Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

count d'Epinoy delivered her to the care of a shepherd, recommending him to be extremely attentive to her, under a promise of paying him well for his trouble. On account of her, wildness, she was commonly known by the name of the shepherd's beast. It cost a great deal of trouble to render her a little tame. She was very dexterous at making holes in the walls.or roof, and would creep through an aperture so small, that an eye-witness could not conceive how it was possible. Once she eloped in a severe frost, during a heavy fall of snow, and after a long search, was found sitting on a tree in the open fields. Nothing was more astonishing than the swiftness and agility with which she ran. Though, lat. terly, long illness and want of exercise diminished her speed. it was always surprising. She did not take long steps like other people, but her run was rather a flying trip, which was more like gliding than walking. Her feet moved with such quickness, that their motion was scarcely discernible.

Several years after she had been caught, she was capable of outstripping wild animals, as she proved to the queen of Poland in 1737, for being taken out on a hunting party, she ran after rabbits and hares that were started, caught them presently, and brought them to the queen. The quickness of her eye was equally astonishing. In a moment she could look 'every way round her, with scarcely turning her head, which was very necessary for her security, and procuring her fuod in her wild state. Both tlie girls used to spend their nights on trees. They laid down on a bough, held,' themselves fast with one hand, and rested their heads on the other. In this situation, according to our maiden's account, they slept very soundly.

In her savage state she had no language, but a sort of wild scream, which sounded frightfully when she was in angerand particularly when a stranger attempted to take hold of her. Long afterwards, her speech had something wild, abrupt, and childish; but when she was a little civilized, she appeared to be a quick, lively girl. There was nothing from which she was more difficult to be weaned, than eating flesh and vegetables raw. Her stomach could not bear dressed victuals, so that she fell into one disease after another, though raw food was allowed her occasionally. Perhaps the change was attempted with too little caution. At first she was led by this propensity to play some laughable tricks

Once the Viscount had a great deal of company, and she sate, at table with them. None of the thoroughly-dressed and high-seasoned dishes being to her taste, she started up, vanished, like lightning, filled her apron with live frogs froin the nearest pool, hastened back, and bestowed them among the guests, with a liberal hand, joyfully exclaiming, as she distributed her agreeable present, herè, here, take some.?" It is easy to imagine how the company were delighted with the frogs hopping all over the plates and dishes, while the little wild girl, astonished at the slight estimation in which they seemed to hold her delicious morsels, basied herself in catching the frogs that leapt about the floor, and replacing them on the table. . ,

In the year 1732, this remarkable maiden was baptized by the name of Maria le Blano. On account of the change . in her mode of life she was often ill, and after the death of her patron, spent the remainder of her days in a convent.

How this child came in that wild state, and in what country she was born, were circumstances which could never be known with certainty. It was conjectured, however, that she was by birth an Esquimaux, and brought to Europe in kome ship; for, when she had learnt to talk, she said that she had twice crossed the sea; gave a description of boats, resembling those of the Esquimaux; and once, when she was shown a series of delineations of people of different countries, she seemed agreeably surprised on coming to that in which. the Esquimaux were represented. .

." option

THE KING, HIS MISTRESS, AND THE FERRYMAN..

KEING HENRY IV. of France received an education very dif ferent from that usually bestowed on princes. From his infancy his person-was exposed to all the rigour of the season : his cloathing was plain, his diet coarse and spare; he was instructed to deport himself with humility to the mean. est object, and to familiarize himself to the manners of all ranks of people. This last custom grew into inclination with bim, and he never departed from it during his life. Sonte few weeks after the conclusion of the treaty of peace with Spain and Savoy, the king was returning from a shouting-party, and had, as was freqnently his custom, dismissed his attend

ants. He was accompanied by three gentlemen closely wrapped up in great coats, to secure them from the indlemency of the weather, which had turned out wet and boisterous. Stopping upon that part of the quay where the college of the four nations now stands, the king cast his eyes upon a man who rowed the boat (as is still the custom) from shore to shore, on the river Seine ; and, turning to those about him, " I observe,” said he, “ something of an impatient discontent in that fellow's countenance: methinks I have a curiosity to be acquainted with the subject of his chagrin.” In saying these words, he descended to the river side, and entered the boat. Being soon seated, and turning to the man; “ Well, my friend," said the king, " what think you of the peace?" I don't know, not I, what to think of it,” replied the man: « I am not a farthing the better for this same peace; they make so much noise about: I don't find things a jot botter than they were before; the taxes are as high as lever, and the Lord knows when they will be lowered. I don't find fish, flesh, or fowl, or wine, or bread, a bit the cheaper for their peace. I am forced to tug this cursed boat from morning üll night, in heat and in cold, in rain and in sunshine, and, when I have done all, I can scarce live by my labour; almost all goes to the king.”. “ What then," said Henry, ".is your opinion of the king ?” “ His majesty," replied the ferryman, “ may be a good sort of a man enough ; but that's no matter : he keeps a mistress that is as extravagant as the devil : she spends more money in fine gowns, trinkets; and such-like things, than would support half a dozen provinces; and, at last, it is such poor starving dogs as I must pay for all; though between you and I, if the truth may be told, she has other gallants besides him.” The king landed extremely well satisfied with the conversation that had passed between him and the ferryman, resolving to divert himself yet more with it, by relating the whole to his mistress, the famous Gabrielle d'Estrees, duchess of Beaufort, on whose beauty so many encomiums have been made. - The duchess received the account with the utmost rage, and ordered that the fellow might appear before her the day following, and in the presence of the king. The ferryman was brought in the condition of a man led to execution, and in no small apprehension of that doom which very probably might have been his fate, had he been at the merey of a prince less remarkable

for the goodness of his heart, and the sweetness of his dispo sition; but it was the contrary with the duchess, who oby stinately persisted to have him hanged. "Poh, poh, you are a fool;" says the king : “ cannot you see that this is a poor devil dissatisfied and out of humour with his condition? I will make his boat free, and engage that he will bawl all the rest of his days, Long live Henry! and long live Gabrielle !"

THE ABBE'S REVENGE....

Some young persons walking lately in the wood of Boulogne, perceived there an Abbé singing at the foot of a tree: they drew near and surrounded him. The Abbé, startled at his auditory, stopped short. The forwardest of them addressed him, and told him, “ That, attracted by the charms of his voice, they were come there to listen to him.” The singer ex. cused himself—They insisted; he refused. The petulant orator listed up his càne, and threatened to take the measure of his shoulders, if he required any further intreaty. “ A pretty method, indeed, to teach people to sing :" said the Abbé. * I agree that it is rather harsh; but we will cut off yonr ears for you, if you like that better." The poor devil, seeing there was no reasoning with these gentlemen, set about · his part, and suny, as we may imagine, very ill.“ To it

again, sir ;" said the orator : “ we shall perform better the :second time." In short, they made him pass throngh the whole scale of music; after which they withdrew, with great cemmendations on his voice, and, above all, on his complaisance in singing. The Abbé, who had this scene much at heart, lost no time; but, while the gentlemen continued their walk, laughing at his expense, he hastened to the gate of Boulogne, and, by the description he there gave of them, be found out their coachman : from him he learnt that the orator was the count of , a black musqueteer, and got particular inforluation of his residence. The next morning, very early, the Abbé, dressed like a gentleman, hastened to his house, where he procured immediate admittance to him. Being left alone with the count, who was yet half asleep, he told him who he was, and that he was come to demand satisfaetion for the affront given the evening before. An apostrophe of this kind was well adapted to rouse the muséqueteer, who continued still dozing. “ You are absolutely a brave fellow," said the count: “ I love Abbés who are ready at every thing; and nothing, to be sure, is more reasonable than what you demand; but, pray, do you understand the sword ?" " That is no matter of your's ;" said the Abbé; “ you shall see by and by.” “ Be it so," replied the count; « but where shall we fix the field of battle?" " On the very spot where the affront was given,” rejoined the Abbé, • With all my heart," said the count; and, dressing himself instantly, ordered his horses to be put to the carriage. Our two champions repaired to the gate of Maillot, and, getting out there, proceeded to the place of rendezvous. While the musqueteer was stripping, the Abbé took a pistol out of his pocket, and clapped it to his breast. “ We are not come here to fight, sir,” said he; “ you made me sing yesterday against my will; I take you to be a very good dancer, and you shall dance, or I will blow out your brains." In vain the soldier, startled at the pistol, would have pleaded the laws of honour. “ You were a stranger to them yesterday,” said the Abbé, “ and deserve no other usage. No more ceremony, or I avenge myself immediately, let what will come of it.” The musqueteer squeezed his ears, and was obliged to comply. Accordingly he asked, submissively, wbat he must dance? “ Cupris' minuet is what I am a-going to sing," said the Abbé; who thereupon warbled out the tune, directing his pupil all the while by the pistol. When the minuet was over, the Abbé required a country dance. then a hornpipe, rigadoon, &c. At last, throwing aside his pistol, and drawing his sword, “ We have now nothing to reproach each other with; let us fight.” No," cried the count, we will not; you are too brave a conqueror; you' have corrected my folly. I am to thank you for the lesson; let us be friends.” The two combatants embraced each other, and went to seal their friendship over a bottle.

[merged small][ocr errors]

SWIFT, in his lunacy, had some intervals of sense, at which time his physicians took him out for the air. When they came to the Park, Swift remarked a new building which he

« AnteriorContinuar »