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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_ii [2005/11/22 17:58] (current)
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 +===== CHAPTER II =====
 +//In which the Baron proves himself a good shot--He loses his
 +  horse, and finds a wolf--Makes him draw his sledge--Promises to
 +  entertain his company with a relation of such facts as are well
 +  deserving their notice.//
 +I set off from Rome on a journey to Russia, in the midst of winter,
 +from a just notion that frost and snow must of course mend the roads,
 +which every traveller had described as uncommonly bad through the
 +northern parts of Germany, Poland, Courland, and Livonia. I went on
 +horseback, as the most convenient manner of travelling; I was but
 +lightly clothed, and of this I felt the inconvenience the more I
 +advanced north-east. What must not a poor old man have suffered in
 +that severe weather and climate, whom I saw on a bleak common in
 +Poland, lying on the road, helpless, shivering, and hardly having
 +wherewithal to cover his nakedness? I pitied the poor soul: though I
 +felt the severity of the air myself, I threw my mantle over him, and
 +immediately I heard a voice from the heavens, blessing me for that
 +piece of charity, saying--
 +"You will be rewarded, my son, for this in time."
 +I went on: night and darkness overtook me. No village was to be seen.
 +The country was covered with snow, and I was unacquainted with the
 +Tired, I alighted, and fastened my horse to something like a pointed
 +stump of a tree, which appeared above the snow; for the sake of safety
 +I placed my pistols under my arm, and laid down on the snow, where I
 +slept so soundly that I did not open my eyes till full daylight. It is
 +not easy to conceive my astonishment to find myself in the midst of a
 +village, lying in a churchyard; nor was my horse to be seen, but I
 +heard him soon after neigh somewhere above me. On looking upwards I
 +beheld him hanging by his bridle to the weather-cock of the steeple.
 +Matters were now very plain to me: the village had been covered with
 +snow overnight; a sudden change of weather had taken place; I had sunk
 +down to the churchyard whilst asleep, gently, and in the same
 +proportion as the snow had melted away; and what in the dark I had
 +taken to be a stump of a little tree appearing above the snow, to
 +which I had tied my horse, proved to have been the cross or weather-
 +cock of the steeple!
 +Without long consideration I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle
 +in two, brought the horse, and proceeded on my journey. [Here the
 +Baron seems to have forgot his feelings; he should certainly have
 +ordered his horse a feed of corn, after fasting so long.]
 +He carried me well--advancing into the interior parts of Russia. I
 +found travelling on horseback rather unfashionable in winter,
 +therefore I submitted, as I always do, to the custom of the country,
 +took a single horse sledge, and drove briskly towards St. Petersburg.
 +I do not exactly recollect whether it was in Eastland or Jugemanland,​
 +but I remember that in the midst of a dreary forest I spied a terrible
 +wolf making after me, with all the speed of ravenous winter hunger. He
 +soon overtook me. There was no possibility of escape. Mechanically I
 +laid myself down flat in the sledge, and let my horse run for our
 +safety. What I wished, but hardly hoped or expected, happened
 +immediately after. The wolf did not mind me in the least, but took a
 +leap over me, and falling furiously on the horse, began instantly to
 +tear and devour the hind-part of the poor animal, which ran the faster
 +for his pain and terror. Thus unnoticed and safe myself, I lifted my
 +head slyly up, and with horror I beheld that the wolf had ate his way
 +into the horse'​s body; it was not long before he had fairly forced
 +himself into it, when I took my advantage, and fell upon him with the
 +butt-end of my whip. This unexpected attack in his rear frightened him
 +so much, that he leaped forward with all his might: the horse'​s
 +carcase dropped on the ground, but in his place the wolf was in the
 +harness, and I on my part whipping him continually:​ we both arrived in
 +full career safe at St. Petersburg, contrary to our respective
 +expectations,​ and very much to the astonishment of the spectators.
 +I shall not tire you, gentlemen, with the politics, arts, sciences,
 +and history of this magnificent metropolis of Russia, nor trouble you
 +with the various intrigues and pleasant adventures I had in the
 +politer circles of that country, where the lady of the house always
 +receives the visitor with a dram and a salute. I shall confine myself
 +rather to the greater and nobler objects of your attention, horses and
 +dogs, my favourites in the brute creation; also to foxes, wolves, and
 +bears, with which, and game in general, Russia abounds more than any
 +other part of the world; and to such sports, manly exercises, and
 +feats of gallantry and activity, as show the gentleman better than
 +musty Greek or Latin, or all the perfume, finery, and capers of French
 +wits or //​petit-maîtres//​.
 +Go to [[CHAPTER III]]
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_ii.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 17:58 (external edit)