페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

127

present in England. Now, there were sundry difficulties of a serious nature involved in this business. In the first place, the favorite resort of the hippopotami is a thousand or fistcen bundred miles distant from Cairo ; in the second place, the hippopotamus being amphibious,' is not easily approached : when he is envi'roned," he is a tremendous antagonist,” by reason of his great strength, enormous * weight, his wrathfulness when excited, and, we may add, his prodigious' mouth, with its huge tusks.

2. We are speaking of the male hippopotamus. He is often slain by a number of rifle-balls (he only makes a comic grin of scorn at a few), and laid low from a distance ; but as to being taken ålīve, that is a triumph which has scarcely ever been permitted to mortal man of modern times.

3. “So, Consul,” said the Pasha, abruptly, one day, when Mr. Murray was dining with him, “so, you want a hippopotamus ?” “Věry much, your Highness.” “And you think that such an animal would be an acceptable present to your queen and country?”

4. “He would be accounted a great rarity,"& said the consul; “our naturalists would receive him with open arms—figuratively speaking—and the public would crowd to pay their respects to him.” Abbas Pasha laughed at this pleasantry of the consul. “Well,” said he, “we will inquire about this matter.” He half

turned his head over one shoulder to his attendants : “Send · here the governor of Nūbsä!” The attendants thus ordered made their salam' and retired.

5. Anybody, not previously aware of the easy habits of a despotic sovereign,' would naturally conclude that the governor of Nubia was, at this time, in Cairo, and at no great distance from the royal ăbode. But it was not so. The governor of Nubia was simply there—at home-smoking his pipe in Nubia. This brief and unadorned order, therefore, involved a post-haste messenger on a dromedary' across the desert, with a boat up the Nile, and then more dromedaries, and then another boat, and again a dromedary, till the Pasha’s mandate’ was delivered.

? Am phữb’i oŭs, having the power Răr' i ty, a thing very uncom. of living in the two elements, air mon; a thing valued for its scarcity. and water.

? Salam, (sa låm'), a kind of bow, 2 En vi' roned, encircled ; sur. or mark of respect, practiced in rounded.

Eastern countries. The head is 3 An tăg' o nist, one who, or that bowed down and both arms raised which, combats another; enemy; foe. above the head, with the hands

* E nor' moós, differing from, or brought together. exceeding the common rule, form, Sovereign, (sův' er in), one who or size; great beyond the common possesses the highest authority ; measure.

king; monarch; emperor; a des6 Prodigious, (pro did' jůs), mar. potic sovereign is one who has als velous; huge; very great.

solute or entire authority.

6. We next behold the governor of Nubiä, in full official trim, proceeding post-haste with his suite: ăcross the desert, and down the Nile, traveling day and night, until finally he is announced to the Pasha, and admitted to his presence. “Gov. ernor,” says the Pasha, “have you hippopotami in your country?” “We have, your Highness.” Abbas Pasha reflected a moment, then said—“Send to me the commander of the Nubian army. Now go!"

7. This was the whole dialogue. The governor made his salam, and retired. With the same haste and ceremony, so far as the two things can be combined, he returned to Nubia by boat, and dromedary, and horse, and covered litter ;* and the same hour found the commander of the army of Nubia galloping across the desert with his attendants, in obedience to the royal mandate.

8. The Pasha, knowing that all means of speed will be used, and what those means will be, together with the nature of the route, is able to calculate to a day when the commander ought to arrive, and, therefore, must arrive,—at his peril, otherwise. The British consul is invited to dine with his Highness on this day.

9. Duly, as expected, the commander of the Nubian army arrives, and is announced, just as the repast is concluded. He is förthwith ushered into the presence of the sublime bēard and turban. Coffee and pipes are served. The commander makes his grand salam, shutting his eyes before the royal pipe.

10. “Commander,” says the Pasha, without taking his pipe

? Dromedary, (drům'e der i), a 3 Suite, (swet), a train of followkind of camal, called also the Arab- ers; company. ian camel, having but one bunch on Lit' ter, a sort of couch or bed the back,

resting on poles, carried by men or ? Măn' dāte, an official order or lorses. command.

6 Repast, (re påst), feast; meal.

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

129

gone."2088 ; butippopote

from his mouth, “I hear that you have hippopotami in your country.” “It is true, your Highness ; but,” “Bring me a live hippopotamus-a young one. Now go!"

11. This was actually the dialogue which took place on the occasion—and the whole of it. The commander of the Nubian fürces made his grand salam, retired, and returned as he came, “big” with the importance of his ěrrand, but also not without considerable anxiety for its result.

12. Arriving at Dongola,' the commander summoned his chief officers and captains of the Nubian hosts to a council of war on the subject of the hippopotamus hunt, on the result of which, he intimated, several heads were at stake, besides his own. A similar communication was speedily forwarded to the chief officers of the right wing of the army, quartered in their tents at Sennaar. The picked men of all the forces having been selected, the two parties met in boats at an appointed village on the banks of the Nile, and there concerted their měasures for the expedition.

IV.

38. THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

PART SECOND.

THE commander divided the chosen body into several par

1 ties, and ăwāy they sped up the Nile. They followed the course of the river, beyond the point where it branches off inte the Blue Nile and the White Nile. . 2. Good fortune at length befell one of the parties; but this cost much time, and many unsuccessful efforts—now pursuing a huge savage river-horse, with rifle-balls and flying darts; now pursued by him in turn, with foaming jaws and gnashing tusks--all of which may readily be conjectured, from the fact that they did not fall in with their prize till they had reached a distance, up the White Nile, of one thousand five hundred miles above Caīro. In the doublings and redoublings of attack and retreat, of pursuit and flight, and renewed assault, they must, of course, have traversed in all at least two thousand miles.

,'Dongola, (dongʻgo lå), a province Sennaar, (sen når'), a State in of Upper Nubia.

N. E. Africa, forming a part of Nubia

ver ; but para instinct mind made towarhanks of the

3. Something pathetic' attaches to the death of the mother of “our hero," something which touches our common nature. A large female hippopot'amus being wounded,' was in full flight up the river ; but presently a ball or two reached a mortal part, and then the maternal instinct made the animal pause. She fied no more, but turned aside, and made toward a heap of brushwood, and water-bushes that grew on the banks of the river, in order, as the event showed, to die beside her young one. She was unable to proceed so far, and sank dying beneath the water.

4. The action, however, had been so evidently caused by some strong impulse and attraction in that direction, that the party instantly proceeded to the clump of water-bushes. Nobody moved—not a green flag stirred ; not a sprig trembled ; but directly they entered, out burst a burly' young hippopotamus-calf, and plunged head-foremost down the river-banks.

5. He had all but escaped, when, ămid the excitement and confusion of the picked men, one of them, who had “more character” than the rest, made a blow at the slippery prize with his boat-hook, and literally brought him up by burying the hook in his fat black flank. Two other hunters, next to him in presence of mind and energy, threw their arms ăround the great barrel-bellied infant, and hoisted him into the boat, which nearly capsized with the weight and struggle.

6. In this one circumstance of a hîppopot'amus being ordered by his Highness Abbas Pasha, has been pleasantly shown the ease and brevity with which matters are managed by a despotic government. We complain at home—and with how much reason everybody knows too well—of the injurious and provoking slowness of all good legislative acts; but here we have a beautiful little instance, or series of little instances, of going rather too fast. Things are settled instantly in the East by a royal mandate, from the strangling of a whole seraglio,' to the suckling of a young hippopotamus. . 7. Returning down the Nile with their unwieldly prize, for

Pa thět' ic, moving the tender 4 Seraglio, (se rål’yd), the palace emotions ; feeling.

of the Sultan in which are kept Wounded, (w8nd'ed).

the females of his household; here · Burly, (bêr' lf), of great bulk, or means the women that oocupy the Bize; lusty; stout.

seraglio.

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

131

whose wounded flank' the best surgical' attendance the country afforded was of cūurse procured, it soon became a matter of immense importance and profound consultation as to how and on what the innocent young monster should be fed. He would not touch flesh of any kind : he did not seem to relish fruit; and he evidently did not, at present, understand grass. A live fish was put into his mouth, but he instantly gave a great gape, and allowed it to flap its way out again, and fall into the water.

8. Before lõng, however, the party reached a village. The commander of the army saw what to do. He ordered lis men to seize all the cows in the village, and milk them. This was found very acceptable to their in'teresting chargc, who presently dispatched a quantity that alarmed them, lest they should be unable to keep up the due balance of supply and demand.

9. The surplus * milk, however, they carried away in courds and earthen vessels. But they found it would not keep : it became sour butter, and melted into oil. They were, therefore, compelled, after a milking, to carry off with them one of the best cows.

10. In this way, they returned fifteen hundred miles down the Nile, stopping at every village on their way—seizing all the cows and milking them dry. By these means, they managed to supply the “table” of the illustrious captive, whose capacities in disposing of the beverage* appeared to increase daily.

V.
39. THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

PART THIRD. THE hunting division of the army, headed by the command

I er-in-chief, arrived at Cairo with their prize on the 14th of November, 1849. The journey down the Nile, from the place where he was captured, viz., the White Nile, had occupied

'Flank, (fångk), the fleshy or cian gives medicine; a surgeon atmuscular part of the side of an ani. tends to outward remedies. mal, between the ribs and the hip. : Surplus, (sër plús), that which

? Surgical, (sêr jik al), relating to remains when use is satisfied. a surgeon, a part of whose business 4 Běv' er age, liquor for drinking is the curing of diseases or injuries usually meaning a pleasant or of the body by hand labor. A physi- mixed liquor-here used for milte.

« 이전계속 »