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The Life of Sir Richard Burton

277 pages
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Project Gutenberg's The Life of Sir Richard Burton, by Thomas Wright
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: The Life of Sir Richard Burton
Author: Thomas Wright
Release Date: February 19, 2010 [EBook #4315]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
Produced by JC Byers, Laura Shaffer, and David Widger
By Thomas Wright
Author of "The Life of Edward Fitzgerald," etc.
Two Volumes in One
This Work is Dedicated to Sir Richard Burton's Kinsman And Friend, Major St. George Richard Burton, The Black Watch.
Chapter I. 19th March 1821-October 1840
1. Torquay and Elstree.
2. Tours and Elstree.
3. Death of Richard Baker, 16th September 1824.
4. At School, Richmond, 1829.
5. The Continent Again.
Chapter II. October 1840-April 1842, Oxford
6. Trinity College, October 1840.
7. Expelled, April 1842.
Chapter III. April 1842-20th February 1847, Sind
8. To Bombay, 18th June 1842.
9. Baroda. The Bubu.
10. Karachi. Love of Disguise.
11. A Dangerous Mission, 1845.
12. The Persian Beauty.
13. A Simian Dictionary.
14. Duality.
Chapter IV. 20th February 1847-1849. Under the Spell of Camoens
15. Goa and Camoens.
16. "Would you a Sufi be?"
17. Letter to Sarah Burton, 14th Nov. 1848.
18. Allahdad.
Chapter V. 1849 to 3rd April, 1853, Chiefly Boulogne
19. A Motto from Ariosto.
20. Isabel Arundell & "My Dear Louisa." 1851.
21. Forster FitzGerald Arbuthnot 1853.
Chapter VI. 3rd April 1853 to 29th October 1854, Pilgrimage to Mecca
22. The Man Wants to Wander.
23. Haji Wali, 1853.
24. The Pilgrim Ship, 6th July 1853.
25. Medina.
26. Mecca.
27. Burton's Delight in Shocking.
28. El Islam.
Chapter VII. 29th October 1854—9th February, 1855 To Harar
Bibliography: 13. Pilgrimage to Al-Madimah and Meccah. 3 vols. 1855-1856.
29. At Aden. The Arabian Nights. Oct. 1854.
30. From Zeila to Harar, 27th November 1854 to 2nd January 1855.
31. At Harar.
32. From Harar to Berbera. 13th Jan. 1855-5th Feb. 1855.
33. The Fight at Berbera, 22nd April, 1855.
Chapter VIII. 9th February 1855-October 1856, The Crimea
34. The Crimea.
35. Engaged to Isabel Arundell, August 1856.
Chapter IX. December 1856-21st May 1859, The Unveiling of Isis
36. To Fuga. January to March 1857.
37. Zanzibar to Tanganyika, 26th June 1857 to 26th May 1858.
38. The Return Journey, 26th May 1858 to 13th February 1859.
Chapter X. 22nd January 1861-to August 1861, Mormons and Marriage
39. We rushed into each other's arms. 22nd May, 1860.
40. Brigham Young. April 1860 to November 1860.
41. Marriage. 22nd January 1861.
42. At Lord Houghton's.
Chapter XI. August 1861-November 1863, Fernando Po
43. African Gold.
44. Anecdotes.
45. Fans and Gorillas.
46. The Anthropological Society, 6th Jan. 1863.
Chapter XII. 29th November 1863 to 15th September 1865, Gelele
47. Whydah and its Deity. 29th November 1863.
48. The Amazons.
49. "The Customs."
50. Death of Speke, 15th September 1864.
Chapter XIII. September 1865-October 1869 Santos, Burton's Second Consulate
51. To Santos.
52. Aubertin. Death of Steinhauser, 27th July 1866.
53. The Facetious Cannibals.
54. Down the Sao Francisco.
The next event was a canoe journey which Burton made alone down the river Sao Francisco from its source to the falls
55. In Paraguay. August 15th to September 15th 1868. April 4th to April 18th 1869.
Chapter XIV. October 1869-16th August 1871, "Emperor and Empress of Damascus."
56. Archbishop Manning and the Odd Fish.
57. 3rd Consulate, Damascus.
58. Jane Digby el Mezrab.
59. To Tadmor.
60. Palmer and Drake. 11th July 1870.
61. Khamoor.
62. The Shazlis.
63. The Recall. 16th August 1871.
Chapter XV. 16th August 1871-4th June 1872, "The Blackness of Darkness"
64. With Sir H. Stisted at Norwood. August 1871.
65. Reduced to £15.
66. An Orgie at Lady Alford's. 2nd November 1871.
67. The Tichborne Trial.
68. Khamoor at the Theatre.
Chapter XVI. 4th June 1872-24th October 1872, In Iceland
69. In Edinburgh Again, 4th June 1872.
70. Wardour Castle, 5th July 1872.
71. St. George and Frederick Burton.
72. At the Athenaeum.
73. Jane Digby Again.
74. His Book on Zanzibar.
Chapter XVII. 24th October 1872-12th May 1875, Trieste
75. Burton at Trieste, 24th October 1872.
76. At the Vienna Exhibition, 1873.
77. A Visit from Drake, June 1873.
78. Khamoor returns to Syria, 4th December 1874.
Chapter XVIII. 12th May 1875-18th June 1876, The Trip to India
79. Visit to England, 12th May 1875.
80. Tonic Bitters.
81. A Trip to India, December 1875, 18th June 1876.
82. Arbuthnot Again. Rehatsek.
83. In Sind.
84. Golconda.
Chapter XIX. 18th June 1876-31st March 1877, Colonel Gordon
85. Ariosto.
86. Death of Rashid Pasha, 24th June 1876.
87. Colonel Gordon 1877.
88. Jane Digby the Second.
89. The Old Baronetcy. 18th January 1877.
Chapter XX. 31st March 1877 to 27th December 1879, Midian
90. "The New Joseph." 31st March 1877-21st April 1877. 19th October 1877-20th April 1878.
Burton now felt that the time was ripe to broach his views concerning the golden Chersonese to the Khedive (Ismail), and
91. More Advice to "Lazybones." 8th May 1877.
92. Haji Wali Again.
93. Graffiti.
94. Letter to Sir Henry Gordon, 4th July 1878.
95. Death of Maria Stisted, 12th November 1878.
96. Burton's "Six Senses."
97. Still thinking of Midian. April-December 1879.
Chapter XXI. 27th December 1879-August 1881, Camoens
98. The Lusiads.
99. At Ober Ammergau, August 1880.
100. Mrs. Burton's Advice to Novelists. 4th September 1880.
101. The Kasidah, 1880.
102. Lisa.
Chapter XXII. August 1881-May 1882, John Payne
103. With Cameron at Venice, August 1881.
104. John Payne, November 1881.
105. To the Gold Coast, 25th November 1881-20th May 1882.
Chapter XXIII. 20th May 1882-July 1883, The Meeting of Burton and Payne
106. Mrs. Grundy begins to roar. May 1882.
107. The Search for Palmer, October 1882.
Chapter XXIV. July 1883-November 1883, The Palazzone
108. Anecdotes of Burton.
109. Burton and Mrs. Disraeli.
110. "I am an Old English Catholic."
111. Burton begins his Translation, April 1884.
112. The Battle over the Nights.
113. Completion of Mr. Payne's Translation.
Chapter XXV. 1883 to May 1885, The Kama Shastra Society
114. The Azure Apollo.
115. The Kama Sutra.
Chapter XXVI. The Ananga Ranga or Lila Shastra
116. The Ananga Ranga. [403]
117. The Beharistan, 1887.
118. The Gulistan, 1888.
119. The Nigaristan.
120. Letters to Payne, 19th January 1884.
121. At Sauerbrunn, 12th August 1884.
122. Burton's Circulars, September 1884.
123. The Book of the Sword.
124. The Lyrics of Camoens, 1884.
125. More Letters to Payne, 1st October 1884.
126. Death of Gordon, January 1885.
127. W. F. Kirby, [418] 25th March 1885.
Chapter XXVII. May 1885-5th Feb. 1886, A Glance through "The Arabian Nights"
128. Slaving at the Athenaeum, May 1885.
129. A Visit to Mr. Arbuthnot's.
130. Dr. Steingass.
131. Anecdotes.
132. The Pentameron. Burton and Gladstone.
133. A Brief Glance through the Nights.
Chapter XXVIII. The Two Translations Compared
134. The Blacksmith Who, etc.
135. Abu al-Hasan.
136. The Summing Up.
Chapter XXIX. Burton's Notes
137. Burton's Notes.
138. The Terminal Essay.
139. Final Summing up.
140. Mr. Swinburne on Burton.
Chapter XXX. 21st November 1885-5th June 1886 K. C. M. G.
141. In Morocco, 21st November 1885.
142. K.C.M.G., 5th February 1886.
143. Burton at 65.
144. More Anecdotes.
Chapter XXXI. Burton's Religion
145. Burton's Religion.
146. Burton as a Writer.
Chapter XXXII. 5th June 1886-15th April 1888, Burton and Social Questions: Anecdotes
147. The Population Question.
148. New Projects.
149. Mr. A. G. Ellis and Professor Blumhardt. 5th June 1886-5th April 1887.
150. Dr. Leslie and Dr. Baker: Anecdotes. April 1887.
151. Three Months at Abbazia. 1st Dec. 1887-5th March 1888.
Chapter XXXIII. 19th March 1888-15th October 1888, The Last Visit to England "The Supplemental Nights"
152. Meeting with Mr. Swinburne and others, 18th July 1888-15th October 1888.
153. H. W. Ashbee.
154. A Bacon Causerie.
155. The Gypsy, August 1888.
156. The Supplemental Nights. 1st December 1886-1st August 1888.
157. Comparison.
Chapter XXXIV. "The Scented Garden"
158. Nafzawi.
159. Origin of The Scented Garden.
160. Contents of The Scented Garden.
161. Sir Richard Burton's Translation.
Chapter XXXV. 15th October 1888 to 21st July 1890. Working at the "Catullus" and "The Scented Garden"
162. Switzerland 15th October 1888.
163. Mr. Letchford, August and September 1889.
164. To Dr. Tuckey.
165. To Mr. Kirby 15th May 1889.
166. Tunis and Algiers, November 1889 to March 1890.
Chapter XXXVI. "The Priapeia"
168. The Priapeia.
169. Catullus and the Last Trip, July—September 1890.
170. At Maloja, July 1890.
171. The Golden Ass.
Chapter XXXVII. Death of Sir Richard Burton
173. Death. 20th October 1890.
Chapter XXXVIII. 20th October 1890-December 1890, The Fate of "The Scented Garden"
173. The Fate of The Scented Garden.
174. Discrepancies in Lady Burton's Story.
175. The Fate of the Catullus.
176. Lisa Departs, November 1890.
Chapter XXXIX. January 1891 to July 1891, Lady Burton in England
Bibliography (Posthumous works):
177. Lady Burton in England.
178. The Funeral at Mortlake, 15th June 1891.
179. The Scented Garden Storm, June 1891.
Chapter XL. July 1891-December 1893, O Tomb, O Tomb!
180. A Letter to Miss Stisted.
181. The writing of the Life August 1892-March 1893.
182. The Library Edition of The Nights 1894.
Chapter XLI. Death of Lady Burton
183. Lady Burton at Eastbourne.
184. Death of Lady Burton, 22nd Mar. 1896.
185. Miss Stisted's "True Life."
186. Mr. Wilkins's Work, 1897.
187. Burton's Friends.
Verses on the Death of Richard Burton [703] By Algernon Charles Swinburne
Fifteen years have elapsed since the death of Sir Richard Burton and twelve since the appearance of the biography of Lady Burton. A deeplypathetic interest attaches itself to that book. LadyBurton was
stricken down with an incurable disease. Death with its icy breath hung over her as her pen flew along the paper, and the questions constantly on her lips were "Shall I live to complete my task? Shall I live to tell the world how great and noble a man my husband was, and to refute the calumnies that his enemies have so industriously circulated?" She did complete it in a sense, for the work duly appeared; but no one recognised more clearly than herself its numerous shortcomings. Indeed, it is little better than a huge scrap-book filled with newspaper cuttings and citations from Sir Richard's and other books, hurriedly selected and even more hurriedly pieced together. It gives the impressions of Lady Burton alone, for those of Sir Richard's friends are ignored—so we see Burton from only one point of view. Amazing to say, it does not contain a single original anecdote1—though perhaps, more amusing anecdotes could be told of Burton than of any other modern Englishman. It will be my duty to rectify Lady Burton's mistakes and mis-statements and to fill up the vast hiatuses that she has left. Although it will be necessary to subject her to criticism, I shall endeavour at the same time to keep constantly in mind the queenliness and beauty of her character, her almost unexampled devotion to her husband, and her anxiety that everyone should think well of him. Her faults were all of the head. Of the heart she had absolutely none.
As the Richard Burton whom I have to pourtray differs considerably from Lady Burton's "Earthly God,"2I have been very careful to give chapter and verse for all my statements. The work has been written on the same lines as my Life of Edward FitzGerald; that is to say, without any aim except to arrive at the precise truth. But although I have regarded it as no concern of mine whether any particular fact tells for or against Sir Richard Burton, I do think that when the reader rises from the last page he will feel that he has been in the company not only of one of the greatest, noblest and most fearless of Englishmen, but also of one who, without making much profession of doing so, really loved his fellow-men, and who, despite his inability to put himself in line with religionists, fought steadily on the side of righteousness. We are aware that there are in his books a few observations which call for vehement and unqualified denunciation; but against them must be placed the fundamental goodness of the man, to which all who knew him intimately have testified. In not a few respects Sir Richard Burton's character resembled Edward FitzGerald's. Burton, indeed, hailed the adapter of Omar Khayyam as a "fellow Sufi."
Lady Burton, too, comes extremely well out of the fire of criticism. The reader may object to her religious views, he may smile at her weaknesses, he may lament her indiscretions, but he will recognise that at bottom she was a God-fearing, noble-minded woman; and he will, we think, find himself really in love with her almost before knowing it.
The amount of absolutely new information in this work is very large. Thus we are telling for the first time the history of Burton's friendships with Mr. F. F. Arbuthnot, Mr. John Payne, and others; and we are giving for the first time, too, a complete and accurate history of the translation of The Arabian Nights, The Scented Garden, and other works. Hundreds of new facts are recorded respecting these and other absorbing topics, while the citations from the unpublished letters of Burton and Lady Burton will, we are sure, receive a welcome. We are able to give about fifty entirely new anecdotes—many of them extremely piquant and amusing. We also tell the touching story of Burton's brother Edward. In our accounts of Burton's travels will be found a number of interesting facts and some anecdotes not given in Burton's works.
The new material has been derived from many sources—but from
ten in particular.
(1) From two hundred unpublished letters of Sir Richard Burton and Lady Burton.
(2) From interviews with Mrs. E. J. Burton3Mr. F. Burton and (Burton's cousins), Mr. John Payne, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mr. Watts-Dunton, Mr. W. F. Kirby, Mr. A. G. Ellis, Dr. Codrington, Professor James F. Blumhardt, Mr. Henry R. Tedder (librarian and secretary of The Athenaeum, Burton's club), Mrs. Baddeley (mother of Burton's friend, St. Clair Baddeley), Madame Nicastro (sister of the late Mr. Albert Letchford, illustrator of The Arabian Nights), Dr. Grenfell Baker (Burton's medical attendant during the last three years of his life), and many other ladies and gentlemen.
(3) From letters received from Major St. George Burton (to whom I have the pleasure of dedicating this work), Lady Bancroft, Mr. D. MacRitchie, Mr. E. S. Mostyn Pryce (representative of Miss Stisted), Gunley Hall, Staffordshire, M. Charles Carrington, of Paris, who sent me various notes, including an account of Burton's unfinished translation of Apuleius's Golden Ass, the MS. of which is in his possession, the Very Rev. J. P. Canon McCarthy, of Ilkeston, for particulars of "The Shrine of our Lady of Dale," Mr. Segrave (son of Burton's "dear Louisa"), Mrs. Agg (Burton's cousin), and Mr. P. P. Cautley (Burton's colleague at Trieste). Nor must I omit reference to a kind letter received from Mrs. Van Zeller, Lady Burton's only surviving sister.4
(4) From the Burton collections in the Free Libraries of Camberwell and Kensington.
(5) From unpublished manuscripts written by Burton's friends.
(6) From the church registers of Elstree. By examination of these and other documents I have been able to correct many mistakes.
(7) From the manuscripts of F. F. Arbuthnot and the Oriental scholar, Edward Rehatsek. These are now in the possession of the Royal Asiatic Society.
(8) From Mr. Arbuthnot's typewritten and unpublished Life of Balzac now in my possession. This contains many notes throwing light on the Burton and Arbuthnot friendship.
(9) From the Genealogical Table of the Burtons of Shap, very kindly sent me by Mr. E. S. Mostyn Pryce.
(10) From various persons interviewed during many journeys. One of these journeys (June 1905) took me, of course, to the Tomb of Mortlake, and I was gratified to find that, owing to the watchfulness of the Arundell family, it is kept in perfect repair.5
Let me first speak of the unpublished letters. These were lent me by Mr. John Payne (40 letters), Mr. W. F. Kirby (50 letters), Major St. George Burton, Mrs. E. J. Burton, Mrs. Agg, Mr. Mostyn Pryce, Dr. Tuckey, Mr. D. MacRitchie, and Mr. A. G. Ellis. Many of the letters reveal Burton in quite a new light. His patriotism and his courage were known of all men, but the womanly tenderness of his nature and his intense love for his friends will come to many as a surprise. His distress, for example, on hearing of the death of Drake,6 is particularly affecting.
Of the friends of Sir Richard Burton who have been interviewed I must mention first of all Mr. John Payne. But for Mr. Payne's generous assistance, this work I must frankly admit, could not have been written. He, and he alone, held the keys to whole chambers of mystery. Mr. Payne was at first extremely reluctant to give me the material required. Indeed, in his first letter of reply to my request for