My first visit to England was about the beginning of the present king’s reign. I had occasion to go down to Wapping, to see some goods shipped, which I was sending to some friends at Hamburgh; after that business was over, I took the Tower Wharf in my way back. Here I found the sun very powerful, and I was so much fatigued that I stepped into one of the cannon to compose me, where I fell fast asleep. This was about noon: it was the fourth of June; exactly at one o’clock these cannon were all discharged in memory of the day. They had been all charged that morning, and having no suspicion of my situation, I was shot over the houses on the opposite side of the river, into a farmer’s yard, between Bermondsey and Deptford, where I fell upon a large hay-stack, without waking, and continued there in a sound sleep till hay became so extravagantly dear (which was about three months after), that the farmer found it his interest to send his whole stock to market: the stack I was reposing upon was the largest in the yard, containing above five hundred load; they began to cut that first. I woke with the voices of the people who had ascended the ladders to begin at the top, and got up, totally ignorant of my situation: in attempting to run away I fell upon the farmer to whom the hay belonged, and broke his neck, yet received no injury myself. I afterwards found, to my great consolation, that this fellow was a most detestable character, always keeping the produce of his grounds for extravagant markets.
The Baron slips through the world: after paying a visit to Mount Etna he finds himself in the South Sea; visits Vulcan in his passage; gets on board a Dutchman; arrives at an island of cheese, surrounded by a sea of milk; describes some very extraordinary objects—Lose their compass; their ship slips between the teeth of a fish unknown in this part of the world; their difficulty in escaping from thence; arrive in the Caspian Sea—Starves a bear to death—A few waistcoat anecdotes—In this chapter, which is the longest, the Baron moralises upon the virtue of veracity.
Mr. Drybones’ “Travels to Sicily,” which I had read with great pleasure, induced me to pay a visit to Mount Etna; my voyage to this place was not attended with any circumstances worth relating. One morning early, three or four days after my arrival, I set out from a cottage where I had slept, within six miles of the foot of the mountain, determined to explore the internal parts, if I perished in the attempt. After three hours’ hard labour I found myself at the top; it was then, and had been for upwards of three weeks, raging: its appearance in this state has been so frequently noticed by different travellers, that I will not tire you with descriptions of objects you are already acquainted with. I walked round the edge of the crater, which appeared to be fifty times at least as capacious as the Devil’s