A Camel's Sad Tale

Camel Conveying a Bride to Her Husband by Captain Lyon

From Sophy Bagot's Journal, published in Links with the Past (1901)

1829.—Captain (George Francis) Lyon, on his return from his African travels, obtained a white dromedary of extraordinary beauty, and from its colour, which is very uncommon, it was very valuable. He was also very spirited, but Captain Lyon treated him kindly and judiciously, and frequently he said he was indebted for his life to that animal's speed and exertions; and his great wish was to present it to the King on his arrival in England. This was done, and the dromedary, in the finest possible order, was placed in the Royal Mews, exact orders having been also transmitted as to how it ought to be treated. Some time afterwards, Captain Lyon went with a party to see his old friend, and was told by the keeper it had become very fierce. Captain L went up to the noble animal, who was holding its head very high, as they do when displeased, but he instantly recognised his master, and without the slightest opposition suffered him to mount. Captain Lyon soon discovered his favourite was nearly starved, and remonstrated strongly and it may be supposed angrily. The next morning he received a note requesting him to remove the dromedary, as his Majesty could not afford to keep it. This order was promptly obeyed, and not without indignation, and the poor animal under kind treatment soon regained its flesh and its temper. The fame of his beauty spread, and the Master of Exeter Change, having seen and greatly admired it, said to Captain Lyon, " You are going abroad, and cannot want this creature, and I will gladly give you 500 pounds for it." " No," said Lyon, " the King cannot afford to keep it; of course, no one else can." After putting his arms round the dromedary's neck and kissing it, he shot it to the heart. It may now be seen stuffed in the British Museum.

You can read more about the interesting life and travels of Captain Lyon here.