« ZurückWeiter »
Cushions to lean against, according to the custom of the country; all persons sitting directly upon the deck with their feet bent under them. In the front of the pavilion is a circular kind of throne, or feat of eminence, where the Nabob, or person of the highest distinction, is seated. This place is open on every side, but over the top is stretched a canopy of velvet and gold, the whole breadth, of the boat, supported abaft by the pavilion, and forwards by two painted staves, the taps of which, as well as the top of the pavilion, is ornamented with golden cones, and surrounded with a gold fringe^ with tassels of gold pendent at every corner. The boat is moved by paddles, and worked by thirty rowers, who sit behind the pavilion, with their faces fronting the
of an Englijh Merchant* 133
direction of motion. The paddles are furnished on each of their handles with two brass rings, which clashing together at every motion given, to the paddles, serve to make the rowers keep time, who, singing to the sound, thereby regulate the motion. The boat is fleered by a long oar fastened on the larbord side near the stern, after the manner of the ancients: it glides with great velocity along the surface of the water, not drawing more than nine inches. At the head and stern of the vessel are two small masts painted with vermilion, on which are fixed streamers of crimson silk, interspersed with flowers of gold, in the Moorish talte, which, with other ornaments too numerous to particularize, give it a splendid and elegant appearance, beyond description.
Conclusion of the interesting Adventures of anEnglifli Merchant. (See p. 97.) ubsist on for some time, and Ire- of entertaining the ladies. ThemSnceived air through a loop-hole that ner in which they received my civiserved also to con-.-ey light, I resolved lities. made me judge that gallantry to wait, in this situation, the return was not known in these frozen and of the ladies, or my guards. . barbarous climates. She, whose The governor's lady visited me be- charms I have already mentioned, fore night, in company with the for- quickly perceived that I gave her the mer ladies; and the noise of their preference. Her eyes spoke a thoucarriages, which I heard at a dif- sand things, which I explained in tance, dissipated all my fear. I my favour, and found means, before hastily quitted my fledge to avoid the her departure, to obtain mote certain raillery that I must have expected to proofs of her sentiments, have undergone, if they had been I was no sooner alone, than, casting witnesses of my weakness. I even my eyes on the fledge, that served hesitated whether I should mention me for an habitation, on my cloaths, my adventure, and especially my which were in rags, in short, reflectfright; but though I had escaped the ing on all the circumstances of my danger, I considered that it might fortune, I could not refrain from return the next night, and a little laughing at my inclination to love, counsel would not be useless; I there- at a time when I wanted even the fore related coolly what had happen- common necessaries of life. Is love, ed. They heard my story more se- then more sweet than life; (exclaimed rioufly than I expected, and aug- I, wondering at what passed in my mented my uneasiness by acquainting foul) and how does a spark of love me with the cause of my fright. The at once fill me with joy, in a situabears, and other ravenous beasts, tton that before made me regard liso said they, attacked you last night; we as a burthen? Without seeking faradvise you never to quit your fledge ther the cause of this prodigy, I deaster fun set, and to fasten the door termined to reap from it all the adsecurefy. The bears herd in vast vantage that my good fortune offeredtroops in the forest of Siberia, they me, to render my condition more are fierce and cruel when pressed by comfortable. I re-entered my fledge, hanger, and some winters penetrate filled with these charming ideas, and even into the town in search of prey, passed some hours with more fatisThis thirstof blood diminishes vastly faction than suited the misfortune in summer, because, in that season, which was at hand, they find an infinite number of timid The bears failed not to return in animals to prey upon; but they are the middle of the night. I was not always sufficiently dangerous to be much afraid of them, since the indreaded, and travellers have no ene- formation I had received from the mies more dreadful in the forests, ladies, and imagined the greatest However, the ladies revived my cou- harm they could do me* was breakrage by assuring me, that I ought to ing my rest. In fact, at first they make myself easy in my fledge, for only sliook my fledge, and I expected there never had been an instance that to experience, till day-light, the the hunters (who never lodge other- fame scene as the preceeding night, wife) had received the least injury I had accustomed myself imperceptifrom them. I past the following night bly to the motion, when I perceived, without uneasiness; and seeing no- that the fledge was forced along with, thing In my fate but what promised great velocity; and, to judge of the an nappy futurity, I devoted my- distance by the rapidity of the moself with less reserv* to the pleasure; tion, that I should soon be a great
1Therefore, without regret, saw my charitable -deliverers depart, being sufficiently consoled with the hopes of seeing them again. As night approached, I drew near my fledge, which was to defend me from the injuries of the weather. Its shape greatly resembled the body of a chariot, but with this difference, that being covered with bear-skins, and having a very narrow door, a man of my age could resist the cold through his own natural heat. It was, notwithstanding, so light, that I could move it with one hand with ease, for it was now the finest season in the year, and the fun had sufficient power to melt the snow even in the forests. Yet the nights were so cold, that I did not wait till dark before I entered my fledge; and having carefully fastened the door, endeavoured to compose myself to rest. My situation was not so uneasy, but sleep soon overpowered my senses, and I slept for some hours as soundly as I should have done in the best bed. Vol. I.
My repose was of a sudden disturbed by the violent agitation of my fledge. I awaked in a fright; but not being able to guess any other cause of this accident, than the motions one sometimes gives oneself in sleep, I had not the least mistrust of the new misfortune that threatened me. After some moments of tranquillity, I felt my dwelling begin to shake again, and the blows were soon, redoubled with such a force as to overturn the sledge. I heard no other noise than a continual scratching against the planks of my cage. My uneasiness was beyond expression. Fear obliged me to keep my hands continually pressing against the door, lest it should burst open; and this, joined to the uneasy posture I was in, owing to the sledge being overturned, made me pass five or six hours in the utmosttorment. Atlength theferatchings and agitation ceased; butl had not the courage to leave my prison, even when I perceived the return of day. As I had provisions sufficient to S sttbfiit
way from the place whence I set out I at first thought it was a trick of the ladies, who had a mind to divert themselves at my expence. But what probability that in the middle of the night, and two leagues distance from Ciangut, they should venture to hazard their health, and even their lives, to divert themselves with my fright! This reflexion brought the true cause into my mind. I mistrusted the bears. The ropes that served to pull the sledge hung down to the ground. I doubted not but these animals, who are very cunning, had laid hold of them with their teeth, in order to drag me into the midst of the forests.
I recommended myself to Heaven, for nothing else could save me from so pressing a danger. The thought alone of a troop of famiflied bears, who carried me off with this violence and obstinacy, was capable of depriving me of my fenses. I fancied already the sledge torn into a thousand pieces, and those cruel beasts piercing me with their bloody fangs and talons. The terror I felt from this . idea, extorted from me cries, or more properly howlings, which frightened the bears away. I judged so at least, by the ceasing of the motion for some . minutes; and coming to myself a little, I ventured to flatter myself that Heaven had heard my prayers; but they soon returned again. My de. spair was renewed with the danger. I thought myself utterly lost. My cries were useless, and I had no other object before my eyes, except a dreadful kind of death, which I imagined inevitable.
I was not dragged any farther, but the scratchings and agitation lasted all night. This delay of my fate, did not revive my hopes. I was persuaded, on the contrary, that the day would return only to enlighten my last moments; and that in the remote *nd desart spot, wl'e eio, I must be
after half an hour's journey, it would be the easier for the wild beasts to tear me from my asylum, by the assistance of day-light. Day broke in at last; the first rays of light which entered through the loop holes, inspired me with courage to look out; but the openings were so small, that I could not discover my besiegers. Perhaps they fled at the very earliest dawn of day. At least it was natural to conclude so, from the repose I enjoyed till evening. But I confess this did not revive my courage; and I pasted the whole day in such a state of depression, that I never even thought of taking the least nourish
My only hopes were, that the governor's lady and her companions, not finding me in the fame place where they left me, would readily guess at my misfortune, and use their utmost endeavours to find me out. In these hopes, I resolved not to stir out of the sledge. However, night came on, and I saw no signs of assistance. My torments were renewed as soon as it grew dark; and continued till day-light. In the morning I found myself so weak, that necessity forced me to have recourse to my stock of provisions. Afterwards I continued to flatter myself, as I had done the day before; that ladies from whom I had received such generous favours would not have the cruelty to abandon me to my unhappy fate. In fact, they thought of me, but the success of their endeavours did not answer their desires, any more than mine.
In short I passed a whole week in the sledge, sometimes a prey to despair, sometimes a dupe to hope, fancying every night my destruction certain; whenever I recovered from my fears, I formed prospects for the next day, which I had not strength to execute. Hunger was the means that Heaven employed, to open unex-.