Tybalt Rosembraise

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Born on the island of La Désirade in 1798, of a French hebertist father fleeing the repression of the Committee of public Salute, and of a slave mother descended from the Carib Indians. Tybalt Rosembraise was an adventurer who crossed his era as dilettantist : a revolutionary in Argentina, a peasant on the Pampa, a dandy in Paris, a pirate on the Mediterranean Sea, a fisherman in Siberia, a smuggler in China, he led a life free of thought and action to disappear finally in France in 1839. A witness of his time, catalyst of uprisings, he multiplied his encounters and « identities » to the point that today it is difficult to say who this man really was.

Childhood[edit]

The only source which we have concerning Tybalt's youth is the testimony of his friend Jorge Ramos.

His parents not taking interest in his education, Tybalt would have spent his childhood between Les Galets, left the West of the island frequented by smugglers, and Baie-Mahaus in the extreme east, where he would have worked in the leper-house.

South America[edit]

At the age of 14, he understood that he would not inherit any title and it would be labor or employment which would condemn him not to have life choices and to create wealth in exchange for an awful salary. Refusing this fate, he decided to leave for South America on a merchant ship.

Maurice Magre asserts that between 1812 and 1814 Rosembraise lived among natives of Amazonia.

In Buenos Aires, he made friends with Samuel Spiro, lieutenant of the marines, that he would see die on 28 March 1814, while Rosembraise had just been captured by the enemy. A little while later he was won in a game of chance by a rich owner, but he managed to run away and join the Argentina freedom fighters.

In May 1814, the young Rosembraise took part in the Battle of Buceo where from which he would emerge wounded in his arm. Then He was taken in by Gaucho of the Argentine pampa, with whom some fought the royalist armies. Introduced as « rastreador » (specialist of the "tracking" of animals and people), he organized numerous sabotages against the Spanish colonizers. In November 1816, he participated in the battle of India Muerta again Portuguese troops. If from a military point of view it was a defeat, Tybalt Rosembraise had a significant meeting with a Portuguese deserter that he followed to Europe.[1]

Europe[edit]

Now, he was 18 years old. Leading his life as he wanted, he did not stay for a long time in Portugal where he made a long-lasting friendship with a librarian of Coimbra, Jorge Ramos whom he would find again later. He helped some Resistance fighters in Spain to fight against the Napoleonic armies, before leaving for Paris.

Of his Parisian journey we know very little, except the story of Dorothea von Biron who might have been his lover. She spoke about a man « with loose morals but had hard look » [2] who was successful with a number of women from good families. It would be issues with women which would force him to run away from France in 1819 [1] for the Maghreb.

North Africa and The Middle East[edit]

In some circumstances, Tybalt Rosembraise practised piracy with the Barbaresques. Following his refusal to murder a prisoner, he was rejected and sent to an Ottoman cargo in Syria. He ran away from the army then roamed without water or food in the desert of Syria for several days, and was finally saved by Bedouin. They presented him to « the queen of Palmyre », Lady Stanhope, with whom he had a relationship [3] until he refused to follow her into the country of the Druze, preferring to leave on the caravan roads connecting the East in Asia.

Asia[edit]

Traveling by foot and horse, he crossed Samarkand, the Kazakh steppes and then the Mongolian steppes as far as lake Baikal, where he had been told as it was he would find one of the most beautiful places of the world. Welcomed warmly by the local people and exhausted by the journey, he would become established in the region as a fisherman, and lead a simple and peaceful life for 3 years.[4]

Afterwards, he investigated the Amur River during the spring and summer of 1827, before he crossed North of Empire Qing (China) the following winter, attending a mystic school close to Taoism, but his desire for the women and his contempt for conforming saw him rejected by the community, and three months in prison.

After these months, he was contacted by the East Indian Trading Company to illegally organize and transport boxes of opium to China via Lingding.

Although he did not deliver any boxes, Tybalt Rosembraise took the money of the English, making a success of a swindle which made him famous among the storekeepers and local sailors, but hated by the English traders and Chinese administration, some wanting to get back the money and others seeing him an uncontrollable opium trafficker. Under the cover of a false identity (he was called « Baudi Grisolia ») he discreetly left Asia on a clipper.[1][4]

Coming back to Europe[edit]

Although sometimes evoked,[5] Tybalt Rosembraise's exact route from 1830 till 1837 (except places previously quoted) remains to us in fact a complete mystery.

In December 1837, he found his librarian friend Jorge Ramos with whom he studied literature, fine art and philosophy. He told him about some of his adventures which he had noted on several pads (today all missing). Jorge Ramos dedicated one book to him, called Recordações de Tybalt Rosembraise (translation: Tybalt Rosembraise's Memories); memories of their discussions and his journeys. We learn among other things, of Tybalt Rosembraise's taste for poppies, Italian wines, oriental music and love stories. He loved to describe the life like a long sequence of accidents, mishaps, chance meetings and unexpected moments, and more especially, he thought that life history is discontinuous it is made up of ruptures and limits, breaks and transformations, not always progress. We also discover his personality: discreet but sometimes provocative, seductive but often loving, close to an ideology which we can qualify as anarchist today without ever being partisan, alife never stopped being carried by a constant movement of justice and libertarian revolt.

In 1839, Tybalt Rosembraise decided to come back to Paris to find « an old friend » the name of which he did not clarify (a woman?). He refers simply to his friend « a meeting near the street of Furstenberg ».[1]

Disappearance[edit]

What excited, and still excites the imagination most about the life of Tybalt Rosembraise, is his sudden and total disappearance after his departure for Paris in 1839, while he was only 43 years old. Did he finally arrive in Paris? Did he « line up », find honest employment, and end his wandering? Did he sink into poverty or was he murdered along the way? How long did he live? Months? Or long years?

All these questions remain unresolved, because after 1839 we lose any of Tybalt Rosembraise's track.

Bibliography[edit]

First-hand testimony[edit]

  • Duchesse de Dino, Chronique de 1831 à 1862, 1909, éd. par Marie de Castellane.
  • Charles Lewis Meryon, Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as relaled by herself in conversations with her physician, comprising her opinions and anecdotes of some of the most remarquable persons of her lime, 3 volumes, Londres, H. Colburn, 1845.
  • Jorge Ramos, Recordações de Tybalt Rosembraise, Lisboa, Livraria Ferreira Editora, 1869

Works study[edit]

  • M. Magre, Les Aventuriers d’Amérique du Sud, Grasset, 1935.
  • G.Meinass, Les grands voyageurs contemporains, Hachette, 1894.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Jorge Ramos, Recordações de Tybalt Rosembraise, Lisboa, Livraria Ferreira Editora, 1869
  2. ^ Duchesse de Dino, Chronique de 1831 à 1862, 1909, éd. par Marie de Castellane.
  3. ^ Charles Lewis Meryon, Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as relaled by herself in conversations with her physician, comprising her opinions and anecdotes of some of the most remarquable persons of her lime, 3 volumes, Londres, H. Colburn, 1845.
  4. ^ a b G.Meinass, Les grands voyageurs contemporains, Hachette, 1894.
  5. ^ M. Magre, Les Aventuriers d’Amérique du Sud, Grasset, 1935.