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which she spent the latter days of her life prevented her from manifesting them. She died at Paris in the year 1780, forty-nine years after her capture by Monsieur de Soigny, and in about the sixtysecond year of her age.
VICTOR, THE SAVAGE OF AVEYRON. Towards the end of the year 1798, a child who appeared to be about eleven or twelve years of age, and who had several times before been seen in the woods of Caune, in France, seeking acorns and roots, on which he subsisted, was caught by three sportsmen, who seized him at the moment he was climbing a tree to avoid them. They carried him to a neighbouring village, where he was placed under the care of an old woman, from whom he, however, found means to escape before the end of the week, and fled to the mountains, where he wandered about during the winter, which was uncommonly severe, without any clothing but a ragged shirt. At night he retired to solitary places, but in the day approached nearer the houses and villages. He thus passed a roving life, till at length he voluntarily took refuge in a house in the canton of St Sernin. After being kept there two or three days, he was sent to the hospital of St Affrique, whence he was removed to Rodez, where he remained several months. During his abode in these different places, he always seemed to be wild, impatient of restraint, and capricious, and constantly intent on getting away.
How he was originally abandoned, no one ever discovered; but from certain scars on various parts of his body, he was thought to have escaped from the terrors of the Revolution, during which so many cruelties were perpetrated. From the testimony of the country-people who lived near the woods in which he was found, he must have passed in absolute solitude seven years out of the twelve, which was supposed to be his age when caught in the woods of Caune. When he was first taken into society he lived on acorns, potatoes, and raw chestnuts, eating husks and all. In spite of the utmost vigilance, he was frequently near escaping, and at first exhibited great unwillingness to lie in a bed. His eyes were without steadiness and expression, wandering from one object to another; and his voice was imperfect, for he could utter only a guttural and monotonous sound. He seemed to be alike indifferent to the smell of the most delicious perfumes and the most fetid exhalations; and his sense of feeling was limited to those mechanical functions occasioned by the dread of objects that might be in
But despite all these disadvantages, the young savage was by no means destitute of intelligence. During an intercourse of six weeks with society, he had learned to prepare his food with a great degree of care and attention. M. Bonaterre informs us that, during his
stay at Rodez, his employment was shelling kidney-beans, and that greater discernment could not have been shewn by a person the most accustomed to the employment. As soon as the pods were brought him, he fetched a kettle, and arranged his materials in the middle of the apartment in the most commodious manner possible, placing the kettle on his right hand, and the beans on his left. The shells he opened, one after the other, with admirable dexterity, putting the good grains into the kettle, and throwing away the bad; and if any grain happened to escape him, he took it up and placed it with the others. He formed a separate heap of the empty shells; and when his work was finished, he filled the kettle with water, and placed it on the fire, on which he threw the empty husks, to increase the heat.
In the year 1799 he was removed to Paris, and placed in the deaf and dumb institution, under the care of Madame Guerin and the superintendence of M. Itard, physician to the asylum. Beneficial results, from M. Itard's judicious treatment in exciting the dormant faculties of the strange patient, shewed themselves in three months' time. The touch by that time appeared sensible to the impression of all bodies, whether warm or cold, smooth or rough, soft or hard. The sense of smell was improved in a similar way, and the least irritation now excited sneezing. From the horror with which he was seized the first time this happened, it was presumed that it was a thing altogether new to him. The sense of taste was improved in a still greater degree. The articles of food on which he subsisted for some time after his arrival in Paris were excessively disgusting : he dragged them about his room, and ate them out of his hand, besmeared with filth. So great was the change which had taken place in this respect, that he now threw away the contents of his plate if any particle of dust or dirt had fallen upon it; and after he had broken his walnuts with his foot, he cleaned them in the most careful manner.
His new habits, and the tenderness that was shewn him, at length began to inspire the youth with a fondness for his new situation. He likewise conceived a lively attachment for his governess, which he would sometimes testify in the most affectionate manner. He could never leave her without evident uneasiness, nor meet her again without expressing his satisfaction. Once after he had slipped from her in the streets, on again seeing her he burst into tears. For several hours he appeared much dejected, and Madame Guerin having then gently reproached him, his eyes again overflowed with tears. As in all similar cases, the endeavours to excite the faculty of speech were almost futile, and never advanced him beyond the capability of uttering a few exclamations and unimportant words. Neither did his sense of hearing improve much.
Some traits this boy exhibited were amusing. When fatigued, says a contemporary account, with the length of the visits of
inquisitive strangers, he dismisses them with more frankness than politeness, presenting to each, but without an air of contempt, their cane, gloves, and hat, then pushing them gently towards the door, which he shuts after them with great violence. This kind of language Victor understands, when employed by others, with the same facility as he uses it himself; and his readiness in this respect is truly astonishing, for it requires no previous instruction to make him comprehend the meaning of signs which he has never seen before.'
CASPAR HAUSER. Of all the cases of abandoned children, none ever created a greater sensation than that of a youth who was left at the gate of the city of Nuremberg, in Germany, so recently as 1828.
On the Whit-Monday, which happened in that year on the 26th May, a citizen who lived at Unschlitt Place, near the little frequented Haller gate of Nuremberg, was loitering before his door between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, when he remarked at a little distance a young man in a peasant's dress. He was standing in the singular posture of a person endeavouring to move forward, without being fully able either to stand upright, or to govern the movement of his legs. On approaching, this singular stranger held out a letter directed to the captain of the 4th squadron of the 6th Regiment of Bavarian Light Horse. As this person lived near to the new gate, the citizen assisted the crippled youth to his house. On the door being opened, and the servant inquiring the applicant's business, it was evident that he did not comprehend the inquiry. His own language was little else than unintelligible sounds, mixed with tears and moans; but, with difficulty, the following words were made out : *Reuta wähn, wie mei votta wähn is' ("I will be a rider or trooper, as my father was'). He was taken for a kind of savage ; and as the captain was from home, he was conducted to the stable, where he stretched himself on the straw, and soon fell into a profound sleep. Upon the return of the captain, it was with great difficulty that he could be awakened. When fully conscious, he gazed intently on the officer's glittering uniform, which he seemed to regard with childish satisfaction, and instantly groaned out ' Reuta,' &c. The captain then read the letter, which was from an unknown hand, wishing that the youth should be received into the captain's troop of light horse. It was written in German ; but enclosed was a memorandum in Latin, which the writer of the letter declared he had received when the boy, then a baby, was left at his house on the 7th of October 1812. The memorandum ran thus : ‘The child is already baptised. You must give him a surname yourself. You must educate the child. His father was one of the light horse. When he is seventeen years old, send him to Nuremberg to the 6th Regiment of Light
Horse, for there his father also was. I ask for his education until he is seventeen years old. He was born on the 30th April 1812. I am a poor girl, and cannot support him. His father is dead.'
Neither of the epistle nor the enclosure could the captain make anything, and consequently handed his extraordinary visitor over to the police, which was done by about eight o'clock in the evening. When in the guard-room, in which were several inferior magistrates and police soldiers, he betrayed neither fear, confusion, nor astonishment. He continually cried, and pointed to his tottering feet; and this, joined to his childish demeanour, excited the pity of the officials. A soldier brought him a piece of meat and some beer, but he rejected them with abhorrence, partaking simply of bread and water, which he appeared to do with a relish. The usual official questions of What
your name? Whence came you ? Produce your passport?' were put to the youth in vain. The magistrates began to suspect that he was playing a part, and this suspicion was soon greatly confirmed. A bystander proposed trying if he could write ; and pen, ink, and paper were placed before him, which appeared to give him pleasure. He took the pen in his hand, by no means awkwardly, and, to the astonishment of the spectators, began to write! He slowly and legibly traced the words 'Kaspar Hauser.' All was doubt and uncertainty. It was doubtful whether he ought to be treated as an idiot or an impostor. However, for the present, he was removed to the place appropriated to rogues and vagabonds-a tower near the guard-house. During this short way he sank down, groaning at almost every step. Walking seemed to be not only painful, but a motion with which he was quite unacquainted. Soon after entering the small apartment allotted to him, he lay down on a straw-bed, and slept soundly.
A close scrutiny of this strange being's attire increased the astonishment. It consisted of a peasant's jacket over a coarse shirt, a groom's pantaloons, and a white handkerchief marked ‘K. H.' The contents of his pockets created the greatest surprise. They consisted of coloured rags, a key, a paper of gold sand, a small horn rosary, and several religious tracts.
An examination of his person presented new grounds for surprise. The soles of his feet were as soft as the palms of his hands; but were covered all over with blisters, which fully accounted for the pain which walking seemed to give him. His gait was that of a child learning to walk in leadingstrings ; indeed he could not walk at all without assistance. To account for this, his knees were attentively examined, when it was found that the joint, instead of being a protuberance when the leg was straightened, formed a sort of hole or depression ; while at the back, his hams so nearly touched the ground, that a common playing-card could scarcely be thrust between.
After a time, Caspar was no longer kept in the tower, but was admitted amongst the family of the prison-keeper, Hiltel, of whose
children he seemed very fond. About a fortnight after his arrival, he was visited by a young college professor, Daumer, who eventually, with the concurrence of the city authorities, took Caspar to his own home to educate him. The professor soon discovered that his mental powers only required attention to become cultivated. He soon was able to speak intelligibly; and the first use to which he put his new accomplishment, was to make a deposition before the burgomaster of Nuremberg: Not to cause him embarrassment, however, Mr Binder, the burgomaster, abandoned legal forms, and had Caspar to his house, so as to get him to converse freely, and without restriction, concerning his previous history. From these conversations he drew up a document, of which we give an abridgment. Caspar declared that he knew not who he was, nor where his home is. As long as he can recollect, he had constantly lived in a sort of hole, which he sometimes called a cage, where he always sat upon the ground, with his back supported in an erect posture (this was fully corroborated by the state of his knees). The only human being he had ever seen, up to the time of his arrival in Nuremberg, was the man,' as he said, ' with whom I have always been ; whose face he had never seen. He knew no difference between day and night ; but whenever he awoke from sleep, he found a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water beside him. Shortly before his removal, 'the man' placed a small table over his feet, and spread something white upon it (paper), he put a kind of stick between his fingers (proved to have been a lead pencil), and guided his hand in making black marks, which pleased him very much. The man came every day to guide his hand ; and by imitating the marks thus made, after the man was gone, Caspar learned, it would seem, to write his name. As to speaking, all he was ever taught to say was ' Reuta,' &c. Finally, the man came one day, placed his hands over Caspar's shoulders, and carried him on his back out of his prison, and made him try to walk; but it became night'-that is, he fainted with the effort; and at last he brought him to the gate of Nuremberg.
This extraordinary account increased the mystery. The story of Caspar spread not only over Germany, but throughout Europe. Many thought him an impostor. He was examined by the faculty, by law-officers, and by every competent person who imagined they could find a clue to the mystery. Meanwhile he continued under the tutorship of Professor Daumer, and made very great improvement; though his new state of existence was extremely distasteful to him, and he longed to go back to the man with whom he had always been.' He suffered from headache. The operation of his senses, from their extreme acuteness, gave him pain rather than pleasure. He soon learned to talk like a child, for his memory was very good. As an instance of it, Dr Osterhausen, an eminent physician, gave him a nosegay, naming the different flowers : several days afterwards, other flowers were brought him, and all of