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CONTENTS OF THE SECOND PART
The Elements of Conversation; or, Talking made Easy. By the
Critical Notices of the most important and valuable Works
97, 233, 369, 505
Biographical Sketches of Celebrated Persons, lately Deceased
131, 269, 403, 542
258, 395, 532
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
FROM THE SOUTH.
February 19, 1835. I know not what I can tell you of my adventures in returning from Bona to Algiers, unless you will excuse me for recording an obligation which I owed to the Lieutenant of the steamer in which I embarked. Το carry me out to that steamer with my servant and luggage, I hired a boat with three boatmen, to whom, on coming aboard, I offered as many francs for the trouble of rowing nie about the distance of a stone-cast. One of the knaves followed me up to the deck, and, throwing down the money, begged leave to assure me that I was no gentlemau. I coolly picked up my silver, collared the fellow, took him before the lieutenant, and explained the cause of our dispute. The lieutenant, like a second Daniel, gave judgment against my adversary. “You rascal,” he said to him, “ have you dared to refuse what is three times your fare? But your insolence shall be punished.” He then seized him by the shoulders, turned him round, and gave him three of the handsomest kicks that I ever saw bestowed on the after-part of a human body. In a general view, I disapprove of man kicking his brother man; but here there was a fair exception to the rule. I had justice on my side, and, with the picked up francs in my hand, I felt that I had stooped to conquer." I gave them to the knave, and added, “Remember not to keep the three kicks that you have got, any more than the three francs, all to yourself; two of thein are due to your companions.”
When I look to the date of this letter I am afraid that, before it reaches you, you will have been alarmed at my silence. During the two past weeks no packet has sailed for France; the intercourse with Europe has been stopped by such tempests, as even the stormy winter of Algiers has not witnessed for several seasons. The 11th and 12th of February were memorable days.
days. On the morning of the former day, about 1 A.M., I was awakened by the howling of the wind;
“ That night a child might understand
The De il had business on his hand' and, accordingly, the De’il was very busy next day; for, after having wrecked fourteen ships at Bona and Bougia, he paid us a visit, and the storm has smashed one and twenty vessels in the harbour, or, I should rather say, the roadstead, of Algiers-for, properly speaking, there is no protecting harbour. A pier, the improved erection of which is said to have cost the French a million of francs, or forty thousand pounds, has been swept away like a loaf of sugar; and it is calculated that the entire loss by these gales will amount to three times that sum. But what is most deplorable, fourteen human beings have perished.
May.-vou. XLVII. NO. CLxxxv,
Unable to get any repose on the awful night of the 11th, I dressed myself, and got up to the house-top, where I could keep my feet only by clinging to the breast-work. The moon hung low, and faintly reddened the creamy whiteness of the boiling deep. As the day advanced, the north-west wind grew, if possible, more furious, and the wrecks of seven vessels came in by fragments to the beach below the town. In spite of the tremendous surf, there were persons hardy enough to venture their lives in getting goods from the wrecked vessels. A poor French cobbler of Algiers, in imitation of the saint and patron of his trade, King Crispin*, seeing the “ Troia gaza per undas," swam out to the tempting treasure, and came to his last.
Nine Swedes belonging to a Russian ship were drowned in their boat within sight of us, and a French captain of artillery, a much-lamented young man, perished in bravely attempting to save them. Many honourable traits of French courage and humanity have been shown on this occasion, and it was quite proper that the “ Moniteur Algerien” should record them; but there was surely no necessity for subjoining the following anecdote respecting Admiral Bretonnière as a proof of his sagacity. That worthy officer, it seems, was going down to the beach wrapped up in his great coat when he had nearly been blown into the sea, coat and all; but, luckily he met in his way a cannon fixed erect in the ground, and he had actually " the presence of mind,” says the “Moniteur,” “to save himself by clasping this cannon with both his hands." Without questioning the Admiral's sagacity, why compliment him on doing what any creature, human or simious, would have done in the same circumstances.
One glorious instance of intrepidity was given, I am happy to say, by an Englishman. The French have not published it, but they speak of it with due and high admiration. The captain of a British merchantman, whose name I am sorry I omitted to learn, though he was pointed out to me, had confidence enough in his own seamanship to weather the whole storm, and when a boat was sent out to bring him ashore, he calmly said, “That it was his duty to save the ship and cargo if he could, and that he would do his duty.” His vessel, a puny-looking thing of some fifty tons, had a crew of five men, four of whom he sent ashore, and retained only one sailor, besides his own son, a boy only ten years old. “Why retain the
he was no poor child, but a noble boy, and he persisted in refusing to leave his father. Nor was this a freak of rashness on the part of the captain, but an act of cool and calculating bravery. He knew the strength of his little brig, and trusted to the tenacity of both his anchors. He even reckoned that he should be safe with one of them, should it be necessary to cut the cable of the other. This manauvre eventually became necessary. During those two awful days, the main cause of destruction to the ships was their running foul of each other; accordingly when one or two of the miserable drifting wrecks were coming down, and ready to bump him to destruction, he cut his cable and swung out of bumping reach.
King Crispin, the saint of the shoemakers, was drowned in consequence of plunging into a river, down the stream of which a dead horse was floating, which his Sutoric Majesty mistook for a huge ball of resin.-Vide Sylburgius de Gestis Regum,
When I saw this brave mariner and his boy, the countenance of the former struck me by its expression of mildness almost amounting to simplicity: it reminded me of one of Morland's best pictures of an English peasant.
Yet, with all my pride in our native scamen, I have been no indifferent witness to the sufferings and fortitude of those of France. The Eclaireur steam-ship, in which I came from Bona, had gone again thither, and, coming back, reached Algiers on the second day of the storm. Never shall I forget my sensations at seeing this gallant vessel engaged in a combat with the elements, which every spectator regarded as utterly hopeless. The spray flashed over her so as to make us believe at times that her huil was irrecoverably under water. Again she rose in sight, but again the ruffian waves, like assassins shouldering their victim, whirled her back from her course. To think she had human beings on board was sufficiently painful; but to those who had acquaintances and friends among the seemingly devoted sufferers, the spectacle was heart-rending. For my own part, I had had but a short acquaintance with the officers of the Eclaireur; but they had shown me every possible civility, and I felt for them as for friends. At last, in spite of all difficulties, they got to anchor off Cape Matifou'; but it was still uncertain there whether her anchorage would continue firm, or the ship's timbers keep together. Rumour says that the highest marine authority at Algiers signalled a command to them to run in upon the sands of Cape Matifou, about a league below the town; an order which was tantamount to bidding them drown themselves. The captain, however, knew better : he rode at anchor till the tempest somewhat abated, and at last succeeded in getting into Algiers. Happily no lives were lost on board the Eclaireur ; but she could only be brought in in a state so nearly approaching to a wreck, that it has not been thought expedient to repair her. She is English built; and I doubt if French carpenters are up to the skill of repairing a steamer. Be this as it may, the unfortunate captain, though there is not a shadow of reflection on his character, retains only his rank in the service, and, for the present, loses his livelihood.
During those terrible days---you may easily suppose that we had scarcely any other subject of interest or conversation in Mr. St. John's house than the fate of our fellow-creatures at sea-one of his beautiful little daughters, about seven years old, came to her mother in the crisis of the danger, and said, with tears in her eyes, “ Mamma, I wish to pray for these sufferers in the ships, but I know not how to compose a prayer -do put words together for me that I may get them by heart, and pray to God for the poor people.”
Now that the storm is overblown, I have leisure to deliberate what I shall next do with my humble self. As I wish to see as much as possible of the Algerine Regency, I should gladly venture once more into the inland country as far as Constantina, if it were possible either to travel unprotected, or to find a protecting convoy : but it would have been safer fifty years ago than it is at present for any European to have penetrated so far from the coast as Constantina. My object must therefore be to get to Oran, the farthest western point of the Regency of which the French have taken possession, since it is accessible by sea. The sea, however, has of late left no very seducing impression on my mind; and