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Divine Majesty had considered the cessions of every kind, both in towns and silver, as gifts of hospitality and he called three Gods to witness; who however refused to come...
King. Then it is a trick. Why did not he bring them by main force?
Rao. O Lamp blazing with sandal-wood! their priests came for them, with their shirts over their coats, and bearing on their heads the last offerings; being the whitest flour, sprinkled into the hair of cattle, and kept from blowing away by the purest liquefied butter and the choicest fat of animals. They had likewise round their legs certain tight silken bands, mysteriously dipped in wine; and in their shoes were buckles, of a metal not unlike silver; mystical types of constancy and firmness. Nor is there an instance, once in a year, of these holy men breaking their words and promises, from the time they put on these buckles to the time they take the same off again. If they swear to anything in them, unless it be that they never will consent to be placed above the other priests, they hardly ever violate the oath. On this one occasion they violate it; chiefly to make the other priests merry with them, and to teach them to do likewise, on the like occasion.
King. Well, but what advantage, what security, dost thou bring me? what were the priests to answer for the rajah?
Rao. Pagod of holiness! He declared, and they declared for him, as seeing into his heart, that he hoped to be the imitator of your Divine Majesty, whenever an equal number of guests from your Celestial dominions should honour him with such a friendly visit in his island.
King. Son of a dog! did he say this?
rajahs, and found in his whole dominions no other slave so capable. Let Rao-Gong-Fao lie; since such is the voice of grey hairs: but let him not lie unto me, until commanded. Lovest thou not truth, O Flang Sarabang Quang?
Flang. Steel-piercing questioner of prostrate souls! I am aged. When I was a youth I loved that thing and some others, and found they did me little good. Truth, both in seasons of quiet and of disturbance, raiseth men's anger. One speaks truth to another, and both grow hot; even the silent, whose lungs have not laboured. The rajah or king heareth of it, and he groweth hotter still. They two boil on two sides; he in the centre; but all boil and foam and bubble, and fume away the good that is in them. Now, though I have heard lies these sixty-five years, I have always found them productive of complacency. Some of them were malignant; yet the malignancy was for the absent; and, supposing he heard of it afterward, only one could be annoyed where fifty were gratified. If there is a man in the Celestial Empire who will lay his hand upon his breast, and declare in the presence of our Gods that he hath derived more pleasure from truth than from lies, then let Rao-Gong-Fao be thrown on his belly, and let his back be channelled for a bamboo-bed.
King. Thou speakest unprofitably, O Flang Sarabang Quang!
Lies are good only for good government, and are sacred things. We coin, but punish coiners.
I desire to hear from my slave Rao-Gong-Fao the truth only, and the truth plainly, and the truth fully. Swear to me, O Rao-Gong-Fao, that no other word shall escape thy lips in my presence.
Rao. By the great pearl, glory of pearls, greatest
Rao. Lightning of destruction! thus spake the of the five on which five worlds repose at the rajah, son of a dog.
King. Flang Sarabang Quang!
King. Count out the money. The children of the White Bear understand and talk peguese. Rao-Gong-Fao!
Rao. Heart of emerald in diamond case!
extremity of the golden foot, making all other pearls hide their varying and trembling lustre in the opaque jelly of fishes, and making even the brightest of diamonds take refuge in the rocks before it, I, Rao-Gong-Fao, will speak the truth only, and the truth plainly, and the truth fully. King. Of what materials do these poor crea
King. Lift up thy last two fingers from the tures of the islets build their houses? Answer earth?
Rao. The lord of life hath spoken.
King. I have heard that in the two bear-borne islets there are no bamboos. What houses then can there be? have the people any?
Rao. Numerous, numerous, numerous, O whirlwind of might! They have cities larger than ours. King. Lead out that slave; scourge him and slit his tongue for lying, Flang Sarabang Quang! Flang. Sun of truth! may the voice of grey hairs be heard?
King. Let us hear it.
Flang. Omnipresent! let men lie.
King. How? to me? Art thou too, O Flang Sarabang Quang, come from that islet, where the first slave became the first for lying to his rajah, and betraying his colleague? This we have heard of old; but the rajah wanted him to lie to other
me, as fountain at once and recipient of wisdom, and mingle not my glorious titles in thy relation of them.
Rao. The worm carrieth not his slime into the blossom of beauty and bliss.
The inhabitants of the greater islet, O King, construct their habitations of dust and chaff. King. Like swallows-nests?
Rao. Not in form, O King, exteriorly or interiorly. Indeed they seem to display some intelligence and aptitude at imitation in their dwellings. King. I would hear more. Hast thou collected anything about the smaller islet?
Rao. Thy slave hath learnt, O King, that the houses in certain parts of it are not dissimilar: but generally they are low, and built of another kind of dust, totally without chaff, which those in easy circumstances live upon.
King. Voyagers have related that even the royal palace is unvarnished on the outside, and not very bright within; and that the holes in the wall are filled up with pieces of mirror; to hint that you must not examine them, but look to the flaws in yourself.
Rao. I believe it: and although the people are violent, they are capable of reflection, and of receiving such a lesson in the palace of the rajah. He himself hath much prudence, and more courtesy. When he received me at his residence, he was cautious to fasten a star against his breast; unwilling to show anything that could be mistaken for a sun, out of respect and homage to the glorious prince who sent me, resplendent arbiter of the Celestial Empire.
King. He did well.
Rao. The streets of London, his chief city, were mostly narrow and crooked and painted black, but without varnish. This colour, worn likewise by the priests, is in honour of a certain deity they call the devil, in whose service the English are very much employed. The greater part of the day they are doing whatever they can devise as most agreeable to him: toward the evening they call their servants together, and make them cry and sing and kneel and jump up again, and invoke another deity, in various tones of voice, to drive their old favourite away! They are very fond of these single combats, and often imitate them in the streets.
who lent me a young priestess for a wife, on my paying her mother a few pieces of gold, assured me that the new streets were built wider since the last earthquake; that the houses which I imagined were covered with blue paper, were roofed in fact with a material not unlike stone in substance, although of incredible lightness. Still I am of opinion that, in despite of precautions, if two or three of these houses fell on any very young or very old person, it might harm and even lame him. My guide took up a portion of one, called a brick, and pulverised it between his fingers, and blew it into the air. Even this did not satisfy me: it only proved that if the street, in falling, crippled nobody, it might blind fifty and this might happen to strong men in common with weak ones.
King. Have they any animals among them! any swine, dogs, oxen, horses, elephants?
Rao. Surely such a number of horses doth not exist in the remainder of the world as in the city of London. I have seen six carrying one old woman, who had more years than pounds weight. Agriculture is in such high esteem in this nation, that a waggoner is next in honour to a rajah. Not only is he privileged to wear a long robe in public, and to carry a sceptre of seven cubits, but he alone, like the rajah, hath a right to harness eight horses to his vehicle.
Sheep, oxen, and swine, I have seen in country places, but I winked and dissembled that I saw
King. It would be humane to instruct them them. Whether the island contains many, is better by means of missionaries.
Rao. Their priests fancy they can instruct ours. King. Unilluminated by the reflection of light from the golden foot, a priest who fancies he can teach another priest, is the more ignorant and stupid of the two.
It is difficult to believe that all the streets in a city, or even all the temples, are dedicated to a couple of deities.
Rao. The temples bear the names of different ones, but nevertheless are dedicated to the service of two only the others seem to be merely called as witnesses to the contest; or rather, as spectators of the games instituted in honour of the great competitors. I entered one, resembling a room in a tavern, where it was announced that the devil's old master had come up at last and gained a great victory over him. Would your Celestitude believe it! the whole company wept. The report gained ground, and manifested itself throughout the city. The new houses were not painted black; several of the new temples were not: beside, I found some of the priests in a street to which the king has given his own name, and where he keeps wives for them, and educates young priestesses; and neither these nor the priests wore black outwardly, although one of the females retained a tinge of it about her, made with some unguent, just for appearance, if she should be examined in private. I found the priests better men than those who wept in the other place for they laughed, and seemed heartily glad. One of them,
among the mysteries of state. I often heard it affirmed: but my best friends were unwilling to clear up my doubts upon it. A dealer in tea, very rich, one of the lords of Hindostan, desired me to ask him the question no more: even he was fearful of punishment. Perhaps I might never have known, O Celestitude, that there are elephants in this land, if I had not been accidentally in a street where a fire broke out. Several of the creatures were brought forth from sacred inclosures, all! under wooden covers; and marvellous was it to behold them casting up whole fountains of water, not only against the walls, but even upon the roof. The English have the art of making their trunks grow for this purpose, to a length surpassing belief. With what patience did the creatures suffer themselves to be mounted and drenched and directed! and how unmoved they appeared in the midst of an innumerable multitude, shouting and shoving, and under incessant flakes of fire falling round them! I was afraid to ask any questions about them, seeing that Englishmen are unwilling to let strangers know the number they possess of them: for they are in the greatest dread of their enemy called the French, having lately beaten him.
King. How is this? what absurdity art thou talking? afraid of him because they have beaten him!
Rao. O king! conqueror of nations! goldenfooted! golden-eyed! shaker of thrones! the West differeth from the East.. but not so much as the men differ in them. The English are never afraid
of enemies they have not beaten the moment they have beaten them, they go bareheaded, and fast, and pray, and implore permission to live quietly another year: which favour they rarely obtain before they have given back all they won, and sworn before three or four gods of good faith that they will be peaceable in future. After which ceremony they entreat their enemies to feel if they have any coin in their pockets, and, if they have, to take it out, and then to tie their hands behind them for a season.
King. Nobody would tell me this until now. Flang Sarabang Quang !
King. Count not out the money. He who cried, "Count out the money," was an evil spirit: it was not thy rajah. Rao-Gong-Fao!
King. Rise to within fourteen inches and onethird of thy natural and utmost highth.
The English fought before to drive out the French from this country, thinking that the possession of it would make them too powerful, and feeling the injury such possession did their commerce. If ever they fight again, it will be to keep them in for it is a maxim of state among them, that it is a folly to fight twice for the same thing. The French exclude their ships and supplant their merchandise: so that I see no chance of a war between them: but I descry it in another quarter. King. Speak on, O Rao-Gong-Fao! Thou hast much wisdom. Speak, and spare not.
Rao. O hooded-serpent among rajahs! striking in silence! insinuator of death and dissolution to whosoever crosses thy path! the English have ever been so dearly beloved by their sisters, that at last they will hang them in their garters.
King. Their sisters! hang them in their garters! for loving them!
Rao. The same policy, O wonderful! reigns here among them, as guides them against their enemy the French. They fear those they have beaten; and hate mortally those who caress and help them. Those who are called their sisters, from their vicinity and affection, are not all
Rao. The atom ascends from the chariot-wheel of Omnipotence, and twinkles in his light, and begins to take its form under the eye of its Creator. King. Is there any probability of the English women. They are the inhabitants, both male and engaging in war again speedily?
Rao. Not against the French; whom they beat so severely for imposing a rajah on some kingdom near, that, to make them amends and to keep them good-humoured, they are permitting and encouraging them to impose another, who had attempted to poison his father, on failing to dethrone him. The people made him swear that he would not impale them, nor roast them alive, nor hang any but those who had fought for him and saved his head from the axe. But having hung all these he began hanging the rest.
King. Why did they make him swear then? they deserved it.
Rao. So said the French, O rajah! scale of Equity and the English owned for once that the French spake truly; and, having seen their error in driving them away, together with the milder rajah, who had forbidden his cooks to roast men alive, they now assist them heartily in replacing the parricide, whose first royal ordinance was, "Let my cooks preach salvation and roast men alive." Upon which, great numbers of cooks, who dwell together, and possess a great part of the kingdom, came forth from their cells, and patted on the face the people they met, and said God be with you!" and cut their throats in the most tender way, and left them. This they did when they found only few: but when there were enough to pay the value of the faggots, they roasted them alive with great jubilee, according to the royal ordinance. Many poor wretches cried out to the English for protection, and begged at least a knife or a cudgel to frighten the cooks away: but the French declared that if the English lent any assistance, in violation of royalty and religion, they would run before them again over the snowy mountains and break their fat hearts.
female, of that other islet called Sister: though Britain is never called sister nor brother, nor any such name, having in truth but little right to it.
King. Will the white bears that drag the islets from one place to another, stand still while the people fight and quarrel?
Rao. Dispenser of wisdom! palm-tree of the Genii! No white bears drag either.
King. Away with him! away with him! What benefit can I expect from the mouth of Infidelity? what blessing, unless I close it?
Flang Sarabang Quang!
King. Hearest thou this?
King. And thine eyes rest within thy head? and thy mouth becometh not as the mouth of a well, with wonder!
Flang. Sublimity! My eyes rest within my head, and my mouth becometh not as the mouth of a well, with wonder; forasmuch as the white bears may have died by the visitation of a god. He may have been wroth with the wicked people for molesting us, and may have smitten the white bears. If Rao-Gong-Fao had said, that the islets were never borne about by them, I should be the first to recommend that he be stoned to death, to avert the anger of God both from us and him. For we have it plain and unequivocal in the books composed by the prophet, entitled The Manifestations;' which likewise teach us how many wings and eyes each bear hath, and what strength and comeliness.
King. I myself have perused that sacred book, with ineffable delight. It hath foretold me every event of my reign, and in particular the effect of emetics and cathartics, and will foretell everything that must happen on earth, until the great tor
toise, which supports it, casts his shell. This also it hath foretold.
Rao-Gong-Fao! rise into second life. Open thy lips again, and speak. What hast thou learnt of the new cause of trouble between the islets? Rao. They do not worship the same Gods. King. Could not they let the gods, who are stronger than they are, fight it out among themselves?
Rao. The gods, I understand, and particularly the inferior ones, have lost a good deal of blood already, and would fain lie still awhile. But there is an old man in a jungle, several days' voyage from both islands, whom they call, after his residence, the jungler or juggler. If any man prays to any god, without first asking his leave and paying for it, he curses him member by member, and orders his priests to curse him, and forbids all persons to give him a mouthful of grain or root or cold water, or even to lend him a spark of fire from his pipe. The inhabitants of Sister do not listen to any priest without a certificate from the juggler, that he is able to make a god and eat him in a moment: for the inhabitants of Sister bear a great respect to those who eat and drink heartily, and an equal contempt for every other kind of ability. It is not requisite that the juggler should see the noviciate who is to become a priest, or should know anything about him it is only needful that he should receive his vows of obedience, and his protestation that he believes the juggler to derive his authority from God himself, through an unbroken succession of jugglers, and to possess God's own spirit.
King. How can he believe this?
Rao. All things by degrees, O starry Firmament! First, he is taught that grain is meat; and secondly that meat is God; and thirdly that to eat a fish is piety; and fourthly that to eat a monkey or goat is impiety; and fifthly that to eat God himself is the best service his creatures can render him. After these preliminaries, it is not very far nor very difficult to believe that a juggler's spirit is a divine one.
King. Blindness! blindness! Catch me twenty or thirty of my cleverest priests, bind them hand and foot, and send them out missionaries of truth to the benighted.
Is the difference between the two islets old or recent?
Rao. A little while ago the inhabitants of both worshipped the juggler equally. Something, in which a woman and a sum of money were concerned, made a former king of Britain quarrel with the old man, or pretend to quarrel; and he seized upon all the lands and temples, and upon all the cattle and precious metals appertaining to them; and he swore he would be juggler in his own kingdom. The old juggler's priests went over to his side, having much veneration for their lands and temples, and opened many books demonstrating that they should do it, the same being foretold. Nevertheless the consciences of
many pricked them, when they saw their ancient gods grinning from the walls at them. By degrees they plucked up courage, and grew as angry as the gods were, and brought buckets of lime into the temples, and whitened the paintings. The principal change in the religion is the transfer of property: the principal difference in the priests themselves is, the old juggler's priests declare and swear that they do eat God, and will eat him to their dying day. The new jugglers keep not so constantly to one story: sometimes they say that they do cat God verily and indeed; sometimes not quite verily nor quite indeed, but quasi verily and quasi indeed; a word borrowed from the primitive language of the old juggler. And, if you press them hard, and ask "Do you or do you not?" they tell you their church is liberal, and you may go and be damned.
King. What means that?
Rao. The most favourite term in all the religions of the west. They agree in nothing but in damning one another. I have known even the common people of London ejaculate the sacred word in the streets, without a church near them, and even when they seemed very far from any religious feeling.
King. I would not make a movement until I had ascertained the point in dispute between the islanders, and the chances of reconciliation.
Rao. The old man of the jungle, O meter-out of wisdom and inspirer of concord! will never let that be: and the rajah of Britain says he has learnt his part, and is as good a juggler as the old man. At which Sister is exasperated, and calls him impious and accursed. She reminds him that his ancestors believed in the divinity of the old juggler, and that the people of Britain never killed so many of their enemies as when they were under his guidance; and when he conse crated their standards, and blessed and poisoned their arms. She demands that a certain number of her inhabitants may wear their hats, boots, and great-coats, in winter and summer, and sit down, and whistle, and hiss, and hoot, and ery “Hear him, hear him" and "Question, question," in the same large hall where the sugar-boilers and money-changers of England meet to discuss their interests, and to divide among themselves the people's money. He declares he does not mind the people's money, nor regard the interruption and unfitness; but he fears they will propose to transmit a portion of his subsidies to the old juggler, and obey him in voting as he lists. He consents that, if they will swear to have in future no dealings whatever with the old juggler, he the rajah will be graciously pleased to let them wear hats, boots, and great-coats, in winter and summer, in the said hall; and sit down and whistle and hiss and hoot, and cry "Hear him, hear him" and "Question, question;" and that furthermore he will authorise them, in common with the English of the said hall, to call each other one name more than their own.
On their part they protest that, even if they
swear an oath, it shall be an oath no longer when great chamber: let them sit down, and whistle, the old juggler says it shall not be one: that they have sworn to him: that, supposing they had not, their fathers and mothers had for them; and that they can not but believe what their parents said they should, the very day of their birth, though it were that a horse-shoe is a sheep's head, or a sow's bristle the crest of a turkey-cock. This is thought the strongest of their arguments, as resting on the common faith of both nations.
King. The question is, I perceive, whether the priesthood of the old juggler or that of the rajah, shall possess power and wealth.
I am minded to despatch thee again, O RaoGong-Fao, with a letter of advice to my tributary the king of the islets.
Flang Sarabang Quang!
and hiss, and hoot, and cry "Hear him, hear him" and " Question, question," and do therein whatever else their nature needs, and let them have one name more than their own, as have the money-changers and sugar-boilers. Be not angered, my child, if the children of Sister do appeal to the juggler as formerly, and believe in him, and worship him. One previous step is alone necessary to their admission into the great chamber. Take thou, O rajah my child! all the lands and other riches belonging to the temples. No appeals will ever afterward be carried into the jungle: for the old juggler would drive away any who brought him one, and would call it a mockery; and the priests of the two factions, now ready to tear each other's eyes and tongues out, will slink away when they meet, and not
King. Incline thy back, and gather up the look one another in the face. emeralds they are these. Rao-Gong-Fao!
My child! rajah of the two islets of the west, Britain and Sister! my peace and protection be with thee!
Wishing to compose the differences that have existed for several moons between thee and Sister, my eyes never rested until this dew of wisdom fell from my brain.
My child! Let the children of Sister wear hats, boots, great-coats, winter and summer, in the
Rao. Mine of wealth, terrestrial and celestial! King. Tell my son that the money thus raised is most sacred and most fortunate; and that I devote it, with my prayers and vigils, to his sole service, in place of those sordid cowries and accursed rupees, which unholy and violent men have touched, and which they would have persuaded me (who have no such mischievous intent) to pour into his treasury.
PHOTO ZAVELLAS AND KAIDO.
Kaido. Photo! we meet in sorrow. Zavellas. In sorrow, my beloved sister, have we often parted; for often have we lamented the death of those who followed us, and who believed on the word we gave them that the God of battles would protect the just but never until now did either hear from the other the language of despondency. Tell me, Kaido, what is there that hangs about thy heart so heavily, and will not fall from it between us two?
Kaido. When I remember how much you have suffered, O my brother! first from a perfidious enemy, and latterly from an ungrateful country... Zavellas. Cease, my sister! One of these things alone should be remembered.
Kaido. Let me return then home. I see, what indeed I saw as clearly ere I came, your righteous indignation. Had only the arcons entreated me to undertake the mission, I should have doubted more and hesitated longer.
Zavellas. Who then sent thee on a way so beset with dangers?
Kaido. Mosko, the tender wife, the timid mother; she whose generous fears would never let her leave your side in battle, nor now unclasp the son so late recovered. She tells you again through me, to return to Ali Bey; to pass the prison of the many who have fought around you; and to ask admittance at the door wherein your youngest child was kept three whole years away from you.
Zavellas. For what?
Kaido. Well may you inquire it. The house of our fathers is sunk in ashes. On my road hither I stept over the remnants of the beams, and among the rude stone images, their supporters, blacked but incorruptible. No man hath ventured to appropriate or remove them there they lie, as they lay the sad morning when your hand set fire to the roof.
O Suli! O my country! never should my tears have fallen upon this calamity: a worse now threatens thee: the powerful, the magnanimous, abandon and betray thee.
Zavellas. A worse indeed!
Zavellas. Threatening us?
Kaido. Befalling us. Gold hath entered our walls.
Zavellas. Then it entered through other apertures than the mansion of Zavellas.
Kaido. Some comfort in our adversity!
Zavellas. Fatal they are indeed to those who forfeit the esteem, and grievous to those who lose the fellowship, of the Botzari. Noti and Kitzo, who follow the steps of Markos, how grand are they! Usually it happens in men as in plants,