Paul Boyton

 (often misspelled Boynton) (b. June 29, 1848 in Ratthangan, Kildare County, Ireland — April 19, 1924), known as the Fearless Frogman, was a showman and adventurer some credit as having spurred worldwide interest in water sports as a hobby, particularly open-water swimming. Boyton, whose birthplace is variously listed as Dublin or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is best known for his water stunts that captivated the world, including crossing the English Channel in a novel rubber suit that functioned similarly to a kayak.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Queen Victoria and The Royal Yacht.

The letter written home by Paul about this date: 

Paul's descriptions:   
” The Yacht I boarded seemed as big as a man-o-war.  A marine stopped me on the gang plank with a question, “whom do you wish to see?”  “Why the captain of course.
The sentry called to a petty officer, who escorted me to the captain, he then led me to a gorgeously furnished cabin. When I introduced myself, the weather beaten tar grasped me warmly by the hand and invited me to be seated and accept a refreshment. 
 While discussing the plans, we also talked over my exhibition before the Queen the next day.  I was anxious to present myself in the presence of royalty in a creditable manner, so I questioned the captain on all the aspects possible. He told me that to please the Queen, anything I do will have to be done quickly. In answer to my question, how will I greet her, he said:  “In addressing Her Majesty. After that you may continue the conversation with the word madame.”
   “Well that won’t be difficult, I thought, I can get through it alright.” 
Startled I said:  “Holy blue, Captain, look at that man coming aboard now, without any pants on.” “That gentleman,” said the Captain, “ is John Brown, Her Majesty’s most faithful servant and that is the National Scottish dress he wears, known as a kilt.” As I was gazing at John Brown in utter disbelief the Captain said,  “Walk right aft. Her Majesty is waiting for you.”
   I might as well confess to you that my idea of a Queen had been formed by seeing the play Hamlet, where the Queen was this most elegant lady all dressed in white fur and a 
crown on her head. 
  I certainly did not think that the Queen of England would dress in this dull way, as I thought she would have something to distinguish her from the coterie of ladies that surrounded her on deck. Then I saw the face of the Queen which I had seen in photographs in London stores. She was a stout, motherly woman, more plainly dressed than any one around her.  
I looked at her for a second and said:
     “Your Majesty I believe.”  With a kindly smile she answered,  “Yes.”
     “Will I take the water, Your Majesty?”
I was confused by the mistake I nearly made, in mistaking the maid of Honor for the Queen.
   “If you please,” she responded with a kindly  smile.
It didn’t take me long to get over the the side of that vessel, as you can imagine.  
   Remembering the Captain’s  warning not to keep her waiting for to long, I dove through the exhibition as fast as I could give it and clambered aboard again, the perspiration was running over my  forehead.  
   Once back on deck, I bowed to the Queen again and was about to go forward when she stopped me and said,
   “Captain Boyton, I am both delighted and astonished at your wonderful skills in the water, 
 I believe that the rubber suit  will be a great means of saving many valuable lives.” 
  She asked me how old I was and many other questions. 
An elegant young lady who stood at her side asked, “Don’t you feel very tired after such exertion and do your clothes get wet under the suit?’   “Oh, no Miss, not the least.”
After my answer a laugh went up from the royal group and I  said,  “to prove to your Majesty that I am perfectly dry underneath, I am with your permission going to take off the rubber suit. I assure you I am fully dressed underneath it.”-( in woolen underwear.)
   Seeing that she did not object, I quickly unbuckled the tunic and pulled it over my head, dropping it on the deck, I then kicked off the  pants. 
  Standing there in my stocking feet before the Queen of England. 
The Queen examined the mechanism of the suit, she said.  “ I would like to have a suit made for the use on this Yacht, and I  wish you a safe journey across the channel.”  Seeing the interview was about over I took the opportunity to say, “Your Majesty, I hope you will excuse any errors I have made, as I am not familiar with court etiquette, as you are aware we do not have Royalty in the USA.”       
   “You did very well, Captain.”


No comments: