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mere sight of the dinner-table, with the party so seated at it, was sufficiently singular to almost excuse the curiosity that had been previously excited about it. Conceive an elegant dining-room, set out with a table supplied with all modern appointments for a dozen persons, and graced at due intervals with fashionably dressed females-the master and mistress occupying their usual places at the top and bottom-and in short the whole differing in nothing from the usual routine of good society on such occasions, with the sole exception that the male portion of the visitors consisted of four beings more outrageously fantastical and far-fetched in their outward appearance than was ever imagined by a romantic school-boy, after reading Cook's Voyages, or invented by an unromantic manager of a minor theatre in dramatising the same. On the left of the lady of the house sat the "Grand Chief," as he is called, or Captain of the Huron nation-by name Tsawanhonhi; on her right Aharathaha, one of the chiefs of his council, and his principal physician; and opposite to each other, towards the middle of the table, each between two ladies, Tsioni Téacheandahé, chief of the warriors, and Tsouhahissen, another of the council. In figure, each (except the warrior) was above the middle height, and sufficiently stately in deportment; and as all were attired pretty much alike, a description of one may serve for all in this particular. Fancy, then, a head of coal-black and perfectly strait hair, clipped close on the top and over the forehead, like a charity-boy's, but hanging down in strings over the shoulders behind, and in length and thickness, as well as colour, exactly resembling the tail of an undertaker's horse. Beneath this coiffure fancy a face of the colour and texture of Russia leather, where you could distinguish its natural state, but for the most part covered by broad streaks, about a finger's width, of bright red paint, running in a direction of from ear to mouth, and with intervals between each of about their own width-like the skin of a zebra. The only additional ornament to this was a pair of ear-rings of burnished silver, of the shape, and about the size, of the musical instrument called the triangle; and a bunch of detached pieces of the same metal (of about the form and size of the tags that footmen The used to wear at their shoulders) dependent from their noses. neck was entirely open, and each of these personages being about sixty years of age, it presented an appearance not unlike a roll of ancient parchment that had been saved from a fire. Their attire (for they were attired, quite as much as the uninvited lady, whose opinion I have above reported could have wished) consisted, in the upper part, of two woollen vestments, which seemed to have been constructed from some description which the maker had received, of what we call a coat and waistcoat; but they resembled those garments quite as little (and as much) as they resembled anything else. And round each arm were tied, with pieces of narrow ribbon, two enormous collars of silver, each of which, but for the honest looks of the wearer, one might have fancied to have been purloined from the neck of some favourite Newfoundland dog. Round the waist was twisted, what seemed at a little distance to be a sort of shawl, but which was a band or sash formed chiefly of different coloured beads; and in this band was stuck a bag for tobacco, a wooden pipe, a flint and steel to light it with, and a sort of reticule, or pocket, formed out of a martin's skin complete-the body being the receptacle, and the head, tail, and legs, forming the tassels, strings, &c. From the waist to the knees the dress consisted
of what I believe, the Scotch call a kilt; the legs are covered, from knee to foot with mocasins; and on the feet were a sort of soleless shoe, exactly the size and form of the foot, and covered entirely over with various coloured beads. In order that I may give you the best notion 1 am able of the outward appearance of these singular persons, I can only add, with respect to the characters and expressions of their faces, that the grand chiet's was in some degree European, and bore a remarkable resemblance to the portraits of our late king, George the Third, having the same retreating forehead and chin, and the same mild benevolence of expression; that those of his two chief councillors were singularly calculated to remind one of the expression of Sir Oran Hauton's, in one of Mr. Peacock's novels; and that the chief warrior's was, to do him justice, and barring the barbarous effect of the red paint, one of the most entirely pleasing that I remember to have seen-full of a mild and graceful sweetness, and free from the slightest tinge of either craft or cruelty.
So much, sir, for the mere outward appearance of these new denizens of an English dinner-party; uncouth enough, it must be confessed; and which uncouthness was rendered ten times more striking, than it would otherwise have seemed, by the contrast in connexion with which it was seen; for one of them, in particular, was seated beside the belle of our village,-a fine young girl, dressed in the very extreme of English simplicity-without an ornament about her, but her own unaffected graces. Your readers will probably expect to hear that the behaviour of these personages, under the new circumstances in which they were placed, was still less "selon les régles." I know not, however, whether they will be as gratified as I was, to find that, so far from this being the case, if these "savages" had forgotten to paint their faces, and had borrowed each a suit of their host's apparel, they might not only have passed muster among any number of ordinary "diners-out," but might actually have been mistaken (barring their colour) for persons of excellent tact and breeding; at least if goodbreeding consists in saying and doing naturally and properly what it is natural and proper to say and do. In fact, sir, having after some few struggles with pride and prejudice, succeeded in persuading myself into a theory, that whatever is natural must be proper and good, I cannot express to you my gratification at finding my theory so fully and strikingly confirmed, in the behaviour of these most natural, and, notwithstanding their appearance, most agreeable and well-bred persons— savages in nothing but the colour of their skins, and uncultivated in nothing but the cut of their clothes. Speaking generally of their mode of conducting themselves during dinner, and indeed all through the evening, I will venture to say that they did nothing, and left nothing undone, which would have seemed particular in any one bearing the character of an English gentleman-nothing, with the exception of one or two instances, where they violated certain established usages which, unlike most of those prevailing in the present day, have not their foundation in either good feeling or good sense, but on the contrary are either perfectly arbitrary and without meaning, or have originated in some conscious defect or failing in the first introducer. It is true Mr. Theodore Hook will be horror-struck at hearing that they actually ate their fish with a knife, though to do so is much more convenient, and at least as graceful, as eating it with a fork; and Mr. Brummel would
have blushed (in his sleeve) at seeing them, in handing wine to a lady, approach their fingers to the brim of the glass, as if they were quite unconscious of soiled hands or unwholesome flesh. But I question whether either of these fastidious observers of distinctions and differences, could have detected a single tinge of real coarseness or vulgarity in any part of their behaviour. I have neglected to mention to you what had perhaps the most singular effect of all, in contrast with their barbarous appearance-namely, that they all spoke French fluently, and all with much less accent than any Europeans do: so that nearly all the company (about fifty in number) were able to converse with them occasionally during the course of the evening. Yet in all the circumstances in which they were placed (some of them not a little trying to the patience of persons evidently not unconscious of a certain degree of dignity in regard to their comparative station in their own country) they never for a moment lost their perfect self-possession, or departed from that mild composure of mein, and that modest gravity of deportment, which characterised then on their first entrance into the company. At dinner they ate very moderately, and chiefly of fish; and took wine with most of the ladies present-though not without an intimation, either from their host, or from the lady herself, that it would be agreeable :-conversing occasionally during the whole time, with a natural ease and grace as far removed from any thing like assurance, as from that spurious politeness which is called forth by hypocrisy and expressed by grimace.
The most talkative of the party during dinner was Aharathaha, who spoke French with the fluency of a native, and almost entirely without accent; and though apparently the oldest of the four, was by far the most lively, animated, and observant. I have heard, Sir, that the famous John Wilkes used to boast that, ugly as he was, the handsomest man in the room never had more than ten minutes advantage over him, even in the estimation of the ladies, provided he chose to "do the agreeable" in the way of talk. This is one of the handsomest testimonies (for I will not call it a compliment) that has ever been paid to the good sense of our sex; and if I had ever doubted of its truth, I should do so no longer, after spending an evening with the person I have named above. I think I never remember to have seen any countenance so repulsive, even in itself, and without any of the "adventitious aid of ornament." It reminded one, as I have hinted before, of that of a huge antiquated monkey, so overgrown, and at the same time so withered, as to have lost all that comic expression which the face of a monkey usually includes, without acquiring anything in its place but a sort of half ridiculous air of melancholy; and yet without a single expression appertaining to humanity. Fancy a face like this, half covered with great streaks of brickdust-coloured paint, and hung with silver tags at the nose, and ear-rings big enough to form the wheels of a baby's coach. And yet, in less than half an hour from the time this face was presented to us, every one seemed to turn to it with pleasure, and address themselves to its owner with feelings almost amounting to regard.
The other three chiefs spoke but little during dinner, and that only when addressed: except that the warrior had occasion to excuse himself from taking wine, and also to make enquiries (which would have shocked a rigid observer of the mere arbitrary rules of modern polite
ness) as to the composition of one or two of the dishes ;—for it appeared afterwards that, in consequence of his having once been intoxicated, he had made a solemn religious vow never again to touch spirits, or any thing which contained them.
Soon after dinner the evening company began to arrive, and the ladies left the dining-room ;-the chiefs, however, having been first prevailed upon to sing one of their own "national melodies," accompanied by words in their own language. The grand chief sang each division first, and then the others joined in a sort of chorus; and though the harmony was not the most perfect possible, nor the melody very elegant, there was a marked character about the whole which was at least curious and striking.
After a short interval (which was passed in the now full drawingroom chiefly in enquiries and anticipations, with which I shall not trouble your readers, as to the expected exhibition) the chiefs were again introduced; and though the party now included a large assemblage of elegantly dressed females, several of them not without considerable pretensions to personal beauty, and all of them prepared on this occasion to lay aside the usual inobservant and procurante air of good society, and gaze 66 with all their eyes," as the phrase is, on the extraordinary looking strangers,-the latter never for a moment lost that perfect ease and self-possession which many are disposed to consider as peculiar characteristics and criterions of good breeding, but which, in point of fact, are nothing more than evidences that the parties exhibiting them neither feel anything ridiculous about themselves, nor fear any "odious" comparisons to the detriment of pretensions which they have no claim to set up. If a city beau by accident finds himself in a company of west-end exquisites, he feels in a perpetual fidget of fear, lest the cut of his coat or the set of his neck-cloth should not satisfy the seemingly careless, but in fact scrutinizing eyes of those to whom he is bound (by habit) to look up as the only models of what man in the nineteenth century ought to be. But these inhabitants of another world would no more feel an inferiority in such a company, than a wild Arabian horse would in that of a herd of docked and well-trained English ones, simply because it is not natural to feel it.
After the general bustle consequent on the entrance of the chiefs had a little subsided-for that there was a bustle among the English part of the company, I am bound to confess, the latter being the only persons who were at all put out by the novel introduction which had just taken place,-after this had a little subsided, and a few particular presentations had taken place to the grand chief, who received the attentions thus paid him quite en Prince, tea and coffee were introduced; and then commenced those thousand little colloquies, touching the dress and appearance of the persons present, which make up the sum of the conversation that usually takes place at an English evening party, as for example :-" What very odd looking people! I declare I never saw anybody so strangely dressed in my life. And then to think of men painting their faces! How very effeminate !"-"La! Mamma, I wonder how that gentleman contrives to blow his nose, with all those silver knobs hanging to it."-"Hush my dear."-" Poor creatures;-I dare say, now, they don't feel that there 's anything in the least degree ridiculous about them. I shouldn't wonder, now, if, in their own country, they would be looked upon as very well dressed people. But habit
is everything."-"Well, I really do think that they behave very decently, considering. You know they are but poor savages, after all; and what can one expect from persons so little accustomed to genteel society?"-"How very odd! Do you know, I had no idea that savages spoke French."
But I must prepare, sir, to conclude my narrative. After the first movements of curiosity had in part subsided, music was introduced, and one of our village belles sang several of the favourite airs of the day, with which the chiefs seemed singularly delighted. Indeed the singing of this young lady was the only occurrence of the day which seemed capable of moving them from that perfect nonchalance which would have done honour even to a modern exquisite. As she sang the delightful air of "Home, sweet home" in particular, their countenances fairly beamed with delight. Indeed there was something very striking and even poetical in the sight of this fine young creature, sweeping her harp like a muse, while the sweet tones of her voice seemed to penetrate the rugged bosoms of her auditors, as they stood round her like votarists round an inspired priestess, and "lap them in Elysium." Delighted as they evidently were with the singing of this young lady, and almost entirely novel as the effect of it must have been upon them, I cannot but regard it as a remarkable instance of natural good-breeding that they were able, without the least appearance of effort or restraint, to confine the outward evidences of their feelings to the most expres sive looks, and the most bland and even graceful expressions of thanks and gratitude.
They were now, in their turn, called upon to entertain the company by the exhibition of one of their national dances; and though it was evident (to me at least) that they had no disposition to an exhibition of this sort, and felt that a compliance with the request would include something like a compromise of their dignity, they did not let this feeling be observable in any thing but a sort of hesitating and deprecating exchange of looks with each other. The dance which they performed, was, as every thing of the kind must be, quite unintelligible in its movements, to any but the initiated, and was in fact the only part of the evening's exhibition which excited feelings any other than agreeable for, spite of my sex, I must be allowed to say that dancing of any kind, however from various causes it may be partaken in with pleasure, can never be witnessed without feelings allied to disgust, except when the performers of it are in extreme youth, and it can (as it may in that case) be looked upon as the spontaneous movement of animal vivacity.
I must now, sir, close my record of this memorable event of "Our Village," by adding that the principal subjects of it remained till nearly all the rest of the company retired, and thus imposed upon themselves the task of taking a formal leave of every body, which they did with the same natural ease and grace that they had maintained throughout the evening; and I do not believe that a single person, even among those (if any), “who came to laugh," left the house without being inpressed with a kind of respectful regard for all the four extraordinary strangers, unless it was the dandy of our village, who made a point of observing, to everybody to whom he condescended to address his attentions, that "he never saw persons so very ill-dressed in the whole course of his life." I had a great mind to have asked him, in reply to this observation, whether he had chanced to look in a mirror that evening.