|This story breathes of adventure, but notice how the natives are depicted as savage and that the native soldiers are highly armed. This is not a safe place to be, even if there were a Good Samaritan once at that particular place. There is only the threat of violence in this story; however, the following story, which takes place in Africa, involves hand-to-hand mortal combat. “A Visit to Empoongwa” by Mrs. Lee from Friendship’s Offering for 1833, relates the following story:
I was on a vessel fifty miles up the river Gaboon that was to take on a cargo of redwood and ebony. The first morning, I was awakened by the few guns we possessed firing, not at pirates, but in honor of “Tom Lawson,” a Negro chief. He boarded us, dressed in a long brown great coat and an enormous cockaded hat. His fat, black face was decorated by side-locks and whiskers braided to form long stiff horns tipped with beads. He paused on seeing me for I was the first white woman that had ever visited Gaboon. Recovering himself, he removed his hat and assured me that “he ate with a knife and fork, and was all the same as English.” Although the natives came in throngs to see me, we were mutually curious to know more of each other; I therefore accepted an invitation to visit the capital, Naago. At the landing place, a deputation from the town dressed in European clothing met us. Although in the wilds of Africa, with only two of my own countrymen near me, I felt as safe as if I were on the streets of London. I was obliged to pay my visit to royalty. Imbecile in mind, as well as feeble in body, “King George” retained a large share of rapacity, and I was obliged to return the compliments of his gifts three-fold. It must not be imagined that my presence created universal gladness for several slaves from the interior declared that I was an evil spirit, and death must befall those who looked upon me. On returning to the vessel, we were surprised by the appearance of canoes from the neighboring kingdom of Kaylee. These people were known to eat human flesh, but said they had only come to trade. Once on board, they attacked us; the deck was swimming in blood, the blacks and whites were all engaged together. The Kaylees were overpowered, were suffered to depart, and a close watch was kept night and day, as long as we remained on the river. (Lee 294)
This story not only places the white female in jeopardy, but also elevates her far above her accustomed station in England. Note how the natives have adopted English dress and customs, and how the author demeans them and their native king for reflecting her own shallow values. Note also how the attack of the savage Kaylees is easily defeated while the lady remains aloof.
Another revealing story in which the English female in India is given the opportunity to transcend her class is in “A Hawking Party in Hindostan” by Emma Roberts from The Amulet for 1831:
It is both curious and interesting to sojourn amid a race of people who wear the same dress, inhabit the same kind of houses, and whose furniture, ordinary weapons, food and equipages, are precisely the same as they were many hundreds of years ago. With few exceptions the people of Hindostan are unaltered, and apparently unalterable. During the cold season we were invited by a neighboring Rajah to accompany him into the field to witness the ancient and noble sport of hawking. The road we were to traverse not admitting wheel carriages, the men mounted on horses while I was provided a seat on an elephant, which is my favorite mode of conveyance. We were met by the Rajah whose party made a very imposing appearance with their white dresses, colored turbans, and cummerbunds, some being bright orange, others blue, deep crimson, and that superb dye called by distinction Indian red. The richness of their dress contrasted with the poor mud hovel existence of his subjects. The Rajah paid polite attention to me, which I did not expect because the Hindoos consider their own females an inferior race to which no sort of deference can be due. In fact he stayed by my side the whole morning taking care that I should see the sport to the best advantage. A partridge rose out of the grass, and a hawk when loosened, rose majestically in the air, pounced upon it and brought the panting creature to his master’s feet. It was usual to give the hawk the first blood of its first victim, but as Hindoos are forbidden to take the life of any animal, it became necessary to seek for an executioner. A Moosaumaun, a table servant, offered himself in the emergency, and cut the bird’s throat with a borrowed sword. We caught two more partridges, but were disappointed in not meeting any wild geese or herons, which, soaring to great heights in the air, afford the best sport. (Roberts 281)