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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_vii [2005/11/22 17:56] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER VII =====
  
 +//The Baron relates his adventures on a voyage to North America,
 +  which are well worth the reader'​s attention--Pranks of a whale--A
 +  sea-gull saves a sailor'​s life--The Baron'​s head forced into his
 +  stomach--A dangerous leak stopped à posteriori.//​
 +
 +I embarked at Portsmouth in a first-rate English man-of-war, of one
 +hundred guns, and fourteen hundred men, for North America. Nothing
 +worth relating happened till we arrived within three hundred leagues
 +of the river St. Laurence, when the ship struck with amazing force
 +against (as we supposed) a rock; however, upon heaving the lead we
 +could find no bottom, even with three hundred fathom. What made this
 +circumstance the more wonderful, and indeed beyond all comprehension,​
 +was, that the violence of the shock was such that we lost our rudder,
 +broke our bowsprit in the middle, and split all our masts from top to
 +bottom, two of which went by the board; a poor fellow, who was aloft
 +furling the mainsheet, was flung at least three leagues from the ship;
 +but he fortunately saved his life by laying hold of the tail of a
 +large sea-gull, who brought him back, and lodged him on the very spot
 +from whence he was thrown. Another proof of the violence of the shock
 +was the force with which the people between decks were driven against
 +the floors above them; my head particularly was pressed into my
 +stomach, where it continued some months before it recovered its
 +natural situation. Whilst we were all in a state of astonishment at
 +the general and unaccountable confusion in which we were involved, the
 +whole was suddenly explained by the appearance of a large whale, who
 +had been basking, asleep, within sixteen feet of the surface of the
 +water. This animal was so much displeased with the disturbance which
 +our ship had given him--for in our passage we had with our rudder
 +scratched his nose--that he beat in all the gallery and part of the
 +quarter-deck with his tail, and almost at the same instant took the
 +mainsheet anchor, which was suspended, as it usually is, from the
 +head, between his teeth, and ran away with the ship, at least sixty
 +leagues, at the rate of twelve leagues an hour, when fortunately the
 +cable broke, and we lost both the whale and the anchor. However, upon
 +our return to Europe, some months after, we found the same whale
 +within a few leagues of the same spot, floating dead upon the water;
 +it measured above half a mile in length. As we could take but a small
 +quantity of such a monstrous animal on board, we got our boats out,
 +and with much difficulty cut off his head, where, to our great joy, we
 +found the anchor, and above forty fathom of the cable, concealed on
 +the left side of his mouth, just under his tongue. [Perhaps this was
 +the cause of his death, as that side of his tongue was much swelled,
 +with a great degree of inflammation.] This was the only extraordinary
 +circumstance that happened on this voyage. One part of our distress,
 +however, I had like to have forgot: while the whale was running away
 +with the ship she sprung a leak, and the water poured in so fast, that
 +all our pumps could not keep us from sinking; it was, however, my good
 +fortune to discover it first. I found it a large hole about a foot
 +diameter; you will naturally suppose this circumstance gives me
 +infinite pleasure, when I inform you that this noble vessel was
 +preserved, with all its crew, by a most fortunate thought! in short, I
 +sat down over it, and could have dispensed with it had it been larger;
 +nor will you be surprised when I inform you I am descended from Dutch
 +parents. [The Baron'​s ancestors have but lately settled there; in
 +another part of his adventures he boasts of royal blood.]
 +
 +My situation, while I sat there, was rather cool, but the carpenter'​s
 +art soon relieved me.
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER VIII]]
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_vii.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 17:56 (external edit)