« PoprzedniaDalej »
voice chaunted the nuptial rites to the melodious grumbling of the Gom-Gom; and at the same time (according to the manner of Caffraria) bedewed them plentifully with the urinary benediction. The bride and bridegroom rubbed in the precious stream with ecstasy; while the briny drops trickled from their bodies, like the oozy surge from the rocks of Chirigriqua.
The Hottentots had seen the increase and wane of two moons since the happy union of Tquassouw and Knonmquaiha, when the Kraals were surprised with the appearance of a most extraordinary personage, that came from the savage people who rose from the sea, and had lately fixed themselves on the borders of Caffraria. His body was enwrapped with strange coverings, which concealed every part from sight, except his face and hands. Upon his skin the sun darted his scorching rays in vain, and the colour of it was pale and wan as the watery beams of the moon. His hair, which he could put on and take off at pleasure, was white as the blossoms of the almond tree, and bushy as the fleece of the ram. His lips and cheeks resembled the red oker, and his nose was sharpened like the beak of an eagle. His language, which was rough and inarticulate, was as the language of beasts; nor could Tquassouw discover his meaning, till an Hottentot (who at the first coming of these people had been taken prisoner, and had afterwards made his escape) interpreted between them. This interpreter informed the prince, that the stranger was sent from his fellow countrymen to treat about the enlargement of their territories, and that he was called, among them, Mynheer Van Snickersnee.
Tquassouw, who was remarkable for his humanity, treated the savage with extraordinary benevolence. He spread a mantle of sheep-skins, anointed with fat, for his bed; and for his food he boiled in their own blood the tripes of the fattest herds, that
grazed in the rich pastures of the Heykoms. The stranger in return instructed the prince in the manners of the savages, and often amused him with sending fire from an hollow engine, which rent the air with thunder. Nor was he less studious to please the gentle Knonmquaiha. He bound bracelets of polished metal about her arms, and encircled her neck with beads of glass: he filled the cocoa shell with a delicious liquor, and gave it her to drink, which exhilarated her heart, and made her eyes sparkle with joy he also taught her to kindle fire through a tube of clay with the dried leaves of Dacha, and to send forth rolls of odorous smoke from her mouth. After having sojourned in the Kraals for the space of half a moon, the stranger was dismissed with magnificent presents of the teeth of elephants; and a grand grant was made to his countrymen of the fertile meadows of Kochequa, and the forest of Stinkwood bounded by the Palamite river.
Tquassouw and Knonmquaiha continued to live together in the most cordial affection; and the Surris every night invoked the great Gounja Ticquoa, who illuminates the moon, that he would give an heir to the race of N'oh and Hingn'oh. The princess at length manifested the happy tokens of pregnancy: while her waist encreased daily in circumference, and swelled like the gourd. When the time of her delivery approached, she was committed to the care of the wise women, who placed her on a couch of the reeking entrails of a cow newly slain, and to facilitate the birth, gave her a portion of the milk of wild asses, and fomented her loins with the warm dung of elephants. When the throes of childbirth came on, a terrible hurricane howled along the coast, the air bellowed with thunder, and the face of the moon was obscured as with a veil. The Kraal echoed with shrieks and lamentations, and the wise women cried out, that the princess was delivered of a monster.
The offspring of her womb was white. They took the child, and washed him with the juice of aloes: they exposed his limbs to the sun, anointed them with the fat, and rubbed them with the excrement of black bulls: but his skin still retained it's detested hue, and the child was still white. The venerable Surris were assembled to deliberate on the cause of this prodigy; and they unanimously pronounced, that it was owing to the evil machinations of the dæmon Cham-ouna, who had practised on the virtue of the princess under the appearance of Mynheer Van Snick
The incestuous parent and her unnatural offspring were judged unworthy to live. They bowed a branch of an olive tree in the forest of Lions, on which the white monster was suspended by the heels; and ravenous beasts feasted on the issue of Knonmquaiha. The princess herself was sentenced to the severe punishment allotted to the heinous crime of adultery. The Kouquequas, who scarce twelve moons before had met to celebrate her nuptials, were now summoned to assist at her unhappy death. They were collected in a circle, each of them wielding an huge club of cripple-wood. The beauteous criminal stood weeping in the midst of them, prepared to receive the first blow from the hand of her injured husband. Tquassouw in vain assayed to perform the sad office: thrice he uplifted his ponderous mace of iron, and thrice dropped it ineffectual on the ground. At length from his reluctant arm descended the fell stroke, which lighted on that nose, whose flatness and expansion had first captivated his heart. The Kouquequas then rushing in with their clubs redoubled their blows on her body, 'till the pounded Knonmquaiha lay as an heap of mud, which the retiring flood leaves on the strand.
Her battered limbs, now without from and distinction, were inclosed in the paunch of a rhinoceros,
which was fastened to the point of a bearded arrow, and shot into the ocean. Tquassouw remained inconsolable for her loss: he frequently climbed the lofty cliffs of Chirigriqua, and cast his eyes on the wa try expanse. One night, as he stood howling with the wolves to the moon, he descried the paunch that contained the precious relicks of Knonmquaiha, dancing on a wave, and floating towards him. Thrice he cried out with a lamentable voice, Bo, Bo, Bo: then springing from the cliffs, he darted like the eagle sousing on his prey. The paunch burst asunder beneath his weight; the green wave discoloured with the gore; and Tquassouw was inveloped in the mass. He was heard of no more; and it was believed by the people, who remained ignorant of his catastrophe, that he was snatched up into the moon.
The fate of this unhappy pair is recorded among the nations of the Hottentots to this day; and their marriage rites has ever since concluded with a wish, "That the husband may be happier than Tquassouw and the wife more chaste than Knonmquaiha."
No. XXII. THURSDAY, JUNE 27.
Scilicet expectes, ut tradet mater honestos
The same their breeding, and so like each other,
TO MR. TOWN.
I REMEMBER in a match between two persons of different religions, it was stipulated in the marriage articles, that the boys should be bred up in the persuasion of the father, and the girls in that of the mother. The consequence of this was, that one part of the family was taught to look upon the other with a most pious contempt; and in the end it produced a separation. The sons followed the example of their father, and in order to avoid the least appearance of superstition and bigotry, turned out freethinkers the lady of the house retired with her daughters to France, and to preserve them from a communication with heretics, confined them in a nun
The like method seems to be observed in the general education of children; who, as soon as they leave the nursery, are resigned over to the care and direction of their respective parents, according to their sex whence it often happens, that families are as much distinguished by their peculiar manners, as by a certain cast of features or complexion. My young squire is put upon a little horse before he can well walk, and becomes (as his father was before him) the pupil and companion of the groom and the gamekeeper; and if miss's mamma should chance to be the daughter of a poor man of quality, though the wife of a substantial tradesman, the little lady is ear