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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xv [2005/11/22 17:58] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER XV =====
 +
 +//A further account of the journey from Harwich to Helvoetsluys--
 +Description of a number of marine objects never mentioned by any
 +traveller before--Rocks seen in this passage equal to the Alps in
 +magnitude; lobsters, crabs, &c., of an extraordinary magnitude--A
 +woman'​s life saved--The cause of her falling into the sea--Dr.
 +Hawes' directions followed with success.//
 +
 +I omitted several very material parts in my father'​s journey across
 +the English Channel to Holland, which, that they may not be totally
 +lost I will now faithfully give you in his own words, as I heard him
 +relate them to his friends several times.
 +
 +"On my arrival,"​ says my father, "at Helvoetsluys,​ I was observed to
 +breathe with some difficulty; upon the inhabitants inquiring into the
 +cause, I informed them that the animal upon whose back I rode from
 +Harwich across to their shore did not swim! Such is their peculiar
 +form and disposition,​ that they cannot float or move upon the surface
 +of the water; he ran with incredible swiftness upon the sands from the
 +shore, driving fish in millions before him, many of which were quite
 +different from any I had yet seen, carrying their heads at the
 +extremity of their tails. I crossed,"​ continued he, "one prodigious
 +range of rocks, equal in height to the Alps (the tops or highest parts
 +of these marine mountains are said to be upwards of one hundred
 +fathoms below the surface of the sea), on the sides of which there was
 +a great variety of tall, noble trees, loaded with marine fruit, such
 +as lobsters, crabs, oysters, scollops, mussels, cockles, &c. &c.; some
 +of which were a cart-load singly! and none less than a porter'​s! All
 +those which are brought on shore and sold in our markets are of an
 +inferior dwarf kind, or, properly, waterfalls, //i.e.//, fruit shook off
 +the branches of the tree it grows upon by the motion of the water, as
 +those in our gardens are by that of the wind! The lobster-trees
 +appeared the richest, but the crab and oysters were the tallest. The
 +periwinkle is a kind of shrub; it grows at the foot of the oyster-
 +tree, and twines round it as the ivy does the oak. I observed the
 +effect of several accidents by shipwreck, &c., particularly a ship
 +that had been wrecked by striking against a mountain or rock, the top
 +of which lay within three fathoms of the surface. As she sank she fell
 +upon her side, and forced a very large lobster-tree out of its place.
 +It was in the spring, when the lobsters were very young, and many of
 +them being separated by the violence of the shock, they fell upon a
 +crab-tree which was growing below them; they have, like the farina of
 +plants, united, and produced a fish resembling both. I endeavoured to
 +bring one with me, but it was too cumbersome, and my salt-water
 +Pegasus seemed much displeased at every attempt to stop his career
 +whilst I continued upon his back; besides, I was then, though
 +galloping over a mountain of rocks that lay about midway the passage,
 +at least five hundred fathom below the surface of the sea, and began
 +to find the want of air inconvenient,​ therefore I had no inclination
 +to prolong the time. Add to this, my situation was in other respects
 +very unpleasant; I met many large fish, who were, if I could judge by
 +their open mouths, not only able, but really wished to devour us; now,
 +as my Rosinante was blind, I had these hungry gentlemen'​s attempts to
 +guard against, in addition to my other difficulties.
 +
 +"As we drew near the Dutch shore, and the body of water over our heads
 +did not exceed twenty fathoms, I thought I saw a human figure in a
 +female dress then lying on the sand before me with some signs of life;
 +when I came close I perceived her hand move: I took it into mine, and
 +brought her on shore as a corpse. An apothecary, who had just been
 +instructed by Dr. Hawes [the Baron'​s father must have lived very
 +lately if Dr. Hawes was his preceptor], of London, treated her
 +properly, and she recovered. She was the rib of a man who commanded a
 +vessel belonging to Helvoetsluys. He was just going out of port on a
 +voyage, when she, hearing he had got a mistress with him, followed him
 +in an open boat. As soon as she had got on the quarter-deck she flew
 +at her husband, and attempted to strike him with such impetuosity,​
 +that he thought it most prudent to slip on one side, and let her make
 +the impression of her fingers upon the waves rather than his face: he
 +was not much out in his ideas of the consequence;​ for meeting no
 +opposition, she went directly overboard, and it was my unfortunate lot
 +to lay the foundation for bringing this happy pair together again.
 +
 +"I can easily conceive what execrations the husband loaded me with
 +when, on his return, he found this gentle creature waiting his
 +arrival, and learned the means by which she came into the world again.
 +However, great as the injury is which I have done this poor devil, I
 +hope he will die in charity with me, as my motive was good, though the
 +consequences to him are, it must be confessed, horrible."​
 +
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XVI]]
  
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xv.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 17:58 (external edit)