listening, was only the anxiety of the savage

for his home; but when the latter quickly, Some time passed. Polyglott and Colas and with an anxious look, motioned to him were in despair at the apathy of Hippolytus. to take the oar, which lay in the bottom of While the one made all preparations to teach the boat, and assist hiin, his anxiety increased, him the language of the promised land which and, according to appearances, was not unnow lay before them, the other negotiated founded. A dark point appeared in the blue with the chiefs, and did, in common with moon-beams in the distance, approached the bold Indian woman, everything wbich nearer the distressed rowers, and changed at could give success to the adventurous expe- last into a long canoe, the form of which dition. But what was the result of these betrayed that it belonged to the savages. efforts ? The hero of fortunc, on whose en- Arrows whizzed through the air, and when ergy everything depended, remained behind the strangers came near enough to reach the the curtain. Hippolytus passed almost his lost little craft, a long harpoon was thrown whole time at the house of Mr. Cochon, into the bottom of it, that fixed it to the where he tried the guns of his host, built a spot, and made any further attempt to escape dove-cot, trained a pair of hounds, or rhap- impossible. The savages drew the conquered sodized with Heloise over this new country, boat on board their canoe, and Hippolytus and, in company with her, made verses. Had soon found bimself in the midst of half-naked they only known Heloise! She would have savages, who were armed with clubs, long been glorious for a queen of Madagascar. spears, and daggers. His oarsman and he

One evening Hippolytus had stayed later were both taken, brought to the larger boat, than usual in the circle at Mr. Cochon's. and thrown bound upon the deck. Heloise read the first canto of a great epic Hippolytus could not doubt but that the poem, that had been written by Tsippolytus dry bark, with which he was bound was and herself, in partnership. The listeners making his hands and feet raw; but yet he were compelled to remain till late in the found himself in a sort of illusion, which night, as wus Hippolytus, who modestly represented what was happening to him less claimed only the stalks of the laurels which | as reality than as a scene from some romance. were bestowed upon the poetical pair. But, IIe abstracted himself from his own situaintoxicated with the success of his talent, he tion, and asked himself whether he had before entered a boat wbich had been brought for him either the pirates or savages of Cooper, him under the windows of Heloise, which or Eugene Sue's cannibal, or Chateaubriand's opened toward the sea, intending to return pious Catholic Indians. The savages were to his home by water. On account of the certainly surrounded with instruments of lateness of the hour, by the advice of some martyrdom; yet these men seemed to bim of the other guests, he chose this method too gigantic, and he thought that they might instead of the land path. A skilful native be engaged in whale-fishing, were belated, steered the boat over the still slumbering and had pot despised such wholesome booty mirror. It was a glorious, magical, moon- as he and his companion. What will they light night. Hippolytus could discern, at a do with you? asked he of himself, at last, distance, the white signal which long waved and more and more earnestly; and the anxiety for him from the window of Heloise. of some misfortune seized him with more

Our hero was not created for solitude. It than poetic fear. troubled him to be left to himself, and be The men spoke wildly over them, and the could not talk with his boatman. The latter sighing complaints that froin time to time did not keep the boat very close to the shores, came from the heart of his companion, apbut shot across from point to point, to shorten peared to him to betray the nature of this the distance. And thus they seemed to Hip- passionate quarrel. polytus to be getting far out at sea. The “Great God!” thought he," who will exshore looked distant, and seemed only divided plain to me the designs of these monsters? I by a faint line from the horizon. The Indian am afraid that the truth will lay on the side of rower sometimes stood still, lifted his oar, the simple Robinson Crusoe, and I have nothand looked out into the sca-blue space of the ing more to expect from those people than

He did not fear treason from him, what the Carribees did to their prisoners. O, for he observed that the longer his boatman if these men only knew that I am their legithad been looking out in the distance, the imate king! if I could only say it to them or faster he proceeded. At first, he thought express it by some signs! if my nurse were that this looking at the heavens, this anxious pow here — that extravagant woman might







be of extraordinary service to me. O God, | How strange is the constitution of the huwhat tears will Colas and Polyglott shed for man mind, which is capable of receiving such

different impressions at the same moinent; Hippolytus sank down exhausted, his bands when even the most extreme evils, can, by pressed him, the blood stopped, and a pitiful some little circumstance, take a ridiculous wail was the expression in which a sense of form! A man stands by the death-bed of his his unhappy condition was expressed. We father, and a fly compels him to turn aside. could not have heard him so moan without | All men are not so constructed, but only those feeling the deepest compassion for the poor who, either, by a kind of stoical philosophy, pretender.

are accustomed to a certain want of feeling, or The moon withdrew behind the stars, and whose natural inclination is always to make the stars vanished with the breaking morn- sport of everything. Hippolytus belonged to ing. The charming shore of the great island this latter class. He remarked how awkwardly of Madagascar stretched itself out in un- these men used his lieutenant's uniform ; how measured view before the boat, as it reached one put on the coat so that the skirts came the shore.

in front; some hung the epaulets on their A soft sleep had given Hippolytus strength, ears, and other mistakes. He looked at all and helped him to bear the pains of his bond- this, not with blank, glazed eyes, but found it age. He awoke, and, with difficulty, made laughable, though he had the expectation out the chain of events which had brought that, in the next moment, he should have him to his present condition. They loosed looked upon everything- these men, this the bands which hindered his walking. Hip- beautiful country, the ocean, St. Marie, Colas, polytus stood up and saw the shores of a Polyglott, Heloise, the poodle of his landcountry which he had once hoped to reach lady at Paris - that he had seen them all under very different circumstances. The gi- for the last time. gantic trecs, the fragrant, carpeted meadows, But the fate of Hippolytus was not to be the many-colored birds, the way-side plants, so cruel. He soon discovered that his preswhich are so carefully tended by the bota- ent exposition was only intended to procure a pists of the Jardin des Plantes, all he saw, purchaser for him. He reflected that he was even the men who stood in numbers collected not a negro, that Madagascar did not belong on the shore, everything answered the de- to the Barbary powers, and concluded that scription which Colas had given him of his the fate of a slave was, perhaps, here not so native land. But his own condition, his own dreadful. Then he continued his reflections : circumstances, differed so much from the ex- “If I can reason so correctly on my situation, pectations which he, in St. Marie, had him- it is certain that it is not a dream. Let me, self already began to give up. This was a then, accustom myself to put the truth of the sad Jardin des Plantes.

actual in the place of the apparent of poetry. He followed his robber-like subjects into a Everything is different when one tries it him. large village which stretched out along the self. These savages belong neither to Cooper shore, and was carried forward by a steaming nor Chateaubriand - it is an entirely new crowd of curious and apparently kind natives. race; men, who, as I judge from the smell of The procession stopped before a hut which food, and the furniture of various kinds I see was superior to the rest, and a large, old about the huts, take pleasure in the fine arts man, of respectable appearance, came out, and sciences. We must thank the romance and was received with visible marks of re- writers for their fearful pictures of the state spect by the surrounding multitude.

of slavery, because they need gigantic mo“The Cacique,” thought Hippolytus, " or tives. I believe nothing of it, and will acthe priest who presides at the human sacri- custom myself to hold everything better than

In fact, they brought a large, high report makes it. Poetry is here a fable, and block, placed near it a still higher stake, what is apparent is exactly that which does undressed the deadly pale Hippolytus, who not admit of proof.” struggled in vain, and forced him to mount While he was carrying on this soliloquy, a the block.

man, whose form and bearing distinguished All these manipulations were the more him from the rest, and who seemed to be a painful to the poor Parisian, as they were stranger here, mounted up to Hippolytus, accompanied by wild shouts from a thousand examined him on all sides, and bought him throats. He did not understand one word of for two osen. Hippolytus understood this this torrent of speech, and felt himself, with barter, and found it so droll, that, forgetting his dark surroundings, most solitary and his situation, and, falling back into his old hopeless. Meantime, he was tied fast to the thoughtlessness, he broke out into a laugh, stake, and, as he looked expectingly on the for which he might have been chastised by surrounding multitude, he saw the different his master, if the latter had not been enparts of his uniform which had been taken gaged in an active dispute with the seller. from him.

lle imagined himself lithographed in the




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Charivari, with the inscription, "The King | faults which he should be able to correct in of Madagascar bought for two osen. the descriptions of nature in the new romance

The master of Hippolytus remained but a which Heloise had endeavored to interest short time, for he was a travelling slave-him in. dealer, and intended to sell his young pur- Yet this pleasure only lasted as long as his chase again as soon as possible. Hippolytus strength of body held out. When that was was taken to the inn, necessary clothing put overpowered by the long journeys — when upon him, taken care of well as regarded evening, with its uncertain shadows came food — badly in respect to company.

when they reached the inns with their plePrisoners of war, the heedless wanderers, beian inconveniences, these difficulties broke who had strayed from the highways, labor- his spirit at last, and a single dull tone of ers, who had come down here, younger sons, melancholy sounded within him. He felt shared with him the same fate. In his sight binself as entirely ruined, as lie really was. they all had a fabulous appearance. All col- This march was continued for two days ors, which are found in Madagascar most before the slave-dealer reached his market ; wonderfully shaded, appeared on their naked though at the last part of the journey it was bodies, from the suspicious half-green of made more easy, that his wares might not be Hippolytus, to the negro black of the later fatigued; yet Hippolytus found constantly emigrants. To observe these peculiarities fewer sources of help' to enable him to bear amused Hippolytus ; he became uncommonly his lot. If, on the first day, he was intergay, and made so many silent jokes with his ested in the natural scenery - if, on the seccompanions, that they were attracted to him, ond, an heroic poem, which he mentally and would certainly have entered into his planned, employed his mind - if, in the plans of conquest, if they had known about morning of the last day, he found some rethem.

pose in his entire want of thought, yet, at the But, with evening, a sense of his misfor- last hours of it, all strength and hope vantunes returned to the soul of Hippolytus. He ished, and he was forced to confess that it had, perhaps, imagined that this farce, in was very ill with him. which he was playing a part, would only last The country continued almost the same in till sunset. He had not lost sight of the sea, fruitfulness and beauty, but the men were and ever kept hoping that the whole popula- different. Their color was yellowish, their tion of St. Marie would finally come over to appearance warlike, their bristly hair hung bis rescue. But night came, and, for the about their brows. They dwelt in more popusecond time in his life, he must submit to lous settlements, which were pleasantly sitsleep without a bed. Yet, it was still more uated, and bore the marks of an indepenpainful to him, that a stout negro, the guard dence which was unknown to the inhabitants of the slaves, waked him from his sweetest of the sea-shore, who were constantly under dreams, and, not without some strokes of his the eye of the French and English ships, whip, compelled him to rise from his maize under whose supervision they were husks. Hippolytus made an outcry, and in- stantly placed. The slave caravan came, formed his disturber, in his best French, that as night fell, into the great capital of Hovas, he was not accustomed to arise before eight that warlike race, whose early king, Rhao'clock. But the fearful truth was all about dama, was known to all travellers, and which him—the scarcely gray morning, Colas absent had often been in vain attacked by the Euroat his dressing, no hissing coffee, the straps peans. on his ancles, the whip, the march. The mist- This was the race which had disturbed the covered sea was constantly disappearing, inheritance of Hippolytus ; had killed his and the path of the wanderers was directed parents, and had delivered him over to the inland.

adventurous fluctuations of an uncertain fate. Hippolytus had received from nature such Colas had related to bim many fabulous stoan inexhaustibly gay temperament, that, spite rics of the wars of these people, their posof his desperately miserable condition, many sessions, their skilful manufactures, their days broke before he ceased to regain his lost polished manners; and his nurse, in St. Macourage at the rising of the sun. The moun-rie, had added what was unknown to the old tains with their free su nits smiling in the man, of what had since taken place. Queen distance, the rivers with their flowery banks, Ranavola was particularly interesting. She all the wonders of this magnificent but tropi- had murdered her husband, and now, with :cal nature, excited with new life his weary unexampled power and luxury, she ruled hopes. He became gay, like everything about over Hovas. Here ought Hippolytus, at the him, and entered into the cheating illusion head of his conquering army, to have enforced that be was on a picturesque journey. He his rights. But, alas! it was in the guise of persuaded himself that hundreds in his place a slave that he entered the capital of the : would consider themselves happy to linger in assassin. these spots, and he counted in spirit all the The scene of his first appearance was re..


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

peated on the morning of the following day, But so it was. Hippolytus saw the house in the great market-place of the wonderful of this man, which was placed near the city, which was built in a fantastical, reli- splendid palace of the queen, richly ornagious style. The rest of his companions mented with gay-colored woods, and soon stood around him, all tied to stakes, upon perceived, from the furniture, and the manipwhich the name, the country, and the age of ulations in the new circuit of his involunthe person was marked.

activity, in whose service he was. He The slave-dealer was no wiser from the was with the Executioner-in-chief of the answers of Hippolytus, than was the latter State! How romantic! Again a reminisfrom his questions ; and so the tablet over cence of the Porte St. Martin, in Paris. He him remained empty. This resharkable cir- was seized with a kind of æsthetic disgust. cumstance attracted the purchasers to him. Hippolytus was not the man to parade his

Hippolytus scolded like a fishwoman, when own principles upon critical questions of he was handled, ineasured, questioned on all | beauty. He was, however, troubled with sides. They opened bis inouth, as if he were some singular prejudices, and had certain a horse, to count his teeth - an impertinence antipathies that he carried everywhere. lle which he would have resisted by cries and had a horror of the melodrama, of the Porte kicks ; — but some significant threats of the St. Martin, of body-stealers, of hangmen, of old negro, who watched the merchandise gamblers, and other such hair-bristling cirwhile the purchasers were examining it, cumstances, which, only by a cruel confubrought him to his senses, and he allowed sion, make a scaffolding for the beautiful. the yellow gentlemen of the capital to look He stamped his feet with rexation, and at bis teeth, which were not so very white as seemed almost disposed to ask for satisfacthey might have been, but here and there tion for the stupidity which had brought an were hollow, and had been filled, showing executioner into the romance of his life, and the effects of Paris sweetmeats.

might soon have received it in a corporeal The slave-dealer did not make a bargain form from the overseer of his master's garwith the first comers; he apparently waited den. for the richer people, who rose later, and The drollest thing in liis new situation took more time to dress -- above all for one was the contradictions in the Lord High who made his appearance when the sun was Executioner himself. He was in no way a high. A short, thick man, with the air of blood-thirsty Samson, no Persian Fetta, who an oriental inspector of the harem, clad in only appears before the public in a red cap, silk, and costly furs, accompanied by a crowd with a bow-string ; but he resembled more the of servants, was saluted with deep reverence sentimental German cxecutioners, who take by all those around the market. This per- off but four heads in a life-time, that they son was much pleased with the animated may not become dangerously cruel.

The features of Hippolytus. He examined him master of Hippolytus seemed in no wise with smiles, and, calling to his treasurer, blood-thirsty, though he lived in the daily gave what was demanded for the poor fellow. exercise of his office, and performed it in no

As Hippolytus followed his new master, he measure by proxy. He was a gay gentlecast a friendly look on his remaining com- man, fond of quiet, innocent pleasures ; he panions in captivity; for he was of so kindly loved nothing more than to smoke tobacco, a nature, that he would have gained the love and arrange the flower-beds in his garden. of his enemies if he had been forced to go Hippolytus was placed in the garden of the about with them for three days longer. But sentimental headsman, and his business was as he lost sight of these, and the splendor of to water the flowers of the tender-hearted bis purchaser and the honor shown him met man. his eyes, his curiosity was excited, and the Some days after our hero had been initi• charms of expectation, with the doubts of ated into his delicate but nevertheless fatiguwhat might happen to him, appeared in a ing duties, carly in the morning, the Lord shining light.

High Executioner, with his heavy step, in Let us take an observation. There was a silk slippers, and a tasteful oriental negligée, queen at the head of these states, who had walked up to him, plucked a papilionaceous raised her lover, a young office of the body- blossom from the tender andurangą plant, Luard, to an equal rank with herself. Who, tapped his slave on the shoulder, and said then, would have a harem? No, we may put Everything in the world has its office and ourselves at ease about Hippolytus. The its object. What you sow, my son, I reap; effeminate appearance of his master, the lux- what you plant, I gather; one stands at the ury of his attendants, pointed to a different cradle of man, another at his bier. Man can station than his dress indicated; for, who, enter the world but in one way ; he can lay under this Sybarite exterior of enjoyment down this earthly covering, his life, in many. would have discerned the Lord High Execu- One is crushed by a falling tree ; another dies tioner?

of yellow fever; a third from the melan



choly tone of his mind; a fourth by acci- toined to be waited on, and to whom attendent, which is the most powerful sovereign tion was almost a necessary, could hardly of the earth. All the rest die by the arm of help placing himself under the influence of justice; and this arm I am, by the grace of the young girl. She had scarcely passed the our God, our queen, and the prince co-re- age of childhood, was of an olive-colored comgont. I am truly, only the step-brother of plexion, with dark, long hair, and differed in death, and must, by my own exertions, win her whole beautiful form entirely from the my inheritance, that comes to others without small, heavy-built Hovas, to whose race she labor. Therefore, I enjoy great honor, and did not belong: Hippolytus, by degrees, was am held by the princes and gods of the earth entrusted with the story of her fate ; for in great consideration. I own my sheep, and though the tones of her language were fordrive my herds of cattle on my nountain- cign to him, they did not always remain so. side. I cannot count the fish in my ponds; Solitude, resignation, the similarity of their and I own slaves, who must obey me, be- fate, made them easily 'understand each cause I treat them kindly. I am an enemy other. In the place of signs and speaking, of slavery; I do not willingly see one tread looks came, by degrees, articulate sounds, the upon the neck of another. But what can be meaning of which remained no longer doubtdone? My cotemporaries are not yet ripe ful to Hippolytus ; and thus a language grew for humanity - the rights of man will not out of looks and single tones, which estabbe understood for fifty years. In the mean lished a perfect understanding between the time water my flowers, and console yourself, two. if the storms of life grow rough, with faith, Araxata's story was this. She was a near love, and hope.

relation of the cruel queen. Ranavalona had Hippolytus naturally did not understand murdered, not only her husband, but had enone word of this speech; but there was one deavored to destroy all his kindred. Araxanear him, who understood it all, and who ta's father was a brother of the murdered began to explain it to him as we have set it king; he fell under the sword of the exeforth, as soon as the philosophical execu-cutioner, who was now her master. She tioner had sauntered away smilingly with his seemed to-the humane man either still too slippers and his flower.

young, or he had compassion upon her, or This interpreter was Araxata, a female she had, among the numerous sacrifices of the slave of the house, in whom a similar fate crown-stealing Megara, escaped her knowlawakened a sympathy for Hippolytus. But edge. She was saved by a mistake in the the language in which she translated it was counting of those delivered over to the scafalso unknown to the Parisian as much as that fold. The overseer of the gardens brought of the humane headsman. He listened to the her up, and apparently would have adopted smooth, strange, unaccustomed tones, which her for his child, if his wife had not sudshe transferred in the same language from denly richly blessed him with children. This the mouth of her master. But he understood fruitfulness degraded Araxata into the state her better because she spoke with the eyes of a slave; and so it happened that she stood of love.

upon the same footing as Hippolytus. Both Ah! it is too certain that Ilippolytus be- were of royal blood -she a princess, he a gan to lead a joyless life. His gayety was crown prince. Both now were compelled to gone, his fate was truly no feuilleton jest, water the flowers of the chief executioner of and it soon overpowered him. Fear had en- their eneiny. tered his free, proud spirit, and fear puts the With the possibility of making himself damper on all the higher feelings of the understood, a more cheerful frame of mind mind and heart. The circle of his contem- returned to Hippolytus. He ventured to plations grew narrower. He vegetated on in allow himself in some reminiscences, sinco an employment which was every day the they would not make his present situation same, and his wishes extended no farther more intolerable, and he could gratify thereby than to the hour in which he took his food, the curiosity and the imagination of Araxata. or a short repose. One in civilized Europe He told her, as well as he could, about Paris can understand this, when it is seen, how and the occupations of his early life there. prison, poverty, sickness, can tame the proud. He filled the soul of his friend with a magical est spirit, and change the most active feel- wonder-world, in which she desired to live at ings into unhappy weakness, anxiety, and any price. More strongly than ever did it exdepression. The aspect of the house in cito again in Hippolytus the longing for Euwhich Hippolytus lived increased the im- rope, and the desire of freedom employed his pressions which acted most destructively on shrewdness to discover some means of flight. his whole being

He had resolved not to attempt it for himself This state of his mind was calculated to alone, in any case, but at all events to unite make Araxata's approaches more welcome. the fate of Araxata with his own. The in- . Hippolytus, who had always been accus-clination he felt for tho young savage could

« ElőzőTovább »