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Ferdinand Mendez Pinto.
FERDINAND MENDEZ PINTO.
of the first magnitude.—Love for Love.
pinch and extremity of Fate. Thanks Although the name of Ferdinand ing God, therefore, for his singular Mendez Pinto, the Mandeville of favours, and owning all my sufferPortugal, has passed into a bye- ings to be the consequences of my word in England, being commonly sins, I take for the beginning of my used as a paraphrase for mendacity, work the time that I passed in Porlittle or nothing is known of his tugal, where I lived till I was ten history or travels; and as his strange or twelve years old, in the misery work is not now of common occur- and poverty of my father's house, in rence, I propose to translate, for the the town of Monte Mor Ouelho; benefit of your readers, such occa- when an uncle, desirous of promosional passages as most amusingly ting my fortune, and withdrawing me illustrate his circumstantial exagge- from the blind indulgence of my morations, all of which he narrates as ther, carried me to Lisbon, and an eye-witness; and thus at the placed me in the service of an illussame time exemplify the credulity of trious and wealthy lady. This bapan age which was content to receive pened on St. Lucy's day, the 13th of such marvels as authentic records. December, 1521, the same on which His first chapter is a short biogra- they celebrated the funeral ceremony phical sketch of his life, before em- of our late king, Don Emanuel, of barking for India, probably the most happy memory, which is the very veracious portion of the whole nar- earliest thing I can recollect.-After rative, and I shall therefore give it having been one year and a half in the as nearly as possible in his own service of this lady, an affair oca words, using only the privilege of curred which placed my life in inabridgment." Whenever I reflect stant jeopardy; so that to escape from on my continual struggles, troubles, death I left her house in all haste, beand anxiety, since my very infancy, ing so bewildered, and overcome with I feel great reason to reproach Por- terror, that I knew not whither I fled,
until I arrived at the Port de Pedra, me in the service of Francisco de Faand beheld a galley, loading with ria, a gentleman in the household of horses for Setuval, where the king, the grand commander of St. James, Don John the Third, whom God ab- who, in reward of four years' service, solve, then held his court, on account gave me to the aforesaid commander, of the great plague with which many to act as chamberlain, which I did parts of the kingdom were infested. for eighteen months. But as the Embarking in this galley, I sailed the wages then paid were insufficient for next day; but, alas! no sooner were my support, necessity compelled me we fairly out at sea than we were to quit him, though I availed myself attacked by a French corsair, who, of his influence to obtain permission unexpectedly boarding us with fif- for embarking to the Indies, being teen or twenty men, carried our ves- resolved to try my fortune in the sel. After having stripped and pil- East, and submit to whatever good laged us, they took out our cargo, or ill fate might be reserved for me with 6000 ducats, and then scuttled in those unknown and remote counand sunk the galley, so that out of tries.” our crew of seventeen not one escaped On the 11th of March, 1537, our slavery. As they were freighted traveller set sail with a fleet of five with arms for the Mahometans, they ships, and arrived safely at Mozambound us hand and foot, intending bique, whence they were ordered by to sell us for slaves in Barbary; but the governor to proceed to Diu, as at the end of thirteen days it pleased he was in daily expectation of the Fortune that, about sunset, they dis- armies of the Grand Turk, to avenge covered a ship, to which they gave the loss of Sultan Bandar, King of chase all night, following in her Cambay, whom the said governor track, like old corsairs accustomed to had put to death the year before.such brigandage, and running along- On their passage from Diu to the side towards day-break, they fired Straits of Mecca, they were audacithree guns and boarded her, killing ously attacked by a pirate of inferior six Portuguese and ten or twelve force, upon whom, however, they reslaves.
taliated with such destructive effect, “It proved to be a large and good- that all the crew, consisting of eighty, ly vessel belonging to a Portuguese were killed or drowned, with the merchant, called Sylvestre Godinho, exception of five, whom they made coming from St. Thomas's, with a prisoners. One of these was the capgreat quantity of sugar and slaves, tain, who, upon being put to the worth 40,000 ducats ; so that having torture, confessed that he was a renenow such a rich booty, the corsairs gado Christian, having been born at abandoned their plan of going to Cedenha, but that becoming enaBarbary, and set sail for the coast of moured of a beautiful Greek MahoFrance, taking with them as slaves metan, he had renounced Christianisuch of our crew as were capable of ty and married her. Earnest and assisting them in their navigation. friendly proposals were made to him As for me, and the others who remain- to abandon his errors, and resume ed, they landed us by night at a place the Catholic faith; all which he recalled Melides, where we remained sisted with the most unshaken obstiall miserably naked, and covered nacy and resolution. “Whereupon,' with wounds from the blows and says our traveller, “ the captain infallashes we had received. In this piti libly concluding that this abandoned able state we arrived next morning miscreant was not to be won from at St. James de Caçen, and here our his blindness and heresy, in not besufferings were relieved, principally lieving the thrice holy Catholic faith, by a lady named Donna Beatrix, became suddenly inspired with such daughter of Count Villanova; when, a lively zeal and vehement love of after being cured of our wounds, we God, that be tied him neck and heels, all betook ourselves whithersoever and having attached a large stone to we thought we might best mend our his neck, cast him into the sea, where fortunes. For my part, poor as I the wretch now shares the torments was, I wandered with six or seven of his Mahomet, and keeps him comcompanions in misery to Setuval, pany in the other world, for having where good fortune instantly placed been his disciple in this.”
Ferdinand Mendez Pinto
345 Giving this extract as a short spe- green, having three rows of bristles cimen of the more authentic, or, at on the back, extremely sharp, and least, the more credible portion of as thick as an arrow, with others his narrative, I shall cite a fow equal- all over the body, though not so ly brief passages, illustrative of those thick. These fish'occasionally bristle marvellous statements, and stupend- up like porcupines, which renders ous assertions, which have occa- them very dreadful to behold. They sioned the name of Ferdinand Men- have a very black and pointed snout, dez Pinto to be generally mentioned with sharp teeth, a foot and a half with the complimentary cognomen long, issuing from the jaws, like the of “ the Liar.'
tusks of a wild boar, which the ChiIt will hardly be expected that nese call Puchissuchoens. Here also any summary or analysis of his book we saw another sort, having the
should be attempted, when the read- whole body extremely black, like the er is informed, that it consists of fish we call the Miller's Thumb, but 229 closely printed chapters, into so prodigiously large, that the head which we shall therefore only dip alone is six paces across, and when hap-hazard, as if consulting the Vir- they extend their fins in the water gilian lots, and leave the result to they appear a fathom broad. I shall declare its own auguries. And here pass over in silence the innumerable it is at least consolatory, that we other species we saw, as being foreign are never deluded by hearsay, nor to my subject-suffice it to say, that fobbed off, as in the case of Sir John during the two nights we passed in Maundevile, with—“thei seyne-or this spot we never thought ourselves men seyne, but I have not sene it;" in safety, on account of the lizards, for honest Pinto is very properly whales, fish, and serpents by which scrupulous upon these points, and we were surrounded; especially as scorns to be satisfied with any thing we heard such a constant hissing, less than ocular demonstration. It flapping, and neighing of sea-horses, is true, that both himself and the which abound in these parts, that captain of the vessel, Antonio de Fa- words cannot describe the uproar.”ria, did occasionally entertain very Chap. 71. grave doubts as to the marvellous In the very next chapter we enaverments of their Chinese pilot, Si- counter a race of giants, whom submilau, who disdained any other re- sequent travellers thought proper to ply to their injurious suspicions than transplant to Patagonia, whence, forth with to carry his vessel into the however, they have been ejected by very thick and centre of the wonders more accurate navigators; and these he had described, and submit them lofty specimens of humanity threaten to the evidence of their seven senses. to become extinct, unless revived by Opening the ponderous tome at a some voyager not less splendidè menventure, we seem to be poaching dax than the subject of our article. upon the manor of Bishop Pontop- In the absence of the American seapidan, expecting with every line to serpent, and the mermaid discovered catch a kraken, such is the abun- in the Hebrides, of which a cirdance of large fishes and other sea- cumstantial account generally runs game with which we are instantly through the papers every two or environed. Even our traveller, ac- three years, we may put forward the customed as he was to portentous following narrative, which it is not spectacles, acknowledges that he was improbable suggested to Swift the somewhat startled at the sight.- first idea of the Brobdingnaggians. * We arrived at length at a port “ Continuing our voyage, both by called Busiphalem, in the 49th de- rowing and sailing, and turning our gree north, where we saw an infinity prow accordiug to the serpentine of fishes and serpents, of such strange course of the river, we arrived next forms, that I can hardly describe them morning before a very high mounwithout terror. In this place we tain called Botinafau, whence ran beheld some in the form of ray fish, many rivers of fresh water. In this which we called Peixes Mantas, above mountain there was a quantity of four fathoms in circumference, with tigers, rhinoceroses, lions, ounces, and à muzzle like an ox; others like other wild beasts, which, leaping and enormous lizards, spotted black and crying, by reason of their natural
ferocity, made a cruel war upon the without any beard, driving before weaker animals, such as stags, wild- him six or seven cows which had been boars, monkeys, baboons, apes, pasturing thereabout. Similau havwolves, and foxes, which we con- ing made signs to him he immeditemplated for a long time with won- ately stopped, and when we had derful pleasure, occasionally shout- gained the bank where he was, Siing all at once to frighten them, milau showed him a piece of green whereat they were little alarmed, taffeta, whereof these savages are not being accustomed to the pursuit immoderately fond. Upon asking of hunters. On leaving this moun- him by signs whether he would buy tain we encountered another, not it, he replied with a voice very less wild and savage, called Gangi- much broken, Quiteum-parau—fau, tanou, beyond which all the country fau-words which we could not un is very rugged, and almost inacces- derstand. Antonio de Faria then sible. Similau informed us, that commanded that three or four yards certain men, called Gigauhos, dwelt of this taffeta should be given to him, at the foot of this place, who were as well as six pieces of china, which of enormous size, living like brutes the savage having taken, one after upon the spoils of the chase, or upon another, he appeared transported with the rice which the Chinese merchants joy, and cried out-Pur pacam pochy brought them from Catan, and bar- pilaca hunangue doreu, which we tered with them for furs. He as could no more comprehend than the sured us that more than 200,000 preceding, Leaving his cows by the skins were annually exported, which river, he then ran off into the woods, the Chinese consumed for the li- being clothed in the skin of a tining of winter robes, carpeting, and ger, his feet and arms naked, his counterpanes. Antonio de Faria, head uncovered, and having no other much astonished at this, but still weapon than a stick burnt at the more at the stature of these Gigauhos, end. As to his height, by what begged the pilot to procure him the we could guess, it was above seven sight of one, assuring him, that it feet and a half; but we were much would be more gratifying to him astonished when, in a quarter of than to possess all the treasures of an hour after, he returned, bear China; to which Similau replied, ing upon his shoulders a live stag, • Signor Captain, as I see that this is and accompanied by thirteen people, essential, both to preserve my cre- eight men and five women, who led dit with you, and to impose silence with them three cows, and danced upon those who murmur and make together to the sound of a drum, on mockery of me when I relate things which, from time to time, they struck which they consider so many fables ; five times, then clapped their hands, in order that by one truth they may and cried, Cur cur hinau falem. Al judge of another, I swear to you, these people, both male and female, that before sunset you shall see a were clothed exactly alike, except couple of these people, and speak to that the women wore large tin brace them, on condition that you do not lets on the middle of their arms, and go ashore as you have hitherto done, had much longer hair than the men, for fear any misfortune should hap- which they decorated with flowers. pen; for I assure you that these They had also round their necks Gigauhos are naturally so brutal and chains of red shells, as large as oyfierce, that they live upon flesh and ster-shells. All of them had a very blood like the beasts of the forest.' savage look, with thick lips, flat Among the thick trees and wild noses, large nostrils, and the rest of mountains that inclosed us as we ad- the body enormous, though not 60 vanced, there was such an infinite much só as we had imagined; for number of apés, monkeys, foxes, Antonio de Faria, having caused them wolves, stags, wild boars, and simi- to be measured, found that the tallest lar animals, that they encumbered did not exceed eight feet in height, and impeded one another, making excepting an old man, who was nearsuch a loud noise that we could not ly six inches more. As to the wohear ourselves speak, which amused men, they were hardly seven and a us for some time ; until, upon turning half feet high; and to judge by their a point of land, we saw a young boy, looks, I should deem them very
coarse and gross, and less reasonable paid by the regular 'courtesans. In than any people we have ever en, this quarter also dwell all the wash, countered. Antonio de Faria, highly erwomen, amounting, ás , we were gratified that we had not come there told, to more than a hundred thoufor nothing, gave them sixty pieces sand ; and, in the same enclosure, are of china, a piece of green taffeta, thirteen hundred noble and sụmpand a basket full of pepper, whereat tuous houses, some of them containthey were so delighted, that throw- ing a thousand people, for the reliing themselves upon the ground, and gious of both sexes. We saw. also lifting their hands to heaven, they a good number of houses having large all said at once, Vumguahileu opum- gardens attached to them, and even guapau lapaon, lapuon, lapaon, which thick woods, stocked with game and we took for expressions of gratitude deer of all sorts." Chap. 104.-In and thanks."-Chap. 72.
fact, the wonders they saw were so Our next dip into this marvellous manifold and bewildering, that the tome conveys us to the city of Pekin, poor man says it would be imposin China, which he introduces to us sible to enumerate them at that time, with a candid and ingenuous profese although he would certainly resume sion of his own simplicity and truth, the subject, and give a more detailed that ought to disarm criticism, and account upon some future occasion ; procure him implicit credence from a pledge which he shortly after reall those who are not incurably scep- deems with the following touching tical, or needlessly disposed to cavil expression of his regret that he should at the following relation, made, it have committed himself to so diffimust be remembered, by an eye-wit- cult a task. ness.
“ This city of Pekin, of which I “ As my design in writing this have promised to speak more fully, book is solely to bequeath it to my is so prodigious, and the sights to be children, as an alphabet wherein they seen therein só remarkable, that I may trace my labours and travels, almost repent my undertaking, which, I care little about the form and style to say the truth, I hardly know how of its composition ; for it appears to to set about; for we are not to me much better to leave these things suppose that it is such a city as to nature, and simply to describe Rome, Constantinople, Venice, Paris, matters as I saw them, without aLondon, Seville, or Lisbon ; nor that musing myself with hyperboles or any European city, however popucircumlocutions. I shall therefore lous and famous, can be compared proceed to state, that the city of with it. Neither can any of the cePekin is situated forty-one degrees lebrated places beyond the confines north; being, according to some, thir- of Europe pretend to rival it in its ty, and according to others, fifty stupendous buildings,excessive riches, leagues in circumference, but the wonderful abundance, innumerable latter estimate includes the suburbs. population, its great commerce, and On the inside the walls are lined with infinite vessels ; its courts of peace, fine porcelain, and decorated with justice, government, and other inpainted lions and gilt banners. It stitutions. By the chronicles of the contains five hundred large pa- king of China, it appears that this Jaces, called houses of the Son of the city is thirty leagues in circumfeSun, where are maintained all those rence, without reckoning the suburbs, soldiers who have been wounded in in which latter are many astonishing the king's service, generally amount- things, whereon I might enlarge if I ing to about a hundred thousand in thought proper. It is enclosed with number. We saw a very long street, a double wall of hewn stone, of great with low houses, where resided twen- thickness, with three hundred and ty-four thousand watermen, the sixty gates, each having a barbican king's rowers; and another of the of two very high towers, surrounded same construction a full league long, by ditches, over which there is a where there were fourteen thousand drawbridge. At each gate is an cooks belonging to the court; and a officer, with four halberdiers, who third of similar form, where we be- are obliged to give an account of held an infinity of women of the town, every thing that enters or passes out. who are exempted from the tribute Within these walls are three thou