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Josiah GILBERT HOLLAND. – Born July 24, 1819, Belchertown, Mass. Editor of “Springfield Republican;" is well known as the author of " Timothy Titcomb's Letters to Young People," 1858 (humorous and satirical); “ Bitter-Sweet;” and “The Bay Path."
EDWIN P. WHIPPLE. - Born March 8, 1819, Gloucester, Mass. Has published two volumes of " Essays and Reviews," and " Lectures on Subjects connected with Literature and Life;" all of much value for their terse, vigorous style, and keen analysis.
BAYARD TAYLOR. Born Jan. 11, 1825, Kennet Square, Chester County, Penn. Has published several interesting books of travel; “ Views Afoot;
" * Rhymes of Travel; " " A Journey to Central Africa ; " " The Lands of the Saracens;"** India, China, and Japan;' " Northern Travel;' “Poems of the Orient;" "Poems of Home and Travel;' The Lawson Tragedy," 1870.
GEORGE WILLIAM Curtis. – Born 1824, Providence, R.I. A brilliant and popular writer and orator; is now editor of “Harper's Monthly." Published in 1850 “Nile-Notes of a Howadji;” 1852, “The Howadji in Syria;” and “Lotus-Eating," a summer book. “The Potiphar Papers” were very popular satirical sketches of society. C. C. FELTON.
H. F. TUCKERMAN.
ORESTES A. BROWXSOX.
Mary H. EASTMAN.
THOMAS H. BENTOX.
CHARLES D. CLEVELAND.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
WRITERS OF FICTION.
JAMES FENIMORE COOPER. — 1789-1851. This celebrated American novelist was born in Burlington, N.J. Besides his novels named in the list below, he has published a “History of the United-States Navy;" “Gleanings in Europe; "
Sketches of Switzerland;" and other smaller works.
LIST OF NOVELS. " Precaution," 1821: “ The Spy," 1821; "The Pioneers," 1823; “ The Pilot," 1823; “ Lionel Lincoln," 1825; “ Last of the Mohicans," 1826; " Red Rover," 1827; “ The Prairie," 1827; Traveling Bachelor,” 1828; Wept of Wish-ton-Wish," 1829; “ The Water-Witch," 1830; " The Bravo," 1831; “ The Heidenmauer," 1832; “The Headsman," 1833; “The Monikins," 1835; “Homeward Bound,” 1838; “Home as Found," 1838; “The Pathfinder," 1840; “Mercedes of Castile, " 1840; “ The Deerslaver," 1841; “ The Two Admirals," 1842; “Wing-and-Wing," 1842; “Ned Myers,” 1843; “Wyandotte," 1843; “Afloat and Ashore," 1844; “ Miles Wallingford,” 1844; " The Chainbearer," 1845; “Satanstoe," 1845; "The RedSkins," 1846; " The Crater,” 1847; “ Jack Tier," 1848; “ Oak-Openings," 1848; “ The Sea Lions,” 1849; “ The Ways of the Hour," 1850.
THE CAPTURE OF A WHALE. “Tom," cried Barnstable, starting, “there is the blow of a whale !"
“Ay, ay, sir!” returned the cockswain with undisturbed composure: “here is his spout, not half a mile to seaward. The easterly gale has driven the creater to leeward; and he begins to find himself in shoal water. He's been sleeping while he should have been working to windward."
“The fellow takes it coolly too. He's in no hurry to get an offing."
“ I rather conclude, sir,” said the cockswain, rolling over his tobacco in his mouth very composedly, while his little sunken eyes began to twinkle with pleasure at the sight, “the gentleman has lost his reckoning, and don't know which way to head to take himself back into blue water." “'Tis a fin-back!” exclaimed the lieutenant.
“ He will soon make headway, and be off.”
“No, sir; 'tis a right whale," answered Tom: "I saw his spout. He threw up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to look at. He's a raal oil-butt, that fellow !”
Barnstable laughed, and exclaimed in joyous tones, —
“Give strong way, my hearties! There seems nothing better to be done : let us have a stroke of a harpoon at that impudent rascal.”
The men shouted spontaneously; and the old cockswain suffered his solemn visage to relax into a small laugh, while the whaleboat sprang forward like a courser for the goal. During the few minutes they were pulling toward their game, Long Tom arose from his crouching attitude in the stern-sheets, and transferred his huge frame to the bows of the boat, where he made such preparation to strike the whale as the occasion required. The tub, containing about half of a whale-line, was placed at the feet of Barnstable, who had been preparing an oar to steer with in place of the rudder, which was unshipped, in order, that, if necessary, the boat might be whirled round when not advancing.
Their approach was utterly unnoticed by the monster of the deep, who continued to amuse himself with throwing the water in two circular spouts high into the air; occasionally flourishing the broad flukes of his tail with graceful but terrific force until the hardy seamen were within a few hundred feet of him, when he suddenly cast his head downwards, and, without apparent effort, reared his immense · body for many feet above the water, waving his tail violently, and producing a whizzing noise that sounded like the rushing of winds. The cockswain stood erect, poising his harpoon, ready for the blow; but, when he beheld thé creature assuming this formidable attitude, he waved his hand to his commander, who instantly signed to his men to cease rowing. In this situation the sportsman rested a few moments; while the whale struck several blows on the water in rapid succession, the noise of which re-echoed along the cliffs like the hollow reports
of so many cannon. After this wanton exhibition of his terrible strength, the monster sank again into his native element, and slowly disappeared from the eyes of his pursuers.
“ Which way did he head, Tom ?” cried Barnstable the moment the whale was out of sight.
“ Pretty much up and down, sir,” returned the cockswain, whose eye was gradually brightening with the excitement of the sport. “ He'll soon run his nose against the bottom if he stands long on that course, and will be glad to get another snuff of pure air. Send her a few fathoms to starboard, sir, and I promise we shall not be out of his track."
The conjecture of the experienced old seaman proved true; for in a few minutes the water broke near them, and another spout was cast into the air, when the huge animal rushed for half his length in the same direction, and fell on the sea with a turbulence and foam equal to that which is produced by the launching of a vessel for the first time into its proper element. After this evolution, the whale rolled heavily, and seemed to rest from further efforts.
His slightest movements were closely watched by Barnstable and his cockswain; and, when he was in a state of comparative rest, the former gave a signal to his crew to ply their oars once more. A few long and vigorous strokes sent the boat directly up to the broadside of the whale, with its bows pointing towards one of the fins, which was at times, as the animal yielded sluggishly to the action of the waves, exposed to view. The cockswain poised his harpoon with much precision, and then darted it from him with a violence that buried the iron in the body of their foe. The instant the blow was made, Long Tom shouted with singular earnestness,
Starn, all!” “Stern, all !” echoed Barnstable; when the obedient seamen, by united efforts, forced the boat in a backward direction, beyond the reach of any blow from their formidable antagonist. The alarmed animal, however, meditated no such resistance. Ignorant of his own power, and of the insignificance of his enemies, he sought refuge in flight. One moment of stupid surprise succeeded the entrance of the iron; when he cast his huge tail into the air with a violence that threw the sea around him into increased commotion, and then disappeared with the quickness of lightning amid a cloud of foam.
“Snub him !” shouted Barnstable. “Hold on, Tom! he rises already."
“ Ay, ay, sir!” replied the composed cockswain, seizing the line, which was running out of the boat with a velocity that rendered such a maneuver rather hazardous, and causing it to yield more
gradually round the large loggerhead that was placed in the bows of the boat for that purpose. Presently the line stretched forward; and, rising to the surface with tremulous vibrations, it indicated the direction in which the animal might be expected to re-appear. Barnstable had cast the bows of the boat towards that point before the terrified and wounded victim rose once more to the surface, whose time was, however, no longer wasted in his sports, but who cast the waters aside as he forced his
with prodigious velocity along their surface. The boat was dragged violently in his wake, and cut through the billows with a terrific rapidity, that at moments appeared to bury the slight fabric in the ocean. When Long Tom beheld his victim throwing his spouts on high again, he pointed with exultation to the jetting fluid, which was streaked with the deep red of blood, and cried,
“Ay, I've touched the fellow's life! It must be more than two foot of blubber that stops my iron from reaching the life of any whale that ever sculled the ocean."
“I believe you have saved yourself the trouble of using the bayonet you have rigged for a lance," said his commander, who entered into the sport with all the ardor of one whose youth had been chiefly passed in such pursuits. “Feel your line, Master Coffin: can we haul alongside of our enemy? I like not the course he is steering, as he tows us from the schooner.”
“ 'Tis the creater's way, sir," said the cockswain. “ You know they need the air in their nostrils when they run, the same as a man. But lay hold, boys, and let us haul up to him."
The seamen now seized their whale-line, and slowly drew their boat to within a few feet of the tail of the fish, whose progress became sensibly less rapid as he grew weak with the loss of blood. In a few minutes he stopped running, and appeared to roll uneasily on the water, as if suffering the agony of death.
“Shall we pull in and finish him, Tom?” cried Barnstable. “ A few sets from your bayonet would do it.”
The cockswain stood examining his game with cool discretion, and replied to this interrogatory,
“No, sir! no! He's going into his flurry: there's no occasion for disgracing ourselves by using a soldier's weapon in taking a whale. Starn off, sir! starn off the creater's in his flurry.”
The warning of the prudent cockswain was promptly obeyed; and the boat cautiously drew off to a distance, leaving to the animal a clear space while under its dying agonies. From a state of perfect rest, the terrible monster threw its tail on high as when in sport; but its blows were trebled in rapidity and violence, till all was hid from view by a pyramid of foam that was deeply dyed with blood. The roarings of the fish were like the bellowings of a herd of bulls; and, to one who was ignorant of the fact, it would have appeared as if a thousand monsters were engaged in deadly combat behind the bloody mist that obstructed the view. Gradually these efforts subsided; and, when the discolored · water again settled down to the long and regular swell of the ocean, the fish was seen exhausted, and yielding passively to its fate. As life departed, the enormous black mass rolled to one side ; and, when the white and glistening skin of the belly became apparent, the seamen well knew that their victory was achieved.
THE WRECK OF "THE ARIEL." “Go, my boys, go!” said Barnstable, as the moment of dreadful uncertainty passed: "you have still the whale-boat; and she, at least, will take you nigh the shore. Go into her, my boys! God bless you, God bless you all! You have been faithful and honest fellows; and I believe he will not yet desert you. Go, my friends, while there is a lull!”
The seamen threw themselves in a mass of human bodies into the light vessel, which nearly sunk under the unusual burden; but, when they looked around them, Barnstable and Merry, Dillon and the cockswain, were yet to be seen on the decks of “ The Ariel.” The former was pacing, in deep and perhaps bitter melancholy, the wet planks of the schooner; while the boy hung unheeded on his arm, uttering disregarded petitions to his commander to desert the wreck. Dillon approached the side where the boat lay, again and again ; but the threatening countenances of the seamen as often drove him back in despair. Tom had seated himself on the heel of the bowsprit, where he continued in an attitude of quiet resignation, returning no other answers to the loud and repeated calls of his shipmates than by waving his hand towards the shore.
“Now, hear me," said the boy, urging his request to tears: “if not for my sake or for your own sake, Mr. Barnstable, or for the hopes of God's mercy, go into the boat for the love of my cousin Katherine."
The young lieutenant paused in his troubled walk; and for a moment he cast a glance of hesitation at the cliffs : but at the next instant his eyes fell on the ruin of his vessel ; and he answered,
“Never, boy, never! If my hour has come, I will not shrink from
fate." “ Listen to the men, dear sir: the boat will be swamped alongside the wreck; and their cry is, that, without you, they will not let her go.”
Barnstable motioned to the boat to bid the boy enter it, and turned away in silence.