Oxford or Prison, an Interesting Narrative (of sorts) written in the language and spirit of certain dearly beloved Sons of Africa.
“Gosh,” I exclaimed to my very self, upon learning of the most unjust claims made against Oxford University by one Mr Cameron, Esquire. It troubles me to tell of them. It’s all so terribly vexing. He speaks of all the great universities furnishing the languid jails throughout the land with the descendants of the Sons of Africa.
To whit, I hear thee say, “but, how can this, yet, be true?”
And, still, it is.
“What can have come to pass, that such a calamity has befallen them?”
“Draw near a stool, I bid thee. And, hear a tale of woe.”
Now, in this African Scramble, this political arena, men are wont to make such claims as do confound a body. Here tis, then together put, by Messers Cameron and Letwin, that such youngsters, latterly from the Dark Continent, play long in
all manners of opposition to the law, but only briefly upon their studies.
I pray that all are comfortable. Then, let me begin.
On a moonlit night a babe was born, a future Son of Africa, and two wise men travelled far to attend his birth. We found him, wrapped in a swaddling robe in the arms of a medical doctor. Beyond the physician there stood two doors, one marked Oxford and the other marked, Prison.
“Lo,” said we. “Wherefore hast thou marked the boy’s passage thus?”
“Not I,” replied the doctor. “The ruler of this nation has declared that all of the newborn Sons of Africa depart hence, occasionally to a great university city, but, in the main, to Prison.”
“Fie,” said we. “How can this be?”
“In the Land of the Angles,” said he, “one must as one is bidden.”
Toussaint, at once, turned pale, a condition not well suited to such a distinguished warrior.
“Gustavus, I have defeated the armies of many nations,” he said. “But, never have I been met with a dilemma as devilish as this.”
And, where I, hitherto, had been, beaten, starved, kidnapped, transported and on the poop of far too many a sloop to be counted by the French gunners marking my direction, had the like of it never seen.
“Has ever before a babe, such as this, set forth hence, neither to Oxford nor to Prison?” Toussaint asked.
The doctor looked perplexed.
“Howso?” said he. “And, wherefore asketh thou?”
The great general jettisoned an enormous quantity of maps of Saint Domingo. And I likewise, all my schemas relating to the Kingdom of Benin.
“Oh, these will never do,” he said, creasing his brow.
Together, we stared pitifully at the heap of places children, such as these, should never visit.
“Could it be fate?” said I, “that the Sons of Africa should populate jails erected by the Sons of Saxons?”
Toussaint rattled that same frail stick, with which he had, long ago, been named.
“Perhaps there is yet a third way,” he said.
Thus it tardily became apparent, to the physician and myself, the reason why such a man had become so great a military leader when we had not; clearly, there hid among us men of imagination.
“A third way,” we said. “Might this baby traverse the Land of the Angles and repose in some location that is neither in Oxford nor in prison?”
The general set down the enormous blocks of ice that Napoleon was so fond of sending him for company.
“I feel certain that all this cold is deleterious to me,” he said. “Now, consider what would happen if this boy were to join the Army.”
Our faces fell.
“The Army,” we said, as a chorus. “No such possibility exists! If the Great Bonaparte himself did so despair of Beninites in uniform, how should we address the very same issue to a prime ministerial Angle as ignorant of both that type of son and of the Arts of War, too?”
Toussaint pointed to a thing neither of us could make out.
“Lincoln couldn’t save the Union without freeing one. Bonaparte refused to be troubled by the death of one. And, Mr Cameron would have us count them. I would bid those leaders, three: Give to each child that small piece of hope, which smiles on me each day from atop the Jura Mountains,” he said. “And, he will show you the way that not one of these leaders could see.”