Obrázky stránek

A. Only upon the condition that he never sees his wife.
Q. Did you ever premeditate matrimony?

A. I had once a tender connection, [Jerome, my mille fleurs,] a being fraught with grace and loveliness; one, to the founce of who petticoat one might kneel with superstitious veneration the extent of whose waist was irreproachable—from the pointing of whose shoe there was no appeal.

Q. Was your attachment mutual ?.

A. To a miracle, my valet lost his appetite, and her lady's maid grew thin!-(Despondingly.)

Q. You vowed eternal constancy, truth, and affection; swore that

your love could be neither annihilated by time or distance ; spoke of the disinterestedness of your views, and enquired whether her property was landed or vested in government securities?

A. My affection was so great, that it nearly absorbed my respect for etiquette ; but I gave instructions to my lawyer, who declared my passion to her family solicitor.

Q. Did you before the solemnization of your nuptials, or the final denouement, ever see the lady?

A. I will not be positive'; but believe upon one occasion I caught a glimpse of her figure.

Q. As you have described the attachment to be ardent to an extraordinary degree, may I enquire in what extremity your passion seduced you into ?

A. Our lawyers carried on a flirtation, and proposed the terms of the settlement, and I looked out for a wedding coach.

Q. If the recital would not be too much for your feelings, make me acquainted with the reasons why an alliance that gave every promise of future happiness and conjugal bliss, never went further than preliminaries

A. I was nearly falling a sacrifice, but was saved from the brink of destruction by a fortunate though awful discovery.

Q. Do not exert yourself by repeating too much at once; endeavour' to compose yourself, and inform us what it was?

A. The day my solicitor had obtained a special license, while my soul was revelling in all the joyous emotion of hope, fanned into certainty, it was hinted, that the tenderest object of my enthusiastic regard, the future partner of my name and parties, the fond idol of my bewildered soul, had actually consummated a supper with a steel fork!!!-(Faints.) Examination continued.

Q. I will no longer put a trial on your feelings by dwelling on these tender topics: do you know an individual called the king?

A. The person Brummel introduced into notice? Yes, I think I have heard there was such a man..

Q. Presuming that he is still in existence, is he one whom you could, without violence to your feelings, speak to in public?

Á. (After a pause) It would depend upon what company I saw him in.

read? A. (Looks surprised) I believe I could if I were to try. I have heard it said that my footman does.

Q. Can you

Q. If, upon some extraordinary occasion, it would be necessary for a gentleman to swear, what would be the form of the oath?

A. (Solemnly) By the memory of Brummell's cravat.

Q. At what time of the day is it decorous for a man of fashion to be visible ?

A. An hour before sunset, when the world is sufficiently aired for a gentleman to indulge in a morning ride or walk.

Q. As fashion confers but a qualified immortality, what would be your dying wish ?

A. That my grave-clothes would be of the finest muslin; and that no vulgar fellows, who were suspected of indulging in gin or tobacco, would carry my coffin.

Q. From the acuteness of your replies to the various questions with which I have troubled you, I feel convinced you must have seen much of the world. Allow me to ask you, have you any belief of its extending beyond the region you first mentioned?

A. I once caught a glimpse of a place called Oxford Street.

Q. Did you gratify your curiosity to nofice whether it was inhabited or not, or were you prevented? A. I was

- by a monster. Q. Describe it was it in the form of a man, a dragon, or a rhinoceros?

A. I am unable to form an opinion of its nature, but it wore a collar to its shirt, its shoe ribbons unironed, and, oh! (a glass of distilled water, or I shall faint) a human countenance without whiskers.

Q. Did you escape without injury?
A. I caught cold from the naked appearance of its face*.

Q. If I am not fatiguing you with too many questions, perhaps you will inform me whether you are acquainted with the situation of a place, island, or peninsula, called Russell Square, which was added to our dominions by our worthy friend, Mr. Croker, in a voyage of discoveries which he made in the

A. I take particular pride in replying, that I was one of the chosen individuals who accompanied the adventurous traveller on that most perilous and enterprising expedition.

Q. Perhaps you will favor the Court of Examiners with the particulars of the discovery, and a brief description of the savages or indigites of the soil of this new acquisition..

A. With pleasure. I have a journal of the remarkable incidents which I invariably keep near my person, and, according to your request, will read it.

THE DISCOVERY OF RUSSELL SQUARE. The conditions of our enterprise having been finally arranged, and our instructions delivered, sealed by the Lords of the Admiralty, after a few months preparation we were enabled to commence our

• Although this asseveration of the honorable gentleman may appear a little hyperbolical, it must not be forgotten that Mr. Brummell experienced the same malady by the negligence of his valet in putting him in a room with a damp stranger.

vol. 11.

year 1825 ?


[ocr errors]

adventurous career. Prayers having been put up for our safe return, our wills having been made, and in case of our never arriving from

" that undiscovered country (Russell Square),

From whence (it was dreaded) no traveller returns," our property secured, as well as handsome annuities to our wives and children, we embarked on board the Admiralty yacht from Whitehall Stairs. Here a scene that would have melted the heart of a stoic took place. The difficulties and horrors of our campaign, the melancholy fates of Mungo Park, Bruce, and Captain Cook, the agonizing consequences of starvation, cannibalism, and vulgarity, which we were likely to encounter in these unknown regions, were depicted in their most vivid and powerful colors. But each of us was a Roman, a Columbus, prepared to stand or fall in the service of his country. The vessel left the shores amidst the tears, groans, and perfamed handkerchiefs of the surrounding multitude; so heart-rending were our adieux, that three officers of the guards, overcome by the afflicting crisis, went into strong hysterics, and were obliged to have their stay-laces cut. Standing on the poop of the vessel with a white handkerchief in one glove, and a bottle of Eau de Cologne in the other, we waved farewell to our friends, and, as the last vestige of their whiskers disappeared from our sight, a sad presentiment filled our minds that it was for ever. The gloom that this afflicting idea naturally cast round us had scarcely subsided, before we were violently seized with the sea sickness (the tide running up then very strongly), but by a prompt application of a cordial, with which our considerating friends and relatives had provided us, we soon recovered sufficiently to enjoy the novelty of our situation. Groups of beings, wearing the form and countenances of men, though most barbarously disguised, occasionally passed us in what we supposed to be canoes, saluting us in an unknown and discordant tone. Our voyage concluded at a point which, we have since been informed, was discovered by a noble lord in a sailing expedition, where he was driven by adverse winds and tides, and baptised by him “Waterloo Bridge,” after a certain victory obtained by the ancient Britons some time previous to the flood. Having landed, we were immediately surrounded by a native tribe of a warlike and barbarous aspect, being in almost a primitive dress, having only the lower part of their persons covered. The appearance of their skin was most remarkable; it was intersected by blue seams, as if nature had supplied them with a shirt of her own formation for not the slightest appearance of muslin or cambric was visible. The name of this horde of barbarism is, as we were afterwards informed, in their native patois, SCULLERS, and from the circumstance of their appearing peculiar to the river and its banks, the Professor of Natural History, whom we carried with us, after six months of elaborate investigation, declared them to be members of the animal kingdom, of a species between the alligator and crocodile, and peculiar to the soil. After a most minute inspection of our dress and habiliments, which apparently excited in their simple breasts the most intense curiosity, we were suffered to depart, happily without experiencing any injury or annoyance, save that which arose from an odour (particularly

villainous), which arose from certain cavities in their faces, which served the ereatures for mouths; and which odours, we have since discovered, was the effluvia caused by masticating a noxious herb, also peculiar to the soil, called by the natives bacco or quid, the real name we unfortunately could not discover.

Previously to our progression from this station, we had an opportunity of seeing, what our naturalist bas declared to be since, the female Sculler, bearing in her paws, or arms, one of its young. It is an animal of hardly any perceptible distinction from the male Sculler, save that it has longer hair on the head, and a total or partial 'absence of that excrescence from the chin and upper lip. Our suspicion that the whole race were cannibals, was confirmed by an accident, through which we were nearly deprived of the inestimable life of our most enterprising and worthy commander, Mr. Crofton Croker. As strangers to the soil, it was particularly our wish, as well as that of the authorities we represented, to reconcile our visits to the natives; and accordingly our highly beloved friend, with his proverbial resolution, consented to take the office upon himself. Intending, by way of conciliation, to chuck the young of the Sculler under its chin, tlie juvenile savage at once assured us of his anthropophigical propensity, by making a snap at the fingers of the honorable secretary, and, what was more horrible, at those of his favorite hand. Fortunately, the prompt assistance of myself and the rest of the party, prevented its carrying its sanguinary wish into execution, and we had the gratification of preserving a life so dear to his country,, so inestimable in the discovery of science, and the stiffening of calico for cravats.

After a reference to our geographical charts, we took our seats in our stanhopes, being preceded by Mr. Croker's travelling chariot, a detachment of the Lancers, by way of security, two interpreters, a guide, and a surgeon, in case of casualties. By the instructions of the guide we steered in a direction N.E.E., and as we proceeded farther into the country, the barbarity and uncivilization become more apparent. Crossing a swamp called the Strand, we arrived at a native settlement called Drury Lane, inhabited by a horde infinitely more barbarous and rude than the tribe by which we were accosted on landing. The indigites of this soil, in ferscity of appearance, exceeded all our previous idea of savage life. They are generally tattooed, but the crevices in their skin, instead of variegated colours as the savages of the South Şeas, seemed to be filled up by a composition much resembling dirt. They had, however, no tomahawks, nor implements of a warlike description, nor were any of them dressed in skins; although some of them had the hide of a beast hanging from their waist downwards, which appeared their only covering, and we understand is called by them-leathern apron.

Passing by a native wigwam, which we found in our maps defined as Vinegar Yard, we were surrounded by a motley and terrific group of the inhabitants, both male and female. of their sexes we were in great doubt, especially of those which carried on their heads a kind of wicker basket, in which were a quantity of fish, of

whose genus our naturalist declared himself perfectly ignorant. As we had often heard of the simplicity of man when undefiled by a knowledge of the world, of his hospitality, and his overflowing milk of human kindness, and feeling besides exhausted from the length and difficulties of our journey, we determined upon putting these fabled attributes to the proof. Holding up his stick, as an emblem of peaceable intentions, and backed by two of the Lancers, he advanced, and enquired for the hut of their chief, and requested, as we were much exhausted, they would oblige us with a small quantity of their ava, and a few of their native yams. As they seemed unable to detect his meaning, which we endeavoured to make more palpable, by all of us at the same time advancing, simultaneously putting our fingers down our mouths, and rubbing our stomachs, in order to have our urgent necessities immediately gratified.

Instead of our wants having been anticipated, as we had naturally supposed, the whole tribe immediately set up a discordant yell. Believing that we were still misunderstood, we resolved on asking for food, and assuring them of our peaceable intentions in all the languages we were masters of. One of the lancers who had, during foreign service, picked up a few expressions of the Cherokee Indians, and also a knowledge of their habits, proposed addressing them. consultation being held, and the result being favorable, he advanced ; and in the Cherokian language asked for food, invoking at the same time the great spirit, which he did by spitting on his hands (an Indian custom), and holding up his right foot for the purpose of his auditor kissing it, as a token of conciliation. The person whom he addressed, in an uncouth but certainly melodious language answered in these words:

“ Dom hēw-ēr bies, giē ús none o' hew-er jaw.* Another, whom I had willingly intreated in my native tongue for a place of shelter, answered in the following couplet, which convinced me of the truth of the supposition of Mr. Thomas Campbell, the intended lecturer of poetry to the London University, that mankind in an aboriginal state is essentially poetical, and express their ideas either in rhythmical or figurative language.

Hāx hay-bout

Au find it hoūt: Others shouted with a peculiar strength of lungs, Bedlam! Bedlam! ha! ha! These words appeared to be instantly caught up by the surrounding groupes, and communicated like wild-fire amongst the different tribes, which by this time had increased to an alarming magnitude. Horror struck-the idea entered our minds, that the war whoop had been sounded, and as we actually saw many scalping knives in the hands of the barbarians, we concluded we should be brutally massacred. Resigning ourselves to the protection of Providence, we breathed a short and hurried prayer, beseeching, that if we

. These remarkable words have been submitted to the attention of the Royal Academicians of the Literary Society; who, after several meetings, have come to a decision, that they are derivative from the teutonic, and that they express a peculiar invocation to, or denunciation of, the eyes of the party addressed, with a register that he will refrain from further speaking,

« PředchozíPokračovat »