« السابقةمتابعة »
about shepherds, and dæmons, and Chloes, and I wanted to see if I could repeat his poem, in the character of a love-sick swain; but on throwing myself by the side of a ditch (for want of a purling rivulet) with a Jew's-harp in my hand, our neighbour, Farmer Giles, came behind, and pushed me."
I shall mention one more instance of my hero's newlyacquired absence of mind, and leave you to form your own comments on it.
We had been staying some time at Wendover, when my brother, the master of the post-office, requested my son (as he himself was compelled to rise by day-break, on business) to deliver the bags to the guard, when the mail came by, about one o'clock in the morning. William promised to execute this commission with care and fidelity, and we all retired to rest. At the appointed time the horn sounded, the mail drove up, and the guard called aloud for the bags. My son, starting up from a poetical reverie, hastily arose; but instead of entering the room where the packets were usually deposited, hurried by mistake into the master's bed-chamber, and taking up the first thing that presented itself, which happened to be a pair of leather breeches, ran down with them to the guard, who by reason of the darkness of the morning, and the hurry of the moment, did not discover the mistake until the bags were all forwarded the next day to the general post-office. The superintendent of this department immediately subjected them to anatomical process, in order to discover whether treasonable despatches were lodged in them; and not satisfied with this precaution, sent them to the ministry, the majority of whom were then resident in London. A Cabinet Council was accordingly summoned, the members of which, judiciously apprehending that the dislocated raiment might be the concerted signal of rebellion, like the violets and republican tricolours of France, commanded all the head breeches-makers in London to swear upon oath, whether or not there was any thing peculiar in the formation of the garments. The affair was then sifted to the bottom, by a Committee of Secrecy, who were appointed to
investigate the circumstances, the Green Bag was resorted to, and with considerable difficulty our family escaped the charge of high treason.-RICHARD MEADOWS. Gold's London Magazine.
FEELINGS EXCITED BY A LONG VOYAGE— VISIT TO A NEW CONTINENT.
To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to make is an excellent preparative. From the moment you lose sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy until you step on the opposite shore, and are launched at once into the bustle and novelties of another world.
I have said that at sea all is vacancy. I should correct the expression. To one given up to day-dreaming, and fond of losing himself in reveries, a sea voyage is full of subjects for meditation; but then they are the wonders of the deep, and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes. I delighted to loll over the quarter railing, or climb to the main-top on a calm day, and muse for hours together on the tranquil bosom of a summer's sea; or to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just peering above the horizon, fancy them some fairy realms, and people them with a creation of my own. To watch the gentle undulating billows rolling their silver volumes, as if to die away on those happy shores.
There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe, with which I looked down from my giddy height on the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols. Shoals of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship; the grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface; or the ravenous shark darting like a spectre through the blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I had heard or read of the watery world beneath me; of the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of shapeless monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the earth; and those
wild phantasms that swell the tales of fishermen and 'sailors.
Sometimes a distant sail gliding along the edge of the ocean would be another theme of idle speculation. How interesting this fragment of a world hastening to rejoin the great mass of existence! What a glorious monument of human invention, that has thus triumphed over wind and wave; has brought the ends of the earth in communion; has established an interchange of blessings, pouring into the steril regions of the north all the luxuries of the south; diffused the light of knowledge and the charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together those scattered portions of the human race, between which nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier!
We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a distance. At sea, every thing tha breaks the monotony of the surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been completely wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by which some of the crew had fastered themselves to this spar, to prevent their being washed off by the waves, There was no trace by which the name of the ship could be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for many months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about it, and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long been over;-they have gone down amidst the roar of the tempest ;- their bones lie whitening in the caverns of the deep. Silence— oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, and no one can tell the story of their end. What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what prayers offered up at the deserted fire-side of home! How often has the mistress, the wife, and the mother, pored over the daily news, to catch some casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! How has expectation darkened into anxiety-anxiety into dread-and dread into despair! Alas! not one memento shall ever return for love to cherish. All that shall ever be known is, that
she sailed from her port, " and was never heard of more."
The sight of the wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the evening, when the weather, which had hitherto been fair, began to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one related by the captain. "As I was once sailing," said he, "in a fine stout ship, across the banks of Newfoundland, one of the heavy fogs that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for me to see far a-head, even in the daytime; but at night the weather was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of our ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing-smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we were going at a great rate through the water. Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of a sail a-head!' but it was scarcely uttered till we were upon her. She was a small schooner at anchor, with her broadside toward us. The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just amid-ships. The force, the size, and weight of our vessel, bore her down below the waves; we passed over her, and were hurried on our course. As the crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half-naked wretches, rushing from her cabin; they just started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of all further hearing. I shall never forget that cry! It was some time before we could put the ship about, she was under such headway. We returned, as nearly as we could guess, to the place where the smack was anchored. We cruised about for several hours in the
dense fog. We fired several guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of any survivors; but all was silent-we never heard nor saw any thing of them more!"
It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of "land!" was given from the mast-head. I question whether Columbus, when he discovered the new world, felt a more delicious throng of sensations than rush into an American's bosom when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations in the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with every thing of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.
From that time until the period of arrival it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war that prowled like guardian giants round the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains, towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruins of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighbouring hill—all were characteristic of England.
The tide and wind were so favourable, that the ship was enabled to come at once on the pier. It was thronged with people; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of friends or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship belonged. I knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust in his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded to him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends happened to recognise each other. But I particularly noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanour. She was leaning forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared