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Rudolf Erich Raspe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

“I am of opinion,” said my noble friend, Hilaro Frosticos, “that Africa was originally inhabited for the greater part, or, I may say, subjugated by lions which, next to man, seem to be the most dreaded of all mortal tyrants.  The country in general—­at least, what we have been hitherto able to discover, seems rather inimical to human life; the intolerable dryness of the place, the burning sands that overwhelm whole armies and cities in general ruin, and the hideous life many roving hordes are compelled to lead, incline me to think, that if ever we form any great settlements therein, it will become the grave of our countrymen.  Yet it is nearer to us than the East Indies, and I cannot but imagine, that in many places every production of China, and of the East and West Indies, would flourish, if properly attended to.  And as the country is so prodigiously extensive and unknown, what a source of discovery must not it contain!  In fact, we know less about the interior of Africa than we do of the moon; for in this latter we measure the very prominences, and observe the varieties and inequalities of the surface through our glasses—­

“Forests and mountains on her spotted orb.

“But we see nothing in the interior of Africa, but what some compilers of maps or geographers are fanciful enough to imagine.  What a happy event, therefore, should we not expect from a voyage of discovery and colonisation undertaken in so magnificent a style as the present! what a pride—­what an acquisition to philosophy!”

CHAPTER XXV

Count Gosamer thrown by Sphinx into the snow on the top of Teneriffe—­Gog and Magog conduct Sphinx for the rest of the voyage—­The Baron arrives at the Cape, and unites his former chariot, &c., to his new retinue—­Passes into Africa, proceeding from the Cape northwards—­Defeats a host of lions by a curious stratagem—­Travels through an immense desert—­His whole company, chariot, &c., overwhelmed by a whirlwind of sand—­Extricates them, and arrives in a fertile country.

The brave Count Gosamer, with a pair of hell-fire spurs on, riding upon Sphinx, directed the whole retinue towards the Madeiras.  But the Count had no small share of an amiable vanity, and perceiving great multitudes of people, Gascons, &c., assembled upon the French coast, he could not refrain from showing some singular capers, such as they had never seen before:  but especially when he observed all the members of the National Assembly extend themselves along the shore, as a piece of French politeness, to honour this expedition, with Rousseau, Voltaire, and Beelzebub at their head; he set spurs to Sphinx, and at the same time cut and cracked away as hard as he could, holding in the reins with all his might, striving to make the creature plunge and show some uncommon diversion.  But sulky and ill-tempered was Sphinx at the time:  she plunged indeed—­such a devil of a plunge,

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