Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/61

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MADAGASCAR.

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screamed and danced, declaring that he had never received so much pleasure before. As he grew more accustomed to the exercise, his enjoyment of it every time increased; and like most learners who have attained a slight degree of proficiency, he evinced a consciousness of his own superiority, by wishing to see others placed in the situation which had lately appeared so perilous to him. Several of his officers were accordingly ordered to make the experiment, while he laughed heartily at their awkwardness.

But one day Radama fell from his horse, and, though not seriously injured, great confusion prevailed among the attendants on the King's person and the inmates of the palace. The domestics ran for the missionary, but were all too much alarmed to state what they wanted, or do more than inform him that the King was injured, and perhaps dying. Mr. Jones, the missionary, followed them and entered the palace, where the King was lying on the floor, his face and neck being covered with blood. Fearing the worst consequences from the loss of royal blood, especially if the supply was not kept up, a number of live fowls were brought, and some of the attendants were busily employed in cutting off the heads of the fowls, and and pouring the blood from their decapitated trunks into the King's mouth; others were making loud lamentations, embracing and kissing his feet; and others were fanning him, and wailing over him as already dead. Mr. Jones recommended their not adding any more blood from the fowls, and proposed instead to take some from the King. Violently opposing this, the attendants exclaimed,—“What! take away more blood, when the King has lost so much already! No,—let the Sikidy be consulted!” The King, though feeble, heard what was going on; and such was his confidence in the missionary, that he said, in a low tone, Bleed me; let the Sikidy not be consulted: bleed me immediately.” This the attendants refused to allow, and still continued cutting off the heads of the fowls, and pouring their blood into the King's mouth. Aided by Messrs. Robin and Brady, the King was placed in a chair facing the door, and Mr. Jones prepared to bleed him; but when about to open the vein, a principal officer standing by, seized his arm, and prevented it. Mr. Jones, however, kept his hand so firmly fixed, that the moment his right arm was released, he accomplished his purpose. When the blood appeared, a cry was raised to stop it. This was refused. The King fainted, and the cry was repeated with frantic