Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

a sucking pig. His alarm and astonishment must have been great, to find himself in such an unusual predicament; but whatever his feelings might have been, the only expression he gave to them was a loud cry, between a grunt and a roar, when he was first carried off his legs by the tackle. He was quickly lowered on deck, where his keeper was standing in readiness to receive him, and to coax him into good-humour again, if necessary, with joggry and other delicacies. He seemed too much pleased, however, to find himself safe on his legs again, to think much of the novelty of his situation, or to appreciate properly the honour of being on the quarter-deck of one of the finest merchantmen in the world, but gazed on all around him with the most philosophic indifference. After allowing him a little time to recover his breath, he was coaxed forward, and hoisted over the booms into his new abode, the roof of which had been taken off to admit him. His keeper soon afterwards took leave of him with many salaams, and went on shore, and he was then consigned to the charge of the butcher.

Our passenger soon became reconciled to his new quarters, and was as much at home there as if he had been a sailor all his life. He remained on board the ship for nearly nine months, during which time we visited Penang, Sincapore, China, and St Helena. His principal food was plantain stems, hay, pumpkins, and joggry, of the latter of which he was very fond; his daily allowance of water was eight gallons. He was remarkably mild and tractable, and fond of every one who treated him with kindness-would kneel down at the word of command in Hindostanee ; and if asked to shake hands, lifted up his enormous paw to comply. His sagacity was astonishing, and would sometimes have done credit to a rational being: I must mention one or two instances of it. His cage had an opening at one end, about four feet square, to allow room for the butcher to enter with his food. One of his principal amusements was to put his head out of this opening to see if we were all doing our duty properly, while his trunk was busily engaged in picking up all the 'wee things that came within its reach. This he was enabled to do more comfortably by means of a stout plank, the end of which projected a couple of feet into the cage, and which he made use of as a step. One day, the carpenter requiring some of the plank for a particular purpose, cut a few feet off the end of it, and it was then too short to reach the cage. As soon as the elephant missed his footstool, he began to shew his displeasure by tearing down the thin planks with which his cage was lined, and uttering cries of anger. At last, he caught sight of a pack of staves lying on the booms near him, twisted his trunk round it, and dragged it into his cage ; then laying it down where the plank had been before, he mounted upon it, and gave a grunt of pleasure. On another occasion, the ship was staggering along before a strong breeze, and was rather suddenly hauled to the wind, which of course made her lie over very much. The moment the elephant felt the ship heeling over, he whirled round with his head to windward, and instantly thrusting his trunk through between the bars of his cage, twisted it round one of the spars lashed outside, and held on by it. When we arrived at Blackwall, in April 1831, crowds of visitors came on board to see the new importation, and they were all much pleased with his gentleness and docility. He took everything that was offered him in the eating way, and was not at all particular in his tastes ; indeed, on one occasion, a lady who put her reticule within tempting distance of his trunk, was rather astonished to see it transferred with surprising celerity from her hand to his mouth, and he swallowed it with as much relish, apparently, as if it had been a cabbage-leaf.

At last he was purchased for the Regent Park Zoological Gardens, and, I believe, proved a good speculation to the captain. A strong platform was erected on an inclined plane from the ship's gangway down to the dockwalk, for the elephant's accommodation in disembarking - but in vain : he put one foot upon it, fancied it was not firm, and drew back; and nothing could have persuaded

him to make a second attempt. We were obliged to hoist him out at last. As soon as he stood once more on the land, long lines were fastened to his feet, to check him in case he should attempt to run away, and he then quietly followed his keeper. As soon as he passed the dock-gate, where a crowd was assembled to welcome his appearance, he caught sight of the green hedges and trees down a lane to the right, and set off at a swinging trot to have a nearer look at them, trailing after him a whole rabble of boys, who were shouting and tugging at his heel-ropes. He was soon obliged to stop, and then housed in a neighbouring stable till the middle of the night; and when all was still, he was quietly marched up to his new quarters in Regent Park. Some weeks afterwards, a friend accompanied me to the Zoological Gardens to visit our old shipmate, and see whether he would recognise us. As he was still a novelty, a number of people were assembled round his house, feeding him with cakes, and other acceptables of the kind. When we spoke to him, he seemed to rec gnise us, but whether he did so or not, he understood us, for, to the great surprise of the persons around, when we said in Hindostanee, ‘Kneel down,' he did so immediately, and likewise raised his foot to shake hands, when told. I have not seen him since that time, but I have heard that he is doing well, and has greatly increased in size since he left his native shores.

THE TWO MOTHERS:

A STORY FROM THE CAUSES célebres.

On the 14th of November 1722, Marguerite Brunot, wife of a shoemaker of Paris, gave birth to a son, who was baptised in the parish church of St Louis on the following day. Along with this child was baptised another, also a boy, born on the same day, and the offspring of Anne

[ocr errors]

I

Troelle, wife of René Troelle, a master carver in Paris. The one child was named Michel Brunot, and the other Bernard François Troelle.

The families of Brunot and Troelle were near neighbours, and lived on the most intimate terms; hence they were led to propose putting the children to nurse in the same place, and the place chosen was the village of Richeville, in Normandy—a district considered as peculiarly healthy and proper for such a purpose by the Parisian mothers. It was arranged that the same woman should take both children to their country abode. Accordingly, when this person came to the house of the Brunots, the infant of the Troelles was sent for, and brought to the conductress. The wife of Brunot took the precaution, though probably dreaming little of the issue, to mark the wrapper which was upon her child, by sewing to it a little piece of dressed leather from her husband's stores. It does not appear that the sculptor's wife thought of any precaution of the kind. Attired alike in all respects but the one mentioned, as infants commonly are, the two children were taken away by their conductress to Richeville.

Separate nurses had there been provided for the children. It was subsequently asserted by certain of the parties concerned, that at the time the children were handed over to their respective nurses, a mistake took place, and that the infants were confounded one with the other. It was said that the child of the Troelles was given to one nurse as that of the Brunots, the Troelle nurse, of course, getting the child of the other family. However this matter stood, it is certain that the child given out to nurse as that of the Troelles, lived only seventeen days, and was buried in the parish cemetery of Richeville. The mortuary extract upon the subject bore, that “On the 2d of December 1722, died, and on the 3d was buried, Bernard François Troelle, son of M. Troelle, carver in Paris, which child was at nurse with Claude Lecercle, our parishioner.'

To the wife of Troelle was sent all the clothing of the deceased infant, and here it was that the first idea of something wrong suggested itself. Among the linen sent to her, Madame Troelle found an old cap, marked with a G. This discovery startled her. The thought sprang up that her child was not dead; and she went directly to the house of the shoemaker Brunot, and told his wife that she did not believe her infant to be dead, shewing, at the same time, the strange cap which she had found. Brunot's wife declared that the cap was none of hers, and said that if Madame Troelle had any doubts upon the subject, the best way would be to go to the spot, and there endeavour to ascertain the truth. The carver's wife, however, appears to have had her hopes shaken by the cap being not that of her neighbour, and the matter fell aside for the time.

Four or five months afterwards, the Brunots changed the nurse of their boy, sending him to Boisemond, a place about a league from Richeville, where a curate, cousin to Brunot, had his residence. Under the eyes of this relative, the child remained for two years, after which it was taken home to the house of the Brunots in Paris. Some time after this event, Madame Troelle, who had brooded incessantly over the supposition, that not her child, but that of the shoemaker, had died, was roused by the sight of the returned infant to claim it openly. She went to the house of the Brunots, and in a state of great excitement, demanded the restoration of the boy. Her cries of Give me my child-give me my child!' attracted a crowd. Troelle's wife had already impressed some of the neighbours with a belief in the justice of her claim, and Brunot and his wife were greatly abused and insulted by the crowd. In consequence of this outrage, the Brunots appealed to the law, and the Troelles were ordered to keep the peace under heavy penalties, and to pay all expenses of appeal.

On the other hand, Troelle and his wife brought an action against the Brunots, to procure the restoration of the child, alleging it to be theirs. They actually got a decree in the first instance, ordering the delivery of the child to them by the shoemaker and his wife. But the

« ZurückWeiter »