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On being discovered and removed by the schooner, the three survivors received all the attention which their situation required. This having been attended to, the crew of the schooner proceeded to remove from the frigate everything that could be taken out; and after having loaded their own vessel with wine, flour, and everything else that was removable, whether public or private property, though without discovering the money, they returned to Senegal.
Those who had been rescued by the boats, and also from the raft, expected that the schooner, besides fetching the public property from the wreck, would bring many articles which they could claim as their own. The crew of the schooner, however, though in the service of the king of France, acted on this occasion the part of pirates : they not only kept and made sale, in the market of St Louis, of articles of value found in the wreck, but robbed the miserable victims whom they had rescued.
The report they gave of the state of the wreck, induced the governor to permit merchants to send vessels to bring off more of the goods on board—the proceeds to be equally divided between the government and the adventurers. Four vessels thus set sail, and in a short time brought back a great quantity of flour, salt provisions, brandy, cordage, and other articles, of which there was a fair division.
In concluding this melancholy recital, we almost feel it necessary to assure our readers that what we have been telling them is no dressed-up fiction, but a narrative drawn from authentic sources, and true in every particular. We need scarcely repeat, what must occur to every mind, that nothing in the whole annals of shipwreck equals in infamy the conduct of Lachaumareys, the captain of the Medusa, or of the governor Schmaltz, with whom he appears to have acted in concert. Neither, we believe, did ever any disaster by sea or land present such a series of blunders, such want of concert or management, or such a deficiency, among nearly all concerned, of the common feelings of humanity. Shortly after its occurrence, the shipwreck of the Medusa created a considerable sensation in Europe; and especially in France. The general feeling was that of horror; but in France, this sentiment was mingled with shame, and every effort was made to prevent the publication of the details by Corréard, as well as belief in them after publication. But all was unavailing. The narrative remains trustworthy in all respects -a sad memorial of human suffering and depravity.
The account we have been presenting would be in some measure incomplete, without a notice of this unfortunate family; and this we are fortunately able to supply, from the account of the shipwreck written by Mademoiselle Picard. As soon as M.
Picard had recovered from the fatigues of his journey across the desert, he expected to be installed in the situation to which he had been appointed before leaving France. An unforeseen difficulty, however, now presented itself. The English resident governor had as yet received no intimation to give up the colony of Senegal to the French. This information distressed the
very much; and their affliction was at its height, when Schmaltz, the French governor in expectancy, ordered them to quit the colony, and go and reside at the French establishment at Cape Verd until further orders. From this indignity they were saved by the kindness of the English governor, who, pitying their misfortunes, permitted them to remain ; whilst a number less fortunate proceeded to Cape Verd, and there miserably
In a short time the French authority was established, but with no advantage to Picard. Of warm and impetuous feelings, he had given deep offence to Schmaltz and other officers of the Medusa, by the freedom of his remarks on quitting the wreck. These sayings were now meanly remembered against him; and everything that a despicable nature could suggest was done to ruin his prospects. He was, in short, deprived of his situation; and, with barely the means of subsistence
for his family, he took refuge in a small island, his own property, in the Senegal river, which he proposed to cultivate for the sake of a livelihood. The island was laid out chiefly in crops of cotton—an article more suitable to the climate than were the constitutions of this unfor
For the space of two or three years the Picards struggled manfully with their fate. Living in a wretched hut, in the midst of a tropical vegetation, they were exposed to continual irritations from insects, and to the more formidable attacks of snakes and wild beasts, which lurked about the neighbourhood. Towards the middle of July 1817 Madame Picard became alarmingly ill, and died. Mademoiselle Picard, who seems to have been a young woman of an energetic and persevering mind, was now the consoler and chief support of the miserable family: she was the educator of her young companions, the manager of the domestic establishment, in which she wrought with her own hands, and, in her father's frequent absence, superintended the labours of á few hired field negroes. Irksome as this mode of life was, mademoiselle did not repine; her principal distress was a severe headache, which she suffered almost daily from the great heat. At night, after the out-of-door
labours of the day, she retired with her two younger brothers into the cottage, and the working negroes brought the cotton which had been collected during the day, after which she set about preparing supper. Assisted by the children, she lighted a fire in the middle of the hut, and kneaded the cakes of millet flour which were to be the family supper, as well as what were to be used next day.
These cakes were baked on an iron shovel, and were usually ready in half an hour : they were far from pleasant to persons who had been accustomed to better fare ; but hunger rendered them palatable. Occasionally, they were eaten with a little butter or sour milk.
In the morning, all were early at work in the cotton-fields; and the only relaxation from toil was at noon, when the heat of the sun was greatest, also a short period in the evening. From this unvarying round of duties, it was delightful to find relief in the rest of Sunday. On this day all the family would assemble under the shade of a large baobab tree, while mademoiselle or her sister read a chapter from the evangelists, or from some book likely to inspire them with cheerfulness and resignation. At such times M. Picard almost forgot his misfortunes, and anticipations of brighter days yet in store would fit across his imagination. His daughters likewise were happy in these family reunions. They began to discover that every condition of life has its peculiar enjoyments. If the labours of the week seemed long and laborious, the Sabbath recompensed them by its calm and its recreations. If life was spent in rustic occupations, there was at least no struggle to keep up appearances : the labour of the fields, the simplicity of dress and manners, all seemed like a return to the primitive ages of the world.
But all this rural enjoyment, if so it might be called, came unexpectedly to an end. The plantation failed to realise the outlay upon it. Wild beasts carried off all the live stock in a single night; and various other losses occurred, sufficient to depress minds much more hopeful. To bring the family disasters towards a climax, the younger children fell victims to the climate; and this blow was succeeded by a still greater misfortune the death of M. Picard. The remaining members of this illfated family were now only mademoiselle and her sister Caroline; their cousin having already returned to France. At this melancholy juncture M. Dard, a person who had done many acts of kindness to the Picards, and who had for some years followed the profession of a teacher in St Louis, with the greatest delicacy offered his hand and his fortune to mademoiselle ; and this amiable young lady, who had been a pattern to daughters in affliction, was, in accepting his offer, rewarded for all her sufferings. Her sister Caroline afterwards married M. Richard, a botanist who was attached to the agricultural establishment of the colony.
Leaving Senegal with her husband, Madame Dard arrived in France at the close of the year 1820. After a residence in Paris for two months, they reached M. Dard's native place at Blignysous-Beaune, in the department of the Côte d'Or, where madame had the happiness of finding new relations, whose tender friendship consoled her in part for the loss of those whom death had taken from her in Africa.
VOLUNTARY DISTORTIONS-TIGHT LACING.
HE human form, at birth, may be said to come from the hand of God in a state progressive towards perfection; and to this desirable point it attains when fully
matured in youth. The limbs are flexible and wellformed, the head elevated and round, the person at ease and erect, the feet expanded and suitable for freedom of movement, and if in a state of health, the whole internal
parts of the system are performing their appointed functions. In general, unless the body is afflicted with age or disease, or injured by intemperance or excessive labour, it is pleasing in all its putlines. Nature has not done her work clumsily, or by halves ; has not left anything to be desired in the way of personal change or improvement. Of course there are accidental malformations, but these are exceptions to a general rule, and do not here require to be taken into account. It may also be allowed that, by tastefulness in dressing, it is possible to remedy small defects in personal appearance; and every remedy of this kind we hold to be reasonable and legitimate. For example, nature has in some instances given a scanty and insufficient covering of hair to the head; and art, to supply the deficiency, has invented the peruke—the wearing of which is necessarily unobjectionable, if not commendable. So, likewise, when teeth decay, it is consistent with good taste to supply the defect by artificial means.
Improvements of appearance, therefore, when useful, and governed by good taste, can meet with no reprobation.
The case, however, is very different when the effort to improve has å tendency to torture the frame, violently alter the shape, or impair the action of the muscles. Efforts of this kind can be spoken of as not less impious than fantastic and foolish. Yet, influenced by custom or fashion, and without one plea in point of taste, it is marvellous how universal have been the attempts to amend the shapes and appearances which nature, as well as judgment, have pronounced to be unimprovable.
Almost all dark-coloured nations puncture or tattoo the skin, some the face, others the arms and limbs, and many the whole body; the object being to impress indelible marks which shall render the individual conspicuous. The practice is attended with great pain, mars the functions of the skin, and renders the countenance hideous or ridiculous.
The Esquimaux wear heavy ornaments of wood, bone, or of walrus-teeth, in the lower lip. For this purpose the lip is pierced, and the ornament, as it is thought to be, drags it down, so as to show the teeth and gums. The sight of this disfigurement, as may be supposed, is particularly offensive to a cultivated
Many rude nations—the South Sea islanders among
otherssimilarly distigure their countenances by suspending bones, or other objects, from the cartilage of the nose. The ancient Syrians followed a practice of this barbarous kind.
Some of the African tribes tile their teeth, so as to give them a jagged or scalloped appearance; their object being to make the teeth of the upper fall into those of the lower jaw, like the teeth of a rat-trap. The hideousness of this distigurement, combined with the naturally thick and open lips of the negro, may easily be conceived.
Religious fanatics in India, under the notion of performing meritorious acts of piety and devotion, hold their hands above their head so long, that their arms stiffen in that position. Others close the hand, and hold it in that posture till the nails grow into the flesh, and the fingers become rigid. A third class consider it meritorious never
to cut the nails of their hands or feet, but to let them grow like the talons of birds.
In China, long nails are a mark of high fashion; for they indicate that the party does not need to work for a livelihood. A similar folly seems to prevail in England, where many denizens of fashion pride themselves on the length of their nails, and the unserviceableness of their hands. Those who entertain such notions ought to be aware that the Chinese quite outdo them in these respects. The nails of the Chinese fop are suffered to grow to the length of five or six inches, and require to be supported by slips of bamboo projected from the ends of the fingers.
The tight strapping down of trousers among young men in France, and in our own country, is producing not only a stiff style of walking, but a greater evil. The knee and ankle joints not being fully exercised, become affected with anchylosis, or stiffness; which, though perhaps not troublesome at the time, may be painfully apparent in advanced years. Trouser straps, if worn at all, should be so easy, as not in the least to prevent the free action of the joints. Nature did not intend that the legs of young men should be inflexible stumps.
The easy motion and exercise of every muscle and joint, so conducive to health and vigour, are greatly impeded by military discipline. The stiff unnatural drill of soldiers gives them an unbending and bolt-upright gait, which is at variance with permanent activity. Retired military men can rarely, cope in strength or agility with civilians of the same age. The “military air” is thus, to a certain extent, a deformity. Nature and good taste alike suggest an upright, but yet an easy, flexible carriage -the back ready to bend, and the head ready to turn gracefully and promptly on its pivot the neck.
The New Zealander, who ignorantly deforms his countenance with tattooing, on the supposition that he is making it beautiful, is less blameable than the educated European lady, who ruins her complexion and her health with the dangerous trash sold as