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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xxi [2005/11/22 18:02] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
  
 +===== CHAPTER XXI =====
 +
 +//The Baron insists on the veracity of his former Memoirs--Forms a
 +design of making discoveries in the interior parts of Africa--His
 +discourse with Hilaro Frosticos about it--His conversation with
 +Lady Fragrantia--The Baron goes, with other persons of
 +distinction,​ to Court; relates an anecdote of the Marquis de
 +Bellecourt.//​
 +
 +All that I have related before, said the Baron, is gospel; and if
 +there be any one so hardy as to deny it, I am ready to fight him with
 +any weapon he pleases. Yes, cried he, in a more elevated tone, as he
 +started from his seat, I will condemn him to swallow this decanter,
 +glass and all perhaps, and filled with kerren-wasser [a kind of ardent
 +spirit distilled from cherries, and much used in some parts of
 +Germany]. Therefore, my dear friends and companions, have confidence
 +in what I say, and pay honour to the tales of Munchausen. A traveller
 +has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases, and
 +it is very unpolite to refuse that deference and applause they
 +deserve.
 +
 +Having passed some time in England since the completion of my former
 +memoirs, I at length began to revolve in my mind what a prodigious
 +field of discovery must be in the interior part of Africa. I could not
 +sleep with the thoughts of it; I therefore determined to gain every
 +proper assistance from Government to penetrate the celebrated source
 +of the Nile, and assume the viceroyship of the interior kingdoms of
 +Africa, or, at least, the great realm of Monomotapa. It was happy for
 +me that I had one most powerful friend at court, whom I shall call the
 +illustrious Hilaro Frosticos. You perchance know him not by that name;
 +but we had a language among ourselves, as well we may, for in the
 +course of my peregrinations I have acquired precisely nine hundred and
 +ninety-nine leash of languages. What! gentlemen, do you stare? Well, I
 +allow there are not so many languages spoken in this vile world; but
 +then, have I not been in the moon? and trust me, whenever I write a
 +treatise upon education, I shall delineate methods of inculcating
 +whole dozens of languages at once, French, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew,
 +Cherokee, &c., in such a style as will shame all the pedagogues
 +existing.
 +
 +Having passed a whole night without being able to sleep for the vivid
 +imagination of African discoveries,​ I hastened to the levee of my
 +illustrious friend Hilaro Frosticos, and having mentioned my intention
 +with all the vigour of fancy, he gravely considered my words, and
 +after some awful meditations thus he spoke: //Olough, ma genesat, istum
 +fullanah, cum dera kargos belgarasah eseum balgo bartigos
 +triangulissimus!//​ However, added he, it behoveth thee to consider and
 +ponder well upon the perils and the multitudinous dangers in the way
 +of that wight who thus advanceth in all the perambulation of
 +adventures: and verily, most valiant sire and Baron, I hope thou wilt
 +demean thyself with all that laudable gravity and precaution which, as
 +is related in the three hundred and forty-seventh chapter of the
 +Prophilactics,​ is of more consideration than all the merit in this
 +terraqueous globe. Yes, most truly do I advise thee unto thy good, and
 +speak unto thee, most valiant Munchausen, with the greatest esteem,
 +and wish thee to succeed in thy voyage; for it is said, that in the
 +interior realms of Africa there are tribes that can see but just three
 +inches and a half beyond the extremity of their noses; and verily thou
 +shouldest moderate thyself, even sure and slow; they stumble who walk
 +fast. But we shall bring you unto the Lady Fragrantia, and have her
 +opinion of the matter. He then took from his pocket a cap of dignity,
 +such as described in the most honourable and antique heraldry, and
 +placing it upon my head, addressed me thus:​--"​As thou seemest again to
 +revive the spirit of ancient adventure, permit me to place upon thy
 +head this favour, as a mark of the esteem in which I hold thy valorous
 +disposition."​
 +
 +The Lady Fragrantia, my dear friends, was one of the most divine
 +creatures in all Great Britain, and was desperately in love with me.
 +She was drawing my portrait upon a piece of white satin, when the most
 +noble Hilaro Frosticos advanced. He pointed to the cap of dignity
 +which he had placed upon my head. "I do declare, Hilaro,"​ said the
 +lovely Fragrantia, "'​tis pretty, 'tis interesting;​ I love you, and I
 +like you, my dear Baron,"​ said she, putting on another plume: "this
 +gives it an air more delicate and more fantastical. I do thus, my dear
 +Munchausen, as your friend, yet you can reject or accept my present
 +just as you please; but I like the fancy, 'tis a good one, and I mean
 +to improve it: and against whatever enemies you go, I shall have the
 +sweet satisfaction to remember you bear my favour on your head!"
 +
 +I snatched it with trepidation,​ and gracefully dropping on my knees, I
 +three times kissed it with all the rapture of romantic love. "I
 +swear,"​ cried I, "by thy bright eyes, and by the lovely whiteness of
 +thine arm, that no savage, tyrant, or enemy upon the face of the earth
 +shall despoil me of this favour, while one drop of the blood of the
 +Munchausens doth circulate in my veins! I will bear it triumphant
 +through the realms of Africa, whither I now intend my course, and make
 +it respected, even in the court of Prester John."
 +
 +"I admire your spirit,"​ replied she, "and shall use my utmost interest
 +at court to have you despatched with every pomp, and as soon as
 +possible; but here comes a most brilliant company indeed, Lady
 +Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs, Lord Spigot, and Lady Faucet, and
 +the Countess of Belleair."​
 +
 +After the ceremonies of introduction to this company were over, we
 +proceeded to consult upon the business; and as the cause met with
 +general applause, it was immediately determined that I should proceed
 +without delay, as soon as I obtained the sovereign approbation. "I am
 +convinced,"​ said Lord Spigot, "that if there be any thing really
 +unknown and worthy of our most ardent curiosity, it must be in the
 +immense regions of Africa; that country, which seems to be the oldest
 +on the globe, and yet with the greater part of which we are almost
 +utterly unacquainted;​ what prodigious wealth of gold and diamonds must
 +not lie concealed in those torrid regions, when the very rivers on the
 +coast pour forth continual specimens of golden sand! 'Tis my opinion,
 +therefore, that the Baron deserves the applause of all Europe for his
 +spirit, and merits the most powerful assistance of the sovereign."​
 +
 +So flattering an approbation,​ you may be sure, was delightful to my
 +heart, and with every confidence and joy I suffered them to take me to
 +court that instant. After the usual ceremonies of introduction,​
 +suffice it to say that I met with every honour and applause that my
 +most sanguine expectations could demand. I had always a taste for the
 +fashionable //je ne sais quoi// of the most elegant society, and in the
 +presence of all the sovereigns of Europe I ever found myself quite at
 +home, and experienced from the whole court the most flattering esteem
 +and admiration. I remember, one particular day, the fate of the
 +unfortunate Marquis de Bellecourt. The Countess of Rassinda, who
 +accompanied him, looked most divinely. "Yes, I am confident,"​ said the
 +Marquis de Bellecourt to me, "that I have acted according to the
 +strictest sentiments of justice and of loyalty to my sovereign. What
 +stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted? and though I did not
 +receive a word nor a look, yet I cannot think--no, it were impossible
 +to be misrepresented. Conscious of my own integrity, I will try again
 +--I will go boldly up." The Marquis de Bellecourt saw the opportunity;​
 +he advanced three paces, put his hand upon his breast and bowed.
 +"​Permit me," said he, "with the most profound respect, to----."​ His
 +tongue faltered--he could scarcely believe his sight, for at that
 +moment the whole company were moving out of the room. He found himself
 +almost alone, deserted by every one. "​What!"​ said he, "and did he turn
 +upon his heel with the most marked contempt? Would he not speak to me?
 +Would he not even hear me utter a word in my defence?"​ His heart died
 +within him--not even a look, a smile from any one. "My friends! Do
 +they not know me? Do they not see me? Alas! they fear to catch the
 +contagion of my----. Then," said he, "​adieu!--'​tis more than I can
 +bear. I shall go to my country seat, and never, never will return.
 +Adieu, fond court, adieu!--"​
 +
 +The venerable Marquis de Bellecourt stopped for a moment ere he
 +entered his carriage. Thrice he looked back, and thrice he wiped the
 +starting tear from his eye. "​Yes,"​ said he, "for once, at least, truth
 +shall be found--in the bottom of a well!"
 +
 +Peace to thy ghost, most noble marquis! a King of kings shall pity
 +thee; and thousands who are yet unborn shall owe their happiness to
 +thee, and have cause to bless the thousands, perhaps, that shall never
 +even know thy name; but Munchausen'​s self shall celebrate thy glory!
 +
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XXII]]
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xxi.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 18:02 (external edit)