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described, and strangely disguising the natural form of the body. In some instances they seem very cleanly; but in others, the Hottentots can scarce go beyond them; particularly in the management of their hair, which is all matted and stiffened with the fat of swine and other animals, mixed up with powders of various colours and ingredients. Like most Indian nations, they use feathers in the headdress. One thing surprised me much, which was, that they bring up in their houses an animal of the tiger kind, with formidable teeth and claws, which, notwithstanding its natural ferocity, is played with and caressed by the most timid and delicate of their women.
I am sure I would not play with it, said Jack. Why, you might chance to get an ugly scratch if you did, said the Captain.
The language of this nation seems
very harsh and unintelligible to a foreigner, yet they converse among one another with great ease and quickness. One of the oddest customs is that which men use on saluting each other. Let the weather be what it will, they uncover their heads, and remain uncovered for some time, if they mean to be extraordinarily respectful.
Why that's like pulling off our hats, said Jack.—Ah, ah! Papa, cried Betsy,
I have found you out. You have been telling us of our own country, and wat is done at home, all this while. But, said Jack, we don't burn stones, or eat grease and powdered seeds, or wear skins and caterpillars’ webs, or play with tigers. No? said the captain-pray what are coals but stones; and is not butter, grease; and corn, seeds; and leather, skins; and silk, the web of a kind of caterpillar ; and may we not as well call a cat an animal of the tiger kind, as a tiger an animal of the cat-kind ? So, if you recollect what I have been describing, you will find, with Betsy's help, that all the other wonderful things I have told you of are matters familiar among ourselves. But I meant to show you, that a foreigner might easily represent every thing as equally strange and wonderful among us, as we could do with respect to his country; and also to make you sensible that we daily call a great many things by their names, without ever inquiring into their nature and properties ; so that, in reality, it is only their names, and not the things themselves, with which we are acquainted.
PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.
ALFRED :. King of England.
an Officer of Alfred. Scene-The Isle of Athelney. Alfred. How retired and quiet is every thing in this little spot! The river winds its silent waters round this retreat; and the tangled bushes of the thicket fence it from the attack of an enemy. The bloody Danes have not yet pierced into this wild solitude. I believe I am safe from their pursuit. But I hope I shall find some inhabitants here, otherwisé I shall die of hunger.Ha! here is a narrow path through the
wood, and I think I see the smoke of a cottage rising between the trees. I will bend my steps thither.
Scene-Before the Cottage.
GUBBA coming forward. GANDELIN,
Alfred. Good even to you, good
Are you disposed to show hospitality to a poor traveller ?
Gubba. Why truly there are so many poor travellers now a days, that if we entertain them all, we shall have nothing left for ourselves.
However, come along to my wife, and we will see what can be done for
you. Wife, I am very weary: I have been chopping wood all day.
Gandelin. You are always ready for your supper, but it is not ready for you, I assure you : the cakes will take an hour to bake, and the sun is yet high;