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قراءة كتاب The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

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‏اللغة: English
The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

colspan="2" class="center">CHAPTER XIII.

Bruce again attempts to reach the Fountains of the Nile, and succeeds 239   CHAPTER XIV. Bruce returns to Gondar.—His Residence there.—Accompanies
the King in the Battles of Serbraxos.—Revolution at Gondar.—Defeat
and Overthrow of Ras Michael.—Bruce returns to
Gondar, and succeeds in obtaining Permission to leave Abyssinia 271   CHAPTER XV. Bruce leaves Gondar and travels to Sennaar, the Capital of Nubia 297   CHAPTER XVI. Bruce leaves Sennaar.—Crosses the great Desert of Nubia.—His
Distress.—Reaches Syene, on the Nile 326   CHAPTER XVII. Kind Reception at Assouan.—Arrival at Cairo.—Transactions
with the Bey there.—Lands at Marseilles 354   CHAPTER XVIII. Bruce returns to Europe.—Visits Paris—Italy.—Returns to England.—Quarrels
with the Writers of the Day.—Retires to Scotland.—Marries.—At
last publishes his Travels.—The Incredulity
of the Credulous.—Bruce's Disappointment—Sorrow—Death 364




Bruce's Birth—Education—Marriage.—Travels in Europe.

James Bruce was born at the family residence of Kinnaird, in the county of Stirling, in Scotland, on the 14th day of December, 1730. His father was the eldest son of Helen Bruce of Kinnaird,[1] and David Hay of Woodcockdale, descended from an old and respectable branch of the Hays of Enroll, distinguished in ancient Scottish history by their bravery, and who received from Robert I. the hereditary office of high-constable of Scotland. Bruce's mother was the daughter of James Graham, Esq., of Airth, dean of the faculty of advocates, and judge of the high court of admiralty in Scotland: a man distinguished by his abilities, and respected for his public and private virtues.

On the 23d of November, 1733, Bruce lost his mother. She died of a lingering disorder, which had long undermined her constitution; and, scarcely, three years old, he thus unconsciously suffered the greatest misfortune that can befall a child, and which nothing in this world can compensate. A few years afterward, his father married the daughter of James Glen, of Longcroft, in the shire of Linlithgow, by whom he had two daughters and six sons, one of whom, while fighting as a volunteer in the forlorn hope, was mortally wounded in the breach of a fortress at the Havannah; another, in the service of the East India Company, proposed the attack, and led on the party which, on the 3d of August, 1780, took from the Mahrattas the fortress of Gualior.

Though well formed, Bruce did not, as a child, appear to possess the athletic constitution and unusual stature which he attained in manhood. The relentless disorder which had hurried his mother to an early grave, seemed to have recoiled upon him: he was subject to frequent pains in the breast; and his temper, contrary to the impetuous and daring character which it afterward assumed, was mild, quiet, and gentle. At eight years of age, his father, resolving to give to his apparent heir the advantages of a liberal education, sent him to London to the friendly care of his uncle, Counsellor Hamilton, under whose superintendence he remained until the year 1742, when, being twelve years old, he was removed to Harrow school, then conducted by Dr. Cox. Young Bruce prosecuted his studies with unusual steadiness and assiduity; and, on the 14th of July, 1744, Dr. Glen wrote to Bruce's father, his brother-in-law, as follows:

"What I wrote to you about James is all true, with this difference only, that you may say, as the Queen of Sheba said of Solomon, the one half has not been told you, for I never saw so fine a lad of his years in my life; but, lest I should have been deceived in my own opinion of him, I waited purposely on Dr. Cox to get information how he was profiting, whose answer to me on that occasion was this: 'When you write to Mr. Bruce's father about his son, you cannot say too much; for he is as promising a young man as ever I had under my care, and, for his years, I never saw his fellow.'"

Bruce remained at Harrow till the 8th of May, 1746; and, in the four years he was at school, he not only acquired a competent share of classical knowledge, but won the esteem of many individuals, whose valuable friendship he retained through life. He was now nearly sixteen years of age; but his health, which had always been delicate, was by no means confirmed. He was much too tall for his age; his breast was weak: his general appearance indicated that he had grown faster than his strength; and his relations were alarmed lest he should become consumptive: however, it was now necessary to consider what profession he was to follow, and Mr. Hamilton was accordingly requested by the elder Bruce to speak to him upon this important subject. Mr. Hamilton was much pleased with young Bruce's replies; and on the 28th of July, 1746, he addressed his father as follows: "He is a mighty good youth, a very good scholar, and extremely good tempered; has good solid sense, and a good understanding. I have talked to him about what profession he would most incline to: he very modestly says he will apply himself to whatever profession you shall direct, but he, in his own inclination, would study divinity and be a parson. The study of the law, and also that of divinity, are, indeed, both of them attended with uncertainty of success; but as he inclines to the profession of a clergyman, for which he has a well-fitted gravity, I must leave it to you to give your own directions; though I think, in general, it is most advisable to comply with a young man's inclination, especially as the profession which he proposes is in every respect fit for a gentleman."

This curious picture of young Bruce's early character may appear extraordinary when compared with the performances of his after life; yet a few moments' reflection will reconcile the