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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xxvi [2005/11/22 18:03] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER XXVI =====
 +
 +//A feast on live bulls and kava--The inhabitants admire the
 +European adventurers--The Emperor comes to meet the Baron, and
 +pays him great compliments--The inhabitants of the centre of
 +Africa descended from the people of the moon proved by an
 +inscription in Africa, and by the analogy of their language, which
 +is also the same with that of the ancient Scythians--The Baron is
 +declared sovereign of the interior of Africa on the decease of the
 +Emperor--He endeavours to abolish the custom of eating live bulls,
 +which excites much discontent--The advice of Hilaro Frosticos upon
 +the occasion--The Baron makes a speech to an Assembly of the
 +states, which only excites greater murmurs--He consults with
 +Hilaro Frosticos.//​
 +
 +Having passed over the nearest mountains we entered a delightful vale,
 +where we perceived a multitude of persons at a feast of living bulls,
 +whose flesh they cut away with great knives, making a table of the
 +creature'​s carcase, serenaded by the bellowing of the unfortunate
 +animal. Nothing seemed requisite to add to the barbarity of this feast
 +but //kava//, made as described in Cook's voyages, and at the conclusion
 +of the feast we perceived them brewing this liquor, which they drank
 +with the utmost avidity. From that moment, inspired with an idea of
 +universal benevolence,​ I determined to abolish the custom of eating
 +live flesh and drinking of kava. But I knew that such a thing could
 +not be immediately effected, whatever in future time might be
 +performed.
 +
 +Having rested ourselves during a few days, we determined to set out
 +towards the principal city of the empire. The singularity of our
 +appearance was spoken of all over the country as a phenomenon. The
 +multitude looked upon Sphinx, the bulls, the crickets, the balloons,
 +and the whole company, as something more than terrestrial,​ but
 +especially the thunder of our fire-arms, which struck horror and
 +amazement into the whole nation.
 +
 +We at length arrived at the metropolis, situated on the banks of a
 +noble river, and the emperor, attended by all his court, came out in
 +grand procession to meet us. The emperor appeared mounted on a
 +dromedary, royally caparisoned,​ with all his attendants on foot
 +through respect for his Majesty. He was rather above the middle
 +stature of that country, four feet three inches in height, with a
 +countenance,​ like all his countrymen, as white as snow! He was
 +preceded by a band of most exquisite music, according to the fashion
 +of the country, and his whole retinue halted within about fifty paces
 +of our troop. We returned the salute by a discharge of musketry, and a
 +flourish of our trumpets and martial music. I commanded our caravan to
 +halt, and dismounting,​ advanced uncovered, with only two attendants,
 +towards his Majesty. The emperor was equally polite, and descending
 +from his dromedary, advanced to meet me. "I am happy,"​ said he, "to
 +have the honour to receive so illustrious a traveller, and assure you
 +that everything in my empire shall be at your disposal."​
 +
 +I thanked his Majesty for his politeness, and expressed how happy I
 +was to meet so polished and refined a people in the centre of Africa,
 +and that I hoped to show myself and company grateful for his esteem,
 +by introducing the arts and sciences of Europe among the people.
 +
 +I immediately perceived the true descent of this people, which does
 +not appear of terrestrial origin, but descended from some of the
 +inhabitants of the moon, because the principal language spoken there,
 +and in the centre of Africa, is very nearly the same. Their alphabet
 +and method of writing are pretty much the same, and show the extreme
 +antiquity of this people, and their exalted origin. I here give you a
 +specimen of their writing [//Vide Otrckocsus de Orig. Hung.// p. 46]:--
 +Stregnah, dna skoohtop.
 +
 +These characters I have submitted to the inspection of a celebrated
 +antiquarian,​ and it will be proved to the satisfaction of every one,
 +in his next volume, what an immediate intercourse there must have been
 +between the inhabitants of the moon and the ancient Scythians, which
 +Scythians did not by any means inhabit a part of Russia, but the
 +central part of Africa, as I can abundantly prove to my very learned
 +and laborious friend. The above words, written in our characters, are
 +//Sregnah dna skoohtop//; that is, The Scythians are of heavenly origin.
 +The word //​Sregnah//,​ which signifies //​Scythians//,​ is compounded of
 +//sreg// or //sre//, whence our present English word sire, or sir: and
 +//nah//, or //gnah//, knowledge, because the Scythians united the
 +essentials of nobility and learning together: //dna// signifies heaven,
 +or belonging to the moon, from //duna//, who was anciently worshipped as
 +goddess of that luminary. And //​skooh-top//​ signifies the origin or
 +beginning of anything, from //skoo//, the name used in the moon for a
 +point in geometry, and //top// or //htop//, vegetation. These words are
 +inscribed at this day upon a pyramid in the centre of Africa, nearly
 +at the source of the river Niger; and if any one refuses his assent,
 +he may go there to be convinced.
 +
 +The emperor conducted me to his court amidst the admiration of his
 +courtiers, and paid us every possible politeness that African
 +magnificence could bestow. He never presumed to proceed on any
 +expedition without consulting us, and looking upon us as a species of
 +superior beings, paid the greatest respect to our opinions. He
 +frequently asked me about the states of Europe, and the kingdom of
 +Great Britain, and appeared lost in admiration at the account I gave
 +him of our shipping, and the immensity of the ocean. We taught him to
 +regulate the government nearly on the same plan with the British
 +constitution,​ and to institute a parliament and degrees of nobility.
 +His majesty was the last of his royal line, and on his decease, with
 +the unanimous consent of the people, made me heir to the whole empire.
 +The nobility and chiefs of the country immediately waited upon me with
 +petitions, entreating me to accept the government. I consulted with my
 +noble friends, Gog and Magog, &c., and after much consultation it was
 +agreed that I should accept the government, not as actual and
 +independent monarch of the place, but as viceroy to his Majesty of
 +England.
 +
 +I now thought it high time to do away the custom of eating of live
 +flesh and drinking of kava, and for that purpose used every persuasive
 +method to wean the majority of the people from it. This, to my
 +astonishment,​ was not taken in good part by the nation, and they
 +looked with jealousy at those strangers who wanted to make innovations
 +among them.
 +
 +Nevertheless,​ I felt much concern to think that my fellow-creatures
 +could be capable of such barbarity. I did everything that a heart
 +fraught with universal benevolence and good will to all mankind could
 +be capable of desiring. I first tried every method of persuasion and
 +incitement. I did not harshly reprove them, but I invited frequently
 +whole thousands to dine, after the fashion of Europe, upon roasted
 +meat. Alas, 'twas all in vain! my goodness nearly excited a sedition.
 +They murmured among themselves, spoke of my intentions, my wild and
 +ambitious views, as if I, O heaven! could have had any personal
 +interested motive in making them live like men, rather than like
 +crocodiles and tigers. In fine, perceiving that gentleness could be of
 +no avail, well knowing that when complaisance can effect nothing from
 +some spirits, compulsion excites respect and veneration, I prohibited,
 +under the pain of the severest penalties, the drinking of kava, or
 +eating of live flesh, for the space of nine days, within the districts
 +of Angalinar and Paphagalna.
 +
 +But this created such an universal abhorrence and detestation of my
 +government, that my ministers, and even myself, were universally
 +pasquinadoed;​ lampoons, satires, ridicule, and insult, were showered
 +upon the name of Munchausen wherever it was mentioned; and in fine,
 +there never was a government so much detested, or with such little
 +reason.
 +
 +In this dilemma I had recourse to the advice of my noble friend Hilaro
 +Frosticos. In his good sense I now expected some resource, for the
 +rest of the council, who had advised me to the former method, had
 +given but a poor specimen of their abilities and discernment,​ or I
 +should have succeeded more happily. In short, he addressed himself to
 +me and to the council as follows:--
 +
 +"It is in vain, most noble Munchausen, that your Excellency endeavours
 +to compel or force these people to a life to which they have never
 +been accustomed. In vain do you tell them that apple-pies, pudding,
 +roast beef, minced pies, or tarts, are delicious, that sugar is sweet,
 +that wine is exquisite. Alas! they cannot, they will not comprehend
 +what deliciousness is, what sweetness, or what the flavour of the
 +grape. And even if they were convinced of the superior excellence of
 +your way of life, never, never would they be persuaded; and that if
 +for no other reason, but because force or persuasion is employed to
 +induce them to it. Abandon that idea for the present, and let us try
 +another method. My opinion, therefore, is, that we should at once
 +cease all endeavours to compel or persuade them. But let us, if
 +possible, procure a quantity of //fudge// from England, and carelessly
 +scatter it over all the country; and from this disposal of matters I
 +presume--nay,​ I have a moral certainty, that we shall reclaim this
 +people from horror and barbarity."​
 +
 +Had this been proposed at any other time, it would have been violently
 +opposed in the council; but now, when every other attempt had failed,
 +when there seemed no other resource, the majority willingly submitted
 +to they knew not what, for they absolutely had no idea of the manner,
 +the possibilities of success, or how they could bring matters to bear.
 +However, 'twas a scheme, and as such they submitted. For my part, I
 +listened with ecstasy to the words of Hilaro Frosticos, for I knew
 +that he had a most singular knowledge of human kind, and could humour
 +and persuade them on to their own happiness and universal good.
 +Therefore, according to the advice of Hilaro, I despatched a balloon
 +with four men over the desert to the Cape of Good Hope, with letters
 +to be forwarded to England, requiring, without delay, a few cargoes of
 +fudge.
 +
 +The people had all this time remained in a general state of ferment
 +and murmur. Everything that rancour, low wit, and deplorable ignorance
 +could conceive to asperse my government, was put in execution. The
 +most worthy, even the most beneficent actions, everything that was
 +amiable, were perverted into opposition.
 +
 +The heart of Munchausen was not made of such impenetrable stuff as to
 +be insensible to the hatred of even the most worthless wretch in the
 +whole kingdom; and once, at a general assembly of the states, filled
 +with an idea of such continued ingratitude,​ I spoke as pathetic as
 +possible, not, methought, beneath my dignity, to make them feel for
 +me: that the universal good and happiness of the people were all I
 +wished or desired; that if my actions had been mistaken, or improper
 +surmises formed, still I had no wish, no desire, but the public
 +welfare, &c. &c. &c.
 +
 +Hilaro Frosticos was all this time much disturbed; he looked sternly
 +at me--he frowned, but I was so engrossed with the warmth of my heart,
 +my intentions, that I understood him not: in a minute I saw nothing
 +but as if through a cloud (such is the force of amiable sensibility)--
 +lords, ladies, chiefs--the whole assembly seemed to swim before my
 +sight. The more I thought on my good intentions, the lampoons which so
 +much affected my delicacy, good nature, tenderness--I forgot myself--I
 +spoke rapid, violent--beneficence--fire--tenderness--alas! I melted
 +into tears!
 +
 +"Pish! pish!" said Hilaro Frosticos.
 +
 +Now, indeed, was my government lampooned, satirised, carribonadoed,​
 +bepickled, and bedevilled. One day, with my arm full of lampoons, I
 +started up as Hilaro entered the room, the tears in my eyes: "Look,
 +look here, Hilaro!--how can I bear all this? It is impossible to
 +please them; I will leave the government--I cannot bear it! See what
 +pitiful anecdotes--what surmises: I will make my people feel for me--I
 +will leave the government!"​
 +
 +"​Pshaw!"​ says Hilaro. At that simple mono-syllable I found myself
 +changed as if by magic! for I ever looked on Hilaro as a person so
 +experienced--such fortitude, such good sense. "There are three sails,
 +under the convoy of a frigate,"​ added Hilaro, "just arrived at the
 +Cape, after a fortunate passage, laden with the fudge that we
 +demanded. No time is to be lost; let it be immediately conducted
 +hither, and distributed through the principal granaries of the
 +empire."​
 +
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XXVII]]
 +
  
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xxvi.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 18:03 (external edit)