THE AZTECS - December 1853


PROFESSOR ANDERSON, the Wizard of the North, who recently arrived in England with these strange specimens of humanity, writes to the New York Mirror as follows :-" The Aztec Lilliputians were taken to the House of Lords. They were accompanied by Mr. Morris and myself as their guardians, and by Mr. Wilton, the renowned traveller, R. S. Francis, Esq., George Payne, Esq.,&c. As their carriage rolled along the street, crowds thronged around it. A thousand eyes were eager to obtain a single glance of the two poor children brought from the unknown Iximayas, to become, as they have become, the central marvel, the one great object of attraction, to the fashionable world of the leviathan "city of London The carriage entered the portal through which Her Majesty passes. It did not 'set down its occupants .before the door, but, lolling through the great archway of the greatest tower, drove up to the 'Lords' Entrance.' The profane eyes of the multitude could not penetrate so far. The mob's noisy shouts of curiosity were heard without, as the objects of the excitement were quietly escorted into the Great Hall of that magnificent pile of architecture, which has been so aptly characterized as 'a dream in stone.' It was more interesting than words can possibly describe to watch the progress of the two wandering Lilliputians, as they passed through rooms glittering with gold, and along marble passages, athwart which the stained windows cast 'a dim of religious light.' At one moment their eyes were attracted by the tessellated pavement, and their feet touched the ground lightly, as if fearful of that on which they trod. The next instant their attention was arrested by the resplendency of the ceiling of fold and azure, and their uplifted bands told the delighted astonishment which their tongues could not express. Not that they were at all timid, nor that they seemed to think the place a whit too grand for them. Perfectly at home in a few minutes, they looked upon the statues around them as if they felt themselves fully equal to all the kings, earls, knights, and nobles whose effigies they saw. Little cared they for the greatness of a lord, much less for the dignity of a member of Parliament. No representative of the people ever took his seat with more nonchalance than they; and never before were red cushions and Morocco scats treated with less respect. As a matter of course there were many privileged spectators. The Marquis of Aberdeen was the first among the nobles to make inquiries of Prof. Anderson concerning his marvelous protégés. After him came other lords and ladies eager to satisfy their curiosity, and to obtain, if possible, a piece of paper with a few pencil scratches made on it by one of the Aztecs.  By and by the announcement was made that the King and Queen of Hanover were coming, and all present took their seats respectfully in the hall through which royalty passes to the throne. Maximo, the Aztec youth, leaped upon my knee; and Bartola, the girl, was under the care of Mr. Morris There was a cry of  'Hush !' ' Silence !' and all spectators stood up, with heads uncovered, as the King and Queen entered the room. I need scarcely mention that the King of Hanover is sightless. Painful, very painful was it to see a man so handsome and so noble in bearing bereft of vision, and unable to appreciate the gorgeousness around them. He, his Queen, and their attendants passed on. The building in which they were was the subject of their talk; and for a few moments the Aztecs remained unnoticed. Presently one of the Ladies belonging to the royal party chanced to see them. Instantaneously she run, actually ran, though I believe her to have been a marchioness, to tell the Queen that there were other sights for her to see in the place besides the sculptured walls and golden ceiling. The royal party approached, Her Majesty leaning on the ari of Lord Elphinstone. ' Who are those interesting creatures? where, oh, where do they come from?' was her immediate question. The poor King, unable to see them, took the boy in his aims, passed his hand over the face of the little Aztec, and felt, with carefulness, the symmetry of the limbs, and the development of the features!

Meanwhile, the daring little fellow made free to play with the face of royalty, and endeavored, in his matchless effrontery, to pull the King's nose. Hard work, indeed, I had to answer the thousand and one interrogatories which king and courtier put to me; and well pleased enough were all, when, thanking the professor for his courteousness, they once again looked at the Aztecs, and, seemingly not without reluctance, passed on their way. The Lilliputians were now taken into the House of Lords, and the irreverence which bad marked the former part of their visit was still a characteristic It was rare fun to see Maximo seat himself on the woolsack, and look as important as any Lord Chancellor who ever wore a wig; and, apropos of wigs, I must not omit a little incident which yielded a very large amount of fun Among the many by whom the Aztecs were noticed, was one of the Queen's counsel, attired in his wig and gown, and having a lady on each arm. The lawyer was curious about Maximo, and Maximo was curious about the lawyer. The powdered wig of the learned man was mystery itself to the little Aztec; and not a small amount of laughter was elicited by Maximo running his fingers through the lawyer's head-gear, and very gravely playing with his pigtails. But the scene in the House of Lords was the richest of the whole. The throne, Prince Albert's chair, the Queen's footstool, the woolsack, the bishops' benches, and the seat where Lord Brougham sits,' were all the same to Maximo and Bartola. Now they were seated in Lord Derby's place, and the next moment in that of Lord Aberdeen. At one instant they belonged to 'Her Majesty's Government,' and the next to 'Her Majesty's Opposition.' It was endeavored to explain to them the sort of gentlemen who occupy the benches of the bishops: and Maximo, understanding, thought fit to kneel upon the said benches, and say his prayers afterwards; being told to be very respectful, he thumped as hard as he could the red Morocco on which the 'Archbishop of Canterbury takes his place. The glitter of Her Majesty's chair and the gorgeousness of the throne was not to be resisted. in vain policemen and officials kept guard; Maximo stole behind them, hesitating for one moment, and then boldly jumped up on the embroidered cushion whence he was removed as quickly. His grotesque attitude, his dauntless daring, and his reckless" adventurousness will not soon be forgotten by those who saw him in England's House of Lords, It was a great day for ourselves, and, jesting apart, it was a great day for the Aztecs. There was the notice they had gained from the royalty, and, in addition to that, there was the strange fact that one of the descendants of Montezuma had dared to approach the throne of England. Amidst all the laughter which the antics of the children created, one could not help indulging in a few serious thoughts; the chief of which were, that Providence had deigned to grant the favour, that before the Aztec race had wholly passed away, two of them should visit England to be the witness of palatial splendor as great, perhaps, as that which their forefathers-had looked upon; and that the splendor of the present is that of a Christian country, while that of Paganism has dwindled into rums, into cities forgotten and decaying, and into human beings scarcely resembling men, themselves degenerated, their race almost extinct."

 

The Courier - Friday 16 December 1853
 


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