Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Captain Charles Tristram Speedy was actually a well-known explorer, adventurer and army officer. A big fellow, 6 foot 6 inches tall, red-haired and 'built like Hercules.'
Before they married, Captain Speedy had played an important part in the British government's expedition to Abyssinia of 1868. This expedition was sent to rescue the British Consul who had been imprisoned by the Abyssinian Emperor Theodorus. The Emperor considered himself insulted because a letter he sent to Queen Victoria had not been answered.
Captain Speedy never wrote anything about Abyssinia, although he gave a speech to a girls' school in London which was written up by one of the girls present.
"A certain Captain Speedy has just returned from Abyssinia and gave us an amusing talk about it. He won our gratitude when he ended by saying, 'I understand that you girls have to write an account of my talk to you. Well, the very word Abyssinia means confusion, because the races are confused, the religion is confused, the mountains and valleys are confused and I know that I am confused in addressing so many girls. So the more confused your accounts are, the better they will represent the country and the lecture."
He was also a bit of a poet and wrote some lines for his intended, Cornelia, entitled, 'The Inventory of a Captain's Room':
'A large battered sofa, four feet at the head,
By day made a couch, by night is a bed,
A mould to cast bullets, a couple of flutes,
The bowl of a pipe and an old pair of boots.
Three swords and one scabbard, a box of cigars,
Some Lundy Foote's snuff and Brown Windsor in bars,
A letter from home and a library book,
An old hat and a powder-horn hung on a hook.
A fine cambric glove, a lock of dark hair,
Both highly prized gifts of some lady fair.'