The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 489 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.

Often did I in the severest winter of the southern hemisphere, endeavor, passing the polar glaciers westward, to leave behind me those two hundred strides out from Cape Horn, which sundered me probably from Van Diemen’s Land and New Holland, regardless of my return or whether this dismal region should close upon me as my coffin-lid—­making desperate leaps from ice-drift to ice-drift, and bidding defiance to the cold and the sea.  In vain!  I never reached New Holland, but, every time, I came back to Lamboc, seated myself on its farthest peak, and wept again, with my face turned toward the south and east, as at the fast closed bars of my prison.

I tore myself at length from this spot, and returned with a sorrowful heart into inner Asia.  I traversed that farther, pursuing the morning dawn westward, and came, yet in the night, to my proposed home in the Thebais, which I had touched upon in the afternoon of the day before.

As soon as I was somewhat rested, and when it was day again in Europe, I made it my first care to procure everything which I wanted.  First of all, stop-shoes; for I had experienced how inconvenient it was when I wished to examine near objects, not to be able to slacken my stride except by pulling off my boots.  A pair of slippers drawn over them had completely the effect which I anticipated, and later I always carried two pairs, since I sometimes threw them from my feet, without having time to pick them up again, when lions, men, or hyenas startled me from my botanizing.  My very excellent watch was, for the short duration of my passage, a capital chronometer.  Besides this I needed a sextant, some scientific instruments, and books.

To procure all this, I made several anxious journeys to London and Paris, which, auspiciously for me, a mist just then overshadowed.  As the remains of my enchanted gold was now exhausted, I easily accomplished the payment by gathering African ivory, in which, however, I was obliged to select only the smallest tusks, as not too heavy for me.  I was soon furnished and equipped with all these, and commenced immediately, as private philosopher, my new course of life.

I roamed about the earth, now determining the altitudes of mountains; now the temperature of its springs and the air; now contemplating the animal, now inquiring into the vegetable tribes.  I hastened from the equator to the pole, from one world to the other, comparing facts with facts.  The eggs of the African ostrich or the northern sea-fowl, and fruits, especially of the tropical palms and bananas, were even my ordinary food.  In lieu of happiness I had tobacco, and of human society and the ties of love, one faithful poodle, which guarded my cave in the Thebais, and, when I returned home with fresh treasures, sprang joyfully toward me and gave me still a human feeling that I was not alone on the earth.  An adventure was yet destined to conduct me back amongst mankind.

CHAPTER XI

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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