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living so long in his family I could not but be concerned at their misfortunes. We used to have here a great deal of flying news with respect to their wars; one day an account of a battle fought, and the next day a contradiction of it; their reports being as little to be relied on as some of our common newspapers at London, so that I paid but little regard to them. Besides, we lived here at a distance in peace and plenty, and heard now and then, perhaps, of the losses sustained by our friends : however, as we felt none of the miseries ourselves, they served us for conversation; in which we, like coffee house politicians, sleep in security remote from danger, censured the conduct of our superiors according to our several factious inclinations, for facts we knew little or nothing of, or at most, but by external appearances, and those too from very precarious reports. Our business was to make our lives as easy and happy as our circumstances would permit us; and among the many things which we met with to divert us, one, I think, will bear the relation; which was a project of my governor's, and proved as profitable as it was entertaining.
There are some people in the remote parts of this country, whose habitations are in secret recesses in the woods; they live easy, indolent lives, never come near a town, nor concern themselves with any affairs of peace or war, either foreign or domestic. They keep no cattle, lest the vociferations of their herds or flock's might possibly betray them, and induce some evilminded men to disturb their peace by plundering them of so valuable a treasure ; but content themselves with small plantations and the product of nature, which is, indeed, sufficient to support them. They never concern themselves who is the lord of any particular place, or sovereign of the whole dominions. Deaan Murnanzack's cow-keeper, my governor, formerly lived after this manner, and by that means was acquainted with some of their private settlements. As they are very illiterate, he imagined that I, being a man of a singular colour, might easily be imposed on them for a prince of Murnanzack's family; as, indeed, many of our vulgar people in Europe are, who think the royal family are something more than mortal, and the nobility superior in beauty to the rest of the human species. In short, the farce was agreed to be played, and I was to have one third of what presents should be made us; he another, and the persons who composed my retinue the remainder. Accordingly they procured me a gay silk lamber, two or three strings of the most glittering beads for a necklace, and a gun of the best sort to carry on my shoulder; my assumed character was Rer Mimebolambo, who living in the most remote parts and far from them, there was little or no danger of a discovery, since none of them had ever seen any of the family in their lives. Twenty of our neighbours made up my retinue, and we practised or rehearsed our parts three or four days before we went, they waiting on me, and calling me by that name and title, that every one might be perfect, and know his cue. The plot in short was
We set out in a very formal and pompous march, with shells blowing in the rear, as is the custom of the country. The place we proposed to visit was about ten or twelve miles off; when we came within half a mile, my governor, and one appointed to attend him, went as heralds to acquaint them that deaan Murnanzack's youngest brother, Rer Mimebolambo, was travelling that way, and understanding there were some inhabitants in those parts, desired they would spare him such provisions as they thought proper for himself and his retinue. We halted till we thought our envoys had delivered their message and prepared them for our reception, then we marched on in form and order. As soon as we came into their little village I perceived a mat was spread for me to sit down upon, and the whole clan, men, women, and children, came crawling upon their hands and knees to lick my feet. My people played their parts artfully enough, observing every punctilio of respect that was due to the person
represented; for the moment I was seated, one ran to fetch
me water, another brought a calabash to receive it, and a third very obsequiously washed my feet. I ordered my principal attendant (who was in reality my governor) to procure a house for me; there were but five in the whole place, except a few huts or separate apartments for their children.' He soon pitched upon one of the best, and left the owner to shift for himself.
They stood with awe and attention before me, having never seen any one command with such authority before. The chief called a kind of council, and consulted with them what present was most proper to make me, in some measure suitable to my dignity Several of them returned in a short time with some gallons of Guinea corn, and more of carravances; but the old man did not make his appearance till near the evening, when he brought with him four men loaded, two with as much honey as they could well carry, and two with as much carravances; all which were placed in a very formal manner before me. The old man sat down at a humble distance, and struck with awe, in a hesitating tone, made a modest apology, and said, he hoped I would excuse the meanness of his present; but as he had no more to command on so short notice, he should be proud if it met with my acceptance.
I showed a tender concern for the poor man, and cheered him up, telling him I was well pleased ; that what he had done was a sufficient testimony of his respect, and more than I expected from him. Upon this, I desired him to sit down and keep me company, whilst my people went to visit some of their neighbours; for I had sent some of them one way and some another, to collect all they could by fair means, and whatever the people could spare. I particularly ordered they should attend me themselves, and taste the provisions they furnished us with, lest they should be damaged by the incantation of the umossees. The old man recovered his spirits in a short time, and began to talk with me in a more familiar manner, saying, it was no wonder that
my father and his royal family ruled over them, for God and the demons had peculiarly distinguished us from other men; and,“ had I met you," said he,“ in a wood alone, I should instantly have fallen down, and paid my duty to you; for the varzachars, or white men, can never surely be whiter than this young prince is.” Thus his tongue ran on, expatiating on each feature of my face, and extolling every part about me in so lavish a manner, that I could scarce tell what to say to him; nor did I know when he would have ceased, but as good fortune would have it, an arch fellow in my retinue came in, and in a drolling, though very serious manner, answered him, saying, it is no wonder, old father, that you stand astonished at the different colour, the regular features, the graceful symmetry, and proportion of the prince; but you must consider, venerable sir, that God has not created all mankind alike, but is pleased to distinguish those whom he constitutes for the government of mankind, by making them in such a particular form, and of such a particular colour, that no one can be ignorant of their superiority. For (says he farther) were all of one shape and colour, people would choose out of their own clan whom they thought most wise and valiant to be their sovereign lord and chief commander; and should they happen not to approve of his conduct, they would abandon him, perhaps, and live under subjection to some other prince; but when God appoints any particular men to be princes and rulers over the rest of mankind, you may depend upon it, he bestows upon them such excellent forms, and distinguishes them by such marks that every one who sees them must know them at first view, must immediately fall down before them, and acknowledge their divine right and authority over them. “Ay, ay," says the old man, 6 what you observe is very true; for I remember my father went once in two or three years to carry honey to deaan Mernindgarevo, who was deaan Crindo's father; and, as I have been informed, his skin was of copper colour, though his hair was black, indeed, like ours." “Yes,” says the other, “he was somewhat different, but not very much; deaan Mungazeungarevo, however, who was this prince's father, married a lady
from Port-Dauphine, who was a white man's daughter." “Yes, yes,” says the old man,
no doubt there is something in that, but I have not a right notion of those marks which you mention by which God distinguishes princes. Are all princes, pray, of his fine colour and make? And has God set such glorious marks on all kings?” “I cannot say,” says the other,“ but that this is the whitest that was ever heard of.” In the interim came some of the people who were sent for, bringing their presents and offering to lick my feet, which, to my no small satisfaction, put a stop to their insipid confer
I found that my people had formed this artful scheme among themselves to delude these poor peasants, and carried it on with good success; for one of these last, as I was informed, asked how he should know the persor: to whom he was to pay his respects? And was roundly answered, do you think God has not distinguished princes from other men? You will know him at first sight by his fine colour and majestic mien.
But I fear I have tired my reader with the too tedious narration of this peity farce. However, it plainly appears, that it turned out to all our advantages; we proposed at first to have proceeded further into the country, but were so well provided with whatever we wanted, that we had no occasion for more, every man having as much as he could well carry. So the next day all inade up their enters, except myself, who still kept up my grandeur. When we came home, we divided the spoil according to contract, and though I sent several presents to my neighbours, I had sufficient for two or three months.
This was too happy a life to last long. Before a year came about, I was ordered home again with my cattle, three men being sent by deaan Mevarrow to conduct me. The civil war had now subsisted about a year and a half, which reduced every one to the greatest difficulties, so that they wanted these cattle to live upon, the rest being consumed by themselves, or taken by their adversaries; the enemy, however, was in as