List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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Prince were slain, and Smith himself was left for dead on the field.

On this bloody field over thirty thousand lay headless, armless,
legless, all cut and mangled, who gave knowledge to the world how
dear the Turk paid for his conquest of Transylvania and Wallachia--a
conquest that might have been averted if the three Christian armies
had been joined against the "cruel devouring Turk."  Among the slain
were many Englishmen, adventurers like the valiant Captain whom Smith
names, men who "left there their bodies in testimony of their minds."
And there, "Smith among the slaughtered dead bodies, and many a
gasping soule with toils and wounds lay groaning among the rest, till
being found by the Pillagers he was able to live, and perceiving by
his armor and habit, his ransome might be better than his death, they
led him prisoner with many others."  The captives were taken to
Axopolis and all sold as slaves.  Smith was bought by Bashaw Bogall,
who forwarded him by way of Adrianople to Constantinople, to be a
slave to his mistress.  So chained by the necks in gangs of twenty
they marched to the city of Constantine, where Smith was delivered
over to the mistress of the Bashaw, the young Charatza Tragabigzanda.



Our hero never stirs without encountering a romantic adventure.
Noble ladies nearly always take pity on good-looking captains, and
Smith was far from ill-favored.  The charming Charatza delighted to
talk with her slave, for she could speak Italian, and would feign
herself too sick to go to the bath, or to accompany the other women
when they went to weep over the graves, as their custom is once a
week, in order to stay at home to hear from Smith how it was that
Bogall took him prisoner, as the Bashaw had written her, and whether
Smith was a Bohemian lord conquered by the Bashaw's own hand, whose
ransom could adorn her with the glory of her lover's conquests.
Great must have been her disgust with Bogall when she heard that he
had not captured this handsome prisoner, but had bought him in the
slave-market at Axopolis.  Her compassion for her slave increased,
and the hero thought he saw in her eyes a tender interest.  But she
had no use for such a slave, and fearing her mother would sell him,
she sent him to her brother, the Tymor Bashaw of Nalbrits in the
country of Cambria, a province of Tartaria (wherever that may be).
If all had gone on as Smith believed the kind lady intended, he might
have been a great Bashaw and a mighty man in the Ottoman Empire, and
we might never have heard of Pocahontas.  In sending him to her
brother, it was her intention, for she told him so, that he should
only sojourn in Nalbrits long enough to learn the language, and what
it was to be a Turk, till time made her master of herself.  Smith
himself does not dissent from this plan to metamorphose him into a
Turk and the husband of the beautiful Charatza Tragabigzanda.  He had
no doubt that he was commended to the kindest treatment by her
brother; but Tymor "diverted all this to the worst of cruelty."
Within an hour of his arrival, he was stripped naked, his head and
face shaved as smooth as his hand, a ring of iron, with a long stake
bowed like a sickle, riveted to his neck, and he was scantily clad in
goat's skin.  There were many other slaves, but Smith being the last,
was treated like a dog, and made the slave of slaves.

The geographer is not able to follow Captain Smith to Nalbrits.
Perhaps Smith himself would have been puzzled to make a map of his
own career after he left Varna and passed the Black Sea and came
through the straits of Niger into the Sea Disbacca, by some called
the Lake Moetis, and then sailed some days up the River Bruapo to
Cambria, and two days more to Nalbrits, where the Tyrnor resided.

Smith wrote his travels in London nearly thirty years after, and it
is difficult to say how much is the result of his own observation and
how much he appropriated from preceding romances.  The Cambrians may
have been the Cossacks, but his description of their habits and also
those of the "Crym-Tartars" belongs to the marvels of Mandeville and
other wide-eyed travelers.  Smith fared very badly with the Tymor.
The Tymor and his friends ate pillaw; they esteemed "samboyses" and
"musselbits" great dainties," and yet," exclaims Smith, "but round
pies, full of all sorts of flesh they can get, chopped with variety
of herbs."  Their best drink was "coffa" and sherbet, which is only
honey and water.  The common victual of the others was the entrails
of horses and "ulgries" (goats?) cut up and boiled in a caldron with
"cuskus," a preparation made from grain.  This was served in great
bowls set in the ground, and when the other prisoners had raked it
thoroughly with their foul fists the remainder was given to the
Christians.  The same dish of entrails used to be served not many
years ago in Upper Egypt as a royal dish to entertain a distinguished

It might entertain but it would too long detain us to repeat Smith's
information, probably all secondhand, about this barbarous region.
We must confine ourselves to the fortunes of our hero.  All his hope
of deliverance from thraldom was in the love of Tragabigzanda, whom
he firmly believed was ignorant of his bad usage.  But she made no
sign.  Providence at length opened a way for his escape.  He was
employed in thrashing in a field more than a league from the Tymor's
home.  The Bashaw used to come to visit his slave there, and beat,
spurn, and revile him.  One day Smith, unable to control himself
under these insults, rushed upon the Tymor, and beat out his brains
with a thrashing bat--"for they had no flails," he explains--put on
the dead man's clothes, hid the body in the straw, filled a knapsack
with corn, mounted his horse and rode away into the unknown desert,
where he wandered many days before he found a way out.  If we may
believe Smith this wilderness was more civilized in one respect than
some parts of our own land, for on all the crossings of the roads
were guide-boards.  After traveling sixteen days on the road that
leads to Muscova, Smith reached a Muscovite garrison on the River
Don.  The governor knocked off the iron from his neck and used him so
kindly that he thought himself now risen from the dead.  With his
usual good fortune there was a lady to take interest in him--"the
good Lady Callamata largely supplied all his wants."

After Smith had his purse filled by Sigismund he made a thorough tour
of Europe, and passed into Spain, where being satisfied, as he says,
with Europe and Asia, and understanding that there were wars in
Barbary, this restless adventurer passed on into Morocco with several
comrades on a French man-of-war.  His observations on and tales about
North Africa are so evidently taken from the books of other travelers
that they add little to our knowledge of his career.  For some reason
he found no fighting going on worth his while.  But good fortune
attended his return.  He sailed in a man-of-war with Captain Merham.
They made a few unimportant captures, and at length fell in with two
Spanish men-of-war, which gave Smith the sort of entertainment he
most coveted.  A sort of running fight, sometimes at close quarters,
and with many boardings and repulses, lasted for a couple of days and
nights, when having battered each other thoroughly and lost many men,
the pirates of both nations separated and went cruising, no doubt,
for more profitable game.  Our wanderer returned to his native land,
seasoned and disciplined for the part he was to play in the New
World.  As Smith had traveled all over Europe and sojourned in
Morocco, besides sailing the high seas, since he visited Prince
Sigismund in December, 1603, it was probably in the year 1605 that he
reached England.  He had arrived at the manly age of twenty-six
years, and was ready to play a man's part in the wonderful drama of
discovery and adventure upon which the Britons were then engaged.



John Smith has not chosen to tell us anything of his life during the
interim--perhaps not more than a year and a half--between his return
from Morocco and his setting sail for Virginia.  Nor do his
contemporaries throw any light upon this period of his life.

One would like to know whether he went down to Willoughby and had a
reckoning with his guardians; whether he found any relations or
friends of his boyhood; whether any portion of his estate remained of
that "competent means" which he says he inherited, but which does not
seem to have been available in his career.  From the time when he set
out for France in his fifteenth year, with the exception of a short
sojourn in Willoughby seven or eight years after, he lived by his
wits and by the strong hand.  His purse was now and then replenished
by a lucky windfall, which enabled him to extend his travels and seek
more adventures.  This is the impression that his own story makes
upon the reader in a narrative that is characterized by the
boastfulness and exaggeration of the times, and not fuller of the
marvelous than most others of that period.

The London to which Smith returned was the London of Shakespeare.  We
should be thankful for one glimpse of him in this interesting town.
Did he frequent the theatre?  Did he perhaps see Shakespeare himself
at the Globe?  Did he loaf in the coffee-houses, and spin the fine
thread of his adventures to the idlers and gallants who resorted to
them?  If he dropped in at any theatre of an afternoon he was quite
likely to hear some allusion to Virginia, for the plays of the hour
were full of chaff, not always of the choicest, about the attractions
of the Virgin-land, whose gold was as plentiful as copper in England;
where the prisoners were fettered in gold, and the dripping-pans were
made of it; and where--an unheard-of thing--you might become an
alderman without having been a scavenger.

Was Smith an indulger in that new medicine for all ills, tobacco?
Alas! we know nothing of his habits or his company.  He was a man of
piety according to his lights, and it is probable that he may have

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