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Charles Rogers, second mate, and two natives with bows and arrows, we were crossing a great plain skirted by a forest, when we saw emerging from a ravine what I took to be three negroes - a very tall one, one of a moderate size, and one quite little.
Our native guide shrieked out some words in their language, of which Charles Rogers knew something. I thought it was the advance of the negroes whoin we expected. “No!” said Rogers (who swore dreadfully in conversation), “it is the Gorillas !” And he fired both barrels of his gun, bringing down the little one first, and the female afterwards.
The male, who was untouched, gave a howl that you might have heard a league off; advanced towards us as if he would attack us, and then turned and ran away with inconceivable celerity towards the wood.
We went up towards the fallen brutes. The little one by the female appeared to be about two years old. It lay bleating and moaning on the ground, stretching out its little hands, with movements and looks so strangely resembling human, that my heart sickened with pity. The female, who had been shot through both legs, could not move. She howled most hideously when I approached the little one.
• We must be off,” said Rogers, " or the whole Gorilla race may be down upon us.” “ The little one is only shot in the leg,” I said. “I'll bind the limb up, and we will carry the beast with us on board.”
The poor little wretch held up its leg to show it was wounded, and looked to me with appealing eyes. It lay quite still whilst I looked for and found the bullet, and, tearing off a piece of my shirt, bandaged up the wound. I was so occupied in this business, that I hardly heard Rogers cry " Run! run!” and when I looked up –
When I looked up, with a roar the most horrible I ever heard — a roar? ten thousand roars — a whirling army of dark beings rushed by me. Rogers, who had bullied me so frightfully during the voyage, and who had encouraged my fatal passion for play, so that I own I owed him 1,500 dollars, was overtaken, felled, brained, and torn into ten thousand pieces ; and I dare say the same fate would have fallen on me, but that the little Gorilla, whose wound I had dressed, flung its arms round my neck (their arms, you know, are much longer than ours). And when an immense gray Gorilla, with hardly any teeth, brandishing the trunk of a gollyhoshtree about sixteen feet long, came up to me roaring, the little one squeaked out something plaintive, which, of course, I could not understand; on which suddenly the monster flung down his tree, squatted down on his huge hams by the side of the little patient, and began to bellow and weep.
And now, do you see whom I had rescued? I had rescued the young Prince of the Gorillas, who was out walking with bis nurse and footman. The footman had run off to aların his master, and certainly I never saw a footman run quicker. The whole army of Gorillas rushed forward to rescue their prince, and punish his enemies. If the King Gorilla's emotion was great, fancy what the queen's must have been when she came up! She arrived, on a litter, neatly enough made with wattied branches, on which she lay, with her youngest child, a prince of three weeks old.
My little protégé with the wounded leg, still persisted in bugging me with its arms (I think I mentioned that they are longer than those of men in general), and as the poor little brute was immensely heavy, and the Gorillas go at a prodigious pace, a litter was made for us likewise ; and my thirst much refreshed by a footman (the same domestic who had given the alarm) running hand over hand up a cocoanut-tree, tearing the rinds off, breaking the shell on his head, and handing me the fresh milk in its cup. My little patient partook of a little, stretching out its dear little unwounded foot, with which, or with its hand, a Gorilla can help itself indiscriminately. Relays of large Gorillas relieved each other at the litters at intervals of twenty minutes, as I calculated by my watch, one of Jones and Bates's, of Boston, Mass., though I have been unable to this day to ascertain how these animals calculate time with such surprising accuracy. We slept for that night under —
And now, you see, we arrive at really the most interesting part of my travels in the country which I intended to visit, viz. the manners and habits of the Gorillas chez eux. I give the heads of this narrative only, the full account being suppressed for a reason which shall presently be given. The heads, then, of the chapters, are briefly as follows:
The author's arrival in the Gorilla country. Its geographical position. Lodgings assigned to him up a gum-tree. Constant attachment of ihe little prince. His royal highness's gratitude. Anecdotes of his wil, playfulness, and extraordinary precocity. Am offered a portion of poor Larkins for my supper, but decline with horror. Footman brings me a young crocodile : fishy but very palatable. Old crocodiles too tough : ditto rhinoceros. Visit the
an enormous old Gorilla, quite white. Prescribe for her majesty. Meeting of Gorillas at what appears a parliament amongst them: presided over by old Gorilla in cocoanut- fibre wig. Their sports. Their customs. A privileged class amongst them. Extraordinary likeness of Gorillas to people at home, both at Charleston, S. C., my native place; and London, England, which I have visited. Flat-nosed Gorillas and blue-nosed Gorillas ; their hatred, and wars between them. In a part of the country (its geographical position described) I see several negroes under Gorilla domination. Well treated by their masters. Frog-eating Gorillas across the Salt Lake. Bull-headed Gorillas
Bull-headed Gorillas -- their mutuul hostility. Green Island Gorillas. More quarrelsome than the Bull-heads, and howl much louder. I am called to attend one of the princesses. Evident partiality of H. R. H. for me. Jealousy and rage of large red-headed Gorilla. How shall I escape ?
Ay, how indeed? Do you wish to know? Is your curiosity excited? Well, I do know how I escaped. I could tell the most extraordinary adventures that happened to me. I could show you resemblances to people at home, that would make them blue with rage and you crack your sides with laughter. ..., And what is the reason I cannot write this paper, having all the facts before me? The reason is, that walking down St. James Street yesterday, I met a friend who says to me, “ Roundabout my boy, have you seen your picture? Here it is !” And he pulls out a portrait, executed in photography, of your humble servant, as an immense and most unpleasant-featured baboon, witlf long hairy hands, and called by the waggish artist “ A Literary Gorilla.” Ohorror! And now you see why I can't play off this joke myself, and moralize on the fable, as it has been narrated already de me.
A MISSISSIPPI BUBBLE.
This group of dusky children of the captivity is copied out of a little sketch-book which I carried in many a roundabout journey, and will point a moral as well as any other sketch in the volume. Yonder drawing * was made in a country where there was such hospitality, friendship, kindness shown to the humble designer, that his eyes do not care to look out for faults,
This refers to an illustrated edition of the work.
or his pen to note them. How they sang; how they laughed and grinned; how they scraped, bowed, and complimented you and each other, those negroes of the cities of the Southern parts of the then United States ! My business kept me in the towns; I was but in one negro-plantation village, and there were only women and little children, the men being out a-field. But there was plenty of cheerfulness in the huts, under the great trees I speak of what I saw -- - and amidst the dusky bondsmen of the cities. I witnessed a curious gayety'; heard amongst the black folk endless singing, shouting, and laughter; and saw on holidays black gentlemen and ladies arrayed in such splendor and comfort as freeborn workmen in our towns seldom exhibit. What a grin and bow that dark gentleman performed, who was the porter at the colonel's, when he said, “You write your name, mas’r, else I will forgot.” I am not going into the slavery question, I am not an advocate for " the institution,” as I know, madam, by that angry toss of your head, you are about to declare me to be. For domestic purposes, my dear lady, it seemed to me about the dearest institution that can be devised. In a house in a Southern city you will find fifteen negroes doing the work which John, the cook, the housemaid, and the help, do perfectly in your own comfortable London house. And these fifteen negroes are the pick of a family of some eighty or ninety. Twenty are too sick, or too old for work, let us say: twenty too clumsy : twenty are too young, and have to be nursed and watched by ten more.* And master has to maintain the immense crew to do the work of half a dozen willing hands. No, no; let Mitchell, the exile from poor dear enslaved Ireland, wish for a gang of “fat niggers ;” I would as soon you should make me a present of a score of Bengal elephants, when I need but a single stout horse to pull my brougham.
How hospitable they were, those Southern men! In the North itself the welcome was not kinder, as I, who have eaten Northern and Southern salt, can testify. As for New Orleans, in spring-time, — just when the orchards were flushing over with peach-blossoms, and the sweet herbs came to flavor the juleps it seemed to me the city of the world where you can eat and drink the most and suffer the least. At Bordeaux itself, claret is not better to drink than at New Orleans.
* This was an account given by a gentleman at Richmond of his estab. lishment. Six European servants would have kept his house and stables well. “ His farm,” he said, “barely sufficed to maintain the negroes residing on it."
was all good — believe an expert Robert - from the half-dollar Médoc of the public hotel table, to the private gentleman's choicest wine. Claret is, somehow, good in that gifted place at dinner, at supper, and at breakfast in the morning. is good: it is superabundant -- and there is nothing to pay. Find me speaking ill of such a country! When I do, pone me pigris campis: smother me in a desert, or let Mississippi or Garonne drown me ! At that comfortable tavern on Pontchartrain we had a bouillabaisse than which a better was never eaten at Marseilles : 'and not the least headache in the morning, I give you my word ; on the contrary, you only wake with a sweet refreshing thirst for claret and water. They say there is fever there in the autumn: but not in the spring-time, when the peach-blossoms blush over the orchards, and the sweet herbs come to flavor the juleps.
I was bound from New Orleans to Saint Louis; and our walk was constantly on the Levee, whence we could see a hundred of those huge white Mississippi steamers at their moorings in the river: “Look,” said my friend Lochlomond to me, as we stood one day on the quay — “ look at that post! Look at that coffee-house behind it! Sir, last year a steamer blew up in the river yonder, just where you see those men pulling off in the boat. By that post where you are standing a mule was cut in two by a fragment of the burst machinery, and a bit of the chimney-stove in that first-floor window of the coffee-house, killed a negro who was cleaning knives in the top-room !” I looked at the post, at the coffee-house window, at the steamer in which I was going to embark, at my friend, with a pleasing interest not divested of melancholy. Yesterday, it was the mule, thinks I, who was cut in two: it may be cras mihi. Why, in the same little sketch-book, there is a drawing of an Alabama river steamer which blew up on the very next voyage after that in which your humble servant was on board! Had I but waited another week, I might have. ... These incidents give a queer zest to the voyage down the life-stream in America. When our huge, tall, white, pasteboard castle of a steamer began to work up stream, every limb in her creaked, and groaned, and qnivered, so that you might fancy she would burst right off. Would she hold together, or would she split into ten million of shivers? O my home and children! Would your humble servant's body be cut in two across yonder chain on the Levee, or be precipitated into yonder first-floor, so as to damage the chest of a black man cleaning boots at the window? The black man is safe for me, thank goodness. But you see the little