Images de page
PDF
ePub

more

The remainder of the first part of the memoirs is employ. ed in conveying an idea of Turkish funeral ceremonies, processions, legal proceedings, in placing before the reader a number of miscellaneous articles, which lead to a intimate acquaintance with the people the author describes. We shall give an example or two as a specimen.

• Those among the Turks, who have once given themselves up to the immoderate use of opium, are easily known by a kind of rickets, which this poison never fails to produce at last. Not able to exist agreeably, except in this species of intoxication, these perfons are particularly objects of curiosity when they are afsembled in a part of Constantinople, called Teriaky, Teharchiffy, or the Market for the takers of opium.

* There, towards the evening, the lovers of this drug are seen coming down all the streets which lead to the Solimany ; their pale and melancholy figures would be sufficient to raise our pity, did not their lengthened necks, their heads turned on one side, their backó bone distorted, their shoulder raised up to their ear,

and a number of other extravagant attitudes which result from their disease, exhibit a picture of the most ridiculous nature.

• A long row of little shops are built against one of the walls that furround the square, within which is the mosque. These shops are shaded by an arbour which reaches from one to the other, and under which the master takes care to place a little fofa to accom: modate his guests, without stopping up the passage. The customers arrive, and place themselves in order, to take the dose which the habits each have contracted render necessary.

The pills are distributed. Those most used to the practice; perhaps swallow four, larger than olives, and each immediately drinking a glass of cold water, waits in his particular attitude. able reverie, at the end of three quarters of an hour, or an hour at most, never fails to animate these automatons ; causing them to , throw themselves into a thousand different postures, but always ex: travagant and always merry. This is the moment when the scene becomes most interesting : all the actors are happy, and each returns home in a state of total irrationality, but likewise in the intire and full enjoyment of happiness not to be procured by reason. Disregarding the ridicule of those they meet, who divert themselves by making them talk absurdly, each imagines, and looks and feels himself poffeffed of whatever he wishes. The reality of enjoymené often gives less satisfaction.'

The humanity of the Turks towards animals, fo much extolled by superficial travellers, is here placed in its proper light. The immense number of dogs in Constantinople that have no particular master, make the most wretched appear: ance. Always 'miserable and meagre, and often maimed, “ they seem to cry out against those travellers who have so “ much exaggerated the happiness of their existence.” As the religion of the Turks obliges them to abstain from cers tain parts of the animal, such as the liver, lights, &c. these

An agree

are

are disposed of by the Dgiherdgis (sellers of livers) to the Christians, or to the Turkish old women, who like other old women, are fond of their cats. But Ottoman idleness, perpetually in want of amusement, and perpetually seeking for it in things the most trilling and absurd, “ affords the

Dgiherdgis other means of a very extensive sale.”

· The manner of living of a Turk sufficiently wealthy to have nothing to do, is to go out every day, and take his feat in the Mop of a dealer in tobacco. There under pretence of trying the dif: ferent forts, he smokes several pipes without paying any thing; and be fides, enjoys the prospect of the pafleugers; who, on their parts, admire the indolent gravity of the Turk, and the respectful demeanour of two or three servants, who stand by his side with their hands crofled before them. In this position, the first liver seller who passes, ftops, and brags of his ability to bring together all the cats in the neigbourhood: cracks a few joke: to divert his excellency, and obtains permition to begin his operations. The passengers gather round, the cats assemble, in a twinkling at the watch word; the shoulders of the dealer are covered with them, they hang about his clothes, and he makes haste to feast his friends for their alacrity. The important personage for whose diversion the scene was intended, pays the performance; and the European who does not understand the language, or understands it but ill, and does not live among

the Turks to study their genius and manners, believes he has seen an act of charity, publishes it at such, and only propagates an error.'

Here we must stop for the present. But, in another number of our journal, we shall lay before our readers. what we have farther to observe concerning

he work before us.

Art. IV. The Life and Adventures of John Christopher Wolf,

late principal Secretary of State at Jattanapatnam, in Ceylon; together with a Deicription of that itland, its natural Productions, and the Manners and Cuítomns of its Inhabitants. Translated from the original German. To the whole is added, a short buț comprehensive Description of the fame Isand, by Mr. E schelskroon. 8vo. 45. boards. Robinfon. 1785.

patnam be not fo highly cultivated by letters, and conversation with the polite world, as our European courtiers commonly are, yet he appears to be a man of sound common sense ; and of great fimplicity and honesty; qualities which courtly education by no means bestows. And although a plain, unlettered man, is not placed on so high ground as a man of science, and cannot therefore take such extensive views or make such various comparisons, he draws his descriptions wholly from life and nature ; he feels what is most striking to humanity; and being free from the peculiarities of particular theories, represents things as they appear at firft ENG. Rev. 1785.

G

view

view to the common perception of mankind. Such a man is John Christopher Wolf, who, setting out in the most early part of life, with a folitary shilling only in his pocket, and without either friends or education, raised himself, by patience, industry, and an inviolable attachment to truth and secrecy, to a situation equally afflulent and honourable. His curious and adventurous turn which set him afloat at first on the wide ocean of the world, remained with him throughout life. He was employed either in active pursuits or in curious observation. What ftruck him he naturally conceived would strike others, and therefore he committed it to writing for their information and amusement. This narrative carries in it all the marks of a plain man of low education, but of natural integrity aud rectitude. He uses proverbs, has a degree of quaintness and naivetè, and is more circumstantial than is necessary, because he is unaccustomed to that abAtraction and precision of thought which separates what is, from what is not to the purpose ; and confines the thread of narration, description and discourse of every kind to the point in question.

He records the falates that were beftowed on him by fentinels, and his refusal of the governor's niece of the Dutch settlement in Ceylon. We should be tempted to imagine that vanity had some share in the relation of these anecdotes, if honest Christopher Wolf did not even seem to think it his duty to give a faithful account of the drubbings received from the governor.

There are fome of our author's reports which border upon the marvellous ; but when we reflect on the vast variety of nature, which every day's experience more and more evinces, and on the simple manners of Mr. Wolf, we are inclined, we confefs, to give him credit even though one of his stories confirms Lord Monboddo's affertion, (to whose attention and countenance we beg leave to recommend him) that men have been found, and women too we presume, with tails.

The following particulars concerning the elephant are very curious.

1. A certain korahl * bas been used for these many years past, in which most of the elephants in Ceylon are caught. In order to have some idea of this korahl, you must imagine to yourself a large fishing-net, with two flaps standing out wide from each other, and terminating in a bag. Now this snare confifts of a collection of stout and vigorous trees, partly growing wild on the spot, and partly planted there for the purpose. These trees stand very close and near to each other; and where there is any gap, very strong palisades are brought

* This word, according to Salmon and Goch, (present State of Indoftan and Ceylon) means, in the language of Ceylon, “ Toils for elephants,"

to fill it up, so that the elephants cannot by any means get out. As soon as the hunters have given inforination that they have discovered a tolerable numerous troop of elephants, the principal people of Ceylon are obliged to bring together several thousand men. By means of these, the whole drove, thus inclosed, is driven flowly to. wards the first opening of the korahl, that takes up an enormous space. When they have got them thus far, the game is, as it were, in their hands. The whole train of huntsmen and country people now unite, and draw up close into this opening, and making a great noife and uproar, as well by their cries as instruments, which they carry with them for the purpose, they contrive to get the elephants, who keep together in one drove, like a happy and peaceful family, into the imaller space, which is called the sporting korahl. Here there is likewise formed a palisadoe (as it were) of fix or seven thousand men, who make a large fire, and at the same time an intolerable din with shouting, drumming and playing on the hautboy of that country, so that the elephants are frightened ; and, instead of going backwards, move forwards towards the smallest space, called the forlorn hope. This strait is closed likewise with a large fire, and a great clamour is made as before ; by which means, the elephant being seemingly stunned (as it were), looks round about him, on all sides, to see if he can obtain his freedom, which he hopes to arrive at by means of his great bodily strength. He tries each fide of the Korahl's fence, but finds, that with his strong trunk, he is not able to fell the stout trees that are planted there : in consequence of which, he begins to be in a passion, inflating his proboscis with all his force. He now observes that the fire comes nearer and nearer to hiin: accordingly he ventures into the fmall out. let of the korahl; and seeing the tame elephants stand at the end of it, imagines that he has at length obtained his freedom. This narrow pallage, through which one of these animals only can pass at a time, is covered at top: on this top are placed some expert huntfmen, who drive the elephant to the end of the passage with a stick, to the top of which is fastened a sharp pointed hook. As soon as they have got him here, they take away the beams which close the end of the passage, and leave the opening free. Now the elephant rejoices like a prisoner just broke out of his confinement. Accordingly he takes a pretty large leap: but just at that moment he finds, Itanding by his fide, the two tame elephants, (called hunters, and more commonly crimps) who oblige him to stand still, and keep him fast between them. If he refuses to stand and be obedient, they begin to discipline him with their trunks; and by their master's orders, thresh him with these flagellatory inftruments in such a manner, that from the mere pain he is forced to evacuate the contents of his body. Now, when at length he finds that he cannot escape from the power of these unrelenting beadles, he gives the affair up, and with a good grace allows himself to be led to a tree, at a small distance; to which he is bound by the hind-leg with a stout thong of untanned elk or buck-skin, and where they leave him, and take the tame animals back again. When one of these beasts has thus been led out of the korahl, the others follow more willingly, being all in hopes of obtaining their liberty, as they have seen nothing to

make them

G 2

make them suspect the fate of the first that went out. When the hunt is quite finished, all the elephants are seen fast bound to trees. In that manner they are to stand several days, being all the while kept low in point of food, in order that they may know that they are not now their own masters, but subject to the will of others. Attendants are placed by the side of each animal, who give him his food by little and little, to the end that he may learn to distinguish; and grow acquainted with mankind. At firit he looks very four on an attendant of this kind ; in the course of a few days, however, he becomes more resigned to his fate, and allows the former to come near him and handle him. He likewise foon comes to understand what his governor says to him ; and even suffers a strong rope to be thrown round his neck; with which rope he is coupled to a tame elephant, and so led into the stable. This is performed in the following manner. A tame elephant has, on either fide of him, a wild one ; and, if he is of a great fize, he has even two smaller ones on each side. The kornack firs on the tame animal with his sharp pointed hook, with which he turns the creature by the head the way he would'have him go, and thus leads his captured elephants to their stables, in which are driven down stout poles or trunks of trees. To these they are fastened by the hind leg, at fome distance from each other, so that they cannot come together; and thus they are suffered to stand, being fed daily with cocoa-nut leaves, and once a day led to water by the tame ones, till the proper time arrives for taking them to market and selling them. It is easy to imagine, that this kind of hunting is attended with more trouble, noite, and tumult, than those which are set on foot by our princes and great people in Germany, as neither dogs nor fire-arms can be used here. But what most to be admired in all affair is, the great boldness of the huntsmen, who know how to manage this animal, in itself so terrible, as readily as a skilful huntsinan in our country manages his hounds. These kornacks or huntsmen, have a trifling penfion : but the country fellows that help to drive the clephants together, have only that one day taken off from the number of days on which they are obliged to labour (as vaffals) on ordinary services.

* II. Another method of taking these animals, is that which is practised (in the countries respectively subject to them) by the orders of the seven tributary princes, whom I mentioned in a curtory manner, when

was treating of the extensive power of the goverThey have pits, fome fathoms deep, . in those places whither the elephant is wont to go in search of food. Across these pits are laid poles, covered with leaves, and in the middle baited with the food, of which the elephant is fondeit. As soon as he sets eyes on this, he makes directly towards it, and on a sudden finds himself taken unawares. His new fituation at first sets him alınost mad; at length however he becomes cooler, and bethinks himself what he shall do in these disagreeable circumstances, Accordingly, having first thrown from him the materials of his snare, which had fallen in with him, he makes fome endeavours at getting out; but finding himself too heavy to accomplish this, he cries out for some of his own species to come to his atinitance. At length he fees fome of

nor.

« PrécédentContinuer »