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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xxxii [2005/11/22 18:04] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER XXXII =====
 +
 +//The Baron harangues the company, and they continue the pursuit--
 +The Baron, wandering from his retinue, is taken by the savages,
 +scalped, and tied to a stake to be roasted; but he contrives to
 +extricate himself, and kills the savages--The Baron travels
 +overland through the forests of North America, to the confines of
 +Russia--Arrives at the castle of the Nareskin Rowskimowmowsky,​ and
 +gallops into the kingdom of Loggerheads--A battle, in which the
 +Baron fights the Nareskin in single combat, and generously gives
 +him his life--Arrives at the Friendly Islands, and discourses with
 +Omai--The Baron, with all his attendants, goes from Otaheite to
 +the isthmus of Darien, and having cut a canal across the isthmus,
 +returns to England.//
 +
 +"My friends, and very learned and profound Judiciarii,"​ said I, "be
 +not disheartened that Wauwau has escaped from you at present:
 +persevere, and we shall yet succeed. You should never despair,
 +Munchausen being your general; and therefore be brave, be courageous,
 +and fortune shall second your endeavours. Let us advance undaunted in
 +pursuit, and follow the fierce Wauwau even three times round the
 +globe, until we entrap her."
 +
 +My words filled them with confidence and valour, and they unanimously
 +agreed to continue the chase. We penetrated the frightful deserts and
 +gloomy woods of America, beyond the source of the Ohio, through
 +countries utterly unknown before. I frequently took the diversion of
 +shooting in the woods, and one day that I happened with three
 +attendants to wander far from our troop, we were suddenly set upon by
 +a number of savages. As we had expended our powder and shot, and
 +happened to have no side-arms, it was in vain to make any resistance
 +against hundreds of enemies. In short, they bound us, and made us walk
 +before them to a gloomy cavern in a rock, where they feasted upon what
 +game they had killed, but which not being sufficient, they took my
 +three unfortunate companions and myself, and scalped us. The pain of
 +losing the flesh from my head was most horrible; it made me leap in
 +agonies, and roar like a bull. They then tied us to stakes, and making
 +great fires around us, began to dance in a circle, singing with much
 +distortion and barbarity, and at times putting the palms of their
 +hands to their mouths, set up the war-whoop. As they had on that day
 +also made a great prize of some wine and spirits belonging to our
 +troop, these barbarians, finding it delicious, and unconscious of its
 +intoxicating quality, began to drink it in profusion, while they
 +beheld us roasting, and in a very short time they were all completely
 +drunk, and fell asleep around the fires. Perceiving some hopes, I used
 +most astonishing efforts to extricate myself from the cords which I
 +was tied, and at length succeeded. I immediately unbound my
 +companions, and though half roasted, they still had power enough to
 +walk. We sought about for the flesh that had been taken off our heads,
 +and having found the scalps, we immediately adapted them to our bloody
 +heads, sticking them on with a kind of glue of a sovereign quality,
 +that flows from a tree in that country, and the parts united and
 +healed in a few hours. We took care to revenge ourselves on the
 +savages, and with their own hatchets put every one of them to death.
 +We then returned to our troop, who had given us up for lost, and they
 +made great rejoicings on our return. We now proceeded in our journey
 +through this prodigious wilderness, Gog and Magog acting as pioneers,
 +hewing down the trees, &c., at a great rate as we advanced. We passed
 +over numberless swamps and lakes and rivers, until at length we
 +discovered a habitation at some distance. It appeared a dark and
 +gloomy castle, surrounded with strong ramparts, and a broad ditch. We
 +called a council of war, and it was determined to send a deputation
 +with a trumpet to the walls of the castle, and demand friendship from
 +the governor, whoever he might be, and an account if aught he knew of
 +Wauwau. For this purpose our whole caravan halted in the wood, and Gog
 +and Magog reclined amongst the trees, that their enormous strength and
 +size should not be discovered, and give umbrage to the lord of the
 +castle. Our embassy approached the castle, and having demanded
 +admittance for some time, at length the drawbridge was let down, and
 +they were suffered to enter. As soon as they had passed the gate it
 +was immediately closed after them, and on either side they perceived
 +ranks of halberdiers,​ who made them tremble with fear. "We come," the
 +herald proclaimed, "on the part of Hilaro Frosticos, Don Quixote, Lord
 +Whittington,​ and the thrice-renowned Baron Munchausen, to claim
 +friendship from the governor of this puissant castle, and to seek
 +Wauwau."​ "The most noble the governor,"​ replied the officer, "is at
 +all times happy to entertain such travellers as pass through these
 +immense deserts, and will esteem it an honour that the great Hilaro
 +Frosticos, Don Quixote, Lord Whittington,​ and the thrice-renowned
 +Baron Munchausen, enter his castle walls."​
 +
 +In short, we entered the castle. The governor sat with all our company
 +to table, surrounded by his friends, of a very fierce and warlike
 +appearance. They spoke but little, and seemed very austere and
 +reserved, until the first course was served up. The dishes were
 +brought in by a number of bears walking on their hind-legs, and on
 +every dish was a fricassee of pistols, pistol-bullets,​ sauce of
 +gunpowder, and aqua-vitæ. This entertainment seemed rather
 +indigestible by even an ostrich'​s stomach, when the governor addressed
 +us, and informed me that it was ever his custom to strangers to offer
 +them for the first course a service similar to that before us; and if
 +they were inclined to accept the invitation, he would fight them as
 +much as they pleased, but if they could not relish the pistol-bullets,​
 +&c., he would conclude them peaceable, and try what better politeness
 +he could show them in his castle. In short, the first course being
 +removed untouched, we dined, and after dinner the governor forced the
 +company to push the bottle about with alacrity and to excess. He
 +informed us that he was the Nareskin Rowskimowmowsky,​ who had retired
 +amidst these wilds, disgusted with the court of Petersburgh. I was
 +rejoiced to meet him; I recollected my old friend, whom I had known at
 +the court of Russia, when I rejected the hand of the Empress. The
 +Nareskin, with all his knights-companions,​ drank to an astonishing
 +degree, and we all set off upon hobby horses in full cry out of the
 +castle. Never was there seen such a cavalcade before. In front
 +galloped a hundred knights belonging to the castle, with hunting horns
 +and a pack of excellent dogs; and then came the Nareskin
 +Rowskimowmowsky,​ Gog and Magog, Hilaro Frosticos, and your humble
 +servant, hallooing and shouting like so many demoniacs, and spurring
 +our hobby horses at an infernal rate until we arrived in the kingdom
 +of Loggerheads. The kingdom of Loggerheads was wilder than any part of
 +Siberia, and the Nareskin had here built a romantic summer-house in a
 +Gothic taste, to which he would frequently retire with his company
 +after dinner. The Nareskin had a dozen bears of enormous stature that
 +danced for our amusement, and their chiefs performed the //minuet de la
 +cour// to admiration. And here the most noble Hilaro Frosticos thought
 +proper to ask the Nareskin some intelligence about Wauwau, in quest of
 +whom we had travelled over such a tract of country, and encountered so
 +many dangerous adventures, and also invited the Nareskin
 +Rowskimowmowsky to attend us with all his bears in the expedition. The
 +Nareskin appeared astonished at the idea; he looked with infinite
 +hauteur and ferocity on Hilaro, and affecting a violent passion asked
 +him, "Did he imagine that the Nareskin Rowskimowmowsky could
 +condescend to take notice of a Wauwau, let her fly what way she would!
 +Or did he think a chief possessing such blood in his veins could
 +engage in such a foreign pursuit? By the blood and by the ashes of my
 +great grandmother,​ I would cut off your head!"
 +
 +Hilaro Frosticos resented this oration, and in short a general riot
 +commenced. The bears, together with the hundred knights, took the part
 +of the Nareskin, and Gog and Magog, Don Quixote, the Sphinx, Lord
 +Whittington,​ the bulls, the crickets, the judges, the matrons, and
 +Hilaro Frosticos, made noble warfare against them.
 +
 +I drew my sword, and challenged the Nareskin to single combat. He
 +frowned, while his eyes sparkled fire and indignation,​ and bracing a
 +buckler on his left arm, he advanced against me. I made a blow at him
 +with all my force, which he received upon his buckler, and my sword
 +broke short.
 +
 +Ungenerous Nareskin; seeing me disarmed, he still pushed forward,
 +dealing his blows upon me with the utmost violence, which I parried
 +with my shield and the hilt of my broken sword, and fought like a
 +game-cock.
 +
 +An enormous bear at the same time attacked me, but I ran my hand still
 +retaining the hilt of my broken sword down his throat, and tore up his
 +tongue by the roots. I then seized his carcase by the hind-legs, and
 +whirling it over my head, gave the Nareskin such a blow with his own
 +bear as evidently stunned him. I repeated my blows, knocking the
 +bear's head against the Nareskin'​s head, until, by one happy blow, I
 +got his head into the bear's jaws, and the creature being still
 +somewhat alive and convulsive, the teeth closed upon him like
 +nutcrackers. I threw the bear from me, but the Nareskin remained
 +sprawling, unable to extricate his head from the bear's jaws,
 +imploring for mercy. I gave the wretch his life: a lion preys not
 +upon carcases.
 +
 +At the same time my troop had effectually routed the bears and the
 +rest of their adversaries. I was merciful, and ordered quarter to be
 +given.
 +
 +At that moment I perceived Wauwau flying at a great height through the
 +heavens, and we instantly set out in pursuit of her, and never stopped
 +until we arrived at Kamschatka; thence we passed to Otaheite. I met my
 +old acquaintance Omai, who had been in England with the great
 +navigator, Cook, and I was glad to find he had established Sunday
 +schools over all the islands. I talked to him of Europe, and his
 +former voyage to England. "​Ah!"​ said he, most emphatically,​ "the
 +English, the cruel English, to murder me with goodness, and refine
 +upon my torture--took me to Europe, and showed me the court of
 +England, the delicacy of exquisite life; they showed me gods, and
 +showed me heaven, as if on purpose to make me feel the loss of them."
 +
 +From these islands we set out, attended by a fleet of canoes with
 +fighting-stages and the chiefest warriors of the islands, commanded by
 +Omai. Thus the chariot of Queen Mab, my team of bulls and the
 +crickets, the ark, the Sphinx, and the balloons, with Hilaro
 +Frosticos, Gog and Magog, Lord Whittington,​ and the Lord Mayor'​s show,
 +Don Quixote, &c., with my fleet of canoes, altogether cut a very
 +formidable appearance on our arrival at the Isthmus of Darien.
 +Sensible of what general benefit it would be to mankind, I immediately
 +formed a plan of cutting a canal across the isthmus from sea to sea.
 +
 +For this purpose I drove my chariot with the greatest impetuosity
 +repeatedly from shore to shore, in the same track, tearing up the
 +rocks and earth thereby, and forming a tolerable bed for the water.
 +Gog and Magog next advanced at the head of a million of people from
 +the realms of North and South America, and from Europe, and with
 +infinite labour cleared away the earth, &c., that I had ploughed up
 +with my chariot. I then again drove my chariot, making the canal wider
 +and deeper, and ordered Gog and Magog to repeat their labour as
 +before. The canal being a quarter of a mile broad, and three hundred
 +yards in depth, I thought it sufficient, and immediately let in the
 +waters of the sea. I did imagine, that from the rotatory motion of the
 +earth on its axis from west to east the sea would be higher on the
 +eastern than the western coast, and that on the uniting of the two
 +seas there would be a strong current from the east, and it happened
 +just as I expected. The sea came in with tremendous magnificence,​ and
 +enlarged the bounds of the canal, so as to make a passage of some
 +miles broad from ocean to ocean, and make an island of South America.
 +Several sail of trading vessels and men-of-war sailed through this new
 +channel to the South Seas, China, &c., and saluted me with all their
 +cannon as they passed.
 +
 +I looked through my telescope at the moon, and perceived the
 +philosophers there in great commotion. They could plainly discern the
 +alteration on the surface of our globe, and thought themselves somehow
 +interested in the enterprise of their fellow-mortals in a neighbouring
 +planet. They seemed to think it admirable that such little beings as
 +we men should attempt so magnificent a performance,​ that would be
 +observable even in a separate world.
 +
 +Thus having wedded the Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea, I returned to
 +England, and found Wauwau precisely in the very spot whence she had
 +set out, after having led us a chase all round the world.
 +
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XXXIII]]
 +
  
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xxxii.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 18:04 (external edit)