the moment of my departure, and carrying with me a variety of guns, spears, and other formidable weapons, declared that I was going to hunt wild boars in a neighbouring village, and floated down the Tigris on a small raft, accompanied by Mr. Ross, a British merchant then residing at Mosul, my cavass, and a servant.

At this time of year nearly seven hours are required to descend the Tigris, from Mosul to Nimroud. It was sunset before we reached the Awai, or dam across the river. We landed and walked to a small hamlet called Naifa. We had entered a heap of ruins, but were welcomed by an Arab family crouching round a heap of half-extinguished embers. The half-naked children and women retreated into a corner of the hut. The man, clad in ample cloak and white turban, being able to speak a little Turkish, and being active and intelligent, seemed likely to be of use to me.

I acquainted him with the object of my journey, offering him regular employment in the event of the experiment proving successful, and assigning him fixed wages as superintendent of the workmen. He volunteered to walk, in the middle of the night, to Selamiyah, a village three miles distant, and to some Arab tents in the neighbourhood,174 to procure men to assist in the excavations. I slept little during the night. Hopes long cherished were now to be realised, or were to end in disappointment.

Visions of palaces under ground, of gigantic monsters, or sculptured figures, and endless inscriptions floated before me. In the morning I was roused and informed that six workmen had been secured. Twenty minutes' walk brought us to the principal mound. Broken pottery and fragments of brick, inscribed with cuneiform characters, were strewn on all sides. With joy I found the fragment of a bas-relief. Convinced that sculptured remains must still exist in some parts of the mound, I sought for a place where excavations might be commenced with some prospects of success. Awad led me to a piece of alabaster which appeared above the soil. We could not remove it, and on digging downward it proved to be the upper part of a large slab. I ordered the men to work around it, and shortly we uncovered a second slab.

One after another, thirteen slabs came to light, the whole forming a square, with a slab missing at one corner. We had found a chamber, and the gap was at its entrance. I now dug down the face of one of the stones, and a cuneiform inscription was soon exposed to view. Leaving half the workmen to remove the rubbish from the chamber, I led the rest to the south-west corner of the mound, where I had observed many fragments of calcined alabaster.

A trench, opened in the side of the mound, brought me almost immediately to a wall, bearing inscriptions in the same character. Next day, five more workmen having joined, before evening the work of the first party was completed, and I found myself in a room panelled with slabs about eight feet high, and varying from six to four feet in breadth.

Some objects of ivory, on which were traces of gold leaf had been found by Awad in the ruins, and these I175 told him to keep, much to his surprise. But word had already been sent to the pasha of all details of my doings. When I called on him he pretended at first to be ignorant of the excavations, but presently, as if to convict me of prevarication in my answers to his questions as to the amount of treasure discovered, pulled out of his writing-tray a scrap of paper in which was an almost invisible particle of gold leaf. This, he said, had been brought to him by the commander of the irregular troops at Selamiyah, who had been watching my proceedings.

I suggested that he should name an agent to be present as long as I worked at Nimroud, to take charge of all the precious metals that might be discovered. He promised to write on the subject to the chief of the irregulars, but offered no objection to the continuation of my researches. I returned to Nimroud on the 19th, increased my workmen to thirty, and divided them into three parties. The excavations were actively carried on, and an entrance, or doorway, leading into the interior of the mound, being cleared, rich results soon rewarded our efforts. In a chamber that the Arabs unearthed were found two slabs on which were splendid bas-reliefs, depicting on each a battle scene. In the upper part of the largest were represented two chariots, each drawn by richly caparisoned horses at full speed, and containing a group of three warriors, the principal of which was beardless and evidently a eunuch, grasping a bow at full stretch.

II.—"They have Found Nimrod Himself!"

Mohammed Pasha was deposed, and on my return to Mosul, in the beginning of January, I found Ismail Pasha installed in the government. My fresh experiments among the ruins speedily led to the discoveries of extraordinary bas-reliefs. The most perfect of these represented a king, distinguished by his high, conical tiara, 176 raising his extended right hand and resting his left on a bow. At his feet crouched a warrior, probably a captive or rebel. A eunuch held a fly-flapper over the head of the king, who appeared to be talking with an officer standing in front of him, probably his vizir or minister.

The digging of two long trenches led to the discovery of two more walls with sculptures not well preserved. I abandoned this part of the mound and resumed excavations in the north-west ruins near the chamber first opened, where the slabs were uninjured. In two days the workmen reached the top of an entire slab, standing in its original position. In a few hours the earth was completely removed, and there stood to view, to my great satisfaction, two colossal human figures, carved in low relief and in admirable preservation.

The figures were back to back, and from the shoulders of each sprang two wings. They appeared to represent divinities, presiding over seasons. One carried a fallow deer on his right arm, and in his left a branch bearing five flowers. The other held a square vessel or basket in the left hand, and an object resembling a fir cone in his right.

On the morning following these discoveries some of the Arab workmen came towards me in the utmost excitement, exclaiming: "Hasten to the diggers, for they have found Nimrod himself! Wallah! it is wonderful, but we have seen him with our own eyes. There is no God but God." On reaching the trench I found unearthed an enormous human head sculptured out of the alabaster of the country.

They had uncovered the upper part of a figure, the remainder of which was still buried in the earth. I saw at once that the head must belong to a winged bull or lion, similar to those at Khorsabad and Persepolis. It was in admirable preservation. I was not surprised that the Arabs had been amazed and terrified at this apparition. They declared that this was one of the giants whom 177 Noah cursed before the flood, and was not the work of men's hands at all. By the end of March I unearthed several other such colossal figures. They were about twelve feet high and twelve feet long.

I used to contemplate for hours these mysterious emblems, and muse over their intent and history. What more noble forms could have ushered the people into the temples of their gods? They formed the avenue to the portals. For twenty-five centuries they had been hidden from the eye of man, and now they stood forth once more in their ancient majesty.

III.—Unearthing the Palaces of Assyria

As the discoveries proceeded in several successive seasons, they threw vivid light on the manners and customs of the Assyrians. My working parties were distributed over the mound, in the ruins of the north-west and south-west palaces; near the gigantic bulls in the centre, and in the south-east corner, where no traces of buildings had as yet been discovered.

I was anxious to pack some of the slabs, which were of the highest interest, to England. They represented the wars of the king and his victories over foreign nations. Above him was the emblem of the supreme deity, represented, as at Persepolis, by a winged man within a circle, and wearing a horned cap resembling that of the human-headed lions. Like the king, he was shooting an arrow, the head of which was in the form of a trident.

Four bas-reliefs, representing a battle, were especially illustrative of Assyrian customs. A eunuch is seen commanding in war, as we have before seen him ministering to the king at religious ceremonies, or waiting on him as his arms-bearer during peace. Judging from the slabs, cavalry must have formed a large and important portion of the Assyrian armies.

178The lower series of bas-reliefs contained three subjects: the siege of a castle, the king receiving prisoners, and the king with his army crossing a river. To the castle, the besiegers had brought a battering-ram, which two warriors were seeking to hold in its place by hooks, this part of the bas-relief illustrating the account in the Book of Chronicles and in Josephus of the machine for battering walls, instruments to cast stones, and grappling-irons made by Uzziah.

A cargo of sculptures had already been sent to England for the British Museum, and by the middle of December a second was ready to be dispatched on the river to Baghdad.

When the excavations were recommenced after Christmas eight chambers had been discovered. There were now so many outlets and entrances that I had no trouble in finding new chambers, one leading into another. By the end of April I had uncovered almost the whole building, and had opened twenty-eight halls and rooms cased with alabaster slabs.

The colossal figure of a woman with four wings, carrying a garland, now in the British Museum, was discovered in a chamber on the south side of the palace, as was also the fine bas-relief of the king leaning on a wand, one of the best-preserved and most highly finished specimens of Assyrian sculpture in the national collection.

In the centre of the palace was a great hall, or rather court, for it had probably been without a roof and open to the air, with entrances on the four sides, each formed by colossal human-headed lions and bulls. To the south of this hall was a cluster of small chambers, opening into each other. At the entrance to one of them were two winged human figures wearing garlands, and carrying a wild goat and an ear of corn.

In another chamber were discovered a number of beautiful ivory ornaments, now in the British Museum. On179 two slabs, forming an entrance to a small chamber in this part of the building, some inscriptions containing the name of Sargon, the king who built the Khorsabad palace. They had been cut above the standard inscription, to which they were evidently posterior.

IV.—Kouyunjik

Having finished my work at Nimroud, I turned my attention to Kouyunjik. The term means in Turkish "the little sheep." The great mount is situated on the plain near the junction of the Khausser and the Tigris, the former winding round its base and then making its way into the great stream.

The French consul had carried on desultory excavations some years at Kouyunjik, without finding any traces of buildings. I set my workmen commencing operations by the proper method of digging deep trenches. One morning, as I was at Mosul, two Arab women came to me and announced that sculptures had been discovered.

I rode to the ruins, and found that a wall and the remains of an entrance had been reached. The wall proved to be one side of a chamber. By following it, we reached an entrance, formed by winged human-headed bulls, leading into a second hall. In a month nine halls and chambers had been explored. In its architecture the newly discovered edifice resembled the palaces of Nimroud and Khorsabad. The halls were long and narrow, the walls of unbaked brick and panelled with sculptured slabs.

The king whose name is on the sculptures and bricks from Kouyunjik was the father of Esarhaddon, the builder of the south-west palace at Nimroud, and the son of Sargon, the Khorsabad king, and is now generally admitted to be Sennacherib.

By the middle of the month of June my labours in Assyria drew to a close. The time assigned for the180 excavations had been expended, and further researches were not contemplated for the present. I prepared, therefore, to turn my steps homeward after an absence of many years. The ruins of Nimroud had been again covered up, and its palaces were once more hidden from the eye.


181

CAROLUS LINNÆUS

A Tour in Lapland

I.—A Wandering Scientist

Carolus Linnæus, the celebrated Swedish naturalist, was born at Rashult on May 23, 1707. At school his taste for botany was encouraged, but after an unsatisfactory academic career his father decided to apprentice him to a tradesman. A doctor called Rothmann, however, recognised and fostered his scientific talents, and in 1728, on Rothmann's advice, he went to Upsala and studied under the celebrated Rudbeck. In 1732 he made his famous tour in Lapland. He gives a fascinating account of this journey in "A Tour in Lapland" ("Lachesis Lapponica"), published in 1737. In 1739 he was appointed a naval physician, and in 1741 became professor of medicine at the University of Upsal, but in the following year exchanged his chair for that of botany. To Linnæus is due the honour of having first enunciated the true principles for defining genera and species, and that honour will last so long as biology itself endures. He found biology a chaos; he left it a cosmos. He died on January 10, 1778. Among his published works are "Systema Naturæ," "Fundamenta Botanica," and the "Species Plantarum."

Having been appointed by the Royal Academy of Sciences to travel through Lapland for the purpose of investigating the three kingdoms of nature in that country, I prepared my wearing apparel and other necessaries for the journey.

I carried a small leather bag, half an ell in length, but somewhat less in breadth, furnished on one side with hooks and eyes, so that it could be opened and shut at pleasure. This bag contained one shirt, two pairs of false sleeves, two half shirts, an inkstand, pencase, microscope, and spying glass, a gauze cap to protect me occasionally from the gnats, a comb, my journal, and a parcel of paper stitched together for drying plants, both in folio; 182 my manuscript ornithology, Flora Uplandica, and Characteres generici. I wore a hanger at my side, and carried a small fowling-piece, as well as an octangular stick, graduated for the purpose of measuring.

I set out alone from the city of Upsal on Friday, May 22, 1732, at eleven o'clock, being at that time within half a day of twenty-five years of age.

At this season nature wore her most cheerful and delightful aspect, and Flora celebrated her nuptials with Phœbus. The winter corn was half a foot in height, and the barley had just shot out its blade. The birch, the elm, and the aspen-tree began to put forth their leaves.

A number of mares with their colts were grazing everywhere near the road. I remarked the great length of the colts' legs, which, according to common opinion, are as long at their birth as they will ever be. I noticed young kids, under whose chin, at the beginning of the throat, were a pair of tubercles, like those seen in pigs, about an inch long, and clothed with a few scattered hairs. Of their use I am ignorant. The forest abounded with the yellow anemone (Anemone ranunculoides), which many people consider as differing from that genus. One would suppose they had never seen an anemone at all. Here, also, grew hepatica, and wood sorrel. Their blossoms were all closed. Who has endowed plants with intelligence to shut themselves up at the approach of rain? Even when the weather changes in a moment from sunshine to rain they immediately close.

Near the great river Linsnan I found blood-red stones. On rubbing them I found the red colour external and distinct from the stone; in fact, it was a red byssus.

At Enänger the people seemed somewhat larger in stature than in other places, especially the men. I inquired whether the children are kept longer at the breast than is usual with us, and was answered in the affirmative. They are allowed that nourishment more than twice as long as in other places. I have a notion that Adam and 183 Eve were giants, and that mankind from one generation to another, owing to poverty and other causes, have diminished in size. Hence, perhaps, the diminutive stature of the Laplanders.

The old tradition that the inhabitants of Helsingland never have the ague is untrue, since I heard of many cases.

Between the post-house of Iggsund and Hudwiksvall a violet-coloured clay is found in abundance, forming a regular stratum. I observed it likewise in a hill, the strata of which consisted of two or three fingers' breadths of common vegetable mould, then from four to six inches of barren sand, next about a span of the violet clay, and lastly, barren sand. The clay contained small and delicately smooth white bivalve shells, quite entire, as well as some larger brown ones, of which great quantities are to be found near the waterside. I am therefore convinced that all these valleys and marshes have formerly been under water, and that the highest hills only then rose above it. At this spot grows the Anemone hepatica with a purple flower; a variety so very rare in other places that I should almost be of the opinion of the gardeners, who believe the colours of particular earths may be communicated to flowers.

On May 21 I found at Natra some fields cultivated in an extraordinary manner. After the field had lain fallow three or four years, it is sown with one part rye and two parts barley, mixed together. The barley ripens, and is reaped. The rye, meantime, goes into leaf, but shoots up no stem, since it is smothered by the barley. After the barley has been reaped, however, the rye grows and ripens the following year, producing an abundant crop.

II.—Lapland Customs

The Laplanders of Lycksele prepare a kind of curd or cheese from the milk of the reindeer and the leaves of184 sorrel. They boil these leaves in a copper vessel, adding one-third part water, stirring it continually with a ladle that it may not burn, and adding fresh leaves from time to time till the whole acquires the consistence of a syrup. This takes six or seven hours, after which it is set by to cool, and is then mixed with the milk, and preserved for use from autumn till the ensuing summer in wooden vessels, or in the first stomach of the reindeer. It is stored either in the caves of the mountains or in holes dug in the ground, lest it should be attacked by the mountain mice.

In Angermanland the people eat sour milk prepared in the following manner. After the milk is turned, and the curd taken out, the whey is put into a vessel, where it remains till it becomes sour. Immediately after the making of cheese, fresh whey is poured lukewarm on the former sour whey. This is repeated several times, care being always taken that the fresh whey be lukewarm. This prepared milk is esteemed a great dainty by the country people. They consider it as very cooling and refreshing. Sometimes it is eaten along with fresh milk. Intermittent fevers would not be so rare here as they are if they could be produced by acid diet, for then this food must infallibly occasion them.

In Westbothland one of the peasants had shot a young beaver, which fell under my examination. It was a foot and a half long, exclusive of the tail, which was a palm in length and two inches and a half in breadth. The hairs on the back were longer than the rest; the external ones brownish black, the inner pale brown; the belly clothed with short, dark-brown fur; body depressed; ears obtuse, clothed with fine short hairs and destitute of any accessory lobe; snout blunt, with round nostrils; upper lip cloven as far as the nostrils; lower very short; the whiskers black, long, and stout; eyebrow of three bristles like the whiskers over each eye; neck, none. The fur of the belly was distinguished from that of the sides185 by a line on each side, in which the skin was visible. Feet clothed with very short hairs, quite different from those of the body. A fleshy integument invested the whole body. There were two cutting teeth in each jaw, of which the upper pair were the shortest, and notched at the summit like steps; the lower and larger pair were sloped off obliquely—grinders very far remote from the fore-teeth, which is characteristic of the animal, four on each side; hind feet webbed, but fore feet with separate claws; tail flat, oblong, obtuse, with a reticulated naked surface.

At Lycksele was a woman supposed to have a brood of frogs in her stomach, owing to drinking water containing frogs' spawn. She thought she could feel three of them, and that she and those beside her could hear them croak. Her uneasiness was alleviated by drinking brandy. Salt had no effect in killing the frogs, and even nux vomica, which had cured another case of the same kind, was useless. I advised her to try tar, but she had already tried it in vain.

The Lycksele Laplanders are subject, when they are compelled to drink the warm sea water, to allem, or colic, for which they use soot, snuff, salt, and other remedies. They also suffer from asthma, epilepsy, pleurisy, and rheumatism. Fever and small-pox are rare. They cure coughs by sulphur laid on burning fungus.

On June 3, being lost amid marshes, I sent a man to obtain a guide. About two in the afternoon he returned, accompanied by an extraordinary creature. I can scarce believe that any practical description of a fury could come up to the idea which this Lapland fair one excited. It might well be imagined she was really of Stygian origin. Her stature was very diminutive; her face of the darkest brown, from the effects of smoke; her eyes dark and sparkling; her eyebrows black. Her pitchy-coloured hair hung loose about her head, and she wore a flat, red cap.

186Though a fury in appearance, she addressed me with mingled pity and reserve.

I inquired how far it was to Sorsele.

"That we do not know," replied she; "but in the present state of the roads it is at least seven days' journey, as my husband has told me."

I was exhausted and famishing. How I longed to meet once more people who feed on spoon-meat! I inquired of the woman if she could give me food. She replied that she could give me only fish, but finding the fish full of maggots, I could not touch it. On arriving at her hut, however, I perceived three cheeses, and succeeded in buying the smallest. Then I returned through the marshes the way I came.

I remarked that all the women hereabouts feed their infants by means of a horn; nor do they take the trouble of boiling the milk, so it is no wonder the children have worms. I could not help being astonished that these peasants did not suckle their children.

Near the road I saw the under-jaw of a horse, having six fore-teeth, much worn and blunted; two canine teeth; and at a distance from the latter twelve grinders, six on each side. If I knew how many teeth, and of what peculiar form, as well as how many udders and where situated, each animal has, I should perhaps be able to contrive a most natural methodical arrangement of quadrupeds. [This observation seems to record the first idea of the Linnæan system of the order of the mammalia.]

III.—Ignorance Incorrigible

On June 18 the people brought me a peasant's child, supposed to have cataract. I concluded that it was not cataract; but noticing that the eyeballs rolled upwards when the child was spoken to, I asked the mother whether, when she was with child, she had seen anybody turn their eyes in that manner. She replied that 187 she had attended her mother, or mother-in-law, who was supposed to be dying, whose eyes rolled in a similar fashion. This was the cause of the infant's misfortune.

At Lulea I was informed of a disease of cattle so pestilential that though the animals were flayed even before they were cold, whenever their blood had come in contact with the human body it had caused gangrenous spots and sores. Some persons had both their hands swelled, and one his face, in consequence of the blood coming upon it. Many people had lost their lives by the disease, insomuch that nobody would now venture to flay any more of the cattle, but contrived to bury them whole.

On June 30 I arrived at Jockmock, where the curate and schoolmaster tormented me with their consummate and most incorrigible ignorance. I could not but wonder that so much pride and ambition, such scandalous want of information, with such incorrigible stupidity, could exist in persons of their profession, who are commonly expected to be men of knowledge. No man will deny the propriety of such people as these being placed as far as possible from civilised society.

The learned curate began his conversation by remarking how the clouds as they strike the mountains carry away stones, trees, and cattle. I ventured to suggest that such accidents were rather to be attributed to the force of the wind, since the clouds could not of themselves carry away anything. He laughed at me, saying surely I had never seen any clouds. For my part it seemed to me that he could never have been anywhere but in the clouds. I explained that when the weather is foggy I walk in clouds, and that when the cloud is condensed it rains. At all such reasoning, being above his comprehension, he only laughed with a sardonic smile. Still less was he satisfied with my explanation how watery bubbles may be lifted into the air. He insisted that the clouds were solid bodies, reinforced his assertion with a188 text of Scripture, silenced me by authority, and laughed at my ignorance.

He next condescended to inform me that a phlegm is always to be found on the mountains where the clouds have touched them. I told him that the phlegm was a vegetable called nostoc, and he thereupon concluded that too much learning had turned my brain, and, fully persuaded of his own complete knowledge of nature, was pleased to be very facetious at my expense. Finally, he graciously advised me to pay some regard to the opinions of people skilled in these abstruse matters, and not to expose myself on my return by publishing such absurd and preposterous opinions.

Meantime, the pedagogue lamented that people should bestow so much attention upon temporal vanities, and consequently, alas, neglect their spiritual good; and he remarked that many a man had been ruined by too great application to study. Both these wise men concurred in one thing: they could not conceal their wonder that the Royal Academy should have appointed a mere student for the purposes for which I was sent when there were competent men like themselves in the country ready to undertake the business.

The common method of the Laplanders for joining broken earthenware is to tie the fragments together with a thread, and boil the whole in fresh milk, which acts as a cement.

The Laplanders are particularly swift-footed because: They wear no heels to their half-boots; they are accustomed to run from their infancy, and habitually exercise their muscles; their muscles are not stiffened by labour; they eat animal food, and do not overeat; they are of small stature. They are healthy because they breathe pure air and drink pure water, eat their food cold and thoroughly cooked, never overload their stomachs, and have a tranquil mind.

189IV.—A Lapland Marriage

All the Laplanders are blear-eyed, owing to the sharp wind, the glare on the snow, fogs, and smoke. Yet I never met any people who lead such easy, happy lives as the Laplanders. In summer they have two meals of milk a day, and when they have milked their reindeer or made cheese, they resign themselves to indolent tranquillity, not knowing what to do next.

When a Laplander wishes to marry he goes with all his nearest relatives to the hut of the young woman. He himself remains outside; but the others, laden with provisions and presents, enter and begin negotiations. When they are all seated the young man's father presents some brandy to the young woman's father, and being asked the reason of the gift, replies: "I am come hither with a good intention, and I pray God it may prosper." He then declares his errand, and if his suit is favourably received, the friends of the lover place the presents—usually utensils and silver coins—on a reindeer skin before the father and mother of the prospective bride, and the father, or the mother, of the lover apportions the money to the young woman and her parents. If the presents are considered satisfactory, the daughter, who has usually retired to another hut, is sent for.

When the bride enters the hut her father asks her whether she is satisfied with what he has done. To which she replies that she submits herself to the disposal of her father, who is the best judge of what is proper for her. The mother then lays in the bride's lap the sum apportioned for her. If it proves less than she expected, she shows her dissatisfaction by various gestures and signs of refusal, and may possibly obtain at least the promise of a larger sum.

When such pecuniary matters are finally arranged the father and mother of the bridegroom present him and his190 bride with a cup of brandy, of which they partake together, and then all the company shake hands. Afterwards they take off their hats, and one of the company makes an oration, praying for God's blessing upon the newly married couple, and returning thanks to Him who "gives every man his own wife, and every woman her own husband."

Then the provisions, which generally consist of several cheeses and a piece of meat dried and salted, are brought forward, and the company sit down to feast. The bride and bridegroom are placed together, and are given the best of the provisions. The company then serve themselves, taking their meat on the points of their knives, and dipping each morsel into some of the broth in which it was boiled.

The dinner being over, the whole company shake hands, return thanks for the entertainment, and retire to bed. Next morning they all feed on the remainder of the feast. The banns are usually published once. The marriage ceremony, which is very short, is performed after the above-mentioned company has departed.

The tranquil existence of the Laplanders corresponds to Ovid's description of the golden age, and to the pastoral state as depicted by Virgil. It recalls the remembrance of the patriarchal life, and the poetical descriptions of the Elysian fields.

About one o'clock on the afternoon of October 10, I returned safe to Upsal. To the Maker and Preserver of all things, be praise, honour, and glory for ever!


191

DAVID LIVINGSTONE

Missionary Travels and Researches

I.—Early Experiences

David Livingstone was born at Blantyre, on the Clyde (Scotland), on March 19, 1813, the son of a small tea-dealer. Working as a boy in a cotton-mill, he learnt Latin by the midnight candle, and later attended medical and Greek classes at Glasgow University, where he qualified as doctor of medicine. He sailed as missionary to Africa in 1840, and worked at Kuruman with Moffat, whose daughter he married. Setting out to explore the interior in 1849, Livingstone eventually discovered Lakes Ngami, Shirwa, Dilolo, Bangweolo, Tanganyika, and Nyassa, and the Rivers Zambesi, Shire, and Kasai, also the Victoria and Murchison Falls. His scientific researches were invaluable, his character so pure and brave that he made the white man respected. Stanley visited and helped him in 1871, but on May 1, 1873, he died at Ilala, and his remains, carefully preserved by his native servants, were brought to England and buried with great honours in Westminster Abbey. His "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa," published during his visit to England in 1857, make delightful reading, and thoroughly reflect the inmost character of the man. There is no attempt at literary style; the story is told with a simplicity and an apparent unconsciousness of having done anything remarkable that cannot fail to captivate.

My own inclination would lead me to say as little as possible about myself. My great-grandfather fell at Culloden, my grandfather used to tell us national stories, and my grandmother sang Gaelic songs. To my father and the other children the dying injunction was, "Now, in my lifetime I have searched most carefully through all the traditions I could find of our family, and I never could discover that there was a dishonest man among our forefathers. If, therefore, any of you or any of your children should take to dishonest ways, it will not be because it192 runs in your blood, it does not belong to you. I leave this precept with you—Be honest."

As a boy I worked at a cotton factory at Blantyre to lessen the family anxieties, and bought my "Rudiments of Latin" out of my first week's wages, pursuing the study of that language at an evening school, followed up till twelve o'clock or later, if my mother did not interfere by jumping up and snatching the books out of my hands. Reading everything I could lay my hands on, except novels, scientific works and books of travel were my especial delight. Great pains had been taken by my parents to instil the doctrines of Christianity into my mind. My early desire was to become a pioneer missionary in China, and eventually I offered my services to the London Missionary Society, having passed my medical examination at Glasgow University.

I embarked for Africa in 1840, and from Cape Town travelled up country seven hundred miles to Kuruman, where I joined Mr. Moffat in his work, and after four years as a bachelor, I married his daughter Mary.

Settling among the Mabotsa tribe, I found that they were troubled with attacks from lions, so one day I went with my gun into the bush and shot one, but the wounded beast sprang upon me, and felled me to the ground. While perfectly conscious, I lost all sense of fear or feeling, and narrowly escaped with my life. Besides crunching the bone into splinters, he left eleven teeth wounds on the upper part of my arm.

I attached myself to the tribe called Bakwains, whose chief, Sechele, a most intelligent man, became my fast friend, and a convert to Christianity. The Bakwains had many excellent qualities, which might have been developed by association with European nations. An adverse influence, however, is exercised by the Boers, for, while claiming for themselves the title of Christians, they treat these natives as black property, and their system of domestic slavery and robbery is a disgrace to the white193 man. For my defence of the rights of Sechele and the Bakwains, I was treated as conniving at their resistance, and my house was destroyed, my library, the solace of our solitude, torn to pieces, my stock of medicines smashed, and our furniture and clothing sold at public auction to pay the expenses of the foray.

In travelling we sometimes suffered from a scarcity of meat, and the natives, to show their sympathy for the children, often gave them caterpillars to eat; but one of the dishes they most enjoyed was cooked "mathametlo," a large frog, which, during a period of drought, takes refuge in a hole in the root of certain bushes, and over the orifice a large variety of spider weaves its web. The scavenger-beetle, which keeps the Kuruman villages sweet and clean, rolls the dirt into a ball, and carries it, like Atlas, on its back.

In passing across the great Kalahari desert we met with the Bushmen, or Bakalahari, who, from dread of visits from strange tribes, choose their residences far away from water, hiding their supplies of this necessity for life in pits filled up by women, who pass every drop through their mouths as a pump, using a straw to guide the stream into the vessel. They will never disclose this supply to strangers, but by sitting down and waiting with patience until the villagers were led to form a favourable opinion of us, a woman would bring out a shell full of the precious fluid from I knew not where.

At Nchokotsa we came upon a number of salt-pans, which, in the setting sun, produced a most beautiful mirage as of distant water, foliage, and animals. We discovered the river Zouga, and eventually, on August 1, 1849, we were the first Europeans to gaze upon the broad waters of Lake Ngami. My chief object in coming to this lake was to visit Sebituane, the great chief of the Makololo, a man of immense influence, who had conquered the black tribes of the country and made himself dreaded even by the terrible Mosilikatse.

194During our stay with him he treated us with great respect, and was pleased with the confidence we had shown in bringing our children to him. He was stricken with inflammation of the lungs, and knew it meant death, though his native doctors said, "Sebituane can never die." I visited him with my little boy Robert. "Come near," said he, "and see if I am any longer a man. I am done." After sitting with him some time and commending him to the mercy of God, I rose to depart, when the dying chieftain, raising himself up a little from his prone position, called a servant, and said, "Take Robert to Maunku (one of his wives), and tell her to give him some milk." These were the last words of Sebituane.

II.—Among the Makololo

On questioning intelligent men amongst these natives as to a knowledge of good and evil, of God and the future state, they possessed a tolerably clear perception on these subjects. Their want, however, of any form of public worship, or of idols, or of formal prayers and sacrifices, make both the Caffres and Bechuanas appear as amongst the most godless races of mortals known anywhere. When an old Bushman on one occasion was sitting by the fire relating his adventures, including his murder of five other natives, he was remonstrated with. "What will God say when you appear before Him?" "He will say," replied he, "that I was a very clever fellow." But I found afterwards in speaking of the Deity they had only the idea of a chief, and when I knew this, I did not make any mistake afterwards.

The country round Unku was covered with grass, and the flowers were in full bloom. The thermometer in the shade generally stood at 98 deg. from 1 to 3 p.m., but it sank as low as 65 deg. by night, so that the heat was by no means exhausting. At the surface of the ground in the sun it marked 125 deg., and three inches below 138 195 deg. The hand cannot be held on the ground, and even the horny soles of the natives are protected by hide sandals, yet the ants were busy working in it. The water in the floods was as high as 100 deg., but as water does not conduct heat readily downwards, deliriously cool water may be obtained by anyone walking into the middle and lifting up the water from the bottom to the surface by the hands.

We at last reached a spot where, by climbing the highest tree, we could see a fine large sheet of water, surrounded on all sides by an impenetrable belt of reeds. This was the river Chobe, and is called Zambesi. We struggled through the high, serrated grass, the heat stifling for want of air, and when we reached one of the islands, my strong moleskins were worn through at the knees, and the leather trousers of my companion were torn, and his legs bleeding. The Makololo said in their figurative language: "He has dropped among us from the clouds, yet came riding on the back of a hippopotamus. We Makololo thought no one could cross the Chobe without our knowledge, but here he drops among us like a bird."

On our arrival at Linyanti, the capital, the chief, Sekelutu, took me aside and pressed me to mention those things I liked best and hoped to get from him. Anything either in or out of the town should be freely given if I would only mention it. I explained to him that my object was to elevate him and his people to be Christians; but he replied that he did not wish to learn to read the Book, for he was afraid "it might change his heart and make him content with one wife like Sechele." I liked the frankness of Sekelutu, for nothing is so wearying to the spirit as talking to those who agree with everything advanced.

While at Linyanti I was taken with fever, from chills caught by leaving my warm wagon in the evening to conduct family worship at my people's fires. Anxious to ascertain whether the natives possessed the knowledge of any remedy, I sent for one of their doctors. He put some196 roots into a pot with water, and when it was boiling, placed it beneath a blanket thrown around both me and it. This produced no effect, and after being stewed in their vapour baths, smoked like a red-herring over green twigs, and charmed secundem artem, I concluded I could cure my fever more quickly than they could.

Leaving Linyanti, we passed up the Lecambye river into the Barotse country, and on making inquiries whether Santuru, the Moloiana, had ever been visited by white men, I could find no vestige of any such visit before my arrival in 1851.

In our ascent up the River Leeba, we reached the village of Manenko, a female chief, of whose power of tongue we soon had ample proof. She was a woman of fine physique, and insisted on accompanying us some distance with her husband and drummer, the latter thumping most vigorously, until a heavy, drizzling mist set in and compelled him to desist. Her husband used various incantations and vociferations to drive away the rain, but down it poured incessantly, and on our Amazon went, in the very lightest marching order, and at a pace that few men could keep up with. Being on ox-back, I kept pretty close to our leader, and asked her why she did not clothe herself during the rain, and learnt that it is not considered proper for a chief to appear effeminate. My men, in admiration of her pedestrian powers, every now and then remarked, "Manenko is a soldier!" Thoroughly wet and cold, we were all glad when she proposed a halt to prepare for our night's lodging on the banks of a stream.

III.—Peril and Patience

When we arrived at the foot of the Kasai we were badly in want of food, and there seemed little hope of getting any; one of our guides, however, caught a light-blue mole and two mice for his supper. Katende, the chief, sent for me the following morning, and on my walking into his hut197 I was told that he wanted a man, a tusk, beads, copper rings, and a shell as payment for leave to pass through his country. Having humbly explained our circumstances and that he could not expect to "catch a humble cow by the horns"—a proverb similar to ours that "You cannot draw milk out of a stone"—we were told to go home, and he would speak to us next day. I could not avoid a hearty laugh at the cool impudence of the savage. Eventually I sent him one of my worst shirts, but added that when I should reach my own chief naked, and was asked what I had done with my clothes, I should be obliged to confess I had left them with Katende.

Passing onwards, we crossed a small rivulet, the Sengko, and another and larger one with a bridge over it. At the farther end of this structure stood a negro who demanded fees. He said the bridge was his, the guides were his children, and if we did not pay him, he would prevent further progress. This piece of civilisation I was not prepared to meet, and stood a few seconds looking at our bold toll-keeper, when one of our men took off three copper bracelets, which paid for the whole party. The negro was a better man than he at first seemed, for he immediately went into his garden and brought us some leaves of tobacco as a present.

We were brought to a stand on the banks of the Loajima, a tributary of the Kasai, by the severity of my fever, being in a state of partial coma, until late at night, I found we were in the midst of enemies; and the Chiboque natives insisting upon a present, I had to give them a tired-out ox. Later on we marched through the gloomy forest in gloomier silence; the thick atmosphere prevented my seeing the creeping plants in time to avoid them; I was often caught, and as there is no stopping the oxen when they have the prospect of giving the rider a tumble, came frequently to the ground. In addition to these mishaps, my ox Sinbad went off at a plunging gallop, the bridle broke, and I came down behind on the crown of my head. He198 gave me a kick in the thigh at the same time. I felt none the worse for this rough treatment, but would not recommend it to others as a palliative in cases of fever.

We shortly afterwards met a hostile party of natives, who refused us further passage. Seeing that these people had plenty of iron-headed arrows and some guns, I called a halt, and ordered my men to put the luggage in the centre in case of actual attack. I then dismounted, and advancing a little towards our principal opponent, showed him how easily I could kill him, but pointed upwards, saying, "I fear God." He did the same, placing his hand on his heart, pointing upwards, and saying, "I fear to kill, but come to our village; come, do come."

During these exciting scenes I always forgot my fever, but a terrible sense of sinking came back with the feeling of safety. These people stole our beads, and though we offered all our ornaments and my shirts, they refused us passage. My men were so disheartened that they proposed a return home, which distressed me exceedingly. After using all my powers of persuasion, I declared to them that if they returned, I would go on alone, and went into my little tent with the mind directed to Him Who hears the sighing of the soul, and was soon followed by the head of Mohorisi, saying, "We will never leave you. Do not be disheartened. Wherever you lead, we will follow. Our remarks were made only on account of the injustice of these people."

We were soon on the banks of the Quango, and after some difficulties reached the opposite bank.

The village of Cassenge is composed of thirty or forty traders' houses on an elevated flat spot in the great Quango, or Cassenge, valley. As I always preferred to appear in my own proper character, I was an object of curiosity to the hospitable Portuguese. They evidently looked upon me as an agent of the English government, engaged in some new movement for the suppression of slavery. They could not divine what a "missionario"199 had to do with the latitudes and longitudes which I was intent on observing.

On coming across the plains to Loanda we first beheld the sea; my companions looked upon the boundless ocean with awe. In describing their feelings afterwards they remarked, "We marched along with our father thinking that what the ancients had always told us was true, that the world has no end, but all at once the world said to us, 'I am finished, there is no more of me.'"

Here in this city, among its population of 12,000 souls there was but one genuine English gentleman, who bade me welcome, and seeing me ill, benevolently offered me his bed. Never shall I forget the luxuriant pleasure I enjoyed feeling myself again on a good English couch, after six months sleeping on the ground.

IV.—Into the Wilderness Again

For the sake of my Makololo companions I refused the tempting offer of a passage home in one of her majesty's cruisers.

During my journey through Angola I received at Cassenge a packet of the "Times" from home with news of the Russian war up to the terrible charge of the light cavalry. The intense anxiety I felt to hear more may be imagined by every true patriot.

After leaving the Kasai country, we entered upon a great level plain, which we had formerly found in a flooded condition. We forded the Lotembwa on June 8, and found that the little Lake Dilolo, by giving a portion to our Kasai and another to the Zambesi, distributes its waters to the Atlantic and Indian oceans. From information derived from Arabs at Zanzibar, whom I met at Naliele in the middle of the country, a large shallow lake is pointed out in the region east of Loanda, named Tanganyenka, which requires three days in crossing in canoes. It is connected with another named Kalagwe200 (Garague?), farther north, and may be the Nyanja of the Maravim.

Although I was warned that the Batoka tribe would be hostile, I decided on going down the Zambesi, and on my way I visited the falls of Victoria, called by the natives Mosioatunya, or more anciently, Shongwe. No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It has never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. Five columns of "smoke" arose, bending in the direction of the wind. The entire falls is simply a crack made in a hard basaltic rock from the right to the left bank of the Zambesi, and then prolonged from the left bank away through thirty or forty miles of hills. The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of colour and form. At the period of our visit several of the trees were spangled over with blossoms.

In due time we reached the confluence of the Loangwa and the Zambesi, most thankful to God for His great mercies in helping us thus far. I felt some turmoil of spirit in the evening at the prospect of having all my efforts for the welfare of this great region and its teeming population knocked on the head by savages to-morrow, who might be said to "know not what they do."

When at last we reached within eight miles of Tete I was too fatigued to go on, but sent the commandant the letters of recommendation of the bishop and lay down to rest. Next morning two officers and some soldiers came to fetch us, and when I had partaken of a good breakfast, though I had just before been too tired to sleep, all my fatigue vanished. The pleasure of that breakfast was enhanced by the news that Sebastopol had fallen and the war finished.


201

PIERRE LOTI

The Desert

I.—Arabia Deserta

Pierre Loti, whose real name is Louis Marie Julien Viaud, and who has made his whole career in the French navy, was born at Rochefort on January 14, 1850. Distinguished though his naval activities have been, it is as a man of letters that Pierre Loti is known to the world. His first production, "Aziyade," appeared in 1876, and gave ample promise of that style, borrowed from no one and entirely his own, which has since characterized all his works. "The Desert," published in 1894, is a masterpiece of a peculiarly modern kind. Loti leaves to other writers the task of depicting the Bedouin. The spectacle of nature in her wildest and severest mood was what he went out to see; and he employs all the resources of his incomparable genius for description in painting the vacant immensity of the Arabian wilderness. Tired and distracted by the whirl and fever of life in Paris, Loti set out, like Tancred, in Beaconsfield's romance on a pilgrimage from Sinai to Calvary to recover the faith he had lost in civilisation.

February 22, 1894. All about us was the empty infinitude; the twilight desert swept by a great cold wind; the desert that rolled, in dull, dead colours, under a still more sombre sky which, on the circular horizon, seemed to fall on it and crush it.

Sitting under the palm-tree of the Oasis of Moses, half an hour's march from the Red Sea, surrounded by our camels and camel-men, we stared at the desert, and the emotion and the ecstasy of solitude came over us. We longed to plunge headlong into the dim, luring immensity, to run with the wind blowing over the desolate dunes. So we ran, and reaching the heights, we looked down on a larger wilderness, over which trailed a dying gleam of daylight, fallen from the yellow sky through a rent made by the wind in the cloudy veil.

202 But so sinister was the desert in the winter wind, that from some remote, ancestral source of feeling a strange melancholy welled up and mingled with our desire for the solitude. In it was the instinctive fear which makes the sheep and cattle of the green lands retrace their steps at the sight of regions over which hangs the shadow of death.

But under our tent, lighted and sheltered from the wind, we recovered our gaiety of mood. There was the novelty of our first meal in the desert to excite us, and the pleasure of packing up our ridiculous European costumes, and dressing ourselves in the more useful and far more decorative burnous and veils of the sheiks of Arabia.

All the next three days we travelled through a waterless waste, following a vague trace which, in the course of ages, men and beasts have made in the dry sand. Far in front the sky-line danced in the heat. The sand around was strewn with greyish stones; everything was grey, grey-red or grey-yellow. Here and there was a plant of a pale green, with an imperceptible flower, and the long necks of the camels bent and stretched trying to crop it.

Little by little one's mind grows drowsy, lulled by the monotony of the slow, swinging movement of the tall, indefatigable camel. In the foreground of the grey scene, one's sleepy, lowered eyes see at last nothing but the continual undulation of its neck, of the same grey-yellow as the sand, and the back of its shaggy head, similar to the little head of a lion, encircled with a barbaric ornament of white shells and blue pearls, with hangings of black wool.

As we go on, the last signs of life disappear. There is not a bird, not an insect; even the flies which exist in all the lands of the earth are not found. While the deserts of the sea contain vital wealth in profusion, here are sterility and death. Yet one is intoxicated with the203 stillness and lifelessness of it all, and the air is pure and virginal, blowing from the world before the creation.

The wind drops, and in an atmosphere of an absolute purity the sun mounts and burns with a white fire. Under the dazzling light, one shuts one's eyes in spite of oneself for long periods. When one opens them, the horizon seems a black circle breaking on the brightness of the heavens, while the precise spot in which one is remains astonishingly white. Nothing sings, nothing flies, nothing stirs. The immense silence is dully broken only by the incessant, monotonous tread of our slow, swinging camels.

On the fourth day we leave the plain and strike into the mountainous solitudes of the Sinai peninsula.... As we ascend, vast new tracts are unrolled on all sides beneath our eyes, and the impression of the desert becomes more distressing by reason of this visible affirmation of its illimitableness. It is terrifying in its magnificence! The limpidity of the air gives an extraordinary depth to the perspectives, and in the clear and far-receding distances the chains of mountains are interlaced and overlaid in regular forms which, from the beginning of the world, have been untouched by the hand of man, and with hard, dry contours which no vegetation has ever softened or changed. In the foreground they are of a reddish brown; then in their flight to the sky-line they pass into a wonderful tone of violet, which grows bluer and bluer until it melts into the pure indigo of the extreme distance. And all this is empty, silent, and dead. It is the splendour of an invariable region, from which is absent the ephemeral beauty of forest, verdure, or herbage; the splendour of eternal matter, affranchised from all the instability of life; the geological splendour of the world before the creation.

Oh, the sunset this evening! Never have we seen so much gold poured out for us alone around our lonely camp. Our camels, wandering beyond our tents, and204 strangely enlarged against the vacant horizon, have gold on their heads, on their legs, on their long necks; they are all edged with gold.

And then night comes, the limpid night with its stillness. If at this moment one goes away from the camp and loses sight of it, or even separates oneself from the little handful of living creatures strayed in the midst of dead space, in order to feel more absolutely alone in the nocturnal vacancy, one has an impression of terror in which there is something religious. Less distant, less inaccessible than elsewhere, the stars blaze in the depths of the cosmic abysses; and in this desert, unchangeable and untouched by time, from which one looks at them, one feels oneself nearer to conceiving their inconceivable infinity; one has almost the illusion of sharing in their starry duration, their starry impassibility.

II.—The Habitation of Solitude

March 1. After climbing two days in snow, thunder, and tempest, we see at last, amid the dim, cloudy peaks of granite, the tall ramparts and the cypress trees of the convent of Sinai. Alas! how silent, sinister, and chill appears the holy mountain, whose name alone still flames for us in the distance. It is as empty as the sky above our heads.

Trembling with the cold in our thin, wet burnous, we alight from our camels, that suffer and complain, disquieted by the white obscurity, the lashing wind, the strange, wild altitude. For twenty minutes we clamber by lantern light among blocks and falls of granite, with bare feet that slip at every step on the snow. Then we reach a gigantic wall, the summit of which is lost in darkness, and a little low door, covered with iron, opens. We pass in. Two more doors of a smaller kind lead through a vaulted tunnel in the rampart. They close behind us with the clang of armour, and we creep up some flights205 of rough, broken stairs, hewed out of the rock, to a hostel for pilgrims at the top of the great fortress.

Some hospitable monks in black robes, and with long hair like women, hasten to cheer us with a little hot coffee and a little lighted charcoal, carried in a copper vase. Everything has an air of nonchalant wretchedness and Oriental dilapidation in this convent built by the Emperor Justinian fourteen centuries ago. Our bare, whitewashed bedrooms are like the humblest of Turkish dwellings, save for the modest icon above the divan, with a night-light burning before it. The little chamber is covered with the names of pilgrims gathered from the ends of the earth; Russian, Arabian, and Greek inscriptions predominate.

Aroused by a jet of clear sunlight, and surprised by the strangeness of the place, I ran to the balcony; there I still marvelled to find the fantastic things seen by glimpses last night, standing real and curiously distinct in the implacable white light, but arranged in an unreal way, as if inset into each other without perspective, so pure is the atmosphere—and all silent, silent as if they were dead of their extreme old age. A Byzantine church, a mosque, cots, cloisters, an entanglement of stairways, galleries, and arches falling to the precipices below: all this in miniature; built up in a tiny space; all this encompassed with formidable ramparts, and hooked on to the flanks of gigantic Sinai! From the sharpness and thinness of the air, we know that we are at an excessive height, and yet we seem to be at the bottom of a well. On every side the extreme peaks of Sinai enclose us, as they mount and scale the sky; their titanic walls, all of blood-red granite without stain or shadow, are so vertical and so high that they dizzy and appal. Only a fragment of the sky is visible, but its blueness is of a profound transparency, and the sun is magnificent. And still the same eerie silence envelops the phantom-like monastery, whose antiquity is accentuated under the206 cold, dazzling sunlight and the sparkling snow. One feels that it is verily "the habitation of solitude," encompassed by the great wildernesses.

Its situation has preserved it from the revolutions, the wars, and the changing fashions of the world. Almost everything remains just as it was built in 550 by Justinian. And when one of the long-haired monks shows us the marvellous treasures of the basilica—a dim, richly barbaric structure, filled with priceless offerings from the ancient kings of the earth—we no longer wonder at the enormous height and thickness of the ramparts which protect the convent from the Bedouins.

Behind the tabernacle of the basilica is the holy place of Sinai—the crypt of the "Burning Bush." It is a sombre cavern lined with antique tiles of a dim blue-green, which are hidden under the icons of gold and precious stone attached to the walls, and under the profusion of gold and silver lamps hanging from the low roof. Rigid saints in vermilion robes, whose faces are concealed in the dark shadow of their barbaric glistening crowns, looked at us as we entered. We stepped in reverently, on bare feet, and never, in any place, did we have so entire an impression of a recoil into the long past ages of the world.

Peoples and empires have passed away, while these precious things slowly tarnished in this dim crypt. Even the monk who accompanies us resembles, with his long red hair falling over his shoulders, and the pale beauty of his ascetic face, the mystics of the early ages; and his thoughts are infinitely removed from ours. And the vague reflection of sunlight which arrives through a single, little window in the thick wall, and falls in a circle of ghostly radiance on the icons and mosaics, seems to be some gleam from an ancient day, some gleam from an age far different from the sordid, impious century in which we live.

A kind of lodge, paved with chiselled silver, and hung 207 with lighted lamps, rises in the depth of the crypt; it is there that, according to the venerated tradition, the Angel of the Eternal appeared to Moses in the midst of the burning bush.

III.—Where Nothing Changes

March 16. We have now left the blue lonely waters and the red granite cliffs of the Gulf of Akaba, and entered the great desert of Tih, the solitudes of which, our camel-men say, are as immense and as flat as the sea, and the scene of incessant mirages. It is peopled by a few tribes of savage Bedouins, descended from the Amalekites. This is the land in which nothing changes: the true Orient, immutable in its dust and its dreams. Behind the barren hill on which we have camped, Arabia Deserta unrolls the infinite tract of its red desolation. On our right is the wild wilderness of Petra and the sinister mountains of the land of Edom. In front stretches the gloomier waste of the plateau of Tih.

From the spot on which we stand, light tracks, made by the regular movement of caravans, run out into the distance, innumerable as the threads in a weaver's loom. They form two rays: one dies away into the west, the other into the north. The first is the route of the believers coming from Egypt and Morocco; the second, which we are about to follow, is the path of the pilgrims from Syria to Palestine. This wild crossway of the desert, along which pass every year crowds of twenty or thirty thousand men marching to the holy city of Mecca, is now empty, infinitely empty, and the mournful, vacant grandeur which it wears under the sombre sky is terrible. The habitual halting-place of multitudes, it is strewn with tombstones, little rough, unhewn blocks, one at the head, the other at the feet—places in which the pious pilgrims who passed by have laid down to rest for eternity.

208Our dromedaries, excited by the wide, open space in front of them, raise their heads and scent the wind, and then change their languid gait into something that becomes almost a race. It is of a mud-grey colour, this desert that calls to them, and as even as a lawn. As far as the eye can reach, no change is seen in it, and it is gloomy under a still gloomier sky. It has almost the shimmer of something humid, but its immense surface is all made of dry mud, broken and marked like crackled porcelain.

The next day the colour of the wilderness changes from muddy grey to deep black, and the sun soared up, white-hot, in a clear blue sky. The empty, level distances trembled in the heat, and seemed to be preparing for all sorts of visions and mirages.

"Gazal! Gazal!" (gazelles) cried the sheik. They were passing in an opposite course to ours, like a whirl of sand, little creatures slenderly fine, little creatures timid and quick in flight. But the moving, troubled air altered their images and juggled them away from our defeated eyes.

Then the first phantom lake appeared, and deceived even the Bedouin chief—the water was so blue, and the shadows of a border of palm-trees seemed to be reflected in it. And very soon the tempting waters show on all sides, retreating before us, changing their shapes, spreading out, going away, coming back; large lakes or winding rivers or little ponds edged with imaginary reeds. Every minute they increase, and it seems like a sea which little by little gains on us—a disquieting sea that trembles. But at noon all this blue phantasmagoria vanishes abruptly, as if it were blown away at a breath. There is nothing but dried sands. Clear, real, implacable, reappears the land of thirst and death.

Easter Sunday, March 25, 1894. We were awakened this morning by the singing of the larks. After travelling for three hours, look, here are some trees—the first we209 have seen—a long valley full of trees; and there, on the far sky-line, is the blue edge of the sea. And at last Gaza, with its white minarets and grey houses; Gaza, in the midst of its gardens and its woods; Gaza, that seems a sumptuous city to us poor wanderers of the desert!

The moon is high. It is the hour that our Bedouins depart. Seated on their tall swinging beasts, the sheiks go by, and wave to us a friendly farewell. They are returning to the terrible land where they were born and where they love to live, and their departure brings to an end our dream of the desert. To-morrow, at break of day, we shall ascend towards Jerusalem.


210

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE

Voyage and Travel

I.—Of the Holy Land and the Way Thereto

The celebrated "Voyage and Travel of Sir John Mandeville" was first published in French between 1357 and 1371. The identity of its author has given rise to much difference of opinion, but its authorship is now generally ascribed to Jehan de Bourgoigne, a physician who practised at Liège. There is, indeed, some evidence that this name was assumed, and that the physician's real name, Mandeville, had been discarded when he fled from England after committing homicide. A tomb at Liège, seen at so late as the seventeenth century, bore the name of Mandeville, and gave the date of his death as November 17, 1372. As to the book itself, its material is evidently borrowed chiefly from other writers, especially from the account of the travels of Friar Odoric and from a French work on the East, and only a small part contains first-hand information. Numerous manuscripts exist, in several languages. The English version is probably not the work of the original writer, but it is, nevertheless, regarded as a standard piece of mediæval English prose.

For as much as the land beyond the sea, that is to say, the Holy Land, passing all other lands, is the most worthy land, most excellent, and Lady and Sovereign of all other lands, and is blessed and hallowed of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that land He chose before all other lands as the best and most worthy land, and the most virtuous land of all the world; wherefore, every good Christian man, that is of power, and hath whereof, should strive with all his strength for to conquer our right heritage, and chase out all misbelieving men. And for as much as many men desire to hear speak of the Holy Land, I, John Mandeville, Knight, albeit I be not worthy, that was born in England, in the town of Saint Albans, passed the sea, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1322, on the day of Saint Michael, and hitherto 211 have been a long time over the sea, and have seen and gone through many divers lands. And I shall devise you some part of things that there be, when time shall be, after it may best come to my mind; and specially for them that are in purpose for to visit the Holy City of Jerusalem, and I shall tell the way that they should hold thither. For I have oftentimes passed and ridden that way, with good company of many lords; God be thanked.

In the name of God, glorious and almighty, he that will pass over the sea to go to the city of Jerusalem, if he come from the west side of the world, as from England, he may and he will go through Almayne and through the kingdom of Hungary, that marcheth to the land of Polayne. And after go men to Belgrave and enter into the land of Bourgres, and through the land of Pyncemartz, and come to Greece, and so to the city of Constantynoble. And there dwelleth commonly the Emperor of Greece. And there is the most fair church and the most noble of all the world; and it is of Saint Sophie. From Constantynoble he that will go by water goeth to an isle that is clept Sylo, and then to the isle of Patmos.

From Patmos men go into Ephesus, a fair city and nigh to the sea. And there died Saint John, and was buried behind the high altar, in a tomb. And in the tomb of Saint John is nought but manna, that is clept angels' meat. For his body was translated into Paradise. And Turks hold now all that place, and the city and the church. And all Asia the less is clept Turkey. And ye shall understand that St. John made his grave there in his life, and laid himself therein all quick. And therefore some men say that he died not, but that he resteth there till the Day of Doom. And forsooth there is a great marvel, for men may see there the earth of the tomb apertly many times stir and move, as there were quick things under.

And from Ephesus men go through many isles in the sea, and to the isle of Crete, and through the isles of Colos and of Lango, of the which isles Ypocras was lord. And212 some men say that in the isle of Lango is yet the daughter of Ypocras, in form and likeness of a great dragon that is a hundred fathom of length, as men say, for I have not seen her. And they of the isles call her Lady of the Land. And she lieth in an old castle, in a cave, and showeth twice or thrice in the year. And she doth none harm to no man but if man do her harm. And she was thus changed and transformed from a fair damsel in the likeness of a dragon by a goddess that was clept Diana. And men say that she shall so endure in the form of a dragon unto the time that a knight come that is so hardy that dare come to her and kiss her on the mouth; and then shall she turn again to her own kind, and be a woman again, but after that she shall not live long.

And it is not long since that a knight that was hardy and doughty in arms said that he would kiss her. And when he was upon his courser and went to the castle and entered into the cave, the dragon lifted up her head against him. And when the knight saw her in that form so hideous and so horrible, he fled away. And the dragon bore the knight upon a rock, and from that rock she cast him into the sea; and so was lost both horse and man.

Egypt is a long country, but it is strait, that is to say narrow, for they may not enlarge it toward the desert, for default of water. And the country is set along upon the river of Nile; by as much as that river may serve by floods or otherwise, that when it floweth it may spread through the country, so is the country large of length. For there it raineth not but little in that country, and for that cause they have no water but if it be of the flood of that river. And for as much as it raineth not in that country, but the air is always pure and clear, therefore in that country be they good astronomers, for they find there no clouds to let them.

In Egypt is the city of Elyople, that is to say, the City of the Sun. In that city there is a temple made round, after the shape of the Temple of Jerusalem. The213 priests of that temple have all their writings under the date of the fowl that is clept Phœnix; and there is none but one in all the world. And he cometh to burn himself upon the altar of the temple at the end of 500 years; for so long he liveth. And at the 500 years' end the priests array their altar honestly, and put thereupon spices and sulphur and other things that will burn lightly. And then the bird Phœnix cometh, and burneth himself to ashes. And the first day next after men find in the ashes a worm; and the second day after men find a bird quick and perfect; and the third day next after, he flieth away.

And so there is no more birds of that kind in all the world but it alone. And truly that is a great miracle of God, and men may well liken that bird unto God; because that there is no God but one, and also that our Lord arose from death to life the third day. This bird men see oftentime flying in the countries; and he is not much greater than an eagle. And he hath a crest of feathers upon his head more great than the peacock hath; and his neck is yellow; and his back is coloured blue as Ind; and his wings be of purple colour, and the tail is yellow and red. And he is a full fair bird to look upon against the sun, for he shineth fully gloriously and nobly.

From Egypt men may go by the Red Sea, and so by desert to the Mount of Synay; and when they have visited the holy places nigh to it, then will they turn toward Jerusalem. They shall see here the Holy Sepulchre, where there is a full fair church, all round and open above and covered with lead. And then they may go up to Golgatha by degrees, and they shall see the Mount of Calvarie. Likewise they will behold the Temple of our Lord; and many other blessed things all whereof I cannot tell nor show him.

214II.—Of Strange Peoples and Strange Beasts in Divers Lands

From the south coast of Chaldea is Ethiopia, a great country that stretcheth to the end of Egypt. Ethiopia is departed in two principal parts, and that is the East part and the Meridional part. And the folk of that country are black, and more black than in the other part, and they be clept Moors. In Ethiopia be folk that have but one foot, and they go so fast that it is a marvel; and the foot is so large, that it shadoweth all the body against the sun, when they will lie and rest them. In that country when the children be young and little they be all yellow, and when they wax of age that yellowness turneth to be all black. And as men go forth towards Ind, they come to the city of Polombe, and above the city is a great mountain.

And at the foot of that mount is a fair well and a great, that hath odour and savour of all spices, and at every hour of the day he changeth his odour and his savour diversely. And whoso drinketh three times fasting of that water of that well he is whole of all manner of sickness that he hath. And they that dwell there and drink often of that well they never have sickness, and they seem always young. I have drunken of it, and yet, methinketh, I fare the better. Some men call it the Well of Youth, for they that often drink thereof seem always young and live without sickness. And men say that that well cometh out of Paradise, and that therefore it hath such virtue.

To that land go the merchants for spicery. And there men worship the ox for his simpleness and for his meekness, and for the profit that cometh of him. And they say that he is the holiest beast in the earth. For it seemeth to them that whosoever is meek and patient he is holy and profitable; for then they say he hath all virtues 215 in him. They make the ox to labour six years or seven, and then they eat him. And the king of the country hath always an ox with him; and he that keepeth him hath every day great fees.

Now shall I tell you of countries and isles that lie beyond those countries that I have spoken of. Wherefore I tell you that in passing by the land of Cathay toward the higher Ind, men pass by a kingdom that they call Caldilhe, that is a full fair country. And there groweth a manner of fruit, as it were gourds; and when they be ripe men cut them in two, and men find within a little beast, in flesh, in bone and blood, as though it were a little lamb without wool. And men eat both the fruit and the beast, and that is a great marvel. Of that fruit I have eaten, although it were wonderful; but that I know well that God is marvellous in His works. And nevertheless, I told them of as great a marvel to them that is among us; for I told them that in our country were trees that bear a fruit that become birds flying, and those that fall into the water live, and they that fall on the earth die anon; and they be right good for man's meat. And thereof they also had great marvel, that some of them trowed it were an impossible thing to be.

And beyond this land, men go towards the land of Bacharie, where be full evil folk and full cruel.

In that land be trees that bear wool, as though it were of sheep; whereof men make clothes, all things that may be made of wool. And there be also many griffons, more plenty than in any other country. Some men say that they have the body upward as an eagle and beneath as a lion; and truly they say sooth that they be of that shape. But one griffon hath the body more great and is more strong than eight lions; of such lions as be of this half; and more great and stronger than a hundred eagles such as we have amongst us. For one griffon there will bear, flying to his nest, a great horse, or two oxen yoked together, as they go at the plough. For he 216 hath his talons so long and so large and great upon his feet, as though they were horns of great oxen or of bugles or of kine; so that men make cups of them, to drink of. From thence go men, by many journeys, through the land of Prester John, the great Emperor of Ind.

III.—Of the Land of Prester John

The Emperor Prester John holdeth a full great land, and hath many full noble cities and good towns in his realm, and many great isles and large. And he hath under him seventy-two provinces, and in every province is a king. And these kings have kings under them, and all are tributaries to Prester John. And he hath in his lordships many great marvels. For in his country is the sea that men call the Gravelly Sea, that is all gravel and sand without any drops of water; and it ebbeth and floweth in great waves, as other seas do, and it is never still nor in peace. And no man may pass that sea by navy, nor by no manner of craft, and therefore may no man know what land is beyond that sea. And albeit that it have no water, yet men find therein and on the banks full good fish of other manner of kind and shape than men find in any other sea; and they are of right good taste and delicious to man's meat.

In the same lordship of Prester John there is another marvellous thing. There is a vale between two mountains, that dureth nigh on four miles; and some call it the Vale of Devils, and some call it the Valley Perilous. In that vale men hear often time great tempests and thunders and great murmurs and noises all days and nights; and great noise, as it were sown of tabors, and of trumpets, as though it were of a great feast. This vale is all full of devils, and hath been always. And men say there, that is one of the entries of hell. And in mid place of that vale under a rock is a head 217 and the visage of a devil bodily, full horrible and dreadful to see, and it showeth not but the head to the shoulders.

But there is no man in the world so hardy, Christian man nor other, but that he would be in dread for to behold it and that he would be ready to die for dread, so is it hideous for to behold. For he beholdeth every man so sharply with dreadful eyes that be evermore moving and sparkling as fire, and changeth and stareth so often in diverse manner with so horrible countenance that no man dare come nigh him. And in that vale is gold and silver and rich jewels great plenty. And I and my fellows passed that way in great dread, and we saw much people slain. And we entered fourteen persons, but at our going out we were but nine. And so we wisten never whether that our fellows were lost or turned again for dread.

But we came through that vale whole and living for that we were very devout, for I was more devout then than ever I was before or after, and all for the dread of fiends, that I saw in diverse figures. And I touched none of the gold and silver that meseemed was there, lest it were only there of the subtlety of the devils, and because I would not be put out of my devotions. So God of His grace helped us, and so we passed that perilous vale, without peril and without encumbrance, thanked be Almighty God.

These things have I told, that men may know some of all those marvellous things that I have seen in my way by land and sea. And now I, John Mandeville, Knight, that have passed many lands and many isles and countries, and searched many full strange places, and have been in many a full good honourable company, and at many a fair deed of armes—albeit that I did none myself, for mine unable insuffisance—now I am come home—mawgree myself—to rest. And so I have written these things in this book. Wherefore I pray to all the218 readers and hearers of this book that they would pray to God for me. And I shall pray for them, and beseech Almighty God to full fill their souls with inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in saving them from all their enemies both of body and soul, to the worship and thanking of Him that in perfect Trinity liveth and reigneth God, in all worlds and in all times; Amen, Amen, Amen.


219

MUNGO PARK

Travels in the Interior of Africa

I.—Up the Gambia

Mungo Park, who was born Sept. 20, 1771, on a farm near Selkirk, Scotland, and died in 1806 in Africa, will for ever be regarded as the most distinguished pioneer of the illustrious procession of African explorers. Trained as a surgeon at Edinburgh, in 1792 he undertook an adventurous exploration in the East Indies. In 1795 the African Association appointed him successor to Major Houghton, who had perished in seeking to trace the course of the Niger and to penetrate to Timbuctoo. He disappeared in the interior for eighteen months, and was given up for lost, but survived to tell the romantic story of his experiences. Returning to Scotland, Mungo Park married, but his passion for travel was irrepressible. In May, 1805, he set out on another expedition, with an imposing party of over forty Europeans. The issue was disastrous. Park and his companions were ambushed and slain by treacherous natives while passing through a river gorge. His "Travels in the Interior of Africa" was published in 1799, and has been frequently reprinted. Told in simple, unaffected style, the general accuracy of the narrative has never been questioned.

Soon after my return from the East Indies in 1793, having learnt that noblemen and gentlemen associated for the purpose of prosecuting discoveries in the interior of Africa were desirous of engaging a person to explore that continent by way of the Gambia River, I took occasion, through means of the president of the Royal Society, to whom I had the honour of being known, of offering myself for that service. I had a passionate desire to examine into the productions of a country so little known. I knew I was able to bear fatigue, and relied on my youth and strength of constitution to preserve me from the effects of climate.

The committee accepted me for the service, and their 220 kindness supplied me with all that was necessary. I took my passage in the brig Endeavour, a small brig trading to the Gambia for beeswax and honey, commanded by Captain Richard Wyatt. My instructions were very plain and concise. I was directed, on my arrival in Africa, to pass on to the River Niger, either by way of Bambouk, or by such other route as should be found most convenient; that I should ascertain the course, and, if possible, the rise and termination of that river; that I should use my utmost exertions to visit the principal towns or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Timbuctoo and Houssa.

We sailed from Portsmouth on May 22, 1795; on June 4 saw the mountains over Mogadore on the coast of Africa; and on June 22 anchored at Jillifree, a town on the northern bank of the River Gambia, opposite to James's Island, where the English formerly had a small port. The kingdom of Barra, in which the town of Jillifree is situated, produces great plenty of the necessaries of life; but the chief trade is in salt, which they carry up the river in canoes as high as Barraconda, and bring down in return Indian corn, cotton cloths, elephants' teeth, small quantities of gold dust, etc.

On June 23 we proceeded to Vintain, two miles up a creek on the southern side of the river, much resorted to by Europeans on account of the great quantities of beeswax brought hither for sale. The wax is collected in the woods by the Feloops, a wild and unsociable race of people, who in their trade with Europeans generally employ a factor or agent of the Mandingo nation. This broker, who speaks a little English, and is acquainted with the trade of the river, receives certain part only of the payment, which he gives to his employer as a whole. The remainder—which is very truly called the "cheating money"—he receives when the Feloop is gone, and appropriates to himself as a reward for his trouble.

On June 26 we left Vintain, and continued our course221 up the deep and muddy river. The banks are covered with impenetrable thickets of mangrove, and the whole of the adjacent country appears to be flat and swampy. At the entrance of the Gambia from the sea sharks abound, and higher up alligators and hippopotami. In six days after leaving Vintain we reached Jonkakonda, a place of considerable trade, where our vessel was to take in part of her lading. Dr. Laidley, a gentleman who had resided many years at an English factory on the Gambia, to whom I had a letter of recommendation, came to invite me to his house, to remain there till an opportunity should offer of prosecuting my journey. I set out for Pisania, a small village in the dominions of the King of Yany, and arrived there on July 5, and was accommodated in the doctor's home.

On this occasion I was referred to certain traders called slatees. These are free black merchants, of great consideration in this region, who come down from the interior chiefly with enslaved negroes for sale. But I soon found that very little dependence could be placed on their descriptions. They contradicted each other in the most important particulars, and all of them seemed most unwilling that I should prosecute my journey.

The country is a uniform and monotonous level, but is of marvellous fertility. Grain and rice are raised in great abundance, besides which the inhabitants in the vicinity of the towns and villages have gardens which produce onions, calavances, yams, cassava, ground-nuts, pompions, gourds, watermelons, and other esculent plants. I observed also near the towns small patches of cotton and indigo.

The chief wild animals are the antelope, hyæna, panther, and the elephant. When I told some of the inhabitants how the natives of India tame and use the elephant, they laughed me to scorn, and exclaimed, "Tobaubo fonnio!" (white man's lie). The negroes 222 hunt the elephant chiefly for the sake of the teeth. The flesh they eat, and consider it a great delicacy. The ass is the usual beast of burden in all the negro territories. Animal labour is nowhere applied to purposes of agriculture; the plough, therefore, is wholly unknown.

As the Slatees and others composing the caravans seemed unwilling to further my purpose, I resolved to avail myself of the dry season and proceed without them. Dr. Laidley approved my determination, and with his help I made preparations.

II.—Penetrating the Wild Interior

The kingdom of Kajaaga, in which I now commenced to travel, is bounded on the south-east and south by Bambouk, on the west by Bondou, and on the north by the River Senegal. The people, who are jet black, are called Serawoollies. They are habitually a trading tribe. Arriving in December at Joag, the frontier town, we took up our residence at the house of the chief man, who is called the dooty. My fellow-travellers were ten dealers, forming a little caravan, bound for the Gambia. Their asses were loaded with ivory, the large teeth being conveyed in nets, two on each side of the ass; the small ones are wrapped up in skins and secured with ropes.

Journeying by easy stages from place to place, I at length arrived at the important town of Jarra, which is situated in the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar. The greater part of the inhabitants are negroes, who prefer a precarious protection from the Moors, which they purchase by a tribute, rather than continued exposure to their predatory hostilities. Of the origin of these Moorish tribes nothing further seems to be known than that before the Arabian conquest, about the middle of the seventh century, all the inhabitants of Africa, whether they were descended from Numidians, Phœnicians,223 Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, or Goths, were comprehended under the general name of Mauri, or Moors. All these nations were converted to the religion of Mahomet during the Arabian empire under the caliphs.

The Moors, who are widely spread over the African continent, are a subtle and treacherous race. They take every opportunity of cheating and plundering the credulous and unsuspecting negroes.

On my arrival at Jarra, I obtained a lodging at the house of Daman Jumma, a Gambia slatee, who owed money to Dr. Laidley, from whom I had an order on him for the money, to the amount of six slaves. But he said he was afraid he could not in his present situation pay more than the value of two slaves. However, he gave me his aid in exchanging my beads and amber for gold, which was a portable article, and more easily concealed from the Moors.

Difficulties speedily arose. The unsettled state of the country from recent wars, and, above all, the overbearing deportment of the Moors, so completely frightened my attendants that they declared they would relinquish every claim to reward rather than proceed a step farther eastward. Indeed the danger they incurred of being seized by the Moors and sold into slavery became more apparent every day. Thus I could not condemn their apprehensions.

In this situation, deserted by my attendants, with a Moorish country of ten days' journey before me, I applied to Daman to obtain permission from Ali, the chief or sovereign of Ludamar, that I might pass unmolested through his territory, and I hired one of Daman's slaves to accompany me as soon as the permit should arrive. I sent Ali a present of five garments of cotton cloth, which I purchased of Daman for one of my fowling-pieces. Fourteen days elapsed, and then one of Ali's slaves arrived with directions, as he pretended, 224 to conduct me in safety as far as Goomba. He told me that I was for this service to pay him one garment of blue cotton cloth. Things being adjusted, we set out from Jarra, and, after a toilsome journey of three days, came to Deena, a large town, where the Moors are in greater proportion to the negroes than at Jarra. Assembling round the hut of the negro where I lodged, the Moors treated me with the greatest insolence. They hissed, shouted, and abused me; they even spat in my face, with a view to irritate me and afford a pretext for seizing my baggage. Finding such insults had not the desired effect, they had recourse to the final argument that I was a Christian, and that, of course, my property was lawful plunder to the followers of Mahomet.

Accordingly they opened my bundles and robbed me of everything they fancied. My attendants refused to go farther, and I resolved to proceed alone rather than to pause longer among these insolent Moors. At two the next morning I departed from Deene. It was moonlight, but the roaring of wild beasts made it necessary to proceed with caution. Two negroes, altering their minds, followed me and overtook me, in order to attend me. On the road we observed immense quantities of locusts, the trees being quite black with them.

III—Romantic Savage Life

Arriving at Dalli, we found a dance proceeding in front of the dooty's house. It was a feast day. Informed that a white man was in the place, the performers stopped their dance and came to the spot where I was, walking in order, two by two, following the musician, who played on a curious sort of flute. Then they danced and sang till midnight, crowds surrounding me where I sat. The next day, our landlord, proud of the honour of entertaining a white man, insisted on my staying with him225 and his friends till the cool of the evening, when he said he would conduct me to the next village. I was now within two days of Goombia, had no apprehensions from the Moors, accepted the invitation, and spent the forenoon very pleasantly with these poor negroes. Their company was the more acceptable as the gentleness of their manners presented a striking contrast to the rudeness and barbarity of the Moors. They enlivened their conversation by drinking a fermented liquor made from corn. Better beer I never tasted in England.

In the midst of this harmless festivity I flattered myself that all danger from the Moors was over, and fancy had already placed me on the banks of the Niger, when a party of Moors entered the hut, and dispelled the golden dream. They said that they came by Ali's orders to convey me to his camp at Benown. If I went peaceably, they told me, I had nothing to fear; but if I refused, they had orders to bring me by force. I was struck dumb by surprise and terror, which the Moors observing, repeated that I had nothing to fear. They added that the visit was occasioned by the curiosity of Ali's wife, Fatima, who had heard so much about Christians that she was very anxious to see one. We reached Benown after a journey in great heat of four days, during which I suffered much from thirst. Ali's camp consisted of a great number of dirty-looking tents, amongst which roamed large herds of camels, sheep, and goats.

My arrival was no sooner observed than the people who drew water at the wells threw down their buckets, those in the tents mounted their horses, and men, women, and children came running or galloping towards me. At length we reached the king's tent. Ali was an old Arab, with a long, white beard, of sullen and indignant aspect. He surveyed me with attention, and seemed much surprised when informed that I could not speak Arabic. He continued silent, but the surrounding226 attendants, especially the ladies, were abundantly inquisitive, and asked a thousand questions. They searched my pockets, inspected every part of my apparel, and even counted my fingers and toes, as if doubtful whether I was in truth a human being.

I was submitted to much irritation and insult by the Moors in the camp, and never did any period of my life pass away so heavily as my sojourn there. The Moors are themselves very indolent, but are rigid taskmasters over those who are under them.

Ali sent to inform me that there were many thieves in the neighbourhood, and that to prevent my things from being stolen it was necessary to convey them all to his tent. So my clothes, instruments, and everything belonging to me were carried away. To make sure of everything, he sent people the next morning to examine whether I had anything concealed on my person. They stripped me with the utmost rudeness of all my gold, amber, my watch, and pocket-compass. The gold and amber were gratifying to Moorish avarice, but the compass was an object of superstitious curiosity.

IV.—The Long Sought for Niger

It is impossible to describe my joy when, after being three months in captivity, I succeeded in effecting my escape. Arduous days of travelling lay before me, and after many weeks of endurance and fatigue, I saw with infinite pleasure the great object of my mission—the long-sought-for, majestic Niger, glittering in the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. I hastened to the brink, drank of the water, and lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer to the Great Ruler of all things for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success.

I waited more than two hours without having an opportunity of crossing the river, during which time the227 people who had crossed carried information to Mansong, the king, that a white man was waiting for a passage, and was coming to see him. He immediately sent over one of his chief men, who informed me that the king could not possibly see me till he knew what had brought me to his country, and that I must not presume to cross the river without the king's permission.

He therefore advised me to lodge at a distant village, to which he pointed, for the night, and said that in the morning he would give me further instructions how to conduct myself. This was very discouraging. However, as there was no remedy, I set off for the village, where I found, to my great mortification, that no person would admit me into his house. I was regarded with astonishment and fear, and was obliged to sit all day without victuals in the shade of a tree.

The next day a messenger arrived from Mansong, with a bag in his hand. He told me it was the king's pleasure that I should depart forthwith from the district, but that Mansong, wishing to relieve a white man in distress, had sent me 5,000 cowries, to enable me to purchase provisions in the course of my journey. The messenger added that, if my intentions were really to proceed to Jenné, he had orders to accompany me as a guide to Sansanding. I was at first puzzled to account for this behaviour of the king, but from the conversation I had with the guide, I had afterwards reason to believe that Mansong would willingly have admitted me to his presence at Sego, but was apprehensive he would not be able to protect me against the blind and inveterate malice of the Moorish inhabitants.

His conduct was, therefore, at once prudent and liberal. The circumstances under which I made my appearance were undoubtedly such as might create in the mind of the king a well-warranted suspicion that I wished to conceal the true object of my journey.

In the countries that I visited the population is not 228 very great, considering the extent and fertility of the soil and the ease with which the lands are obtained. I found many extensive and beautiful districts entirely destitute of inhabitants. Many places are unfavourable to population, from being unhealthful. The swampy banks of the Gambia, the Senegal, and other rivers towards the coast, are of this description. The negro nations possess a wonderful similarity of disposition. The Mandingoes, in particular, are a very gentle race; cheerful in their disposition, inquisitive, incredulous, simple, and fond of flattery. Perhaps the most prominent defect in their character is the propensity to theft, which in their estimation is no crime. On the other hand, it is impossible for me to forget the disinterested charity and tender solicitude with which many of these poor heathens, from the sovereign of Sego to the poor women who received me at different times into their cottages when I was perishing of hunger sympathised with me in my distresses, and contributed to my safety.

On my return to Pisania, Dr. Laidley received me with great joy and satisfaction, as one risen from the dead. No European vessel had arrived at Gambia for many months previous to my return from the interior. But on June 15 the ship Charlestown, an American vessel, commanded by Mr. Charles Harris, entered the river. She came for slaves, intending to touch at Goree to fill up, and to proceed from thence to South Carolina. This afforded me an opportunity of returning, though by a circuitous route, to my native country. I therefore immediately engaged my passage in his vessel for America. I disembarked at St. John's, and there took passage to Antigua, where, catching the mail-packet for Falmouth, I reached that port on December 22, having been absent from England two years and seven months.


229

MARCO POLO

Travels

I.—The Beginnings of a Romantic Career

Marco Polo stands out in history and literature as the most famous traveller belonging to the early mediæval period. He was born at Venice in 1254. In 1271, his father and uncle, Venetian merchants, set out on a long and romantic Oriental journey, taking with them young Marco, who now began the amazing career chronicled in his book. Everywhere he made copious notes of his observations, and his curious records, so astonishing as to meet with little credence during the Middle Ages, have been so far confirmed as to demonstrate his absolute fidelity to facts as he saw them, and to such traditions as were communicated to him, however fantastic. Returning to Venice in 1295, three years later he fought in his own galley at Curzola, but on the defeat of the Venetians by the Genoese he was taken captive and flung into a fortress at Genoa. This captivity, which lasted a year, is memorable as being the cause of bringing about the record of his extraordinary experiences in the East. "The Travels of Marco Polo, a Venetian," consists essentially of two parts—first, the author's personal narrative; second, his description of the provinces and states and the peoples of Asia during the latter half of the thirteenth century.

In the middle of the thirteenth century, two merchants of Venice, Nicolo and Maffeo Polo, voyaged with a rich cargo of merchandise, in their own ship, to Constantinople, and thence to the Black Sea. From the Crimea they travelled on horseback into Western Tartary, where they resided in business for a year, gaining by their politic behaviour the cordial friendship of the paramount chief of the tribes, named Barka.

Prevented from returning to Europe through the outbreak of a tribal war in Tartary, the travellers proceeded to Bokhara, where they stayed three years. Here they made the acquaintance of the ambassador of the famous230 Kublai Khan. This potentate is called the "grand khan," or supreme prince of all the Tartar tribes. The ambassador invited the merchants to visit his master. Acceding to his request, they set out on the difficult journey, and on reaching their destination were cordially received by Kublai, for they were the first persons from Italy who had ever arrived in his dominions. He begged them to take with them to their country a commissioner from himself to the Pope of Rome. The result was unfortunate, for the commissioner fell ill on the way through Tartary in a few days, and was left behind. At Acre, the travellers heard that Pope Clement IV. was dead. Arrived at Venice, Nicolo Polo found that his wife had died soon after his departure in giving birth to a son, the Marco of this history, who was now fifteen years of age.

Waiting for two years in Venice, the election of a new pope being delayed by successive obstacles, and fearing that the grand khan would be disappointed or might despair of their return, they set out again for the East, taking with them young Marco Polo. But at Jerusalem they heard of the accession to the pontifical throne of Gregory X., and hastened back to Italy. The new pope welcomed them with great honour, furnished them with credentials, and commissioned to accompany them to the East two friars of great learning and talent, Fra Guglielmo da Tripoli and Fra Nicolo da Vicenza. The party, entrusted with handsome presents from the pontiff to the grand khan, voyaged forth, and reached Armenia to find that region embroiled in war. The two friars, in terror, returned to the coast under the care of certain knight templars; but the three Venetians, accustomed to danger, continued their journey, which, on account of slow winter progress, lasted altogether three and a half years.

Kublai had removed to a splendid city named Cle Men Fu [near where Peking now stands], and,231 on arriving, a gracious reception awaited the three merchants, who narrated events and delivered the messages from Rome with the papal presents. Taking special notice of young Marco, the grand khan enrolled him among his attendants of honour. Marco soon became proficient in four languages, and displayed such extraordinary talents that he was sent on a mission to Karazan, a city six months' journey distant. On this mission he distinguished himself by his tact and success, and during the seventeen years spent in the service of the khan executed many similar tasks in every part of the empire.

The Venetians remained many years at the Tartar court, and at length, after amassing much wealth, felt constrained to return home. They were permitted to depart, taking with them, at the khan's request, a maiden named Kogatin, of seventeen, a relative of the khan, whom they were to conduct to the court of Arghun, a sovereign in India, to become his wife.

The travellers were not fortunate, for they were compelled, through fresh wars among the Tartar princes, to return. But about this time Marco Polo happened to arrive after a long voyage in the East Indies, giving a most favourable report of the safety of the seas he had navigated. Accordingly, it was arranged that the party should go by sea; and fourteen ships were prepared, each having four masts and nine sails, and some crews of over 200 men. On these embarked the three Venetians, the Indian ambassadors, and the queen. In three months Java was reached, and India in eighteen more.

On landing, the travellers learned that the King of Arghun had died some time before, and his son Kiakato was reigning in his stead, and that the lady was to be presented to Kiasan, another son, then on the borders of Persia guarding the frontier with an army of 60,000. This was done, and then the party returned to the residence, 232 and there rested nine months before taking their leave. While on their way they heard of the death of Kublai, this intelligence putting an end to their plan of revisiting those regions. Pursuing, therefore, their intended route, they at length reached Trebizonde, whence they proceeded to Negropont, and finally to Venice, at which place, in the enjoyment of health and abundant riches, they safely arrived in the year 1295, and offered thanks to God, Who had preserved them from innumerable perils.

The foregoing record enables the reader to judge of the opportunities Marco Polo had of acquiring a knowledge of the things he describes during a residence of many years in the eastern parts of the world.

II.—Legends of Ancient Persia

Persia was anciently a great province, but it is now in great part destroyed by the Tartars. From the city called Saba came the three magi who adored Christ at Bethlehem. They are buried in Saba, and are all three entire with their beards and hair. They were Baldasar, Gaspar, and Melchior. After three days' journey you come to Palasata, the castle of the fire-worshippers. The people say that the three magi, when they adored Christ, were by Him presented with a closed box, which they carried with them for several days, and then, being curious to see what it contained, were constrained to open. In it was a stone signifying that they should remain firm to the faith they had received.

Thinking themselves deluded, they threw the stone into a pit, whence instantly fire flamed forth. Bitterly repenting, they took home with them some of the fire, and placed it in a church, where it is adored as a god, the sacrifices all being performed before it. Therefore, the people of Persia worship fire.

In the north of Persia the people tell of the Old Man 233 of the Mountain. He was named Alo-eddin, and was a Moslem. In a lovely valley he had planted a magnificent garden and built a cluster of gorgeous palaces, supplied by means of conduits with streams of wine, milk, honey, and pure water. Beautiful girls, skilled in music and dancing, and richly dressed, were among the inhabitants of this retreat.

The chief object of Alo-eddin in forming this fascinating garden was to persuade his followers that, as Mahomet had promised to the Moslems the enjoyments of Paradise, with every species of sensual gratification, so he was also a prophet and the compeer of Mahomet, and had the power of admitting to Paradise whom he pleased. An impregnable castle guarded the entrance to the enchanting valley, the entrance to this being through a secret passage.

At his court this chief entertained many youths, selected from the people of the mountains for their apparent courage and martial disposition. To these he daily preached on Paradise and his prerogative of granting admission; and at certain times he caused opium to be administered to a dozen of the youths, who, when half dead with sleep, were conveyed to apartments in the palaces in the gardens. On awakening, each person found himself surrounded by lovely damsels, who sang, played, served delicate viands and exquisite wines, till the youth, intoxicated with excess of enjoyment, believed himself assuredly in Paradise, and felt unwilling to quit it.

After four or five days the youths were again thrown into somnolency and carried out of the garden; and when asked by Alo-eddin where they had been, declared that by his favour they had been in Paradise, the whole court listening with amazement to their recital. The consequence was that his followers were so devoted to his service that if any neighbouring chiefs or princes gave him umbrage they were put to death by these disciplined 234 assassins, and his tyranny made him dreaded through all the surrounding provinces. He employed people to rob travellers in their passage through his country. At length the grand khan grew weary of hearing of his atrocious practices, and an army was sent in the year 1262 to besiege him in his castle. It was so strong that it held out for three years, until Alo-eddin was forced through lack of provisions to surrender, and was put to death. Thus perished the Old Man of the Mountain.

III.—Of the Tartars and their Grand Khan

Now that I have begun speaking of the Tartars, I will tell you more about them. They never remain long anywhere, but when winter approaches remove to the plains of a warmer region, in order to find sufficient pasture for their cattle. Their flocks and herds are multitudinous. Their tents are formed of rods covered with felt, and being exactly round, and nicely put together, they can gather them together into one bundle, and make them up as packages to carry about. When they set them up again, they always make the entrance front the south.

Their travelling-cars are drawn by oxen and camels. The women do all the business of trading, buying, and selling, and provide everything necessary for their husbands and families, the time of the men being entirely devoted to hunting, hawking, and matters that relate to military life. They have the best falcons and also the best dogs in the world. They subsist entirely on flesh and milk, consuming horses, camels, dogs, and animals of every description. They drink mares' milk, preparing it so that it has the qualities and flavour of white wine, and this beverage they call kemurs.

The Tartars believe in a supreme deity, to whom they offer incense and prayers; while they also worship235 another, called Natigay, whose image, covered with felt, is kept in every house. This god, who has a wife and children, and who, they consider, presides over their terrestrial concerns, protects their children, and guards their cattle and grain. They show him great respect, and at their meals they never omit to take a fat morsel of the flesh, and with it to grease the mouth of the idol.

Rich Tartars dress in cloth of gold and silks, with skins of the sable, the ermine, and other animals. All their accoutrements are of the most expensive kind. They are specially skilful in the use of the bow, and they are very brave in battle, but are cruel in disposition. Their martial qualities and their wonderful powers of endurance make them fitted to subdue the world, as, in fact, they have done with regard to a considerable portion of it.

When these Tartars engage in battle they never mingle with the enemy, but keep hovering about him, discharging their arrows first from one side, and then from the other, occasionally pretending to fly, and during their flight shooting arrows backwards at their pursuers, killing men and horses as if they were combating face to face. In this sort of warfare the adversary imagines he has gained a victory, when in fact he has lost the battle. For the Tartars, observing the mischief they have done him, wheel about, and renewing the fight, overpower his remaining troops, and make them prisoners in spite of their utmost exertions.

Kublai is the sixth grand khan, and began his reign as grand khan in the year 1246, and commenced his reign as Emperor of China in 1280. It is forty-two years since he began his reign in Tartary to the present year, 1288, and he is fully eighty-five years of age. It was his ancestor, Jengiz, who assumed the title of khan. Kublai is considered the most able and successful commander that ever led the Tartars to battle. He it was who completed the conquest of China by subduing the236 southern provinces and destroying the ancient dynasty. After this period he ceased to take the field in person. His last campaign was against rebels, of whom there were many both in Cathay and Manji [North and South China].

The Tartars date the beginning of their year from the beginning of February, and it is their custom on that occasion to dress in white. Great numbers of beautiful white horses are presented to the grand khan. On the day of the White Feast all his elephants, amounting to five thousand, are exhibited in procession, covered with rich housings. It is a time of splendid ceremonials, and of most sumptuous feasting. During the amusements a lion is conducted into the presence of his majesty, so tame that it is taught to lay itself down at his feet.

The grand khan has many leopards and lynxes kept for the purpose of chasing deer, and also many lions, which are larger than the Babylonian lions, and are active in seizing boars, wild oxen, and asses, stags, roebucks, and of other animals that are objects of sport. It is an admirable sight, when the lion is let loose in pursuit of the animal, to observe the savage eagerness and speed with which he overtakes it. His majesty has them conveyed for this purpose in cages placed on cars, and along with them is confined a little dog, with which they become familiarised. The grand khan has eagles also, which are trained to stoop at wolves, and such is their size and strength that none, however large, can escape from their talons.

Before we proceed further we shall speak of a memorable battle that was fought in the kingdom of Yun-chang. When the king of Mien [Burma] heard that an army of Tartars had arrived at Yun-chang, he resolved to attack it, in order that by its destruction the grand khan might be deterred from again attempting to station a force on the borders of his dominions.

237For this purpose he assembled a very large army, including a multitude of elephants (an animal with which the country abounds), on whose backs were placed battlements, or castles of wood, capable of containing to the number of twelve or sixteen in each. With these, and a numerous army of horse and foot, he took the road to Yun-chang, where the grand khan's army lay, and encamping at no great distance from it, intended to give his troops a few days of rest.

The Tartars, chiefly by their wonderful skill in archery, inflicted a terrible defeat on their foes; and the King of Mien, though he fought with the most undaunted courage, was compelled to flee, leaving the greater part of his troops killed or wounded.

In the northern parts of the world there dwell many Tartars, under a chief of the name of Kaidu, nearly related to Kublai, the grand khan. These Tartars are idolaters. They possess vast herds of horses, cows, sheep, and other domestic animals. In these northern districts are found prodigious white bears, black foxes, wild asses in great numbers, and swarms of sables and martens. During the long and severe winters the Tartars travel in sledges drawn by great dogs.

Beyond the country of these northern Tartars is another region, which extends to the utmost bounds of the north, and is called the Region of Darkness, because during most part of the winter months the sun is invisible, and the atmosphere is obscured to the same degree as that in which we find it just about the dawn of day, when we may be said to see and not to see. The intellects of the people are dull, and they have an air of stupidity. The Tartars often proceed on plundering expeditions against them, to rob them of their cattle and goods, availing themselves for this purpose of those months in which the darkness prevails.

238IV.—Of Ceylon and Malabar

The island of Zeilan [Ceylon] is better circumstanced than any other in the world. It is governed by a king named Sendernaz. The people worship idols, and are independent of every other state. Both men and women go nearly nude. Their food is milk, rice, and flesh, and they drink wine drawn from trees. Here is the best sappan-wood that can anywhere be met with.

The island produces more beautiful and valuable rubies than can be found in any other part of the world, and also many other precious stones. The king is reported to possess the grandest ruby that ever was seen, being a span in length, and the thickness of a man's arm, brilliant beyond description, and without a single flaw. The grand khan, Kublai, sent ambassadors to this monarch, with a request that he would yield to him possession of this ruby; in return for which he should receive the value of a city. The answer was that he would not sell it for all the treasure of the universe. The grand khan, therefore, failed to acquire it.

Leaving the island of Zeilan, you reach the great province of Malabar, which is part of the continent of the greater India, the noblest and richest country in the world. It is governed by four kings, of whom the principal is named Sender-bandi. Within his district is a fishery for pearls. The pearl oysters are brought up in bags by divers. The king wears many jewels of immense value, and among them is a fine silken string containing one hundred and four splendid pearls and rubies. He has at least a thousand wives and concubines, and when he sees a woman whose beauty pleases him, he immediately signifies his desire to possess her. The heat of the country is excessive, and on that account the people go naked.

In this kingdom, and also throughout India, all the239 beasts and birds are unlike those of our own country. There are bats as large as vultures, and vultures as black as crows, and much larger than ours.

In the province of Malabar is the body of St. Thomas the Apostle, who there suffered martyrdom. It rests in a small city to which vast numbers of Christians and Saracens resort. The latter regard him as a great prophet, and name him Ananias, signifying a holy personage.

In the year 1288 a powerful prince of the country, who at the time of harvest had accumulated as his portion an enormous quantity of rice, and whose granaries could not hold the vast store, used for that purpose a religious house belonging to the church of St. Thomas, although the guardians of the shrine begged him not thus to occupy the place. He persisted, and on the next night the holy apostle appeared to him, holding a small lance in his hand, which he held at his throat, threatening him with a miserable death if he should not immediately evacuate the house. The prince awoke in terror, and obeyed.

Various miracles are daily wrought here through the interposition of the blessed saint. The Christians who have the care of the church possess groves of cocoanut-trees, and from these derive the means of subsistence. The death of this most holy apostle took place thus. Having retired to a hermitage, where he was engaged in prayer, and being surrounded by a number of peafowls, with which bird the country abounds, an idolater who happened to be passing, and did not perceive the holy man, shot an arrow at a peacock, which struck St. Thomas in the side. He only had time to thank the Lord for all His mercies, and into His hands resigned his spirit.

In the kingdom of Musphili [Solconda], which you enter upon leaving Malabar after proceeding five hundred miles northward, are the best and most honourable240 merchants that can be found. No consideration whatever can induce them to speak an untruth. They have also an abhorrence of robbery, and are likewise remarkable for the virtue of continence, being satisfied with the possession of one wife. The Brahmins are distinguished by a certain badge, consisting of a thick cotton thread passed over the shoulder and tied under the arm.

The people are gross idolaters, and much addicted to sorcery and divination. When they are about to make a purchase of goods, they observe the shadow cast by their own bodies in the sunshine, and if the shadow be as large as it should be, they make the purchase that day. Moreover, when they are in a shop for the purchase of anything, if they see a tarantula, of which there are many there, they take notice from which side it comes, and regulate their business accordingly. Again, if they are going out of their houses and they hear anyone sneeze they return to the house and stay at home.


241

BERNARDIN DE SAINT PIERRE

Voyage to the Isle of France

I.—Miseries of Slavery

In 1768 Bernardin de Saint Pierre (see Fiction) was sent out to Mauritius, which was then a French colony called the Isle of France, to fortify it against the English. He found it was not worth fortifying, and, after an absence of three years, he returned to France, and in 1773 published his famous "Voyage to the Isle of France," and thereby made his name. It gave him a position similar to that which Defoe occupies in England, for by means of it he introduced into French literature the exotic element which he afterwards expanded in "Paul and Virginia." He was the first French writer of genius to apply the art of description in depicting the life and scenery of far-distant lands. Finally, it is interesting to remark on the general change which has taken place in the treatment of subject native races since the time when Saint Pierre wrote, even though such atrocities as came to light in the recent Congo scandal may be still burning themselves out in isolated instances.

Port Louis, August 6, 1768. The Isle of France was discovered by a Portuguese, and taken over by the Dutch; but they abandoned it in 1712, and settled at the Cape of Good Hope, and the French then took possession of it.

The island was a desert when we took it over, and the first settlers were a few honest, simple farmers from our colony of Bourbon, who lived together very happily until 1760, when the English drove us out of India. Then, like a flood, all the scoundrels, rogues and broken men hunted from our Indian possessions, invaded the island and threw everything into disorder and ruin. Everybody is envious and discontented; everybody wishes to make a fortune at once and depart. And this is an island with no commerce and scarcely any agriculture, where the only money found is paper money! Yet they all say they will242 be rich enough to return to France in a year's time. They have been saying this for many years. Everything is in a state of squalid neglect. The streets are neither paved nor planted with trees; the houses are merely tents of wood, moved from place to place on rollers; the windows have no glass and no curtains, and it is rare that one finds within even a few poor pieces of furniture.

There are only four hundred farmers. The rest of the white population are mainly idlers, who gather together in the square from noon till evening and pass away the time in gambling and scandalmongering. The work of agriculture is carried on by black slaves imported from Madagascar. They can be got in exchange for a gun or a roll of cloth, and the dearest does not cost more than seven pounds. They are compelled to work from sunrise to sunset, and they are given nothing to eat but mashed maize boiled in water, and tapioca bread. At the least negligence the skin is scourged from their body. The women are punished in the same manner. Sometimes when they are old they are left to starve to death. Every day during my sojourn in the Isle of France I have seen black men and black women lashed hands and feet to a ladder and flogged for having forgot to shut a door or for breaking a bit of pottery. I have seen them bleeding all over, and having their wounded bodies rubbed with vinegar and salt. I have seen them speechless with excess of pain; I have seen some of them bite the iron cannon on which they have been bound.

I do not know if coffee and sugar are necessary to the happiness of Europe, but I know well that these two vegetables are a source of misery to the inhabitants of two continents of the world. We are dispeopling America in order to have a land to grow them; we are dispeopling Africa in order to have a nation to cultivate them. There are 20,000 black slaves on the Isle of France, but they die so fast that, in order to keep up243 their number, 1,200 more have to be imported every year.

I am very sorry that our philosophers who attack abuses with so much courage have hardly spoken of the slavery of the black races, except to make a jest of it. They have eyes only for things very remote. They speak of St. Bartholomew, of the massacre of the Mexicans by the Spaniards, as if this crime was not one committed now by the half of Europe. Oh, ye men who dream of republics, see how your own people misuse the authority entrusted to them! See your colonies streaming with human blood! The men who shed it are men of your stamp; they talk like you, they talk of humanity, they read the books of our philosophers, and they exclaim against despotism; but when they get any power they show that they are really brutes. In a country of so corrupt a morality an absolute government is necessary. The excesses of a single tyrant are preferable to the crimes and the injustices of a whole people.

II.—A Land of Beauty and Abominations

Port Louis, September 13, 1769. An officer proposed to make a walking tour round the island with me, but when the time came to set out he excused himself, so I resolved to go alone. But knowing that I should often have to camp out in the woods alone, I took two negroes with me to carry provisions, and I armed myself with a double-barrel gun and a couple of pistols, for fear I should encounter one of the bands of runaway slaves that hide in the deserted part of the island.

Striking out through the plains of Saint Pierre, we walked for four days along the seashore, with the dense and silent forest on our left hand. On crossing the black river I came to the last farm on this part of the coast. It was a long hut, formed of stakes and covered with palm leaves. There was only one room. In the middle 244 of it was the kitchen; at one extremity were the stores and the sleeping places of the eight black slaves; the other end was the farmer's bed; a hen was setting on some eggs on the counterpane, and some ducks were living beneath the bed, and around the leafy wall pigeons had made their nests. In this miserable hut I was surprised to find a very beautiful woman. She was a young Frenchwoman, born, like her husband, of a good family. They had come to the island some years ago in the hope of making a fortune; they had left their parents, their friends, and their native land, to pass their lives in this wild and lonely place, from which one could see only the empty sea and the grim precipices of a desolate mountain. But the air of contentment and goodness of this young and lovely mother of a growing family seemed to make everybody around her happy. When evening came she invited me to share a simple, but neatly-served supper. The meal appeared to me an exceedingly pleasant one. I was given as a bed-room a little tent built of wood, about a hundred steps away from the log cabin. As the door had not been put up, I closed the opening with planks, and loaded my gun and pistols; for the forest all around is full of runaway slaves. A few years ago forty of them began to make a plantation on the mountain close by; the white settlers surrounded them and called on them to surrender, but rather than return to captivity all the slaves threw themselves into the sea.

I stayed with the farmer and his wife until three o'clock the next morning. The farmer walked with me as far as Coral Point. He was a remarkably robust man, and his face and arms and legs were burnt by the sun. Unlike the ordinary settler, he worked himself in tilling the land and felling and carting trees. The only thing that worried him, he said to me, was the unnecessary trouble that his wife took in bringing up her family. Not content with looking after her own five children, she had recently burdened herself with the care 245 of a little orphan girl. The honest farmer merely told me of his little worries, for he saw clearly that I was aware of all his happiness. When we took farewell of each other, we did so with a cordial embrace.

The country beyond his farm was charming in its verdure and freshness; it is a rich prairie stretching between the splendid sea and the magnificent forest. The murmur of the fountains, the beautiful colour of the waves, the soft movement of the scented air filled me with joy and peace. I was sorry that I was alone; I formed all kinds of plans. From all the outside world I only wanted a few loved objects to enable me to pass my life in this paradise. And great was my regret when I turned away from this beautiful yet deserted place. I had scarcely gone 200 feet when a band of blacks, armed with guns, came towards me. Advancing to them, I saw that they were a detachment of the black police. One of them carried two little dogs; another pulled a negress along by means of a cord around her neck—she was part of the loot they had got in attacking and dispersing a camp of runaway slaves. The negress was broken with grief. I questioned her; she did not reply. On her back she carried a large gaping bag. I look in it. Alas! it contained a man's head. The natural beauty of the country disappeared. I saw it as it really was—a land of abominations.

The Isle of France is regarded as a fortress which protects our Indian possessions. It is as though Bordeaux were regarded as the citadel of our American colonies. There are 1,500 leagues between the Isle of France and Pondichery. Had we but spent on a fortress on the Malabar coast or the mouth of the Ganges half of the money which has been wasted on the Isle of France the English would not now be masters of Bengal. What, then, is the use of the Isle of France? To grow coffee and serve as a port of call.

246III.—Bourbon, the Pirates' Island

Port Louis, December 21, 1770. Having obtained permission to return to France, I embarked on November 9, 1770, on the Indien. It took us twelve days to cover the forty leagues between the Isle of France and Bourbon. This was due to the calm weather; but on landing at Bourbon, we encountered a hurricane.

Out of the calm sea there suddenly came a monstrous wave which broke so violently on the shore that everybody fled. The foam rose fifty feet into the air. Behind it came three waves the same height and force, like three long rolling hills. The air was heavy, the sky dark with motionless clouds, and the vast flocks of whimbrels and drivers came in from the open sea and scattered along the coast. The land birds and animals seemed perturbed. Even men felt a secret terror at the sight of a frightful tempest in the midst of calm weather.

On the second day the wind completely dropped, and the sea grew wilder. The billows were more numerous, and swept in from the ocean with great force. All the small boats were drawn far up on the land, and the people strengthened their house with joists and ropes. Seven ships besides the Indien were riding at anchor, and the islanders gathered in a crowd along the shore to see if they would weather the storm. At noon the sky began to lower, and a strong wind arose suddenly from the south-east. Everyone was afraid that the vessels would be flung ashore, and a signal was made from the battery for them to depart. As the cannon went off, the vessels cut their cables and got under sail, and at the end of two hours they disappeared in the north-east in the midst of a black sky.

At three o'clock the hurricane came. The sound was frightful. All the winds of heaven were loose. The stricken sea came over the land in clouds of spindrift,247 sand, and pebbles, and buried everything within fifty feet of the shore in shingle. The church was unroofed, and part of the Government House destroyed. The hurricane lasted till three o'clock in the morning. The Indien did not return, but sailed away with all my effects on it. There was nothing for me to do but to wait at Bourbon for another, homeward-bound ship; so I resolved to profit by my misfortune, and make an excursion into the island.

This enabled me to gather something of the history of Bourbon. It was first inhabited by a band of pirates, who brought with them some negresses from Madagascar. This happened in 1657. Some time afterwards our Indian company set up a factory in the island, and the governor managed to keep on good terms with his dangerous neighbours. One day the Portuguese viceroy of Goa anchored off the island and came to dine with the governor. He had scarcely landed when a pirate ship of fifty guns entered the harbour and captured the Portuguese vessel. The captain of the pirates then landed, and was also invited to dinner by the governor. The buccaneer sat down at table by the side of the viceroy, and told the Portuguese that he was now a prisoner. When the wine and the good cheer had put the man in a good humour, M. Desforges (that was the name of our governor) asked him at how much he fixed the ransom of the viceroy.

"I want a thousand piastres," said the pirate.

"That's too little," replied M. Desforges, "for a brave man like you and a great lord like him. Ask more than that, or ask nothing."

"Very well," said the generous corsair, "he can go free."

The viceroy at once re-embarked and got under sail, Vastly content at having escaped so cheaply.

The pirate afterwards settled in the island with all his followers, and was hanged after an amnesty had been248 published in favour of himself and his men. He had forgotten to have his name included in it, and a counsellor who wished to appropriate his spoils profited by the mistake, and had him put to death. The second rogue, however, quickly came to almost as unhappy an end. One of the pirates, who lived to the age of one hundred and four years, died only a little time ago. His companions soon grew more peaceful in their manners on adopting more peaceful occupations, and, though their descendants are still distinguished by a certain spirit of independence and liberty, this is now being softened by the society of a multitude of worthy farmers who have settled at Bourbon.

There are five thousand Europeans on the island and sixty thousand blacks. The land is three times more peopled than that of the Isle of France, and it is very much better cultivated.

The manners of the old settlers of Bourbon were very simple. Most of the houses were never shut, and a lock was an object of curiosity. The people kept their savings in a shell above their door. They went barefooted, and fed on rice and coffee; they imported scarcely anything from Europe, being content to live without luxury provided they lived without trouble. When a stranger landed on the island, they came without knowing him and offered him their houses to live in.

IV.—Visit to the Cape Colony

Port Louis, January 20, 1771. I have landed among the Dutch at the extremity of Africa without money, without linen, and without friends. Learning of my position, M. De Tolback, the governor of Cape Colony, has invited me to dinner; and, happily, the secretary of the council has provided me with money, having allowed me to use his credit in buying whatever I need. The streets of the Cape are well set out; some are watered by canals,249 and most of them are planted with oak trees. The fronts of the houses are shadowed by their foliage; every door has seats on both sides in brick or turf, on which sit fresh and rosy-faced women. There is no gambling at the Cape, no play-acting or novel reading. The people are content with the domestic happiness that virtue brings in its train. Every day brings the same duties and pleasures. There are no spectacles at the Cape and no one wants any; every man there has in his own home all that he desires. Happy servants, well-bred children, good wives: these are pleasures that fiction does not give.

A quiet life of this sort furnishes little matter for conversation, so the Dutchmen of the Cape do not talk very much. They are a rather melancholic people, and they prefer to feel rather than to argue. So little happens, perhaps, that they have nothing to talk about; but what does it matter if the mind is empty when the heart is full, and when the tender emotions of nature can move it without being excited by artifice or constrained by a false decorum? When the girls of the Cape fall in love, they artlessly avow their feelings, but they insist on choosing their own husbands. The lads show the same frankness. The good faith which the young persons of each sex keep towards each other generally results in a happy marriage. Love with them is combined with esteem, and this nourishes all during life in their constant souls that desire to please which married persons in some other countries only show outside their own home.

It was with much regret that I left these worthy people, but I am not sorry to return to France. I prefer my own country to all others, not because it is more beautiful, but because I was born and bred there. Happy is the man who sees again the field in which he learnt to walk and the orchard which he used to play in! Happier still is he who has never quitted the paternal roof! How many voyagers return and yet find no place of retreat. Of their friends, some are dead, others are gone away;250 but life is only a brief voyage, and the age of man a rapid day. I wish to forget the storms of it, and remember only in these letters the goodness, the virtue, and the constancy that I have met with. Perhaps this humble work may make your names, O virtuous settlers at the Cape, survive when I am in the grave! For thee, O ill-fated negro! that weepest on the rocks of the Isle of France, if my hand, which cannot wipe away thy tears, can but bring the tyrants to weep in sorrow and repentance, I shall want nothing more from the Indies; I shall have gained there the only fortune I require.


251

JOHN HANNING SPEKE

Discovery of the Source of the Nile

I.—Beginnings in the Black Man's Land

John Hanning Speke was born on May 14, 1827, near Ilchester, Suffolk, England. He entered the army in 1844, serving in India, but his love of exploration and sport led him to visit the Himalayas and Thibet; leaving India in 1854, he joined Sir Richard Burton on his Somali expedition, where he was wounded and invalided home. After the Crimean War he rejoined Burton in African exploration, pushing forward alone to discover the Victoria N'yanza, which he believed to be the source of the Nile. Speke's work was so much appreciated by the Royal Geographical Society that they sent him out again to verify this, his friend, Captain Grant, accompanying him, and the exciting incidents of this journey are set forth in his "Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile," which he published on his return in 1863. Honours were bestowed on him for having "solved the problem of the ages," though Burton sharply contested his conclusions. An accident while partridge shooting on September 18, 1864, suddenly ended the career of one who had proved himself to be a brave explorer, a good sportsman, and an able botanist and geologist. His "Journal" is an entrancing record of one of the greatest expeditions of modern times, and is told with no small amount of literary skill. The work was followed a year later by "What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile," these two forming, with the exception of a number of magazine articles, Speke's entire literary output.

I started on my third expedition in Africa to prove that the Victoria N'yanza was the source of the Nile, on May 9, 1859, under the direction of the Royal Geographical Society, and Captain Grant, an old friend and brother sportsman in India, asked to accompany me. After touching at the Cape and East London we made our first acquaintance with the Zulu Kaffirs at Delagoa Bay, and on August 15 we reached our destination, Zanzibar. Here I engaged my men, paying a year's wages in advance, and anyone who saw the grateful avidity with 252 which they took the money and pledged themselves to serve me faithfully would think I had a first rate set of followers.

At last we made a start, and reaching Uzaramo, my first occupation was to map the country by timing the rate of march with a watch, taking compass bearings, and ascertaining by boiling a thermometer the altitude above the sea level, and the latitude by the meridian of a star, taken with a sextant, comparing the lunar distances with the nautical almanac. After long marching I made a halt to send back some specimens, my camera, and a few of the sickliest of my men, and then entered Usagara, which includes all the country between Kingani and Mgéta rivers east and Ugogo the first plateau west—a distance of one hundred miles. Here water is obtainable throughout the year, and where slave hunts do not disturb the industry of the people, cultivation thrives, but these troubles constantly occur, and the meagre looking wretches, spiritless and shy, retreat to the hill tops at the sight of a stranger.

At this point Baraka, the head of my Wanguana (emancipated slaves) became discontented; ambition was fast making a fiend of him, and I promoted Frij in his place. Shortly afterwards my Hottentots suffered much from sickness, and Captain Grant was seized with fever. In addition to these difficulties we found that avarice, that fatal enemy to the negro chiefs, made them overreach themselves by exhorbitant demands for taxes, for experience will not teach the negro who thinks only for the moment. The curse of Noah sticks to these his grandchildren by Ham, they require a government like ours in India, and without it the slave trade will wipe them off the face of the earth. We travelled slowly with our sick Hottentot lashed to a donkey; the man died when we halted, and we buried him with Christian honours. As his comrades said, he died because he had determined to die—an instance of that obstinate fatalism253 in their mulish temperament which no kind words or threats can cure.

After crossing the hilly Usagara range, leaving the great famine lands behind, we camped, on November 24, in the Ugogo country, which has a wild aspect well in keeping with the natives who occupy it, and who carry arms intended for use rather than show. They live in flat-topped square villages, are fond of ornaments, impulsive by nature, and avaricious. They pester travellers, jeering, quizzing, and pointing at them on the road and in camp intrusively forcing their way into the tents.

In January, after many very trying experiences, we arrived at Unyamuézi—the Country of the Moon—with which the Hindus, before the Christian era, had commercial dealings in ivory and slaves. The natives are wanting in pluck and gallantry, the whole tribe are desperate smokers and greatly given to drink. Here some Arabs came to pay their respects, they told me what I had said about the N'yanza being the source of the Nile would turn out all right, as all the people in the north knew that when the N'yanza rose, the stream rushed with such violence it tore up islands and floated them away. By the end of March we had crossed the forests, forded the Quandé nullah and entered the rich flat district of Mininga, where the gingerbread palm grows abundantly.

During my stay with Musa, the king at Kazé, who had shown himself friendly on a previous expedition, I underwent some trying experiences in trying to mediate between two rival rulers, Snay and Manua Séra, between whom there was continual wrangle and conflict. On one occasion Musa, who was suffering from a sharp illness, to prove to me that he was bent on leaving Kazé the same time as myself, began eating what he called his training pills—small dried buds of roses with alternate bits of sugar candy. Ten of these buds, he said, eaten dry, were sufficient, especially after having been boiled in rice water or milk.

254Struggling on, faced by the thievish sultans and followed by my train of quarrelling servants, I at last reached Uzinza, which is ruled by a Wahuma chief of Abyssinian stock, and here I found the petty chiefs quite as extortionate in extorting hongo (tax) as others. To add to my troubles a new leader I had previously engaged, called "the Pig," gave me great annoyance, causing a mutiny amongst my men. Some were saying, "They were the flesh and I was the knife; I cut and did with them just what I liked, and they couldn't stand it any longer." However, they had to stand it, and I brought them to reason.

II.—Travel Difficulties and a King's Hospitality

A bad cough began to trouble me so much that whilst mounting a hill I blew and grunted like a broken-winded horse, and during an enforced halt at Lumérési's village I was in constant pain, so much that lying down became impossible. This chief tried to plunder and detain me, and Baraka, my principal man, began to grow discontented, because in my intention to push on to Karagué I was acting against impossibilities. "Impossibilities!" I said. "What is impossible? Could I not go on as a servant with the first caravan, or buy up a whole caravan if I liked? What is impossible? For God's sake don't try any more to frighten my men, for you have nearly killed me already in doing so." My troubles did not end here. A letter came in from Grant, whom I had left behind through sickness, that his caravan had been attacked and wrecked and he was, as Baraka had heard, in sore straits. However, to my inexpressible joy, a short time afterwards Grant appeared and we had a good laugh over our misfortunes.

On our arrival at Usui I was told that Suwarora, its great king, desired to give me an audience, and after days of more impudent thieving on the part of his officers,255 my man Bombay came with exciting news. I questioned him.

"Will the big king see us?"

"Oh no. By the very best good fortune in the world, on going into the palace, I saw Suwarora, and spoke to him at once, but he was so tremendously drunk he could not understand."

"Well, what was Suwarora like?"

"Oh, he is a very fine man, just as tall and in the face very like Grant, in fact, if Grant were black you would not know the difference."

"Were his officers drunk too? And did you get drunk?"

"Yes," said Bombay, grinning and showing his whole row of sharp, pointed teeth.

November 16 found us rattling on again, as merry as larks, over the red sandstone formation, leaving the intemperate Suwarora behind. We entered a fine forest at a stiff pace until we arrived at the head of a deep valley called Lohugati which was so beautiful we instinctively pulled up to admire it. Deep down its well-wooded side was a stream of most inviting aspect for a trout-fisher, flowing towards the N'yanza. Just beyond it, the valley was clothed with fine trees and luxuriant vegetation of all description, amongst which was conspicuous the pretty pandana palm and rich gardens of plantains, whilst thistles of extraordinary size and wild indigo were the common weeds.

Nothing could be more agreeable than our stay at Karagué, our next stopping place, where we found Rumanika, its intelligent king, sitting in a wrapper made of antelope's skin, smiling blandly as we approached him. He talked of the geography of the lake, and by his invitation we crossed the Spur to the Ingézi Kagéra side, showing by actual navigation the connection of these highland lakes with the rivers which drain the various spurs of the Mountains of the Moon. Rumanika also256 told me that in Ründa there existed pigmies who lived in trees, but occasionally came down at night, and listening at the hut doors of the men, would wait till they heard the name of one of its inmates, when they would call him out, and firing an arrow into his heart, disappear again in the same way as they came. After a long and amusing conversation, I was introduced to his sister-in-law, a wonder of obesity, unable to stand, except on all fours. Meanwhile, the daughter, a lass of sixteen, sat before us sucking at a milk-pot, on which her father kept her at work by holding a rod in his hand, as fattening is the first duty of fashionable female life.

During my stay I had traced Rumanika's descent from King David, whose hair was as straight as my own, and he found in these theological disclosures the greatest delight. He wished to know what difference existed between the Arabs and ourselves, to which Baraka replied, as the best means of making him understand, that whilst the Arabs had only one book, we had two, to which I added, "Yes, that is true in a sense, but the real merits lie in the fact that we have got the better book, as may be inferred by the obvious fact that we are more prosperous and superior in all things."

One day, we heard the familiar sound of the Uganda drum. Maula, a royal officer, with an escort of smartly-dressed men and women and boys, had brought a welcome from the king. One thing only now embarrassed me—Grant was worse, without hope of recovery for some months. This large body of Waganda could not be kept waiting. To get on as fast as possible was the only chance of ever bringing the journey to a successful issue. So, unable to help myself, with great remorse at another separation, on the following day I consigned my companion, with several Wanguana, to the care of my friend Rumanika. When all was completed, I set out on the march, perfectly sure in my mind that before very long I should settle the great Nile problem for ever, and with257 this consciousness, only hoping that Grant would be able to join me before I should have to return again, for it was never supposed for a moment that it was possible I ever could get north from Uganda.

III.—A Distinguished Guest at the Court of Uganda

As it was my lot to spend a considerable time in Uganda, I formed a theory of its ethnology, founded on the traditions of the several nations and my own observation. In my judgment, they are of the semi-Shem-Hamitic race of Ethiopia, at some early date having, from Abyssinia, invaded the rich pasture lands of Unyoro, and founded the great kingdom of Kittara. Here they lost their religion, forgot their language, and changed their national name to Wahuma, their traditional idea being still of a foreign extraction. We note one very distinguishing mark, the physical appearance of this remarkable race partaking more of the phlegmatic nature of the Shemitic father, than the nervous boisterous temperament of the Hamitic mother, as a certain clue to their Shem-Hamitic origin.

Before, however, I had advanced much farther over the frontiers of this new country, I had a rather spirited scene with my new commander-in-chief (Baraka being left with Grant) on a point of discipline. I ordered him one morning to strike the tent; he made some excuses. "Never mind, obey my orders, and strike the tent."

Bombay refused, and I began to pull it down myself, at which he flew into a passion, and said he would pitch into the men who helped me, as there was gunpowder which might blow us all up. I promptly remonstrated:

"That's no reason why you should abuse my men, who are better than you by obeying my orders. If I choose to blow up my property, that is my look-out; and if you don't do your duty, I will blow you up also."

258As Bombay foamed with rage at this, I gave him a dig on the head with my fist, and when he squared up to me, I gave him another, till at last as the claret was flowing, he sulked off. Crowds of Waganda witnessed this comedy, and were all digging at one another's heads, showing off in pantomime the strange ways of the white man.

It was the first and last time I had ever occasion to lose my dignity by striking a blow with my own hands, but I could not help it on this occasion without losing command and respect.

On February 19, Mtésa, the King of Uganda, sent his pages to announce a levée at the palace in my honour. I prepared for my presentation at court in my best, but cut a sorry figure in comparison with the dressy Waganda. The preliminary ceremonies were so dilatory, that I allowed five minutes to the court to give me a proper reception, saying if it were not conceded, I would then walk away. My men feared for me, as they did not know what a "savage" king would do in case I carried out my threat; whilst the Waganda, lost in amazement at what seemed little less than blasphemy, saw me walk away homeward, leaving Bombay to leave the present on the ground and follow.

Mtésa thought of leaving his toilet room to catch me up, but sent Wakungu running after me. Poor creatures! They caught me up, fell upon their knees and implored I would return at once, for the king had not tasted food, and would not till he saw me. I felt grieved, but simply replied by patting my heart and shaking my head, walking, if anything, all the faster. My point gained I cooled myself with coffee and a pipe, and returned, advancing into the hut where sat the king, a good-looking, well-figured young man of twenty-five, with hair cut short, and wearing neat ornaments on his neck, arms, fingers and toes. A white dog, spear, shield, and woman—the Uganda cognizance—were by his side. Not knowing the language, we sat staring at each other for an 259 hour, but in the second interview Maula translated. On that occasion I took a ring from my finger and presented it to the king with the words:

"This is a small token of friendship; please inspect it, it is made after the fashion of a dog collar, and being the king of metals, gold, is in every respect appropriate to your illustrious race."

To which compliment he replied: "If friendship is your desire, what would you say if I showed you a road by which you might reach your home in a month?"

I knew he referred to the direct line to Zanzibar across the Masai. He afterwards sent a page with this message:

"The king hopes you will not be offended if required to sit on it—a bundle of grass—before him, for no person in Uganda, however high in office, is ever allowed to sit upon anything raised above the ground but the king."

To this I agreed, and afterwards had many interviews with his queen, fair, fat and forty-five, to whom I administered medicine and found her the key to any influence with the king. She often sat chattering, laughing and smoking her pipe in concert with me.

I found that Mtésa was always on the look-out for presents, and set his heart upon having my compass. I told him he might as well put my eyes out and ask me to walk home as take away that little instrument, which could be of no use to him as he could not read or understand it. But this only excited his cupidity. He watched it twirling round and pointing to the north and looked and begged again until tired of his importunities, I told him I must wait until the Usoga Road was open before I could part with it, and then the compass would be nothing to what I would give him. Hearing this, he reared his head proudly, and patting his heart, said:

"That is all on my shoulders, as sure as I live it shall be done. For that country has no king and I have long been desirous of taking it."

260I declined, however, to give him the instrument on the security of this promise, and he went to breakfast.

I had a brilliant instance of the capricious restlessness and self-willedness of this despotic monarch Mtésa. He sent word that he had started for N'yanza and wished me to follow. But N'yanza merely means a piece of water, and no one knew where he meant or what project was on foot. I walked rapidly through gardens, over hills and across rushy swamps down the west flank of the Murchison creek, and found the king with his Wakungu in front and women behind like a confused pack of hounds. He had first, it seems, mingled a little business with pleasure, for, finding a woman tied for some offence, he took the executioner's duty, and by firing killed her outright.

It will be kept in view that the hanging about at this court and all the perplexing and irritating negotiations had always one end in view—that of reaching the Nile, where it pours out of the N'yanza as I was long certain that it did.

Without the consent, and even the aid, of this capricious barbarian I was now talking to, such a project was hopeless. I thought that whilst I could be employed in inspecting the river and in feeling the route by water to Gani, Grant could return to Karagué by water, bring up our rear traps, and in navigating the lake obtain the information he had been frustrated in getting before.

We resolved to try a new political influence at court. Grant had taken to the court of Karagué a jumping-jack to amuse the young princess, but it gave offence here as a breach of etiquette.

Finally we bade Mtésa good-bye. I flattered him with admiration of his shooting, his country, and the possibilities of trade in the future, to which he replied in good taste. We then rose with an English bow, placing the hand on the heart while saying adieu, and there was a complete uniformity in the ceremonial, for whatever I261 did, Mtésa in an instant mimicked with the instinct of a monkey.

IV.—The Source Confirmed At Last

The final stage of our toilsome travelling was now reached, and we started northward, but as it appeared all-important to communicate quickly with Petherick, who had promised to await us with boats at Gondokoro, and Grant's leg being so weak, I arranged for him to go direct with my property, letters, etc., for dispatch to Petherick. I should meanwhile go up the river to its source or exit from the lake and come down again navigating as far as practicable. Crossing the Luajerri, a huge rush drain three miles broad, which is said to rise in the lake and fall into the Nile, I reached Urondogani.

Here, at last I stood on the brink of the Nile; most beautiful was the scene, nothing could surpass it! It was the very perfection of the kind of effect aimed at in a highly-kept park, with a magnificent stream from 600 to 700 yards wide, dotted with islets and rocks, the former occupied by fishermen's huts, the latter by sterns and crocodiles basking in the sun—flowing between fine high, grassy banks, with rich trees and plaintains in the background, where herds of the nsunnu and hartebeest could be seen grazing, while the hippopotami were snorting in the water and florikan and guinea-fowl rising at our feet.

The expedition had now performed its functions. I saw that old Father Nile, without any doubt, rises in the Victoria N'yanza! I told my men they ought to shave their heads and bathe in the holy river, the cradle of Moses, the waters of which, sweetened with sugar, men carried all the way from Egypt to Mecca and sell to the pilgrims. But Bombay, who is a philosopher of the Epicurean school, said:

"We don't look on those things in the same fanciful manner that you do, we are contented with all the common-places262 of life and look for nothing beyond the present. If things don't go well, it is God's will; and if they do go well, that is His will also."

I mourned, however, when I thought how much I had lost by the delays in the journey having deprived me of the pleasure of going to look at the north-east corner of the N'yanza to see what connection there was with it and the other lake where the Waganda went to get their salt, and from which another river flowed to the north making "Usoga an island." But I felt I ought to be content with what I had been spared to accomplish.

The most remote waters or tophead of the Nile is the southern end of the lake, situated close on the third degree of south latitude, which gives to the Nile the surprising length in direct measurement, rolling over thirty-four degrees of latitude, of above 2,300 miles or more than one-eleventh the circumference of our globe. I now christened what the natives term "the stones" as Ripon Falls after the nobleman who presided over the Royal Geographical Society when my expedition was got up, and the arm of water from which the Nile issued Napoleon Channel, in token of respect to the French Geographical Society who gave me their gold medal for discovering the Victoria N'yanza.

After a long journey to Gani we reached the habitation of men, knots of native fellows perched like monkeys on the granite blocks awaited us, and finally at Gondokoro we got first news of home and came down by boat to Khartum. Of course, in disbanding my followers, my faithful children, I duly rewarded them, franked them home to Zanzibar, and they all promptly volunteered to go with me again.


263

LAURENCE STERNE

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

I.—Setting Out

No literary career has ever been more singular than that of Laurence Sterne. Born in Clonmel Barracks, Ireland, on November 24, 1713, he was forty-six years of age before he discovered his genius. By calling he was a country parson in Yorkshire, yet more unconventional books than "Tristram Shandy" (see Fiction) and "A Sentimental Journey" never appeared. The fame of the former brought Sterne to London, where he became, says Walpole, "topsy-turvey with success." In the intervals of supplying an ever increasing demand with more "Tristrams" he composed and published volumes of sermons. Their popularity proved that he was as eloquent in his pulpit gown as he was diverting without it. The turmoil of eighteenth century social and literary life soon shattered his already failing health, and he died on March 18, 1768, the first two volumes of "A Sentimental Journey" appearing on February 27th. The "Journey" proved equally as fascinating and as popular as "Shandy." Walpole, who described the latter as tiresome, declared the new book to be "very pleasing though too much dilated, and marked by great good nature and strokes of delicacy." Like its predecessor, the "Journey" is intentionally formless—narrative and digression, pathos and wit, sentiment and coarse indelicacy, all commingled freely together.

"They order," said I, "this matter better in France." "You have been in France?" said my gentleman, turning quick upon me with the most civil triumph in the world. Strange! quoth I, debating the matter with myself, that one and twenty miles' sailing, for 'tis absolutely no further from Dover to Calais, should give a man these rights: I'll look into them; so giving up the argument, I went straight to my lodgings, put up half-a-dozen shirts and a black pair of silk breeches,—"the coat I have on," said I, looking at the sleeve, "will do,"—took place in the Dover stage; and, the packet sailing at nine the264 next morning, by three I had got sat down to my dinner upon a fricasseed chicken—incontestably in France.

When I had finished my dinner, and drank the King of France's health—to satisfy my mind that I bore him no spleen, but, on the contrary, high honour to the humanity of his temper—I rose up an inch taller for the accommodation. "Just God!" said I, kicking my portmanteau aside, "what is there in this world's goods which should sharpen our spirits, and make so many kind-hearted brethren of us fall out so cruelly as we do, by the way?"

II.—The Monk—Calais

I had scarce uttered the words when a poor monk of the order of St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. No man cares to have his virtues the sport of contingencies. The moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was determined not to give him a single sou; and accordingly I put my purse into my pocket—button'd it up—set myself a little more upon my centre, and advanced up gravely to him; there was something, I fear, forbidding in my look: I have his figure this moment before my eyes, and think there was that in it which deserved better.

The monk, as I judged from the break in his tonsure, a few scatter'd white hairs upon his temples being all that remained of it, might be about seventy—he was certainly sixty-five.

It was one of those heads which Guido has often painted—mild, pale, penetrating, free from all commonplace ideas of fat contented ignorance looking downwards upon the earth—it look'd forwards; but look'd as if it look'd at something beyond this world.

When he had entered the room three paces, he stood still; and laying his left hand upon his breast, when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the265 little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order—and he did it with so simple a grace—I was bewitch'd not to have been struck with it.

A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a single sou.

"'Tis very true," said I, "'tis very true—and Heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it."

As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a single glance with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic—I felt the full force of the appeal. "I acknowledge it," said I, "a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet—are no great matters; and the true point of pity is, as they can be earn'd in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a fund which is the property of the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm; and had you been of the order of mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am," continued I, pointing at my portmanteau, "full cheerfully should it have been open'd to you, for the ransom of the unfortunate"—the monk made me a bow—"but of all others," resumed I, "the unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights; and I have left thousands in distress upon our own shore." The monk gave a cordial wave with his head, as much as to say, "No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent." "But we distinguish," said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, "we distinguish, my good father! betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour—and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God."

The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a266 moment pass'd across his cheeks, but could not tarry. Nature seemed to have done with her resentments in him; he showed none, but press'd both his hands with resignation upon his breast and retired.

My heart smote me the moment he shut the door. "Psha!" said I, with an air of carelessness, but it would not do: every ungracious syllable I had utter'd crowded back into my imagination. I reflected, I had no right over the poor Franciscan, but to deny him; I consider'd his grey hairs—his courteous figure seem'd to re-enter and gently ask me what injury he had done me? And why I could use him thus? I would have given twenty livres for an advocate—I have behaved very ill, said I, within myself; but I have only just set out upon my travels, and shall learn better manners as I get along.

III.—The Remise Door—Calais

Now, there being no travelling through France and Italy without a chaise—and Nature generally prompting us to the thing we are fittest for, I walk'd out into the coach yard to buy or hire something of that kind to my purpose. Mons. Dessein, the master of the hotel, having just returned from vespers, we walk'd together towards his remise, to take a view of his magazine of chaises. Suddenly I had turned upon a lady who had just arrived at the inn and had followed us unperceived, and whom I had already seen in conference with the Franciscan.

Monsieur Dessein had diabled the key above fifty times before he found out that he had come with a wrong one in his hand: we were as impatient as himself to have it open'd, when he left us together, with our faces towards the door, and said he would be back in five minutes. "This, certainly, fair lady!" said I, "must be one of Fortune's whimsical doings; to take two utter267 strangers by their hands, and in one moment place them together in such a cordial situation as Friendship herself could scarce have achieved for them." Then I set myself to consider how I should undo the ill impressions which the poor monk's story, in case he had told it to her, must have planted in her breast against me.

IV.—The Snuff-box—Calais

The good old monk was within six paces from us, as the idea of him cross'd my mind; and was advancing towards us a little out of the line, as if uncertain whether he should break in upon us or no. He stopp'd, however, as soon as he came up to us, with a world of frankness: and having a horn snuff-box in his hand, he presented it open to me. "You shall taste mine," said I, pulling out my box (which was a small tortoise one), and putting it into his hand. "'Tis most excellent," said the monk. "Then do me the favour," I replied, "to accept of the box and all, and, when you take a pinch out of it, sometimes recollect it was the peace-offering of a man who once used you unkindly, but not from his heart."

The poor monk blush'd as red as scarlet. "Mon Dieu," said he, pressing his hands together, "You never used me unkindly." "I should think," said the lady, "he is not likely." I blush'd in my turn. "Excuse me, Madam," replied I, "I treated him most unkindly; and from no provocations." "'Tis impossible," said the lady. "My God!" cried the monk, with a warmth of asseveration which seem'd not to belong to him, "The fault was in me, and in the indiscretion of my zeal." The lady opposed it, and I joined with her in maintaining it was impossible, that a spirit so regulated as his could give offence to any.

Whilst this contention lasted the monk rubb'd his horn box upon the sleeve of his tunic; and as soon as it had acquired a little air of brightness by the friction, he268 made a low bow, and said 'twas too late to say whether it was the weakness or goodness of our tempers which had involved us in this contest. But be it as it would, he begg'd we might exchange boxes. In saying this, he presented his to me with one hand, as he took mine from me in the other; and having kissed it, he put it into his bosom and took his leave.

I guard this box, as I would the instrumental parts of my religion, to help mind on to something better; truth, I seldom go abroad without it: and oft and many a time have I called up by it the courteous spirit of its owner to regulate my own, in the justlings of the world; they had full employment for his, as I learnt from his story, till about the forty-fifth year of his age, when upon some military services ill requited, and meeting at the same time with a disappointment in the tenderness of passions, he abandoned the sword and the sex together, and took sanctuary, not so much in his convent as in himself.

I felt a damp upon my spirits, that in my last return through Calais, upon inquiring after Father Lorengo, I heard he had been dead near three months, and was buried not in his convent, but, according to his desire, in a little cemetery belonging to it, about two leagues off; I had a strong desire to see where they had laid him—when upon pulling out his little horn box, as I sat by his grave, and plucking up a nettle or two at the head of it, which had no business to grow there, they all struck together so forcibly upon my affections, that I burst into a flood of tears—but I am as weak as a woman; and I beg the world not to smile but to pity me.

V.—Montreuil

I had once lost my portmanteau from behind my chaise, and twice got out in the rain, and one of the times up to the knees in dirt, to help the postillion to tie it269 on, without being able to find out what was wanting. Nor was it till I got to Montreuil, upon the landlord's asking me if I wanted not a servant, that it occurred to me, that that was the very thing.

"A servant! That I do most sadly!" quoth I. "Because, Monsieur," said the landlord, "there is a clever young fellow, who would be very proud of the honour to serve an Englishman." "But, why an English one more than any other?" "They are so generous," said the landlord. I'll be shot if this is not a livre out of my pocket, quoth I to myself, this very night. "But they have wherewithal to be so, Monsieur," added he. Set down one livre more for that, quoth I.

The landlord then called in La Fleur, which was the name of the young man he had spoke of—saying only first, that as for his talents, he would presume to say nothing—Monsieur was the best judge what would suit him; but for the fidelity of La Fleur, he would stand responsible in all he was worth.

The landlord deliver'd this in a manner which instantly set my mind to the business I was upon—and La Fleur, who stood waiting without, in that breathless expectation which every son of nature of us has felt in our turns, came in.

VI.—Montreuil—La Fleur

I am apt to be taken with all kinds of people at first sight; but never more so, than when a poor devil comes to offer his services to so poor a devil as myself.

When La Fleur entered the room, the genuine look and air of the fellow determined the matter at once in his favour; so I hired him first—and then began to enquire what he could do. But I shall find out his talents, quoth I, as I want them. Besides, a Frenchman can do everything.

Now poor La Fleur could do nothing in the world but270 beat a drum, and play a march or two upon the pipe. I was determined to make his talents do: and can't say my weakness was ever so insulted by my wisdom, as in the attempt.

La Fleur had set out early in life, as gallantly as most Frenchmen do, with serving for a few years: at the end of which, having satisfied the sentiment, and found moreover, that the honour of beating a drum was likely to be its own reward, as it open'd no further track of glory to him—he retired à ses terres, and lived comme il plaisait à Dieu—that is to say, upon nothing.

"But you can do something else, La Fleur?" said I. O yes, he could make spatterdashes (leather riding gaiters), and play a little upon the fiddle. "Why, I play bass myself," said I; "we shall do very well. You can shave and dress a wig a little, La Fleur?" He had all the disposition in the world. "It is enough for Heaven!" said I, interrupting him, "and ought to be enough for me!" So supper coming in, and having a frisky English spaniel on one side of my chair, and a French valet with as much hilarity in his countenance as ever Nature painted in one, on the other, I was satisfied to my heart's content with my empire; and if monarchs knew what they would be at, they might be satisfied as I was.

As La Fleur went the whole tour of France and Italy with me, I must interest the reader in his behalf, by saying that I had never less reason to repent of the impulses which generally do determine me, than in regard to this fellow. He was a faithful, affectionate, simple soul as ever trudged after the heels of a philosopher; and notwithstanding his talents of drum-beating and spatterdash making, which, though very good in themselves, happened to be of no great service to me, yet was I hourly recompensed by the festivity of his temper—it supplied all defects. I had a constant resource in his looks, in all difficulties and distresses of my own—I was going to have271 added, of his too; but La Fleur was out of the reach of everything; for whether it was hunger or thirst, or cold or nakedness, or watchings, or whatever stripes of ill luck La Fleur met with in our journeyings, there was no index in his physiognomy to point them out by—he was eternally the same; so that if I am a piece of a philosopher, which Satan now and then puts it into my head I am—it always mortifies the pride of the conceit, by reflecting how much I owe to the complexional philosophy of this poor fellow for shaming me into one of a better kind.

III.—The Passport—Paris

When I got home to my hotel, La Fleur told me I had been enquired after by the lieutenant of police. "The deuce take it," said I, "I know the reason."

I had left London with so much precipitation that it never enter'd my mind that we were at war with France; and had reached Dover, and looked through my glass at the hills beyond Boulogne, before the idea presented itself; and with this in its train, that there was no getting there without a passport. Go but to the end of a street, I have a mortal aversion for returning back no wiser than I set out; and as this was one of the greatest efforts I had ever made for knowledge, I could less bear the thoughts of it; so hearing the Count de —— had buried the packet, I begged he would take me in his suite. The count had some little knowledge of me, so made little or no difficulty—only said his inclination to serve me could reach no further than Calais, as he was to return by way of Brussels to Paris; however, when I had once passed there I might get to Paris without interruption; but that in Paris I must make friends and shift for myself. "Let me get to Paris, Monsieur le Comte," said I, "and I shall do very well." So I embark'd, and never thought more of the matter.

272When La Fleur told me the lieutenant of police had been enquiring after me—the thing instantly recurred—and by the time La Fleur had well told me, the master of the hotel came into my room to tell me the same thing with this addition to it, that my passport had been particularly asked after. The master of the hotel concluded with saying he hoped I had one. "Not I, faith!" said I.

The master of the hotel retired three steps from me, as from an infected person, as I declared this, and poor La Fleur advanced three steps towards me, and with that sort of movement which a good soul makes to succour a distress'd one—the fellow won my heart by it; and from that single trait I knew his character as perfectly, and could rely upon it as firmly, as if he had served me with fidelity for seven years.

"Mon Seigneur!" cried the master of the hotel—but recollecting himself as he made the exclamation, he instantly changed the tone of it—"If Monsieur," said he, "has not a passport, in all likelihood he has friends in Paris who can procure him one."

"Not that I know of," quoth I, with an air of indifference.

"Then, certes," replied he, "you'll be sent to the Bastille or the Chatelet, au moins."

"Pooh!" said I, "the King of France is a good-natur'd soul—he'll hurt nobody."

"Cela n'empèche pas," said he—"You will certainly be sent to the Bastille to-morrow morning."

"But I've taken your lodgings for a month," answered I, "and I'll not quit them a day before the time for all the kings of France in the world." La Fleur whispered in my ear, that nobody could oppose the King of France.

"Pardi!" said my host, "ces Messieurs Anglais sont des gens très extraordinaires"—And having said and sworn it he went out.

273VII.—Le Pâtissier—Versailles

As I am at Versailles, thought I, why should I not go to the Count de B——, and tell him my story? So seeing a man standing with a basket on the other side of the street, as if he had something to sell, I bid La Fleur go up to him and enquire for the count's hotel.

La Fleur returned a little pale; and told me it was a Chevalier de St. Louis selling pâtés. He had seen the croix set in gold, with its red ribband, he said, tied to his button-hole—and had looked into the basket and seen the pâtés which the chevalier was selling.

Such a reverse in man's life awakens a better principle than curiosity—I got out of the carriage and went towards him. He was begirt with a clean linen apron, which fell below his knees, and with a sort of bib that went half way-up his breast; upon the top of this hung his croix. His basket of little pâtés was covered over with a white damask napkin; and there was a look of propreté and neatness throughout, that one might have bought his pâtés of him, as much from appetite as sentiment.

He was about 48—of a sedate look, something approaching to gravity. I did not wonder—I went up rather to the basket than him, and having lifted up the napkin, and taken one of his pâtés into my hand I begged he would explain the appearance which affected me.

He told me in a few words, that the best part of his life had pass'd in the service, in which he had obtained a company and the croix with it; but that, at the conclusion of the last peace, his regiment being re-formed and the whole corps left without any provision, he found himself in a wide world without friends, without a livre—"And indeed," said he, "without anything but this" (pointing, as he said it, to his croix). The king274 could neither relieve nor reward everyone, and it was only his misfortune to be amongst the number. He had a little wife, he said, whom he loved, who did the pâtisserie; and added, he felt no dishonour in defending her and himself from want in this way—unless Providence had offer'd him a better.

It would be wicked to pass over what happen'd to this poor Chevalier of St. Louis about nine months after.

It seems his story reach'd at last the king's ear—who, hearing the chevalier had been a gallant officer, broke up his little trade by a pension of 1,500 livres a year.


275

VOLTAIRE

Letters on the English

I.—The Quakers

Voltaire (see History) reached England in 1726. He had quarrelled with a great noble, and the great noble's lackeys had roundly thrashed him. Voltaire accordingly issued a challenge to a duel; his adversary's reply was to get him sent to prison, from which he was released on condition that he leave immediately for England. He remained there until 1729, and these three years may fairly be said to have been the making of Voltaire. He went with a reputation as an elegant young poet and dramatist—he was then thirty-two; and this reputation brought him into the society of the most famous political and literary personages of the day. He became a disciple of Newton, and gained a broad, if not a deep, knowledge of philosophy. He left in 1729 fully equipped for his later and greater career as philosopher, historian, and satirist. The "Philosophic Letters on the English" were definitely published, after various difficulties, in 1734; an English translation, however, appeared in 1733. The difficulties did not cease with publication, for the French authorities were grievously displeased with Voltaire's acid comparisons between the political and intellectual liberty enjoyed by Englishmen with the bondage of his own countrymen. The "Philosophic Letters" purported to be addressed to the author's friend Theriot; but they would seem to be essays in an epistolary form rather than actual correspondence. Of England and its people, Voltaire was both an observant and an appreciative critic; hosts and guest alike had reason to be pleased with his long and profitable visit.

My curiosity having been aroused regarding the doctrines and history of these singular people, I sought to satisfy it by a visit to one of the most celebrated of English Quakers. He was a well-preserved old man, who had never known illness, because he had never yielded to passion or intemperance; not in all my life have I seen a man of an aspect at once so noble and so engaging. He received me with his hat on his head,276 and advanced towards me without the slightest bow; but there was far more courtesy in the open kindliness of his countenance than is to be seen in the custom of dragging one leg behind the other, or of holding in the hand that which was meant to cover the head.

"Sir," I said, bowing low, and gliding one foot towards him, after our manner, "I flatter myself that my honest curiosity will not displease you, and that you will be willing to do me the honour of instructing me as to your religion."

"The folk of thy country," he replied, "are too prone to paying compliments and making reverences; but I have never seen one of them who had the same curiosity as thou. Enter, and let us dine together."

After a healthy and frugal meal, I set myself to questioning him. I opened with the old enquiry of good Catholics to Huguenots. "My dear sir," I said to him, "have you been baptised?"

"No," answered the Quaker, "neither I nor my brethren."

"Morbleu!" I replied, "then you are not Christians?"

"Swear not, my son," he said gently; "we try to be good Christians; but we believe not that Christianity consists in throwing cold water on the head, with a little salt."

"Ventrebleu!" I retorted, "have you forgotten that Jesus Christ was baptised by John?"

"Once more, my friend, no swearing," replied the mild Quaker. "Christ was baptised by John, but himself baptised no one. We are disciples of Christ, not of John."

He proceeded to give me briefly the reasons for some peculiarities which expose this sect to the sneers of others. "Confess," he said, "that thou hast had much ado not to smile at my accepting thy courtesies with my hat on my head, and at my calling thee 'thou.' Yet thou must surely know that at the time of Christ no nation was so foolish as to substitute the plural for the singular. 277 It was not until long afterwards that men began to call each other 'you' instead of 'thou,' as if they were double, and to usurp the impudent titles of Majesty, Eminence, Holiness, that some worms of the earth bestow on other worms. It is the better to guard ourselves against this unworthy interchange of lies and flatteries that we address kings and cobblers in the same terms, and offer salutations to nobody; since for men we have nothing but charity, and respect only for the laws.

"We don a costume differing a little from that of other men as a constant reminder that we are unlike them. Others wear the tokens of their dignities; we wear those of Christian humility. We never take an oath, not even in a court of justice; for we think that the name of the Almighty should not be prostituted in the miserable wranglings of men. We never go to war—not because we fear death; on the contrary, we bless the moment that unites us with the Being of Beings; but because we are not wolves, nor tigers, nor bulldogs, but Christian men, whom God has commanded to love our enemies and suffer without murmuring. When London is illuminated after a victory, when the air is filled with the pealing of bells and the roar of cannon, we mourn in silence over the murders that have stirred the people to rejoice."

II.—Anglicans and Presbyterians

This is the land of sects. An Englishman is a free man, and goes to Heaven by any road he pleases.

But although anybody may serve God after his own fashion, their true religion, the one in which fortunes are made, is the Episcopal sect, called the Anglican Church, or, simply and pre-eminently, the Church. No office can be held in England or Ireland except by faithful Anglicans; a circumstance which has led to the conversion of many Noncomformists.

The Anglican clergy have retained many Catholic ceremonies, 278 above all that of receiving tithes with a most scrupulous attention. They have also a pious ambition for religious ascendancy, and do what they can to foment a holy zeal against Nonconformists. But a Whig ministry is just now in power, and the Whigs are hostile to Episcopacy. They have prohibited the lower clergy from meeting in convocation, a sort of clerical house of commons; and the clergy are limited to the obscurity of their parishes, and to the melancholy task of praying God for a government that they would be only too happy to disturb. The bishops, however, sit in the House of Lords in spite of the Whigs, because the old abuse continues of counting them as barons.

As regards morals, the Anglican clergy are better regulated than those of France, for these reasons:—they are all educated at Oxford or Cambridge, far from the corruption of the capital; and they are only called to high church office late in life, at an age when men have lost every passion but avarice. They do not make bishops or colonels here of young men fresh from college. Moreover, the clergy are nearly all married, and the ill manners contracted at the universities, and the slightness of the intercourse between men and women, oblige a bishop as a rule to be content with his own wife. Priests sometimes frequent inns, for custom permits it; and if they get drunk, they do so discreetly and without scandal.

When English clergymen hear that in France young men, famous for their dissipations, and elevated to bishoprics by the intrigues of women, make love publicly, amuse themselves by writing amorous ballads, give elaborate suppers every day, and, in addition, pray for the light of the Holy Spirit, and boldly call themselves the successors of the Apostles; the Englishmen thank God that they are Protestants. But they are vile heretics, to be burnt by all the devils, as Rabelais puts it; which is the reason why I have nothing to do with them.

The Anglican religion only embraces England and Ireland.279 Presbyterianism, which is Calvanism pure and simple, is the dominant religion in Scotland. Its ministers affect a sober gait and an air of displeasure, wear enormous hats, and long cloaks over short coats, preach through their noses, and give the name of "Scarlet Woman" to all churches who have ecclesiastics fortunate enough to draw fifty thousand livres of income, and laymen good-natured enough to stand it.

Although the Episcopal and Presbyterian sects are the two prevailing ones in Great Britain, all others are welcome, and all live fairly well together; although most of their preachers detest each other with all the heartiness of a Jansenist damning a Jesuit.

Were there but one religion in England, there would be a danger of despotism; were there but two, they would cut each other's throats. But there are thirty, and accordingly they dwell together in peace and happiness.

III.—The Government

The members of the English Parliament are fond of comparing themselves with the ancient Romans; but except that there are some senators in London who are suspected, wrongly, no doubt, of selling their votes, I can see nothing in common between Rome and England. The two nations, for good or ill, are entirely different.

The horrible folly of religious wars was unknown among the Romans; this abomination has been reserved for the devotees of a faith of humility and patience. But a more essential difference between Rome and England, and one in which the latter has all the advantage, is that the fruit of the Roman civil wars was slavery, while that of the English civil wars has been liberty. The English nation is the only one on earth that has succeeded in tempering the power of kings by resisting them. By effort upon effort it has succeeded in establishing a wise government in which the Prince, all-powerful for the280 doing of good, has his hands tied for the doing of evil; where the nobles are great without insolence and without vassals; and where the people, without confusion, take their due share in the control of national affairs.

The Houses of Lords and Commons are the arbiters of the nation, the King is the over-arbiter. This balance was lacking among the Romans; nobles and people were always at issue, and there was no intermediary power to reconcile them.

It has cost a great deal, no doubt, to establish liberty in England; the idol of despotic power has been drowned in seas of blood. But the English do not think they have bought their freedom at too high a price. Other nations have not had fewer troubles, have not shed less blood; but the blood they have shed in the cause of their liberty has but cemented their servitude.

This happy concert of King, Lords, and Commons in the government of England has not always existed. England was for ages a country sorely oppressed. But in the clashes of kings and nobles, it fortunately happens that the bonds of the peoples are more or less relaxed. English liberty was born of the quarrels of tyrants. The chief object of the famous Magna Charta, let it be admitted, was to place the kings in dependence upon the barons; but the rest of the nation was favoured also in some degree in order that it might range itself on the side of its professed protectors. The power of the nobility was undermined by Henry VII., and the later kings have been wont to create new peers from time to time with the idea of preserving the order of the peerage which they formerly feared so profoundly, and counterbalancing the steadily-growing strength of the Commons.

A man is not, in this country, exempt from certain taxes because he is a noble or a priest; all taxation is controlled by the House of Commons, which, although second in rank, is first in power.

The House of Lords may reject the bill of the Commons281 for taxation; but it may not amend it; the Lords must either reject it or accept it entire. When the bill is confirmed by the Lords and approved by the King, then everybody pays—not according to his quality (which is absurd), but according to his revenue. There are no poll-taxes or other arbitrary levies, but a land tax, which remains the same, even although the revenues from lands increase, so that nobody suffers extortion, and nobody complains. The peasant's feet are not tortured by sabots; he eats white bread; he dresses well; he need not hesitate to increase his stock or tile his roof, for fear that next year he will have to submit to new exactions by the tax-gatherer.

IV.—Commerce

Commerce, which has enriched the citizens in England, has contributed to make them free, and freedom has in its turn extended commerce. Thereby has been erected the greatness of the State. It is commerce which has gradually established the naval forces through which the English are masters of the sea.

An English merchant is quite justly proud of himself and his occupation; he likes to compare himself, not without some warrant, with a Roman citizen. The younger sons of noblemen do not despise a business career. Lord Townsend, a Minister of State, has a brother who is content to be a city merchant. When Lord Oxford governed England, his younger son was a commercial agent at Aleppo, whence he refused to return, and where some years ago he died.

This custom, which is unfortunately dying out, would seem monstrous to German grandees with quarterings on the brain. In Germany they are all princes; they cannot conceive that the son of a Peer of England would lower himself to be a rich and powerful citizen. There have been in Germany nearly thirty highnesses of the 282 same name, not one of them with a scrap of property beyond his coat of arms and his pride.

In France, anybody who likes may be a marquis, and whosoever arrives from the corner of some province, with money to spend and a name ending with Ac or Ille, may say, "a man such as I, a man of my quality," and may show sovereign contempt for a mere merchant. The merchant so often hears his occupation spoken of with disdain that he is fool enough to blush for it. Yet I cannot tell which is the more valuable to the State—a well-powdered lordling, who knows precisely at what hour the king rises, and at what hour he goes to bed, and who assumes airs of loftiness when playing the slave in a minister's ante-chamber; or a merchant who enriches his country, issues from his office orders to Surat and Cairo, and contributes to the happiness of the world.

V.—Tragedy and Comedy

The drama of England, like that of Spain, was fully grown when the French drama was in a state of childishness. Shakespeare, who is accounted to be the English Corneille, flourished at about the same time as Lope de Vega; and it was Shakespeare who created the English drama. He possessed a fertile and powerful genius, that had within its scope both the normal and the sublime; but he ignored rules entirely, and had not the smallest spark of good taste. It is a risky thing to say, but true nevertheless—this author has ruined the English drama. In these monstrous farces of his, called tragedies, there are scenes so beautiful, fragments so impressive and terrible, that the pieces have always been played with immense success. Time, which alone makes the reputation of men, ultimately condones their defects. Most of the fantastic and colossal creations of this author have with the lapse of two centuries established a claim to be considered sublime; most of the modern 283 authors have copied him; but where Shakespeare is applauded, they are hissed, and you can believe that the veneration in which the old author is held increases proportionately to the contempt for the new ones. It is not considered that he should not be copied; the failure of his imitators only leads to his being thought inimitable. You are aware that in the tragedy of the Moor of Venice, a very touching piece, a husband smothers his wife on the stage, and that when the poor woman is being smothered, she cries out that she is unjustly slain. You know that in "Hamlet" the grave-diggers drink, and sing catches while digging a grave, and joke about the skulls they come across in a manner suited to the class of men who do such work. But it will surprise you to learn that these vulgarities were imitated during the reign of Charles II.—the heyday of polite manners, the golden age of the fine arts.

The first Englishman to write a really sane tragic piece, elegant from beginning to end, was the illustrious Mr. Addison. His "Cato in Utica" is a masterpiece in diction and in beauty of verse. Cato himself seems to me the finest character in any drama; but the others are far inferior to him, and the piece is disfigured by a most unconvincing love-intrigue which inflicts a weariness that kills the play. The custom of dragging in a superfluous love-affair came from Paris to London, along with our ribbons and our wigs, about 1660. The ladies who adorn the theatres with their presence insist upon hearing of nothing but love. The wise Addison was weak enough to bend the severity of his nature in compliance with the manners of his time; he spoilt a masterpiece through simple desire to please.

Since "Cato," dramas have become more regular, audiences more exacting, authors more correct and less daring. I have seen some new plays that are judicious, but uninspiring. It would seem that the English, so far, have only been meant to produce irregular beauties. The284 brilliant monstrosities of Shakespeare please a thousand times more than discreet modern productions. The poetic genius of the English, up to now, resembles a gnarled tree planted by nature, casting out branches right and left, growing unequally and forcefully; seek to shape it into the trim likeness of the trees of the garden at Marly, and it perishes.

The man who has carried farthest the glory of the English comic stage is Mr. Congreve. He has written few pieces, but all excellent of their kind. The rules are carefully observed, and the plays are full of characters shaded with extreme delicacy. Mr. Congreve was infirm and almost dying when I met him. He had one fault—that of looking down upon the profession which had brought him fame and fortune. He spoke of his works to me as trifles beneath his notice, and asked me to regard him simply as a private gentleman who lived very plainly. I replied that if he had had the misfortune to be merely a private gentleman like anybody else, I should never have gone to see him. His ill-placed vanity disgusted me.

His comedies, however, are the neatest and choicest on the English stage; Vanbrugh's are the liveliest, and Wycherley's the most vigorous.

Do not ask me to give details of these English comedies that I admire so keenly; laughter cannot be communicated in a translation. If you wish to know English comedy, there is nothing for it but to go to London for three years, learn English thoroughly, and see a comedy every day.

It is otherwise with tragedy; tragedy is concerned with great passions and heroic follies consecrated by ancient errors in fable and history. Electra belongs to the Spaniards, to the English, and to ourselves as much as to the Greeks; but comedy is the living portraiture of a nation's absurdities, and unless you know the nation through and through, it is not for you to judge the portraits.


285

ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE

Travels on the Amazon

I.—First View

Alfred Russel Wallace, eminent as traveller, author, and naturalist, was born January 8, 1822, at Usk, in Wales. Till 1845 he followed as an architect and land-surveyor the profession for which he had been trained, but after that time he engaged assiduously in natural history researches. With Mr. Bates, the noted traveller and explorer and writer, he spent four years in the romantic regions of the Amazon basin, and next went to the Malay Islands, where he remained for eight years, making collections of geological specimens. It is one of the most remarkable coincidences in human experience that Wallace and Darwin simultaneously and without mutual understanding of any kind achieved the discovery of the law of natural selection and the evolution hypothesis by which biological science has been completely revolutionized. This absolutely independent accomplishment by two scientists amazed them as well as the whole scientific world. The voluminous works of this author, besides the record of his Amazon expedition, include his "Malay Archipelago," "Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection," "Miracles and Spiritualism," "The Geographical Distribution of Animals," "Tropical Nature," "Australasia," "Island Life," "Land Nationalisation," "Darwinism," and "Man's Place in the Universe."

It was on the morning of the 26th of May, 1848, that after a short passage of twenty-nine days from Liverpool, we came to anchor opposite the southern entrance to the River Amazon, and obtained a first view of South America. In the afternoon the pilot came on board, and the next morning we sailed with a fair wind up the river, which for fifty miles could only be distinguished from the ocean by its calmness and discoloured water, the northern shore being invisible, and the southern at a distance of ten or twelve miles.

286 Early on the morning of the 28th we again anchored; and when the sun arose in a cloudless sky, the city of Pará, surrounded by a dense forest, and overtopped by palms and plantains, greeted our sight, appearing doubly beautiful from the presence of those luxuriant tropical productions in a state of nature, which we had so often admired in the conservatories of Kew and Chatsworth.

The canoes passing with their motley crews of Negroes and Indians, the vultures soaring overhead or walking lazily on the beach, and the crowds of swallows on the churches and housetops, all served to occupy our attention till the custom-house officers visited us, and we were allowed to go on shore. Pará contains about 15,000 inhabitants and does not occupy a great extent of ground; yet it is the largest city on the greatest river in the world, the Amazon, and is the capital of a province equal in extent to all western Europe. We proceeded to the house of the consignee of our vessel, Mr. Miller, by whom we were most kindly received and accommodated in his "rosinha," or suburban villa.

We hired an old Negro man named Isidora for a cook, and regularly commenced housekeeping, learning Portuguese, and investigating the natural productions of the country. Having arrived at Pará at the end of the wet season, we did not at first see all the glories of the vegetation. The beauty of the palm-trees can scarcely be too highly drawn. In the forest a few miles out of the town trees of enormous height, of various species, rise on every side. Climbing and parasitic plants, with large shining leaves, run up the trunks, while others, with fantastic stems, hang like ropes and cables from their summits.

Most striking of all are the passion-flowers, purple, scarlet, or pale pink; the purple ones have an exquisite perfume, and they all produce an agreeable fruit, the grenadilla of the West Indies. The immense number of orange-trees about the city is an interesting feature, and renders that delicious fruit always abundant and cheap. 287 The mango is also abundant, and on every roadside the coffee-tree is seen growing, generally with flower or fruit, often with both.

Turning our attention to the world of animal life, the lizards first attract notice, for they abound everywhere, running along walls and palings, sunning themselves on logs of wood, or creeping up the eaves of the lower houses. The ants cannot fail to be noticed. At meals they make themselves at home on the tablecloth, in your plate, and in the sugar-basin.

At first we employed ourselves principally in collecting insects, and in about three weeks I and Mr. B. had captured upwards of 150 species of butterflies. The species seemed inexhaustible, and the exquisite colouring and variety of marking is wonderful.

II.—The Wonderful Forest

On the morning of June 23rd we started early to walk to the rice-mills and wood-yard at Magoary, which we had been invited to visit by the proprietor, Mr. Upton, and the manager, Mr. Leavens, both American gentlemen. At about two miles from the city we entered the virgin forest, where we saw giant trees covered to the summit with parasites upon parasites. The herbage consisted for the most part of ferns. At the wood-mills we saw the different kinds of timber used, both in logs and boards.

What most interested us were large logs of the Masseranduba, or milk-tree. On our way through the forest we had seen some trunks much notched by persons who had been extracting the milk. It is one of the noblest trees of the forest, rising with a straight stem to an enormous height. The timber is very hard, durable, and valuable; the fruit is very good and full of rich pulp; but strangest of all is the vegetable milk which exudes in abundance when the bark is cut. It is like thick cream, scarcely to be distinguished in flavour from the product288 of the cow. Next morning some of it was given to us in our tea at breakfast by Mr. Leavens. The milk is also used for making excellent glue.

During our stay at the mills for several days to me the greatest treat was making my first acquaintance with the monkeys. One morning, when walking alone in the forest, I heard a rustling of the leaves and branches. Looking up, I saw a large monkey staring down at me, and seeming as much astonished as I was myself. He speedily retreated. The next day, being out with Mr. Leavens, near the same place, we heard a similar sound, and it soon became evident that a whole troop of monkeys was approaching.

We hid ourselves under some trees and with guns cocked awaited their coming. Presently we caught sight of them skipping from tree to tree with the greatest ease, and at last one approached too near for its safety, for Mr. Leavens fired and it fell. Having often heard how good monkey was, I took it home and had it cut up and fried for breakfast. There was about as much of it as a fowl, and the meat something resembled rabbit, without any peculiar or unpleasant flavour.

On August 3rd we received a fresh inmate into our veranda in the person of a fine young boa constrictor. A man who had caught it in the forest left it for our inspection. It was about ten feet long, and very large, being as thick as a man's thigh. Here it lay writhing about for two or three days, dragging its clog along with it, sometimes stretching its mouth open with a most suspicious yawn, and twisting up the end of its tail into a very tight curl. We purchased it of its captor for 4s. 6d. and got him to put it into a cage which we constructed. It immediately began to make up for lost time by breathing most violently, the expirations sounding like high-pressure steam escaping from a Great Western locomotive. This it continued for some hours and then settled down into silence which it maintained unless when disturbed289 or irritated. Though it was without food for more than a week, the birds we gave it were refused, even when alive. Rats are said to be their favourite food, but these we could not procure.

Another interesting little animal was a young sloth, which Antonio, an Indian boy, brought alive from the forest. It could scarcely crawl along the ground, but appeared quite at home on a chair, hanging on the back, legs, or rail.

III.—On the Pará Tributary

On the afternoon of August 26th we left Pará for the Tocantins. Mr. Leavens had undertaken to arrange all the details of the voyage. He had hired one of the roughly made but convenient country canoes, having a tolda, or palm-thatched roof, like a gipsy's tent, over the stern, which formed our cabin. The canoe had two masts and fore and aft sails, and was about 24 feet long and eight wide.

Besides our guns, ammunition and boxes for our collections, we had a stock of provisions for three months. Our crew consisted of old Isidora, as cook; Alexander, an Indian from the mills, who was named Captain; Domingo, who had been up the river, and was therefore to be our pilot; and Antonio, the boy before mentioned.

Soon after leaving the city night came on, and the tide running against us, we had to anchor. We were up at five the next morning, and found that we were in the Mojú, up which our way lay, and which enters the Pará river from the south. We breakfasted on board, and about two in the afternoon reached Jighery, a very pretty spot, with steep grassy banks, cocoa and other palms, and oranges in profusion. Here we stayed for the tide, and I and Mr. B. went in search of insects, which we found to be rather abundant, and immediately took two species of butterflies we had never seen at Pará.

290Our men had caught a sloth in the morning, as it was swimming across the river, which was about half a mile wide. It was different from the species we had alive at Pará, having a patch of short yellow and black fur on the back. The Indians stewed it for their dinner, and as they consider the meat a great delicacy, I tasted it, and found it tender and very palatable. In the evening the scene was lovely. The groups of elegant palms, the large cotton-trees, relieved against the golden sky, the Negro houses surrounded with orange and mango trees, the grassy bank, the noble river, and the background of eternal forest, all softened by the mellowed light of the magical half-hour after sunset formed a picture indescribably beautiful.

Returning to Pará we remained there till November 3rd, when we left for the island of Mexiana, situated in the main stream of the Amazon, between the great island of Marajó, and the northern shore. We had to go down the Pará river, and round the eastern point of Marajó, where we were quite exposed to the ocean; and, though most of the time in fresh water, I was very seasick all the voyage, which lasted four days.

The island of Mexiana is about 25 miles long by 12 broad, of a regular oval shape, and is situated exactly on the equator. It is celebrated for its birds, alligators, and oncas, and is used as a cattle estate by the proprietor. The alligators abound in a lake in the centre of the island, where they are killed in great numbers for their fat, which is made into oil.

On inquiring about the best localities for insects, birds, and plants, we were rather alarmed by being told that oncas were very numerous, even near the house, and that it was dangerous to walk out alone or unarmed. We soon found, however, that no one had been actually attacked by them; though they, poor animals, are by no means unmolested, as numerous handsome skins drying in the sun, and teeth and skulls lying about, sufficiently proved.

291Light-coloured, long-tailed cuckoos were continually flying about. Equally abundant are the hornbill cuckoos, and on almost every tree may be seen sitting a hawk or a buzzard. Pretty parroquets, with white and orange bands on their wings, were very plentiful. Then among the bushes there were flocks of the red-breasted oriole. The common black vulture is generally to be seen sailing overhead, the great Muscovy ducks fly past with a rushing sound, offering a striking contrast to the great wood-ibis, which sails along with noiseless wings in flocks of ten or a dozen.

IV.—Continuing Upstream

We now prepared for our voyage up the Amazon; and, from information we obtained of the country, determined first to go as far as Santarem, a town about 500 miles up the river, and the seat of considerable trade. We sailed up a fine stream till we entered among islands, and soon got into the narrow channel which forms the communication between the Pará and Amazon rivers.

We proceeded for several days in those narrow channels, which form a network of water, a labyrinth quite unknown, except to the inhabitants of the district. It was about ten days after we left Pará that the stream began to widen out and the tide to flow into the Amazon instead of into the Pará river, giving us the longer ebb to make way with. In about two days more we were in the Amazon itself, and it was with emotions of admiration and awe that we gazed upon the stream of this mighty and far-famed river. What a grand idea it was to think that we now saw the accumulated waters of a course of 3,000 miles. Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, six mighty states, spreading over a country far larger than Europe, had each contributed to form the flood which bore us so peacefully on its bosom.

The most striking features of the Amazon are its vast 292 expanse of smooth water, generally from three to six miles wide; its pale, yellowish-olive colour; the great beds of aquatic grass which line its shores, large masses of which are often detached and form floating islands; the quantity of fruits and leaves and great trunks of trees which it carries down, and its level banks clad with lofty unbroken forest.

There is much animation, too, on this giant stream. Numerous flocks of parrots, and the great red and yellow macaws, fly across every morning and evening, uttering their hoarse cries. Many kinds of herons and rails frequent the marshes on its banks; but perhaps the most characteristic birds of the Amazon are the gulls and terns, which are in great abundance. Besides these there are divers and darters in immense numbers. Porpoises are constantly blowing in every direction, and alligators are often seen slowly swimming across the river.

At length, after a prolonged voyage of 28 days, we reached Santarem, at the mouth of the river Tapajoz, whose blue, transparent waters formed a most pleasing contrast to the turbid stream of the Amazon. We stayed at Santarem during September, October, and November, working hard till three in the afternoon each day, generally collecting some new and interesting insects in the forest. Here was the haunt of the beautiful "Callithea sapphirs," one of the most lovely of butterflies, and of numerous brilliant little "Erycinidæ."

The constant exercise, pure air, and good living, notwithstanding the intense heat, kept us in the most perfect health, and I have never altogether enjoyed myself so much.

V.—The City of Barra

On December 31, 1849, we arrived at the city of Barra on the Rio Negro. It is situated on the east bank of that tributary, about twelve miles above its junction with the293 Amazon. The trade is chiefly in Brazil nuts, sarsaparilla, and fish. The distance up the Amazon from Pará to Barra is about 1,000 miles. The voyage often occupies from two to three months. The more civilized inhabitants of the city are all engaged in trade, and have literally no amusements whatever, unless drinking and gambling on a small scale can be so considered: most of them never open a book, or have any mental occupation.

The Rio Negro well deserves its name—"inky black." For its waters, where deep, are of dense blackness. There are striking differences between this river and the Amazon. Here are no islands of floating grass, no logs and uprooted trees, with their cargoes of gulls, scarcely any stream, and few signs of life in the black and sluggish waters. Yet when there is a storm, there are greater and more dangerous waves than on the Amazon. At Barra the Rio Negro is a mile and a half wide. A few miles up it widens considerably, in many places forming deep bays eight or ten miles across.

In this region are found the umbrella birds. One evening a specimen was brought me by a hunter. This singular bird is about the size of a raven. On its head it bears a crest, different from that of any other bird. It can be laid back so as to be hardly visible, or can be erected and spread out on every side, forming a hemispherical dome, completely covering the head. In a month I obtained 25 specimens of the umbrella bird.

The river Uaupés is a tributary of the Upper Rio Negro, and a voyage up this stream brought us into singular regions. Our canoe was worked by Indians. In one of the Indian villages we witnessed a grand snake dance. The dancers were entirely unclad, but were painted in all kinds of curious designs, and the male performers wear on the top of the head a fine broad plume of the tail-coverts of the white egret. The Indians keep these noble birds in great open houses or cages; but as the birds are rare, and the young with difficulty294 secured, the ornament is one that few possess. Cords of monkeys' hair, decorated with small feathers, hang down the back, and in the ears are the little downy plumes, forming altogether a most imposing and elegant headdress.

The paint with which both men and women decorate their bodies has a very neat effect, and gives them almost the aspect of being dressed, and as such they seem to regard it. The dancers had made two huge artificial snakes of twigs and branches bound together, from thirty to forty feet long and a foot in diameter, painted a bright red colour. This made altogether a very formidable looking animal. They divided themselves into two parties of about a dozen each and, lifting the snake on their shoulders, began dancing.

In the dance they imitated the undulations of the serpent, raising the head and twisting the tail. In the manœuvres which followed, the two great snakes seemed to fight, till the dance, which had greatly pleased all the spectators, was concluded.

VI.—Devil-Music

In another village I first saw and heard the "Juripari", or devil-music of the Indians. One evening there was a drinking-feast; and a little before dusk a sound as of trombones and bassoons was heard coming on the river towards the village, and presently appeared eight Indians, each playing on a great bassoon-looking instrument, made of bark spirally twisted, and with a mouthpiece of leaves. The sound produced is wild and pleasing.

The players waved their instruments about in a singular manner, accompanied by corresponding contortions of the body. From the moment the music was first heard, not a female, old or young, was to be seen; for it is one of the strangest superstitions of the Uaupés Indians, that they consider it so dangerous for a woman 295 ever to see one of these instruments, that, having done so, she is punished with death, generally by poison.

Even should the view be perfectly accidental, or should there be only a suspicion that the proscribed articles have been seen, no mercy is shown; and it is said that fathers have been the executioners of their own daughters, and husbands of their wives, when such has been the case.

VII.—The World's Greatest River Basin

The basin of the Amazon surpasses in dimensions that of any other river in the world. It is entirely situated in the tropics, on both sides of the equator, and receives over its whole extent the most abundant rains. The body of fresh water emptied by it into the ocean is, therefore, far greater than that of any other river. For richness of vegetable productions and universal fertility of soil it is unequalled on the globe.

The whole area of this wonderful region is 2,330,000 square miles. This is more than a third of all South America, and equal to two-thirds of all Europe. All western Europe could be placed within its basin, without touching its boundaries, and it would even contain our whole Indian empire.

Perhaps no country in the world contains such an amount of vegetable matter on its surface as the valley of the Amazon. Its entire extent, with the exception of some very small portions, is covered with one dense and lofty primeval forest, the most extensive and unbroken which exists on the earth. It is the great feature of the country—that which at once stamps it as a unique and peculiar region. Here we may travel for weeks and months in any direction, and scarcely find an acre of ground unoccupied by trees. The forests of the Amazon are distinguished from those of most other countries by the great variety of species of trees composing them. Instead of extensive tracts covered with pines, or oaks, 296 or beeches, we scarcely ever see two individuals of the same species together.

The Brazil nuts are brought chiefly from the interior; the greater part from the country around the junction of the Rio Negro and Madeira with the Amazon. The tree takes more than a year to produce and ripen its fruits, which, as large and as heavy as cannon balls, fall with tremendous force from the height of a hundred feet, crashing through the branches and undergrowth, and snapping off large boughs. Persons are sometimes killed by them.

VIII.—Splendid Native Races

Comparing the accounts given by other travellers with my own observations, the Indians of the Amazon valley appear to be much superior, both physically and intellectually, to those of South Brazil and of most other parts of South America. They more closely resemble the intelligent and noble races inhabiting the western prairies of North America.

I do not remember a single circumstance in my travels so striking and so new, or that so well fulfilled all previous expectations, as my first view of the real uncivilised inhabitants of the Uaupés. I felt that I was in the midst of something new and startling, as if I had been instantaneously transported to a distant and unknown country.

The Indians of the Amazon and its tributaries are of a countless variety of tribes and nations; all of whom have peculiar languages and customs, and many of them some distinct characteristics. In many individuals of both sexes the most perfect regularity of features exists, and there are numbers who in colour alone differ from a good-looking European.

Their figures are generally superb; and I have never felt so much pleasure in gazing at the finest statue, as at these living illustrations of the beauty of the human297 form. The development of the chest is such as I believe never exists in the best-formed European, exhibiting a splendid series of convex undulations, without a hollow in any part of it.

Among the tribes of the Uaupés the men have the hair carefully parted and combed on each side, and tied in a queue behind. In the young men, it hangs in long locks down their necks, and, with the comb, which is invariably carried stuck in the top of the head, gives to them a most feminine appearance. This is increased by the large necklaces and bracelets of beads, and the careful extirpation of every symptom of beard.

Taking these circumstances into consideration, I am strongly of opinion that the story of the Amazons has arisen from these feminine-looking warriors encountered by the early voyagers. I am inclined to this opinion, from the effect they first produced on myself, when it was only by close examination I saw that they were men.

I cannot make out that these Indians of the Amazon have any belief that can be called a religion. They appear to have no definite idea of a God. If asked who made the rivers and the forests and the sky, they will reply that they do not know, or sometimes that they suppose it was "Tupanau," a word that appears to answer to God, but of which they understand nothing. They have much more definite ideas of a bad spirit, "Jurupari," or Devil, whom they fear, and endeavour through their "pagés," or sorcerers, to propitiate.

When it thunders, they say that the "Jurupari" is angry, and their idea of natural death is that the "Jurupari" kills them. At an eclipse they believe that this bad spirit is killing the moon, and they make all the noise they can to drive him away. One of the singular facts connected with these Indians of the Amazon valley is the resemblance between some of their customs and those of the nations most remote from them. The gravatana, or blowpipe, reappears in the sumpitan of Borneo;298 the great houses of the Uaupés closely resemble those of the Dyaks of the same country; while many small baskets and bamboo-boxes from Borneo and New Guinea are so similar in their form and construction to those of the Amazon, that they would be supposed to belong to adjoining tribes.

The main feature in the personal character of the Indians of this part of South America is a degree of diffidence, bashfulness, or coldness, which affects all their actions. It is this that produces their quiet deliberation, their circuitous way of introducing a subject they have come to speak about, talking half an hour on different topics before mentioning it. Owing to this feeling, they will run away if displeased rather than complain, and will never refuse to undertake what is asked them, even when they are unable or do not intend to perform it. They scarcely ever quarrel among themselves, work hard, and submit willingly to authority. They are ingenious and skilful workmen and readily adopt any customs of civilised life introduced among them.


299

ELIOT WARBURTON

The Crescent and the Cross

I.—Alexandria

Bartholomew Eliot George Warburton, who wrote as Eliot Warburton, was born in 1810 in Tullamore, Ireland, and died in 1852. He graduated at Cambridge, where he was the fellow student and intimate friend of Hallam, Monckton Milnes, and Kinglake (of "Eothen" fame). He studied law and was called to the bar, but instead of practising in the legal profession took to a most adventurous career of travel, and wrote of his experiences in a spirited and romantic style which soon secured him a wide reputation. His eight works include "The Crescent and the Cross," which appeared in 1845, after his wanderings in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Greece; "Memoirs of Prince Rupert," and "Darien, or the Merchant Prince." He was sailing for Panama, as an agent of the Atlantic and Pacific Company, when he was lost in the steamship Amazon, which was burnt off Land's End on January 4, 1852. Warburton was beloved for his generous, amiable, and chivalrous disposition. His peculiar gift for embodying in graphic terms his appreciation of striking scenery and his picturesque delineation of foreign manners and customs give his works a permanent place in the classics of travel.

We took leave of Old England and the Old Year together. On the first of January we left Southampton; on the evening of the 2nd we took leave of England at Falmouth. Towards evening, on the 18th day since leaving England, the low land of Egypt was visible from the mast-head. The only object visible from the decks was a faint speck on the horizon, but that speck was Pompey's Pillar. This is the site Alexander selected from his wide dominions, and which Napoleon pronounced to be unrivalled in importance. Here stood the great library of antiquity, and here the Hebrew Scriptures expanded into Greek under the hands of the Septuagint. Here Cleopatra revelled with her Roman conquerors. Here St. Mark preached the truth on which Origen attempted to refine, and here Athanasius held warlike controversy.

300 The bay is crowded with merchant vessels of every nation. Men-of-war barges shoot past you with crews dressed in what look like red nightcaps and white petticoats. Here, an "ocean patriarch" (as the Arabs call Noah), with white turban and flowing beard, is steering a little ark filled with unclean-looking animals of every description; and there, a crew of swarthy Egyptians, naked from the waist upwards, are pulling some pale-faced strangers to a vessel with loosed top.

The crumbling quays are piled with bales of eastern merchandise, islanded in a sea of white turbans wreathed over dark, melancholy faces. High above the variegated crowds peer the long necks of hopeless-looking camels. Passing through the Arab city, you emerge into the Frank quarter, a handsome square of tall white houses, over which the flags of every nation in Europe denote the residences of the various consuls. In this square is an endless variety of races and costumes most picturesquely grouped together, and lighted brilliantly by a glowing sun in a cloudless sky. In one place, a procession of women waddles along, wrapped in large shroud-like veils from head to foot. In another, a group of Turks in long flowing drapery are seated in a circle smoking their chiboukes in silence.

II.—The Nile

"Egypt is the gift of the Nile," said one who was bewildered by its antiquity before our history was born (at least he, Herodotus, was called the father of it). This is an exotic land. That river, winding like a serpent through its paradise, has brought it from far regions. Those quiet plains have tumbled down the cataracts; those demure gardens have flirted with the301 Isle of Flowers (Elephantina), five hundred miles away; and those very pyramids have floated down the waves of Nile. In short, to speak chemically, that river is a solution of Ethiopia's richest regions, and that vast country is merely a precipitate.

Arrived at Alexandria, the traveller is yet far distant from the Nile. The Canopic mouth is long since closed up by the mud of Ethiopia, and the Arab conquerors of Egypt were obliged to form a canal to connect this seaport with the river. Under the Mamelukes, this canal had also become choked up. When Mehemet Ali rose to power his clear intellect at once comprehended the importance of the ancient emporium. Alexandria was then become a mere harbour for pirates. The desert and the sea were gradually encroaching on its boundaries, but the Pasha ordered the desert to bring forth corn and the sea to retire. Up rose a stately city of 60,000 inhabitants, and as suddenly yawned the canal which was to connect the new city with the Nile.

In the greatness and cruelty of its accomplishment, this Mahmoudie canal may vie with the gigantic labours of the Pharaohs. From the villages of the delta were swept 250,000 men, women, and children, and heaped like a ridge along the banks of the fatal canal. They had only provisions for a month, and famine soon made its appearance. It was a fearful sight to see the multitude convulsively working against time. As a dying horse bites the ground in his agony, they tore up that great grave—25,000 people perished, but the grim contract was completed, and in six weeks the waters of the Nile were led to Alexandria.

It was midnight when we arrived at Atfeh, the point of junction with the Nile. We are now on the sacred river. In some hours we emerged from the Rosetta branch and the prospect began to improve. Villages sheltered by graceful groups of palm-trees, mosques, green plains, and at length the desert—the most imposing 302 sight in the world, except the sea. We felt we were actually in Egypt and our spirits rose. By the time the evening and the mist had rendered the country invisible, we had persuaded ourselves that Egypt was indeed the lovely land that Moore has so delightfully imagined in the pages of the "Epicurean."

III—Cairo and Heliopolis

Morning found us anchored off Boulak, the port of Cairo. Toward the river it is faced by factories and storehouses; within, you find yourself in a labyrinth of brown, narrow streets, that resemble rather rifts in some mud mountain, than anything with which architecture has had to do. Yet here and there the blankness of the walls is relieved and broken by richly worked lattices, and specimens of arabesque masonry.

Gaudy bazaars strike the eye, and the picturesque population that swarms everywhere keeps the interest awake. On emerging from the lanes of Boulak, Cairo, Grand Cairo! opens on the view; and never did fancy flash upon the poet's eye a more superb illusion of power and beauty than the "city of Victory" presents from a distance. ("El Kahira," the Arabic epithet of this city, means "the Victorious.") The bold range of the Mokattam mountains is purpled by the rising sun, its craggy summits are clearly cut against the glowing sky, it runs like a promontory into a sea of verdure, here wavy with a breezy plantation of olives, there darkened with accacia groves.

Just where the mountain sinks upon the plain, the citadel stands upon its last eminence, and widely spread beneath it lies the city, a forest of minarets with palm-trees intermingled, and the domes of innumerable mosques rising, like enormous bubbles, over the sea of houses. Here and there, richly green gardens are islanded within that sea, and the whole is girt round with303 picturesque towers and ramparts, occasionally revealed through vistas of the wood of sycamores and fig-trees that surround it. It has been said that "God the first garden made, and the first city Cain," but here they seem commingled with the happiest effect.

The objects of interest in the neighbourhood of Cairo are very numerous. Let us first canter off to Heliopolis, the On of Scripture. It is only five miles of a pathway, shaded by sycamore and plane-trees, from which we emerge occasionally into green savannahs or luxuriant cornfields, over which the beautiful white ibis are hovering in flocks.

In Heliopolis, the Oxford of Old Egypt, stood the great Temple of the Sun. Here the beautiful and the wise studied love and logic 4,000 years ago. Here Joseph was married to the fair Asenath. Here Plato and Herodotus studied and here the darkness which veiled the Great Sacrifice was observed by a heathen astronomer, Dionysius the Areopagite. We found nothing, however, on the site of this ancient city, except a small garden of orange-trees, with a magnificent obelisk in the centre.

IV.—The Market of Sorrow

One day while in Cairo I went to visit the slave-markets, one of which is held without the city, in the courtyard of a deserted mosque. I was received by a mild-looking Nubian, who led me in silence to inspect his stock. I found about thirty girls scattered in groups about an inner court. The gate was open, but there seemed no thought of escape. Where could they go, poor things? Some were grinding millet between two stones; some were kneading flour into bread; some were chatting in the sunshine; some sleeping in the shade.

One or two looked sad and lonely enough, until their gloomy countenances were lit up with hope—the hope of being bought! Their faces for the most part were304 woefully blank, and many wore an awfully animal expression. Yet there were several figures of exquisite symmetry among them, which, had they been indeed the bronze statues they resembled, would have attracted the admiration of thousands, and would have been valued at twenty times the price that was set on these immortal beings. Their proprietor showed them off as a horse-dealer does his cattle, examining their teeth, removing their body-clothes, and exhibiting their paces.

It is like the change from night to morning, to pass from these dingy crowds to the white slaves from Georgia and Circassia. The commodities of this department of the human bazaars are only purchased by wealthy and powerful Moslems; and, when purchased, are destined to form part of the female aristocracy of Cairo. These fetch from one, two, three, or even five hundred pounds, and being so much more valuable than the Africans, are much more carefully tended. Some were smoking; some chatting merrily together; some sitting in dreamy languor. All their attitudes were very graceful.

They were for the most part exquisitely fair; but I was disappointed in their beauty. The sunny hair and heaven-blue eyes, that in England produce such an angel-like and intellectual effect, seemed to me here mere flax and beads; and I left them to the "turbaned Turk" without a sigh.

V.—The Harem

Difficult a study as woman presents in all countries, that difficulty deepens almost into impossibility in a land where even to look upon her is a matter of danger or of death. The seclusion of the hareem is preserved in the very streets by means of an impenetrable veil; the well-bred Egyptian averts his eyes as she passes by; she is ever to remain an object of mystery; and the most intimate acquaintance never inquires after the wife of his friend, or affects to know of her existence.

305An English lady, visiting an Odalisque, inquired what pleasure her profusion of rich ornaments could afford, as no person except her husband was ever to behold them. "And for whom do you adorn yourself? Is it for other men?" replied the fair barbarian.

I have conversed with several European ladies who had visited hareems, and they have all confessed their inability to convince the Eastern wives of the unhappiness or hardship of their state. It is true that the inmate of the hareem knows nothing of the wild liberty (as it seems to her) that the European woman enjoys. She has never witnessed the domestic happiness that crowns a fashionable life, or the peace of mind and purity of heart that reward the labours of a London season. And what can she know of the disinterested affection and changeless constancy of ball-room belles, in the land where woman is all free?

Let them laugh on in their happy ignorance of a better lot, while round them is gathered all that their lord can command of luxury and pleasantness. His wealth is hoarded for them alone; he permits himself no ostentation, except the respectable one of arms and horses; and the time is weary that he passes apart from his home and hareem. The sternest tyrants are gentle there; Mehemet Ali never refused a woman's prayer; and even Ali Pasha was partly humanized by his love for Emineh. In the time of the Mamelukes, criminals were always led to execution blindfolded, as, if they had met a woman and could touch her garment, they were saved, whatever was their crime.

Thus idolized, watched, and guarded, the Egyptian woman's life is, nevertheless, entirely in the power of her lord, and her death is the inevitable penalty of his dishonour. Poor Fatima! shrined as she was in the palace of a tyrant, the fame of her beauty stole abroad through Cairo. She was one among a hundred in the hareem of Abbas Pasha, a man stained with every foul306 and loathsome vice; and who can wonder, though many may condemn, if she listened to a daring young Albanian, who risked his life to obtain but a sight of her. Whether she did listen or not, none can ever know, but the eunuchs saw the glitter of the Arnaut's arms, as he leaped from her terrace into the Nile and vanished into the darkness.

The following night a merry English party dined together on board Lord E——'s boat, as it lay moored off the Isle of Rhoda; conversation had sunk into silence as the calm night came on; a faint breeze floated perfumes from the gardens over the star-lit Nile; a dreamy languor seemed to pervade all nature, and even the city lay hushed in deep repose, when suddenly a boat, crowded with dark figures, among which arms gleamed, shot out from one of the arches of the palace.

It paused under the opposite bank, where the water rushed deep and gloomily along, and for a moment a white figure glimmered among that boat's dark crew; there was a slight movement and a faint splash, and then the river flowed on as merrily as if poor Fatima still sang her Georgian song to the murmur of its waters.

I was riding one evening along the water-side. There was no sound except the ripple of the waves and the heavy flapping of a pelican's wing. As I paused to contemplate the scene an Egyptian passed me hurriedly, with a bloody knife in his hand. His dress was mean and ragged, but his countenance was one that the father of Don Carlos might have worn. He never raised his eyes as he passed by; and my groom, who just then came up, told me he had slain his wife, and was going to her father's village to denounce her.

VI.—Djouni and Lady Hester Stanhope

One morning we were already in motion as the sun rose over Lebanon. We passed for some miles through mulberry gardens, and over a dangerous rocky pass,307 where Antiochus the Great defeated the Egyptians, in 218 B.C. This pass would have required the best exertions and courage of a European horse, yet a file of camels was ascending it with the same patient look that they wear in their native deserts. Though forced frequently to traverse mountains in a country whose commerce is conducted by their means, these animals are only at their ease upon the sandy plain. The Arabs say, that if you were to ask a camel which he preferred—travelling up or down hill, his answer would be, "May the curse of Allah light on both!"

The road was only a steep and rocky path, which, in England, a goat would be considered active if he could traverse. Our horses, nevertheless, went along it at a canter, though the precipice sometimes yawned beneath our outside stirrup, while the inner one knocked fire out of the rocky cliff. Rocks, tumbled from the mountain, lay strewn about and nearly choked up the narrow river bed; over these we scrambled, climbed, and leaped in a manner that only Arab horses would attempt or could accomplish.

It was late when we came in sight of two conical hills, on one of which stands the village of Djouni, on the other a circular wall over which dark trees were waving, and this was the place in which Lady Hester Stanhope had finished her strange and eventful career. It had been formerly a convent, but the Pasha of Acre had given it to the "Prophet Lady," and she had converted its naked walls into palaces, its wilderness into gardens. The sun was setting as we entered the enclosure. The buildings that constituted the palace were of a very scattered and complicated description, covering a wide space, but only one storey in height; courts and gardens, stables and sleeping-rooms, halls of audience and ladies' bowers, were strangely intermingled.

Here fountains once played in marble basins, and choice flowers bloomed; but now it presented a scene of308 melancholy desolation. Our dinner was spread on the floor in Lady Hester's favourite apartment; her deathbed was our sideboard, her furniture our fuel; her name our conversation. Lady Hester Stanhope was niece to Mr. Pitt, and seems to have possessed or acquired something of his indomitable energy and proud self-reliance during the time that she presided over his household. Soon after his death she left England. For some time she was at Constantinople, where her magnificence and near alliance to the great minister gained her considerable influence. Afterwards she passed into Syria.

Many of the people of that country, excited by the achievements of Sir Sidney Smith, looked on her as a princess who had come to prepare the way for the expected conquest of their land by the English. Her influence increased through the prestige created by her wealth and magnificence, as well as by her imperious character and dauntless bravery. She believed in magic, astrology, and, incredible as it may appear, in her own divine mission.

She had two mares which were held sacred by herself and her attendants. One was singularly marked by a natural saddle. The animal was never mounted, but reserved for some divinity whom she was to accompany on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The other was retained for her own "mount" on the same remarkable occasion.

It is said that she was crowned Queen of the East by 50,000 Arabs, at Palmyra. Lady Hester certainly exercised despotic power in her neighbourhood on the mountain. Mehemet Ali could make nothing of her. She annihilated a village for disobedience, and burned a mountain chalet, with all its inhabitants, on account of the murder of two Frenchmen who were travelling under the protection of her firman.

309VII.—Mount Hermon

One morning, before daylight, I set out for the summit of Hermon, called in Arabic, Djebel Sheikh, the "Chief of the Mountains." This is the highest point of Syria, the last of the Anti-Lebanon range. We rode through some rugged valleys and tracts of vineyards, and, leaving our horses at one of the sheds in the latter, began the steep and laborious ascent. I have climbed Snowdon, Vesuvius, Epomeo, and many others, but this was the heaviest work of all. After six hours of toil we stood on the summit, and perhaps the world does not afford a more magnificent view than we then beheld.

We looked down from the ancient Hill of Hermon over the land of Israel. There gleamed the bright blue Sea of Galilee, and nearer was Lake Hooly, with Banias, the ancient Dan, on its banks. The vast and varied plain, on which lay mapped a thousand places familiar to the memory, was bounded on the right by the Mediterranean, whose purple waters whitened round Sidon, Tyre, and the distant Promontorium Album, over which just appeared the summit of Mount Carmel. On the left of the plain a range of hills divided the Hauran from Samaria. Further on, towards the Eastern horizon, spread the plain of Damascus, and the desert towards Palmyra.

To the north, the wide and fertile valley of Bekaa lay between the two great chains of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon; the latter of whose varied hills and glens, speckled with forests and villages, lay beneath my feet. Nothing but lakes were wanting to the valleys, nothing but heather to the mountains. We caught some goats after a hard chase, and, milking them on the snow, drank eagerly from this novel dairy.

Soon afterwards we discovered a little fountain gushing from a snowy hill, and only those who have climbed310 a mountain 9,000 feet high, under a Syrian sun, can appreciate the luxury of such a draught as that cool, bubbling rill afforded.

VIII.—Damascus: The World's Oldest City

Emerging from the savage gorges of Anti-Lebanon, we entered a wide, disheartening plain, bounded by an amphitheatre of dreary mountains. Our horses had had no water for twenty-four hours, and we had had no refreshment of any kind for twenty. After two hours of more hard riding I came to another range of mountains, from beyond which opened the view of Damascus, from which the Prophet abstained as too delicious for a believer's gaze. It is said that after many days of toilsome travel, when he beheld this city thus lying at his feet, he exclaimed, "But one paradise is allowed to man; I will not take mine in this world;" and so he turned his horse's head from Damascus and pitched his tent in the desert.

For miles around us lay the dead desert, whose sands seemed to quiver under the shower of sunbeams; far away to the south and east it spread like a boundless ocean; but there, beneath our feet, lay such an island of verdure as nowhere else perhaps exists. Mass upon mass of dark, delicious foliage rolled like waves among garden tracts of brilliant emerald green. Here and there the clustering blossoms of the orange or the nectarine lay like foam upon that verdant sea. Minarets, white as ivory, shot up their fairy towers among the groves; and purple mosque-domes, tipped with the golden crescent, gave the only sign that a city lay bowered beneath those rich plantations.

One hour's gallop brought me to the suburban gates of Mezzé, and thenceforth I rode on through streets, or rather lanes, of pleasant shadow. For many an hour we had seen no water; now it gushed and gleamed and311 sparkled all around us; from aqueduct above, and rivulet below, and marble fountain in the walls—everywhere it poured forth its rich abundance; and my horse and I soon quenched our burning thirst in Abana and Pharphar.

On we went, among gardens, fountains, odours, and cool shade, absorbed in sensations of delight. Fruits of every delicate shape and hue bent the boughs hospitably over our heads; flowers hung in canopy upon the trees and lay in variegated carpet on the ground; the lanes through which we went were long arcades of arching boughs; the walls were composed of large square blocks of dried mud, which, in that bright, dazzling light somewhat resembled Cyclopean architecture, and gave, I know not what, of simplicity and primitiveness to the scene.

At length I entered the city, and thenceforth lost the sun while I remained there. The luxurious people of Damascus exclude all sunshine from their bazaars by awnings of thick mat, whenever vine-trellises or vaulted roofs do not render this precaution unnecessary. The effects of this pleasant gloom, the cool currents of air created by the narrow streets, the vividness of the bazaars, the variety and beauty of the Oriental dress, the fragrant smell of the spice-shops, the tinkle of the brass cups of the sherbet seller—all this affords a pleasant but bewildering change from the silent desert and the glare of sunshine.

And then the glimpse of places strange to your eye, yet familiar to your imagination, that you catch as you pass along. Here is the portal of a large khan, with a fountain and cistern in the midst. Camels and bales of merchandise and turbaned negroes are scattered over its wide quadrangle, and an arcade of shops or offices surrounds it, above and below, like the streets of Chester. Another portal opens into a public bath, with its fountains, its reservoirs, its gay carpets, and its luxurious312 inmates clad in white linen and reclining on cushions as they smoke their chibouques.

I lodged at the Franciscan Convent, of which the terrace commands the best view, perhaps, of the city. The young Christian women of Damascus come hither in numbers to confess, which, if their tongues be as candid as their eloquent eyes, must be rather a protracted business. They are passing fair; but the Jewess, with her aristocratic mien, her proud, yet airy step, and her eagle eye, throws all others into the shade, and vindicates her lineal descent from Eve, in this, Eve's native land.

I thought Damascus was a great improvement on Cairo in every respect. It is much more thoroughly Oriental in appearance, in its mysteries, in the look and character of its inhabitants. The spirit of the Arabian Nights is quite alive in these, its native streets; and not only do you hear their fantastic tales repeated to rapt audiences in the coffee-houses, but you see them hourly exemplified in living scenes. This is probably the most ancient city in the world. Eleazar, the trusty steward of Abraham, was a citizen of it nearly 4,000 years ago, and the Arabs maintain that Adam was created here out of the red clay that is now fashioned by the potter into other forms.

The Christians for the most part belong to the Latin Church. There are some Greeks, and a few Armenians. The Christians are as fanatical and grossly ignorant as the Moslems; at least, those few, even of the wealthier class, with whom I had the opportunity of conversing.


313

CHARLES WATERTON

Wanderings in South America

I.—First Journey

Charles Waterton, who was born on June 3, 1782, and who died on May 27, 1865, was a native of Yorkshire, England. Brought up in a family loving country life and field sports, he early learned to cultivate the study of natural history. Speaking of himself in after life he said, "I cannot boast of any great strength of arm, but my legs, probably by much walking, and by frequently ascending trees, have acquired vast muscular power; so that, on taking a view of me from top to toe, you would say that the 'upper part of Tithonus has been placed on the lower part of Ajax.'" Educated at Tudhoe Catholic School, Waterton became a sound Latin scholar. He proceeded to the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst, where his tutors as far as possible encouraged his love for natural history, at the same time stimulating his taste for literature. Fox-hunting was his delight and he became a famous rider. His parents wished him to see the world, and his travels began with a tour in Spain, visiting London on the way back to Yorkshire and there making the acquaintance of Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society and scientific Mæcenas of his age. In 1804 he sailed for Demerara, there to administer the estates of his paternal uncle, and, liking the country, managed that business till 1812, coming home at intervals. Subsequently, Waterton undertook arduous and adventurous journeys in Guiana, simply as a naturalist. His accounts of his experiences made him famous. He also travelled in the United States and the Antilles, then in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Sicily. Besides his "Wanderings in South America" he wrote an attractive volume entitled "Natural History: Essays."

In the month of April, 1812, I left the town of Stabroek, to travel through the wilds of Demerara and Essequibo, a part of ci-devant Dutch Guiana, in South America. The chief objects in view were to collect a quantity of the strongest Wourali poison, and to reach the inland frontier fort of Portuguese Guiana.

It would be a tedious journey for him who wishes to314 proceed through those wilds, to set out from Stabroek on foot. The sun would exhaust him in his attempts to wade through the swamps, and the mosquitoes at night would deprive him of every hour of sleep. The road for horses runs parallel to the river, but it extends a very little way, and even ends before the cultivation of the plantation ceases.

The only mode then that remains is to travel by water; and when you come to the high lands, you make your way through the forest on foot, or continue your route on the river. After passing the third island in the river Demerara, there are few plantations to be seen, and those are not joining on to one another, but separated by large tracts of wood. The first rocks of any considerable size are at a place called Saba, from the Indian word which means a stone. Near the top of Saba stands the house of the postholder, appointed by government to report to the protector of the Indians, of what is going on among them; and to prevent suspicious people from passing up the river.

When the Indians assemble here, the stranger may have an opportunity of seeing the aborigines, dancing to the sound of their country music, and painted in their native style. They will shoot their arrows for him with unerring aim and send the poisoned dart, from the blowpipe, true to its destination.

This is the native country of the sloth. His looks, his gestures, his cries, all conspire to entreat you to take pity on him. These are the only weapons of defence nature has given him. It is said his piteous moans make the tiger cat relent and turn out of his way. Do not then level your gun at him, or pierce him with a poisoned arrow;—he has never hurt one living creature. A few leaves, and those of the commonest and coarsest kind, are all he asks for his support.

Demerara yields to no country in the world in her wonderful and beautiful productions of the feathered315 race. The scarlet curlew breeds in innumerable quantities in the muddy islands on the coasts of Pomauron; the egrets in the same place. They resort to the mudflats in ebbing water, while thousands of sandpipers and plovers, with here and there a spoonbill and flamingo, are seen among them. The pelicans go farther out to sea, but return at sundown to the courada-trees.

You never fail to see the common vulture where there is carrion. At the close of day the vampires leave the hollow trees, whither they had fled at morning's dawn, and scour along the river's banks in quest of prey. On waking from sleep, the astonished traveller finds his hammock all stained with blood. It is the vampire that has sucked him.

What an immense range of forest is there from the rock Saba to the great fall, and what an uninterrupted extent from it to the banks of the Essequibo! It will be two days and a half from the time of entering the path on the western bank of the Demerara till all be ready, and the canoe fairly afloat on the Essequibo. The new rigging in it, and putting everything to rights and in its proper place, cannot well be done in less than a day.

After being night and day in the forest impervious to the sun and moon's rays, the sudden transition to light has a fine heart-cheering effect. In coming out of the woods you see the western bank of the Essequibo before you, low and flat. Proceeding onwards past many islands which enliven the scene, you get to the falls and rapids. When the river is swollen, as it was in May, 1812, it is a dangerous task to pass them.

A little before you pass the last of the rapids two immense rocks appear, which look like two ancient stately towers of some Gothic potentate, rearing their heads above the surrounding trees. From their situation and their shape, they strike the beholder with an idea of antiquated grandeur, which he will never forget. He may travel far and wide and see nothing like them. The316 Indians have it that they are the abode of an evil genius, and they pass in the river below, with a reverential awe.

In about seven hours, from these stupendous sons of the hill you leave the Essequibo and enter the river Apoura-poura, which falls into it from the south. Two days afterwards you are within the borders of Macoushia, inhabited by the Macoushi Indians, who are uncommonly dexterous in the use of the blowpipe and famous for their skill in preparing the deadly vegetable poison called Wourali, to which I alluded at the outset of this narration.

From this country are procured those beautiful paroquets named Kessikessi. Here too is found the india-rubber tree. The elegant crested bird called Cock of the Rock is a native of the wooded mountains of Macoushia. The Indians in this district seem to depend more on the Wourali poison for killing their game than on anything else. They had only one gun, and it appeared rusty and neglected; but their poisoned weapons were in fine order. Their blowpipes hung from the roof of the hut, carefully suspended by a silk grass cord. The quivers were close by them, with the jawbone of the fish Pirai tied by a string to their brim, and a small wicker-basket of wild cotton, which hung down the centre; they were nearly full of poisoned arrows.

On the fifth day our canoe reached the fort on the Portuguese inland frontier. I had by this time contracted a feverish attack. The Portuguese commandant, who came to greet us, discovered that I was sick. "I am sorry, sir," said he, "to see that the fever has taken such hold of you. You shall go with me to the fort; and though we have no doctor there, I trust we shall soon bring you about again. The orders I have received, forbidding the admission of strangers, were never intended to be put in force against a sick English gentleman."

Good nourishment and rest, and the unwearied attention and kindness of the Portuguese commander, stopped317 the progress of the fever, and enabled me to walk about in six days. Having reached this frontier, and collected a sufficient quantity of the Wourali poison, nothing remains but to give a brief account of its composition, its effects, its uses, and its supposed antidotes.

Much has been said concerning this fatal and extraordinary poison. Wishful to obtain the best information, I determined to penetrate into the country where the poisonous ingredients grow. Success attended the adventure, and this made amends for the 120 days passed in the solitudes of Guiana. It is certain that if a sufficient quantity of the poison enters the blood, death is the result; but there is no alteration in the colour of the blood, and both the blood and the flesh may be eaten with safety.

This poison destroys life so gently that the victim seems to be in no pain whatever. The Indian finds in the wilds a vine called Wourali, which furnishes the chief ingredient. He also adds the juices of a bitter root and of two bulbous plants. Next he hunts till he finds two species of ants, one very large, black, and venomous; the other small and red, which stings like a nettle. He adds the pounded fangs of the Labarri and the Counacouchi snakes; and the last ingredient is red pepper.

The mixture is boiled and looks like coffee. It is poured into a calabash. Let us now note how it is used. When the Indian goes in quest of game, he seldom carries his bow and arrows. It is the blowpipe he then uses. This is a most extraordinary instrument of death. The reed must grow to an amazing length, as the part used is ten feet long. This is placed inside a larger tube. The arrow is from nine to ten inches long. It is made out of leaf of a species of palm-tree, and about an inch of the pointed end is poisoned. The other end is fixed into a lump of wild cotton made skilfully to fit the tube.

Chiefly birds are shot with this weapon. The flesh318 of the game is not in the least injured by the poison. For larger game bows are used with poisoned arrows.

An Arowack Indian said it was but four years ago that he and his companions were ranging in the forest for game. His companion took a poisoned arrow and sent it at a red monkey in a tree above him. It was nearly a perpendicular shot. The arrow missed the monkey, and, in the descent, struck him in the arm. He was convinced it was all over with him. "I shall never bend this bow again," said he. And having said that, he took off his little bamboo poison box, which hung across his shoulder, and putting it with his bow and arrow on the ground, he laid himself close by them, bid his companion farewell, and never spoke more.

Sugar-cane and salt are supposed to be antidotes, but in reality they are of no avail. He who is unfortunate enough to be wounded by a poisoned arrow from Macoushia will find them of no avail. He has got a deadly foe within him which will allow him but very little time. In a few moments he will be numbered with the dead.

II.—Second Journey

In the year 1816, two days before the vernal equinox, I sailed from Liverpool for Pernambuco, in the southern hemisphere, on the coast of Brazil. Arrived there, I embarked on board of a Portuguese brig for Cayenne in Guiana. On the 14th day after leaving Pernambuco, the brig cast anchor off the island of Cayenne. The entrance is beautiful. To windward, not far off, are two bold wooded islands, called Father and Mother; and near them are others, their children, smaller, though beautiful as their parents.

All along the coast are seen innumerable quantities of snow-white egrets, scarlet curlews, spoonbills, and flamingoes. About a day's journey in the interior is the319 celebrated national plantation called La Gabrielle, with which no other plantation in the western world can vie. In it are 22,000 clove-trees in full bearing. The black pepper, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg are also in great abundance here.

Not far from the banks of the river Oyapoc, to windward of Cayenne, is a mountain which contains an immense cavern. Here the Cock of the Rock is plentiful. He is about the size of a fantail pigeon, his colour a bright orange and his wings and tail appear as though fringed; his head is adorned with a superb double-feathery crest, edged with purple.

Finding that a beat to the Amazons would be long and tedious, and aware that the season for procuring birds in fine plumage had already set in, I left Cayenne for Paramaribo, went through the interior to Coryntin, stopped a few days in New Amsterdam, and proceeded to Demerara.

Though least in size, the glittering mantle of the humming-bird entitles it to the first place in the list of the birds of the New World. See it darting through the air almost as quick as thought. Now it is within a yard of your face, and then is in an instant gone. Now it flutters from flower to flower. Now it is a ruby, now a topaz, now an emerald, now all burnished gold.

Cayenne and Demerara produce the same humming-birds. On entering the forests the blue and green, the smallest brown, no bigger than the humble bee, with two long feathers in the tail, and the little forked-tail purple-throated humming-birds glitter before you in ever-changing attitudes.

There are three species of toucans in Dememara, and three diminutives, which may be called toucanets. The singular form of these birds makes a lasting impression on the memory. Every species of this family of enormous bill lays its eggs in the hollow trees. You will be at a loss to know for what ends nature has overloaded320 the head of this bird with such an enormous bill. It is impossible to conjecture.

You would not be long in the forests of Demerara without noticing the woodpeckers. The sound which the largest kind makes in hammering against the bark of the tree is so loud that you would never suppose it to proceed from the efforts of a bird. You would take it to be the woodman, with his axe, striking a sturdy blow, oft repeated. There are fourteen species here, all beautiful, and the greater part of them have their heads ornamented with a fine crest, movable at pleasure.

In the rivers, and different creeks, you number six species of the kingfisher. They make their nest in a hole in the sand on the side of the bank. Wherever there is a wild fig-tree ripe, a numerous species of birds, called Tangara, is sure to be on it. There are 18 beautiful species here. Their plumage is very rich and diversified; some of them boast six different colours.

Parrots and paroquets are very numerous here, and of many different kinds. The hia-hia parrot, called in England the parrot of the sun, is very remarkable. He can erect at pleasure a fine radiated circle of tartan feathers quite around the back of his head from jaw to jaw. Superior in size and beauty to every parrot of South America, the ara will force you to take your eyes from the rest of animated nature and gaze at him. His commanding strength, the flaming scarlet of his body, the lovely variety of red, yellow, blue, and green in his wings, the extraordinary length of his blue and scarlet tail, seem all to join and demand for him the title of emperor of all the parrots.

There are nine species of the goatsucker in Demerara, a bird with prettily mottled plumage like that of the owl. Its cry is so remarkable that, once heard it can never be forgotten. When night reigns over these wilds you will hear this goatsucker lamenting like one in deep distress. A stranger would never conceive the cry to be that of a321 bird. He would say it was the departing voice of a midnight murdered victim, or the last wailing of Niobe for her poor children, before she was turned into stone.

Suppose yourself in hopeless sorrow, begin with a high loud note, and pronounce "ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha," each note lower and lower, till the last is scarcely heard, pausing a moment or two betwixt every note, and you will have some idea of the moaning of the goatsucker of Demerara. You will never persuade the native to let fly his arrow at these birds. They are creatures of omen and of reverential dread. They are the receptacles of departed souls come back to earth, unable to rest for crimes done in their days of nature.

III.—Third Journey

Gentle reader, after staying a few months in England, I strayed across the Alps and the Apennines, and returned home, but could not tarry. Guiana still whispered in my ear, and seemed to invite me once more to wander through her distant forests. In February, 1820, I sailed from the Clyde, on board the Glenbervie, a fine West Indiaman.

Sad and mournful was the story we heard on entering the river Demerara. The yellow fever had swept off numbers of the old inhabitants, and the mortal remains of many a new comer were daily passing down the streets, in slow and mute procession.

I myself was soon attacked severely by the fever, but was fortunate enough to recover after much suffering. Next I was wounded painfully in the foot by treading on a hard stump, while pursuing a red woodpecker in the depths of the forest. The wound healed in about three weeks, and I again joyfully sallied forth.

Let us now turn attention to the sloth, whose haunts have hitherto been so little known. He is a scarce and solitary animal, living in trees, and being good food, is322 never allowed to escape. He inhabits remote and gloomy forests, where snakes take up their abode, and where cruelly stinging ants and scorpions, and swamps, and innumerable thorny shrubs and bushes obstruct the steps of civilized man. We are now in the sloth's own domain.

Some years ago I kept a sloth in my room for several months. I often took him out of the house and placed him on the ground. If the ground were rough, he would pull himself forward, by means of his forelegs, at a pretty good pace. He invariably shaped his course at once towards the nearest tree. But if I put him on a smooth and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in trouble and distress. His favourite abode was the back of a chair, and after getting all his legs in a line on the topmost part of it, he would hang there for hours together, and often with a low and inward cry, would seem to invite me to take notice of him.

We will now take a view of the vampire. As there was a free entrance and exit to the vampire, in the loft where I slept, I had many fine opportunities of paying attention to this nocturnal surgeon. He does not always live on blood. When the moon shone brightly, and the bananas were ripe, I could see him approach and eat them. The vampire measures about 26 inches from wing to wing extended. He frequents old abandoned houses and hollow trees, and sometimes a cluster of them may be seen in the forest hanging head downward from the branch of a tree.

Some years ago I went to the river Paumaron with a Scotch gentleman, by name Tarbet. Next morning I heard him muttering in his hammock, and now and then letting fall an imprecation or two, just about the time he ought to have been saying his morning prayers. "What is the matter, sir," I said, softly; "is anything amiss?" "What's the matter?" answered he surlily; "why, the vampires have been sucking me to death."

323As soon as there was light enough. I went to his hammock, and saw it much stained with blood. "There, see how these infernal imps have been drawing my life's blood," said he, thrusting a foot out of the hammock. The vampire had tapped his great toe; there was a wound somewhat less than that made by a leech; the blood was still oozing from it. I conjectured he might have lost from ten to twelve ounces of blood.

I had often wished to have been once sucked by the vampire, in order that I might have it in my power to say it had really happened to me. There can be no pain in the operation, for the patient is always asleep when the vampire is sucking him; and as for the loss of a few ounces of blood, that would be a trifle in the long run. Many a night have I slept with my foot out of the hammock to tempt this winged surgeon, expecting that he would be there; but it was all in vain; the vampire never sucked me, and I could never account for his not doing so, for we were inhabitants of the same loft for months together.

Let us now forget for awhile the quadrupeds and other animals, and take a glance at the native Indians of these forests. There are five principal tribes in Demerara, commonly known by the name of Warow, Arowack, Acoway, Carib, and Macoushi. They live in small hamlets consisting never of more than twelve huts. These huts are always in the forest near a river. They are open on all sides (except those of the Macoushi) and covered with a species of palm-leaf.

Both men and women are unclothed. They are a very clean people, and wash in the river at least twice a day. They have very few diseases. I never saw an idiot among their number. Their women never perish at childbirth, owing no doubt to their never wearing stays. They are very jealous of their liberty, and much attached to their own mode of living. Some Indians who have accompanied white men to Europe, on returning to their324 own land, have thrown off their clothes, and gone back into the forests.

Let us now return to natural history. One morning I killed a Coulacanara, a snake 14 feet long, large enough to have crushed any one of us to death. After skinning it I could easily get my head into his mouth, as its jaws admit of wonderful extension. A Dutch friend of mine killed a boa 22 feet long, with a pair of stag's horns in his mouth. He had swallowed the stag but could not get the horns down. In this plight the Dutchman found him as he was going in his canoe up the river, and sent a ball through his head.

One Sunday morning a negro informed me that he had discovered a great snake in a large tree which had been upset by a whirlwind and was lying decaying on the ground. I had been in search of a large serpent for a long time. I told two negroes to follow me while I led the way with a cutlass in my hand. Taking as an additional weapon a long lance, I carried this perpendicularly before me, with the point about a foot from the ground. The snake had not moved, and on getting up to him, I struck him with the lance just behind the neck, and pinned him to the ground. That moment the negro next to me seized the lance and held it fast in its place, while I dashed up to grapple with the serpent, and to get hold of his tail before he could do any mischief.

The snake on being pinned gave a tremendous hiss. We had a sharp fray, rotten sticks flying on all sides, and each party struggling for superiority. I called to the second negro to throw himself on me, as I found I was not heavy enough. He did so and the additional weight was of great service. I had now got firm hold of his tail, and after a violent struggle or two, he gave in. So I contrived to unloose my braces and with them tied up the snake's mouth.

The serpent now tried to better himself and set resolutely to work, but we overpowered him. We contrived325 to make him twist himself round the shaft of the lance, and then prepared to convey him out of the forest. I stood at his head and held it firm under my arm, one negro supported the belly, and the other the tail. In this order we slowly moved towards home, resting ten times. The snake vainly fought hard for freedom. At my abode I cut his throat. He bled like an ox. By next evening he was completely dissected.

When I had done with the carcase of the great snake it was conveyed into the forest, as I expected it would attract the king of the vultures, as soon as time should have rendered it sufficiently savoury. In a few days it sent forth that odour which a carcase should, and about twenty of the common vultures came and perched on the neighbouring trees. The king of the vultures came too; and I observed that none of the common ones inclined to begin breakfast till his majesty had finished. When he had consumed as much snake as nature informed him would do him good, he retired to the top of a high mora-tree, and then all the common vultures fell to and made a hearty meal.

When canoeing down the noble river Essequibo I had an adventure with a cayman, which we caught with a shark hook baited with the flesh of the acouri. The cayman was ten and a half feet long. He had swallowed the bait in the night and was thus fast to the end of a rope. My people pulled him up from the depths and out he came—"monstrum horrendum, informe." I saw that he was in a state of fear and perturbation. I jumped on his back, immediately seized his forelegs, and by main force twisted them on his back; thus they served for a bridle.

The cayman now seemed to have recovered from his surprise and plunged furiously, and lashed the sand with his long tail. I was out of reach of the strokes of it, by being near his head. He continued to plunge and strike, and made my seat very uncomfortable. It must have been a fine sight for an unoccupied spectator. The326 people roared in triumph and pulled us above forty yards on the sand. It was the first time I was ever on a cayman's back. Should it be asked how I managed to keep my seat, I would answer that I hunted for some years with Lord Darlington's foxhounds.

After some further struggling the cayman gave in. I now managed to tie up his jaws. He was finally conveyed to the canoe and then to the place where we had suspended our hammocks. There I cut his throat and after breakfast commenced the dissection.


327

ARTHUR YOUNG

Travels in France

I.—The First Journey, 1787

Arthur Young was born September 11, 1741, at Whitehall; died April 20, 1820. Most of his life was spent on his patrimonial estate at Bradfield Hall, near Bury St. Edmunds, England. He was the son of the Rev. Dr. Arthur Young, rector of Bradfield, Prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral, and Chaplain to Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons. On his father's death he took to farming, but at the same time addicted himself to literature, becoming a parliamentary reporter. Arthur Young was indeed much more successful in literary pursuits than in the practice of husbandry. His book entitled "A Tour Through the Southern Counties of England" achieved great popularity. This he actively followed by writing other works describing agricultural conditions in various parts of England, and in Ireland. His vivid and interesting style secured for his treatises a very wide circulation. In 1784 he commenced the issue of an annual register entitled "The Annals of Agriculture" of which 45 volumes were published. Three years later an invitation from the Comte de la Rochefoucauld induced Young to visit France. He went a second and a third time, and created a sensation by the publication of an account of his experiences during the three consecutive years that immediately preceded the Revolution. Arthur Young travelled on horseback through many districts of France in the midst of the disturbances. So realistic is his account that it is regarded as the most reliable record ever written of the French rural conditions of that period. The French Directory ordered all Young's works to be translated into French, and they are as popular as ever to-day across the Channel.

There are two methods of writing travels; to register the journey itself, or the result of it. In the former case it is a diary; the latter usually falls into the shape of essays on distinct subjects. A journal form has the advantage of carrying with a greater degree of credibility; and, of course, more weight. A traveller who thus registers his observations is detected the moment he writes of328 things he has not seen. If he sees little, he must register little. The reader is saved from imposition. On the other hand a diary necessarily leads to repetitions on the same subjects and the same ideas.

In favour of composing essays there is the counterbalancing advantage that the matter comes with the full effect of force and completeness from the author. Another admirable circumstance is brevity, by the rejection of all useless details. After weighing the pour and the contre, I think it not impracticable to retain in my case the benefit of both plans.

Journal. May 15. The strait that separates England, fortunately for her, from the rest of the world, must be crossed many times before the traveller ceases to be surprised at the sudden and universal change that surrounds him on landing at Calais. The scene, the people, the language, every object is new. The noble improvement of a salt marsh by Mons. Mourons of this town, occasioned my acquaintance some time ago with that gentleman. I spent an agreeable and instructive evening at his house.

May 17. Nine hours rolling at anchor had so fatigued my mare, that I thought it necessary to rest her one day; but this morning I left Calais. For a few miles the country resembles parts of Norfolk and Suffolk. The aspect is the same on to Boulogne. Towards that town I was pleased to find many seats belonging to people who reside there. How often are false ideas conceived from reading and report. I imagined that nobody but farmers and labourers in France lived in the country; and the first ride I take in that kingdom shows me a score of country seats. The road is excellent.

May 18. Boulogne is not an ugly town, and from the ramparts of the upper part the view is beautiful. Many persons from England reside here, their misfortunes in trade or extravagance in living making their sojourn abroad more agreeable than at home.

329The country around improves. It is more inclosed. There are some fine meadows about Bonbrie, and several chateaux. I am not professedly on husbandry in this diary, but must just observe, that it is to the full as bad as the country is good; corn miserable and yellow with weeds, yet all summer fallowed with lost attention.

May 22. Poverty and poor crops at Amiens. Women are now ploughing with a pair of horses to sow barley. The difference of the customs of the two nations is in nothing more striking than in the labours of the sex; in England it is very little they will do in the fields except to glean and make hay; the first is a party of pilfering, and the second of pleasure; in France they plough and fill the dung-cart.

May 25. The environs of Clermont are picturesque. The hills about Liancourt are pretty and spread with a kind of cultivation I have never seen before, a mixture of vineyards (for here the vines first appear), gardens and corn. A piece of wheat, a scrap of lucorne, a patch of clover or vetches, a bit of vine with cherry and other fruit trees scattered among all, and the whole cultivated with the spade; it makes a pretty appearance, but must form a poor system of trifling.

The forest around Chantilly, belonging to the Prince of Condé, is immense, spreading far and wide. They say the capitainerie, or paramountship, is above 100 miles in circumference. That is to say, all the inhabitants for that extent are pestered with game, without permission to destroy it, for one man's diversion. Ought not these capitaineries to be extirpated?

May 27. At Versailles. After breakfasting with Count de la Rochefoucauld at his apartments in the palace, where he is grand master of the wardrobe, was introduced by him to the Duke de la Rochefoucauld. As the duke is going to Luchon in the Pyrenees, I am to have the honour of being one of the party. The ceremony of the day was the king's investing the Duke of330 Berri with the cordon bleu. The queen's band was in the chapel during the function, but the musical effect was thin and weak. During the service the king was seated between his two brothers, and seemed by his carriage and inattention to wish himself a hunting. The queen is the most beautiful woman I saw to-day.

May 30. At Orleans. The country around is one universal flat, unenclosed, uninteresting, and even tedious, but the prospect from the steeple of the fine cathedral is commanding, extending over an unbounded plain, through which the magnificent Loire bends his stately way, in sight for 14 leagues.

May 31. On leaving Orleans, enter the miserable province of Sologne. The poor people who cultivate the soil here are métayers, that is, men who hire the land without ability to stock it; the proprietor is forced to provide seed and cattle, and he and his tenant divide the produce; a miserable system that perpetuates poverty and prevents instruction. The same wretched country continues to La Loge; the fields are scenes of pitiable management, as the houses are full of misery. Heaven grant me patience while I see a country thus neglected, and forgive me the oaths I swear at the absence and ignorance of the possessors.

June 11. See for the first time the Pyrenees, at the distance of 150 miles. Towards Cahors the country changes and has something of a savage aspect, yet houses are seen everywhere, and one-third of it under vines. The town is bad; its chief trade and resource are wines and brandies.

June 14. Reach Toulouse, which is a very large and very ancient city, but not peopled in proportion to its size. It has had a university since 1215 and has always prided itself on its taste for literature and art. The noble quay is of great length.

June 16. A ridge of hills on the other side of the Garonne, which began at Toulouse, became more and331 more regular yesterday; and is undoubtedly the most distant ramification of the Pyrenees, reaching into this vast vale quite to Toulouse, but no farther. Approach the mountains; the lower ones are all cultivated, but the higher ones seem covered with wood. Meet many wagons, each loaded with two casks of wine, quite backward in the carriage, and as the hind wheels are much higher than the lower ones, it shows that these mountaineers have more sense than John Bull.

The wheels of these wagons are all shod with wood instead of iron. Here for the first time, see rows of maples, with vines trained in festoons from tree to tree; they are conducted by a rope of bramble, vine cutting, or willow. They give many grapes, but bad wine. Pass St. Martino, and then a large village of well built houses, without a single glass window.

June 17. St. Gaudens is an improving town, with many new houses, something more than comfortable. An uncommon view of St. Bertrand. You break at once upon a vale sunk deep enough beneath the point of view to command every hedge and tree, with that town clustered round its large cathedral, on a rising ground. The mountains rise proudly around, and give their rough frame to this exquisite little picture. Immense quantities of poultry in all this country; most of it the people salt and keep in grease.

Quit the Garonne some leagues before Serpe, where the river Neste falls into it. The road to Bagnére is along this river, in a narrow valley, at one end of which is built the town of Luchon, the termination of our journey; which has to me been one of the most agreeable I ever undertook. Having now crossed the kingdom, and been in many French inns, I shall in general observe, that they are on an average better in two respects, and worse in all the rest, than those in England. We have lived better in point of eating and drinking beyond a question, than we should have done in going 332 from London to the Highlands of Scotland, at double the expense.

The common cookery of the French gives great advantage. It is true they roast everything to a chip if they are not cautioned, but they give such a number and variety of dishes, that if you do not like some, there are others to please your palate. The dessert at a French inn has no rival at an English one. But you have no parlour to eat in; only a room with two, three, or four beds. Apartments badly fitted up; the walls whitewashed; or paper of different sorts in the same room; or tapestry so old as to be a fit nidus for moths and spiders; and the furniture such, that an English innkeeper would light his fire with it.

For a table you have everywhere a board laid on cross bars, which are so conveniently contrived as to leave room for your legs only at the end. Oak chairs with rush bottoms, and the back universally perpendicular, defying all idea of rest after fatigue. Doors give music as well as entrance; the wind whistles through their chinks; and hinges grate discord. Windows admit rain as well as light; when shut they are not easy to open; and when open not easy to shut.

Mops, brooms, and scrubbing brushes are not in the catalogue of the necessaries of a French inn. Bells there are none; the fille must always be bawled for; and when she appears, is neither neat, well dressed, nor handsome. The kitchen is black with smoke; the master commonly the cook, and the less you see of the cooking the more likely you are to have a stomach to your dinner. The mistress rarely classes civility or attention to her guests among the requisites of her trade. We are so unaccustomed in England to live in our bed-chambers that it is at first awkward in France to find that people live nowhere else. Here I find that everybody, let his rank be what it may, lives in his bed-chamber.

333II.—Second Journey, 1788

August 27. Cherbourg. Not a place for a residence longer than is necessary. I was here fleeced more infamously than at any other town in France.

Sept. 5. To Montauban. The poor people seem poor indeed; the children terribly ragged, if possible worse clad than if with no clothes at all; as to shoes and stockings, they are luxuries. A beautiful girl of six or seven playing with a stick, and smiling under such a bundle of rags as made my heart ache to see her. One-third of this province seems uncultivated, and nearly all of it in misery. What have kings, and ministers, and parliaments, and states, to answer for their prejudices, seeing millions of hands that would be industrious, idle and starving through the execrable maxims of despotism, or the equally detestable prejudices of a feudal nobility. Sleep at the "Lion d'Or," at Montauban, an abominable hole.

The 8th. Enter Bas Bretagne. One recognises at once another people, meeting numbers who know no French. Enter Guingamp by gateways, towers, and battlements, apparently the oldest military architecture; every part denoting antiquity, and in the best preservation. The habitations of the poor are miserable heaps of dirt; no glass, and scarcely any light; but they have earth chimneys.

Sept. 21. Came to an improvement in the midst of sombre country. Four good houses of stone and slate, and a few acres run to wretched grass, which have been tilled, but all savage, and become almost as rough as the rest. I was afterwards informed that this improvement, as it is called, was wrought by Englishmen, at the expense of a gentleman they ruined as well as themselves. I demanded how it had been done? Pare and burn, and sow wheat, then rye, and then oats. Thus it is for ever and ever! The same follies, blundering, and ignorance;334 and then all the fools in the country said as they do now, that these wastes are good for nothing. To my amazement I find that they reach within three miles of the great commercial city of Nantes.

The 22nd. At Nantes, a town which has that sign of prosperity of new buildings that never deceives. The quarter of the Comédie is magnificent, all the streets at right angles and of white stone. Messrs. Epivent had the goodness to attend me in a water expedition, to view the establishment of Mr. Wilkinson, for boring cannon, in an island on the Loire, below Nantes. Until that well-known English manufacturer arrived, the French knew nothing of the art of casting cannon solid, and then boring them.

Nantes is as enflammé in the cause of liberty as any town in France can be. The conversations I have witnessed here prove how great a change is effected in the mind of the French, nor do I believe it will be possible for the present government to last half a century longer. The American revolution has laid the foundation of another in France, if government does not take care of itself. On the 23rd one of the twelve prisoners from the Bastille arrived here—he was the most violent of them all—and his imprisonment has not silenced him.

Author's Note.[—It wanted no great spirit of prophecy to foretell this revolution; but later events have shown that I was very wide of the mark when I talked of fifty years. The twelve gentlemen of Bretagne deputed to Versailles, mentioned above, were sent with a denunciation of the ministers for their suspension of provincial parliaments. They were at once sent to the Bastille. It was this war of the king and the parliaments that brought about the assembly of the States General, the step being decided on by the assembly of Grenoble, July 21, 1788.]

335III.—Third Journey, 1789

June 5. Passage to Calais; 14 hours for reflection in a vehicle that does not allow one power to reflect.

The 8th. At Paris, which is at present in such a ferment about the States General, now holding at Versailles, that conversation is absolutely absorbed by them. The nobility and clergy demand one thing, the commons another. The king, court, nobility, clergy, army, and parliament are nearly in the same situation. All these consider, with equal dread, the ideas of liberty, now afloat; except the king, who, for reasons obvious to those who know his character, troubles himself little, even with circumstances that concern his character the most intimately.

The 9th. The business going forward at present in the pamphlet shops of Paris is incredible. Every hour produces something new. This spirit of reading political tracts spreads into the provinces, so that all presses of France are equally employed. Nineteen-twentieths of these productions are in favour of liberty, and commonly violent against the clergy and nobility. Is it not wonderful, that while the press teems with the most levelling and seditious principles, that if put into execution would overturn the monarchy, nothing in reply appears, and not the least step is taken by the court to restrain this extreme licentiousness of publication? It is easy to conceive the spirit that must thus be raised among the people.

The 10th. Everything conspires to render the present period in France critical. The want of bread is terrible, and accounts arrive every moment from the provinces of riots and disturbances, and calling in the military, to preserve the peace of the markets. It appears that there would have been no real scarcity if M. Necker would have let the corn trade alone.

The 15th. This has been a rich day, and such an one336 as ten years ago none could believe would ever arrive in France. Went to the Hall of States at Versailles, a very important debate being expected on the condition of the nation. M. l'Abbé Sieyès opened it. He is a violent republican, absolutely opposed to the present government, which he thinks too bad to be regulated, and wishes to see overturned. He speaks ungracefully and uneloquently, but logically.

M. le Comte de Mirabeau replied, speaking without notes for near an hour in most eloquent style. He opposed with great force the reasoning of the Abbé, and was loudly applauded.

The 20th. News! News! Everyone stares at what everyone might have expected. A message from the king to the presidents of the three orders, that he should meet them on Monday; and, under pretence of preparing the hall for the occasion, the French guards were placed with bayonets to prevent any of the deputies entering the room. The circumstances of doing this ill-judged act of violence have been as ill-advised as the act itself.

The 24th. The ferment at Paris is beyond conception. All this day 10,000 people have been in the Palais Royal. M. Necker's plans of finance are severely criticised, even by his friends.

The 26th. Every hour that passes seems to give the people fresh spirit. The meetings at the palais are more numerous and more violent. Nothing less than a revolution in the government and a free constitution is talked of by all ranks of people; but the supine stupidity of the court is without example. The king's offers of negotiation have been rejected. He changes his mind from day to day.

The 30th. At Nangis, having come from Paris. Entertained at the château of the Marquis de Guerchy. The perruquier in the town that dressed me this morning tells me that everybody is determined to pay no taxes; that the soldiers will never fire on the people; but if they337 should, it is better to be shot, than starved. He gave me a frightful account of the misery of the people. In the market I saw the wheat sold out under the regulation of the magistrates, that no person should buy more than two bushels of wheat at a market, to prevent monopolising. A party of dragoons had been drawn up before the market-cross to prevent violence.

The 15th. At Nancy. Letters from Paris announce that all is confusion. The ministry has been removed and M. Necker ordered to quit France quietly. All to whom I spoke agreed that it was fatal news and that it would occasion great commotion. I am told on every hand that everything is to be feared from the people, because bread is so dear, they are half starved, and consequently ready for commotion. But they are waiting on Paris, which shows the importance of great cities in the life of a nation. Without Paris, I question whether the present revolution, which is fast working in France, could have had an origin.

The 20th. To Strasburg, through one of the richest scenes of cultivation in France, though Flanders exceeds it. I arrived there at a critical moment, for a detachment of troops had brought interesting news of the revolt in Paris—the Gardes Françoises joining the people; the little dependence on the rest of the troops; the storming of the Bastille; in a word, of the absolute overthrow of the old government.

The 21st. I have been witness to scenes curious to a foreigner, but dreadful to Frenchmen who are considerate. Passing through the square of the Hotel de Ville, the mob was breaking the windows with stones, notwithstanding an officer and detachment of horse were there. Perceiving that the troops would not attack them, except in words and menaces, the rioters grew more violent, broke the windows of the Hotel de Ville with stones, attempted to beat in the door with iron bars, and placed ladders to the windows.

338In about a quarter of an hour, which gave time for the assembled magistrates to escape by a back door, they burst all open, and entered like a torrent with a universal shout of spectators. From that minute a shower of casements, sashes, shutters, chairs, tables, sofas, books, papers, pictures, etc., rained incessantly from all the windows of the house, which is eighty feet long, and next followed tiles, skirting boards, banisters, frame-work, and everything that could be detached from the building. The troops, both horse and foot, were quiet spectators.

The 30th. At Dijon. At the inn here is a gentleman, unfortunately a seigneur, with wife, three servants, and infant, who escaped from their flaming château half naked in the night; all their property lost except the land itself—and this family, valued and esteemed by the neighbours, with many virtues to command the love of the poor, and no oppressions to provoke their enmity. Such abominable actions must bring the more detestation to the cause from being unnecessary; the kingdom might have been settled in a real system of liberty, without the regeneration of fire and sword, plunder, and bloodshed.

August 19. At Thuytz. At eleven at night, a full hour after I had been asleep, the commander of a file of citizen militia, with their muskets, swords, sabres, and pikes entered my chamber, surrounded my bed, and demanded my passport; I was forced to give it, and also my papers. They told me I was undoubtedly a conspirator with the queen, the Comte d'Artois, and the Comte d'Entragues (who has property here), who had employed me as a surveyor to measure their fields, in order to double their taxes. My papers being in English saved me. But I had a narrow escape. It would have been a delicate situation to have been kept a prisoner probably in some common gaol, while they sent a courier to Paris at my expense.

 

 


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