Title: The World of Waters, Or, A Peaceful Progress O'er the Unpathed Sea
Author: Mrs. David Osborne
Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #10997]
Most recently updated: December 23, 2020
Credits: Produced by Wilelmina Mallière and PG Distributed Proofreaders
The Wilton Family.—Story of Frederic Hamilton
The Wiltons.—Dora Leslie.—Charles Dorning.—The Mediterranean.—Corsica.—Candia.—Rhodes.—Malta.—Valetta.—The Caledonia.—A Story by Krummacher.—Adriatic Sea.—Venice.—Turkish Rowers.—Elgin Marbles.—Isle of Wight.—Thunder Storm.—Jersey.—Romaine's Journal.—Slave Ship.—Horrible Cruelty.—Slave Trade.—Wreck of the Royal George.—Eddystone Lighthouse
The Wiltons.—A great Naval Victory.—Monster Fish.—The Downs.—St. Augustine.—Yarmouth.—Brock the Swimmer and Yarmouth Boatman.—The North Sea.—The Bell Rock.—Mr. Barraud.—Jock of Jedburgh.—Wreck of the Forfarshire.—Remarkable Providence.—Denmark.—The Baltic.—Journey to the Gulf of Finland.—Reindeer and Sledge.—Reval.—Superstitions.—Strange Fashions.—Ungern Sternberg.—Gulf of Bothnia.—Islands of the Baltic.—Lapland.—Aurora Borealis.—Russia.—Odessa.—Reflections
Stanzas by Mrs. Howitt.—Caspian Sea.—Astracan.—Droll Legend.—Yellow Sea.—The Japanese.—Monsoons.—Trade Winds.—Description of a Monsoon.—Asia.—The Red Sea.—Isthmus of Suez.—An Interesting Locality.—The Arabs.—Sea of Aral.—Chinese Islands.—Fishing for Mice.—The Typhon.—Fishing Birds.—Cinnamon Forests.—Eating Birds' Nests.—Bible Lands.—The Sea of Galilee.—The Dead Sea.—The Slave Merchant.—A Japan Puzzle
Story of Era.—Assistance of Goodwill.—Madeira.—Man-of-War.—Dinner on Ship-board.—Computing Latitude.—Pipe to Dinner.—The Azores.—Newfoundland.—Newfoundland Dogs.—Greenland.—Whale Fishing.—Flying Fish.—A Ship In the Polar Regions.—An Awful Sight.—The Geysers.—Icelanders.—Spitzbergen.—The Ferroe Islands.—Maelstrom.—The Norwegian Mouse.—Hudson's Bay.—Hudson's Straits.—Nova Scotia.—Henry May.—The Ancient Mariner.—Cuba.—Jamaica.—Beauty of Jamaica.—A Hurricane.—Devastation.—Ruins of Yucatan.—Indians of Mexico.—The American Lakes.—Niagara.—The Caribbean Sea.—Panama.—Gala Days.—Diving for Pearls.—The Sea-Boy's Grave.—The Funeral.—Gulf of Trieste.—Guiana.—Brazil.—Rio de Janeiro.—Montevideo.—Patagonia.—Cape Horn.—Depth of the Atlantic
The Separation.—Deception Isle.—The Gulf of Penas.—Island of Chiloe.—Juan Fernandez.—Alexander Selkirk.—The Ladies of Lima.—The Peruvians.—Columbia.—Catching Wild Fowl.—The Two Oceans.—A Singular Funeral.—Magellan.—Guatemala.—Ladies Smoking.—Christian Indians.—California.—San Francisco.—Nootka Sound.—Story of Boone and the Bear.—Cleaveland and the Infant.—United States' Navy.—Cannibals.—Kamschatka.—Polynesia.—The Sandwich Islands.—Captain Cook.—Contest.—Adventure of Kapiolani.—A Delightful Anecdote.—Spanish Missionaries.—Philippine Islands.—The Pelew Islands.—Birds of Paradise.—The Friendly Islands.—Otaheite.—The Society Islanders.—Pitcairn's Islands.—Shocking Barbarity.—Nobb's Letter.—Marquesas.—The Low Islands.—New Caledonia.—New Zealand.—The Bay of Islands.—Captain Cook's Story.—A Curious Idea.—Aranghie.—Cannibalism.—New Holland.—Story of Mr. Meredith.—Australian Barbarism.—Australian Lakes.—Van Diemen's Land.—Coral Reefs.—Story of Kemba
Packing up.—Letter from Mr. Stanley.—Mr. Stanley.—Celebes.—Dress of the Alfoors.—Curious Hospitality.—Java.—Whimsical Superstition.—Productions of Java.—Sumatra.—Water Spouts.—Burman Despotism.—The White Elephant.—Sir James Brooke.—Borneo.—Isle of Bourbon.—Isle of France.—Madagascar.—The Four Spirits.—The Missionaries.—Horrible Custom.—The Pirates' Retreat.—Malagassy Fable.—Kerguelen's Land.—Isle of Desolation.—Story of a Sailor.—Morocco.—A Moorish Beauty.—Algiers.—Egypt.—Abyssinia.—Abyssinian Customs.—Religion.—African Coast.—Seychelle Isles.—Mozambique.—Smoking the Hubble-Bubble.—Caffraria.—Story of the Little Caffre.—Algoa Bay.—Graham's Town.—Cape of Good Hope.—Cape Town.—Constantia.—The Boschmen.—A Transformation.—Dressing in Skins.—The Slave Trade.—Fish Bay.—St. Helena.—Kabenda.—Black Jews.—Ferdinand Po.—The Ape and the Oven.—The Slave-Coast.—Dahomey.—Ashantee.—King Opocco.—A Singular Belief.—The Ashantee Wife.—Liberia.—A Bowchee Mother.—Sierra Leone.—The Lakes of Africa.—Bornou.—The Sultan of Bornou.—African Wedding.—The Deluge.—The Telescope.—The End
It is not my purpose to detain you with a long preface, because I am aware that long prefaces are seldom read; but I wish to inform you that I have written this book, in the humble hope of being useful to those in whom I am so anxiously interested. I am myself happy in acknowledging the endearing appellation of "Mother," and I love all children, and regard them as priceless treasures, entrusted to the care and guidance of parents and teachers; with whom it rests in a great measure to render them blessings to their fellow-creatures, and happy themselves, or contrariwise.
Should the perusal of this little volume imbue you with a taste for the beautiful and ennobling science of Geography, my object will be gained; and that such may be the result of these humble endeavors is the sincere wish of
Your affectionate Friend,
Oh ye seas and floods,
Bless ye the Lord:
Praise him, and magnify him forever.
"Oh! what beautiful weather," exclaimed George Wilton, as he drew his chair nearer the fire. "This sort of evenings is so suitable for story-telling, that I regret more than ever the disagreeable necessity which has taken Mr. Stanley to foreign countries, and broken up our delightful parties. But yet, there are enough of us remaining at home to form a society; we might manage without him. Do not you remember, papa, you said, when Julia Manvers was with us last summer, we were to examine into the particulars respecting the seas and oceans of the world; and not once was the subject mentioned while we were at Herne Bay, although the sea was continually before us to remind us of it. Are we ever to have any more of those conversations? I liked them amazingly, and I am sure I learned a great deal more geography by them than I ever did out of Goldsmith, or any other dry lesson-book, which compels one to learn by rule. I wish, dear papa, you would settle to have these meetings again; we would write down all the particulars, and enclose them in a letter to Mr. Stanley: I am sure he would be quite pleased."
"I think he would, George," replied Mr. Wilton, "and I also think that we have been rather careless in this matter; but, at the same time, you must remember that the fault does not rest solely with us, for when we appointed certain times during our sojourn at Herne Bay for these same geographical discussions, on every occasion something occurred to prevent the meeting, and all our arrangements fell to the ground. Since then, the illness of your sister,—which, thank God, has terminated so happily,—the departure of Mr. Stanley, and the removal to our present abode; all these circumstances conspired to render ineffectual any attempt at regularity, and precluded the possibility of an occasional quiet chat on this really important subject. The past, present, and future, in the history of man, are so connected with the positions of the great seas of the globe, and the navigation of them, that I do regard the study of geography as one of the most important branches of a Christian education; and, now that all impediments are removed, I think we may venture to propose the re-establishment of our little society; and as we are deprived of the valuable services of Mr. Stanley, we must endeavor to supply his place by procuring the aid of another learned friend, who will not consider it derogatory to assist in our edifying amusement. And, in order to render these meetings more extensively beneficial and interesting, I further propose that we increase our number by admitting two new members, to be selected by you, my dear children, from amongst your juvenile acquaintances; but we must not admit any except on the original terms, which were, 'that each member add his or her mite of information to the general fund.' What says mamma about it? Suppose we put it to the vote?"
"Oh! dear papa," exclaimed Emma, "I am quite sure that will be unnecessary. Grandy has often talked of the meetings held last year, and regretted that there seemed no disposition to renew them; therefore, we are sure of her vote. Mamma was so useful with her descriptions, that she is not likely to object. Then you know, dear papa, how very much I enjoyed these conversations; and, as far as any one else is concerned, I am convinced that my candidate will be glad to prepare a portion of the subject as her admission fee, and will be as much interested in the welfare of the society as we old members are, who have already felt the advantages arising from it. May we decide now, papa?"
All hands were raised in reply, and the resolution carried unanimously.
"I have a question to ask," said George. "May we have the meetings twice during the month, instead of once, as before? It will induce us to be more industrious, as we shall be obliged to work to get up the information. I can share the labor with Emma now, because I can write easily, and quickly; besides, it will be such pleasant employment for the half-holidays."
"Very well, my dear," said Mr. Wilton; "then once a fortnight it shall be; and take care, as the time will be short, that you are thoroughly prepared: do not reckon on me, for I cannot assist you as Mr. Stanley did, so you must be, in a great measure, dependent upon your own resources. My library is at your disposal, and I hope you will have sufficient perseverance to investigate each point carefully, before you come to a decision. Should you require assistance in the preparation of any particular part of the subject, of course, I shall have no objections to render it; but remember, I do not promise to be an active member, as I wish you to exert yourselves, and be in some degree independent. It will thus be more advantageous to you: it will not only impress all you learn effectually on your mind, but improve your reasoning faculties, and enable you to understand much that the most careful explanation might fail to render intelligible."
"And when shall we begin, papa?" asked Emma.
MR. WILTON. "My engagements until the 7th of February are so numerous as to preclude the possibility of my presence at a meeting before that time; but after the 7th inst. I shall be more at liberty, and we will, if you please, commence our voyage, and (wind and weather permitting) travel on regularly and perseveringly until we have circumnavigated the globe."
"Agreed! agreed!" merrily shouted the children.
"I know which of my friends I shall ask," said George; "and I fancy I can guess who will be Emma's new member."
"I fancy you cannot," returned Emma: "I do not intend to tell any one, either, until I hear whether or not she can come; therefore check your inquisitiveness, Master George, and wait patiently, for you will not know before the 7th, when I will introduce my friend."
"Now," said Grandy, "having settled the most important part of the business, I have a few words to say. You must all be aware, that in the accounts of seas and oceans, there cannot possibly be so much time disposed of in descriptive facts as there was in our former conversations concerning the rivers of the world, which are so numerous, and require so many minute particulars in tracing their courses, that they positively (although occupying a smaller portion of the globe,) take more time to sail over in our ship 'The Research,' than the boundless ocean, which occupies two thirds of our world; it will, under these circumstances, be advisable to illustrate our subject largely, and to lose no opportunity of extending it for our benefit. We need not fear to exhaust the topic; for do not the vast waters encompass the globe; and can we contemplate these great works of our Creator, without having our hearts filled with wonder and admiration? This, my children, will lead us to the right source; to the Author of all the wonders contained in 'heaven and earth, and in the waters under the earth;' and, if we possess any gratitude, our hearts will be raised in thankfulness to Him who 'hath done all things well;' and we shall bless him for giving us powers of discernment and reasoning faculties, which not only enable us to see and appreciate the goodness of God, but also, by his grace assisting us, to turn our knowledge to advantage for our temporal and eternal good."
"We may now," said Mr. Wilton, "leave these resolutions to be acted upon at a proper time; and, as we have two hours' leisure before supper, if you, dear mother, will tell us one of your sweet stories of real life, it will be both a pleasant and profitable way of passing the evening. We have all employment for our fingers, and can work while we listen; George and I with our pencils, and you ladies with your sewing and knitting."
GRANDY. "Well, what must it be? Something nautical, I suppose; for as we are about to set sail in a few days, it will be appropriate, will it not?"
GEORGE. "Oh yes! dear Grandy, a nautical story, if you please."
"The first time I saw Frederic Hamilton was on board the 'Neptune,' outward bound for Jamaica: he was then a lad of twelve or fourteen years: I cannot be sure which; but I remember he was tall for his age, and extremely good looking.
"There were so many circumstances during the voyage, which brought me in contact with this boy, and so many occasions to arouse my sympathies in his behalf, (for he was evidently in delicate health, and unfit for laborious work.) that in a short time I became deeply interested concerning him, and I determined as soon as I had recovered from sea-sickness, to watch for an opportunity of inquiring into the particulars of his earlier history.
"I must first tell you, before proceeding with the story of my hero, that the captain of the 'Neptune' was a very harsh, cruel man, and made every one on board his vessel as uncomfortable as he could by his violent temper, and ungentlemanly conduct. I was the only lady-passenger; and had it not been for the kindness of my fellow-travellers, I scarcely think I could have survived all the terrors of that dreadful voyage. The sailors, without one dissentient voice, declared they had never sailed with such a master, and wished they had known a trifle of the rough side of his character before they engaged with him, and then he would have had to seek long enough to make up a crew, for not one of them would have shipped with him.' They even went so far as to say, that if at any time they could escape from the vessel, they would not hesitate a moment, but would get away, and leave the captain to work the ship by himself. I could not take part with the captain, because I saw too much of his tyranny to entertain a particle of respect for him, and I confess I was not in the least surprised at the language of the ill-used sailors. He had no good feature in his character that I could discover; for he was mean, vulgar, discontented, and brutal. He never encouraged the men in the performance of their duty, by kind expressions; on the contrary, he never addressed them on the most simple matter without oaths and imprecations, and oftentimes enforced his commands with a rope's end or his fist.
"We had yet other causes of discomfort besides these continual uproars. Contrary winds, constant gales, and violent storms, made our hearts fail from fear. We knew the captain could not expect His blessing, whose laws he openly set at defiance; indeed, by his life and conversation, he proved that he 'cared for none of these things.'
"I believe he was a clever seaman: he had certainly had much experience, having been upwards of fifty times across the Atlantic: so that we felt at ease with regard to the management of the ship. But we did not put our trust in the skill of the captain alone; for of what avail would that be if the Lord withheld his hand, and left us to perish? No! my dears, we saw that the captain never prayed, and we felt there was a greater necessity for us to be diligent in the duty; and daily, nay hourly, we entreated the forbearance and assistance of Almighty God to conduct us in safety to land.
"After a time, the men became very unmanageable; for they hated the captain: he treated them like slaves, and imposed upon them on every occasion; so that at length, goaded to desperation by his cruelty, they positively refused to handle a rope until he agreed to the terms they intended to propose.
"The captain, fierce as he was, felt it would be useless to contend with twenty angry men, and he knew the passengers would not befriend him: he therefore deemed it expedient to endeavor to conciliate them by promises he never intended to perform, and, after a few hours' confusion, all was again comparatively quiet.
"I could tell you much more about the quarrels and disturbances of which we unfortunate passengers had to be the passive witnesses, and which, accustomed as we were to them in the day-time, filled me with greater horror than I can describe, breaking upon the stillness of the night, when all was quiet but the troubled ocean, whose murmurs, instead of arousing, served to lull us into a deeper repose. Yes, often, when no other sound but the low splashing of the waves against the side of the ship was to be heard, and we were all either sleeping quietly, or thinking deeply of home and friends, loud cries and shouts would reach us, and, in an instant, we would all be gathered together to inquire into the cause of the disturbance. It was always the captain and some of the men fighting; and on one occasion, the battle was so close to us, actually in the cabin, between the captain and the steward, that I screamed aloud, and do not remember ever to have been so much alarmed.
"But as my principal object is to make you acquainted with Frederic Hamilton, and not with my adventures, I will say no more about Captain Simmons, and his ship, than is necessary in the course of my tale.
"I was just getting over the unpleasant sensations of sea-sickness, when, one morning as I was dressing in my berth, a noise of scuffling on the quarter-deck, over my head, interrupted my operations. I laid my brush on the table, and listened. At first I could distinguish nothing, and, thinking it was the captain and a sailor disputing, I continued my toilet; when, suddenly, a piercing cry reached me, and I knew the voice to be Frederic's. At the same time the sound of heavy blows fell on my ear, and again I recognized his voice: he called out so loudly, that I heard him distinctly say, 'Oh, sir! have mercy. Pray, pray do not kill me! Oh, sir! think of my mother, and have pity upon me. I will try to please you, sir; indeed, indeed, I will. Oh, mercy! mercy!' His cries became fainter and fainter, while the blows continued, accompanied occasionally by the gruff voice of the captain, until, my soul shrinking with horror, I could endure it no longer. I rushed out of my cabin, and there on the poop beheld a sight I can never forget. Poor Frederic was lashed to the shrouds with his hands above his head, which was then drooping on his shoulder; his back bare and bleeding. The brutal captain was standing by with a thick rope in his grasp, which, by the crimson stains upon it, sufficiently proved the vile purpose for which its services had just been required.
"I called out hastily and angrily to the captain to cease beating the boy, and declared I would fetch out the gentlemen to interfere if he did not stop his unmanly behavior. He glared on me with the fiercest expression imaginable (for he was in a towering rage,) and told me I had better not meddle with him in the performance of his duty, for he would do as he liked; he was master of the ship and nobody else, and he would like to see anybody else try to be. Then he made use of such fearful language, that I dreaded to approach him; but my fear lest he should again attack the boy, overcame my fear for him in his anger; and I ascended the ladder. He desired, nay commanded, me to retire to my cabin; but I said, 'No, captain, I will not stir hence until you release Frederic, and if you strike him again I will be a witness of your cowardly behavior towards a poor boy whose only fault is want of strength to do the work assigned him. I am quite sure, whatever you may say on board-ship, you will not be able to justify your conduct on shore.'
"He did not again address me; but, muttering curses loud and deep, he untied the fainting boy, and, giving him a savage push, laid him prostrate on the deck: he then walked forward, and began to shout aloud his orders to the men on the main-deck.
"The man at the helm, pitying the poor boy, called to the boatswain, who was standing on the forecastle, and begged him to send some water to throw over the lad, and some dressing for his wounded back. I stayed by him for a short time, and when he was somewhat recovered, I went below.
"I fancied, when I met the captain at the dinner-table, that he looked rather ashamed; for I had related the whole affair to the other passengers, and he could perceive, by their indifference towards him, that they despised him for his cowardice. He tried to be jocular, but could not succeed in exciting our risibility: we did not even encourage his jokes by the shadow of a smile, and he seemed uneasy during the remainder of the time we sat at table.
"I now felt more than ever interested in the fate of Frederic Hamilton and was not sorry I had said so much in the morning. Prudence might have dictated milder language certainly; but my indignation was aroused; and when I found that my remonstrance had the desired effect, I did not repent of my impetuosity.
"About a week after this unhappy occurrence, as I was leaning over the rail on the quarter-deck, watching the shoals of porpoises (for we were then in a warm latitude) playing in the bright blue sea at the vessel's side, the boatswain, who was a fine specimen of a sea-faring man, came up and, seating himself on a fowl-coop near me, commenced sorting rope-yarns for the men to spin. Presently Frederic walked up the ladder with a bucket of water to pour into the troughs for the thirsty poultry, who were stretching their necks through the bars and opening their bills, longing for the refreshing draught: the heat was overpowering, and the poor things were closely packed in their miserable coops.
"I remarked to Williams how pale the boy looked, and how thin, and said, I feared he was not only badly treated, but had not proper nourishment.
"'Why, ma'am,' said he, 'to say the truth, the lad's not been used to this kind of living, and it was the worst thing as ever happened to him to be brought on board the "Neptune," with our skipper for a master. You see, madam,' he continued, 'his father was a parson; but he is dead, and the mother tried hard to persuade the lad (for, poor thing, he is her only boy,) to turn parson too, when his father died. But no. The boy had set his mind on going to sea; and as he had no friends who could help him to go to school or college, and his godfather, Captain Hartly, offered to pay the apprenticeship fees if his mother would let him learn navigation, she at last, though much against her will, consented that he should be bound apprentice to our skipper here. But it pretty nigh broke her heart to part with the child; and she begged the captain to use him gently and bear with him a little, for he was not so hardy as many boys of his age; and, moreover, had been accustomed to kindness and delicate treatment. The lad is a fine noble-hearted lad, but he is not strong; and it is my opinion that the master wants to get rid of him to have the fee for nothing, and he's trying what hard living, hard work, and hard usage will do towards making him go the faster. But he had better mind what he is about. There's many a man on board that can speak a good word for Frederic when he gets ashore; and, if all comes out, it will go hard with the master. The poor lad cries himself to sleep every night, and when he is asleep he has no rest, for in his dreams he talks of his mother and sister, and often sobs loud enough to wake the men whose hammocks swing near him. I am very sorry to see all this, for he is a fine boy, as I said before, and we are all fond of him; but he's not fit for this kind of work, leastwise not yet. I am glad you have taken notice of him, madam; for, though you cannot do any good while we're at sea, may be when you come ashore you won't forget poor Frederic Hamilton.'
"When the boatswain left me, I walked up and down the deck pondering on these things, and contriving all sorts of schemes for the relief of my young friend, and wondering how I could manage to have some conversation with him on the subject; when a circumstance occurred, which at once enabled me not only to learn all I was anxious to know, but also in a great measure to improve his condition on board the 'Neptune.'
"I knew that Frederic must have been trained up in the fear of the Lord, for his daily conduct testified that he not only knew what was right, but tried to perform it also; and notwithstanding the severe trials he had to undergo, while with us on the voyage to Jamaica, yet I never heard a harsh or disrespectful expression fall from his lips; but he would attribute all the captain's unkind treatment of him to something wrong in himself, and he every day tried beyond his strength to obtain a look of approbation from his stern master. But, alas! he knew not to whom he looked; although he was cuffed and kicked about whenever he tried to be brisk in the task allotted to him, he was always the same patient, melancholy little fellow, throughout the voyage.
"Sometimes during the night watch, I have caught the musical tones of his voice, as he walked the quarter-deck; when, the captain being in his berth fast asleep, the boy was comparatively happy; and as the ship sailed quietly along in the pale moonlight, his thoughts would wander back to the home of his beloved mother and sister, and, the buoyancy of youthful spirits gaining the ascendency over more melancholy musings, he would for a while forget his present sorrows, and almost involuntarily break out in singing some of the sweet hymns in which he had been accustomed to join when the little family assembled for devotional exercises.
"It was then I used to open my cabin window, and breathlessly listen to the clear voice of my gentle protégé; and not unfrequently could even distinguish the words he sang; now loud—now soft, as he approached or retreated. One hymn in particular seemed to be a special favorite, and was so applicable to his situation, that I have remembered several of the verses.
"'Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow thee:
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I've sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition,—
God and heaven are still my own!
"'Man may trouble and distress me;
'Twill but drive me to thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh! 'tis not in grief to harm me,
While thy love is left to me!
Oh! 'twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.
"'Take, my soul, thy full salvation;
Rise o'er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station
Something still to do or bear!
Think what Spirit dwells within thee;
What a Father's smile is thine;
What thy Saviour did to win thee,—
Child of Heav'n, should'st thou repine?
"'Haste then on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer;
Heaven's eternal day's before thee;
Heaven's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission;
Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.'"
EMMA. "What a beautiful hymn, grandmamma. I should like to learn those words. But I want to hear how you got Frederic away from that horrid man, and what became of him afterwards, because I cannot understand why you are telling us this story. I know you never tell us anything for amusement only."
GRANDY. "No, my dear child; this story is not solely for your amusement. This morning I observed a strangeness in George's behavior, when he was requested to put up his microscope, and assist in laying the cloth, because John was out, and he was aware that Hannah had sprained her foot, and could not walk up and down stairs. He said such extraordinary things about being ill-used, and worked hard, and never having an hour to amuse himself, that I am desirous of convincing him that it is quite possible (with God's assistance) not only to bear all this, without thinking it a shame, as George termed it, but even to praise God for the troubles and trials which may fall to your lot; and I also wish to inform him, that there are some boys more patient and grateful than himself. But I see, by the color mounting to his cheeks, that my boy is sorry for his past behavior; nevertheless, I will continue my story. And now for the incident, as I presume you will call it, Emma.
"We were about a week's voyage from Jamaica. The wind was favorable, but light, the sky clear, the sun directly overhead;—we were all beginning to feel the effects of a warm climate; the sailors were loosely clad in canvass trousers, striped shirts, and straw hats, and went lazily about their work;—the ship moved as lazily through the rippling waves;—the man at the helm drew his hat over his eyes, to shade them from the glare of the sun, and lounged listlessly upon the wheel;—the captain was below taking a nap, to the great relief of men and boys;—some of the passengers were sitting on the poop, under an awning, drowsily perusing a book or old newspaper; some leaning on the taffrail, watching the many-colored dolphin, and those beautiful, but spiteful, little creatures, the Portuguese men-of-war, which look so splendid as they sail gently on the smooth surface of the blue ocean, every little ripple causing a change of color in their transparent sails. I was admiring these curious navigators, as I stood with two or three friends, who, like myself, felt idle, and cared only to dispose of the time in the most agreeable manner attainable in such a ship, with such a commander; and I said, rather thoughtlessly, considering Frederic was at my side, 'How I should like to possess one of those little creatures; I suppose they can be caught?'
"Frederic moved from me, and an instant after he was on the forecastle; presently, I heard a splash in the water, and, leaning over the rail, I saw him swimming after a fine specimen, which shone in all the bright and varied colors of the rainbow, as it floated proudly by. He had no sooner reached the treasure, and made a grasp at it, than he gave a loud scream, for the creature had encircled the poor boy's body with its long fibrous legs, or, as they are properly called, 'tentacula'. He struggled violently, for he was in great agony; at length he escaped, and was helped on deck by one of the men, who said, he wished, 'he had known what the youngster had in his head, and he would have prevented him attempting to catch such a thing,' for he was aware of the extraordinary peculiarities of these singular little creatures. When he came on deck, he looked exactly as if he had been rolled in a bed of nettles, and the steward had to rub him with oil, and give him medicine to reduce the fever caused by the pain of the sting.
"You may be sure, that directly the captain heard of this affair, he was more disposed to chastise, than to pity, our friend Frederic; but I interfered, and begged he would leave him to me, as I had been the cause of the disaster, and must now make amends by attending him, until he was well enough to return to his duty. The captain was very much displeased, and I regretted extremely that a foolish wish of mine should have caused so much annoyance, and felt it my duty to endeavor to alleviate the boy's sufferings as much as possible. Poor Frederic! he was laid up three or four days, and had experienced enough to caution him against ever again attempting to capture a 'Portuguese man-of-war.'
"I used to sit by his hammock for hours talking and reading to him; when one day, as I closed my book to leave him, he said with a sigh, while tears filled his eyes, 'I am very grateful to you, madam, for your kindness to me: you have been a friend when I most needed one; how my dear mother would love you if she knew what you had done for her boy. But I do not deserve that any one should love me; I have been wilful and disobedient, and my sorrows are not half so great as, in justice for my wickedness, they ought to be; but every day proves to me that God is long-suffering and merciful, and doeth us good continually. I have thanked him often and often for making you love me, and I feel so happy that in the midst of my trials, God has raised me up a friend to cheer me in the path of duty; to teach me how to correct my faults; and to sympathize with me in my daily sorrows. God will bless you for it, madam,' he continued: 'he will bless you for befriending the orphan in his loneliness; and my mother will bless you, and pray God to shower his mercies thick and plenteous on you all the days of your life.' He paused, and, burying his face in the scanty covering of his bed, he wept unrestrainedly. I was hastening away, for my heart was full, and the effort to check my tears almost choked me; when he raised his head, and, stretching his hand towards me, said, 'I want to tell you something more, madam, if you will not think me bold; but my heart reproaches me every time I see your kind face; I feel as if I were imposing upon you, and fancy that, did you know more about me, you would deem me unworthy of your interest and attention. May I relate to you all I can remember of myself before I came here? It will be such a comfort to have some person near me, who will allow me to talk of those I love, without ridiculing me, and calling me "home-sick."'
"This was the very point at which I had been for some time aiming, as I did not wish to ask him for the particulars, not knowing whether the question might wound his feelings; but now that he offered to tell me, I was delighted, and readily answered his appeal, assuring him nothing would give me greater pleasure than to hear an account of himself from his own lips: 'But,' I added, 'I cannot wait now, for they are striking "eight bells:" I must go in to dinner: after dinner I will come to you again, and listen to all you have to say; so farewell for the present, my dear boy, in an hour's time I will be with you.'
"As soon as dinner was over, I returned to Frederic: he looked so pleased, I shall never forget the glow that overspread his fair face, as I entered the berth, for he was really handsome; his eyes were bright hazel, his hair auburn, and waving over his head in the most graceful curls, while his complexion was the clearest and most beautiful I had ever seen. I found a seat on a chest near his hammock, and, telling him I was ready to attend to his narrative, he began:—
"'The first impression I have of home was when I was about five years old, and was surrounded by a little troop of brothers and sisters, for I can remember when there was seven healthy, happy children in my "boyhood's home." We lived at Feltham, Middlesex, in the pretty parsonage-house. It was situated at the end of a long avenue of elm-trees whose arching boughs, meeting over our heads, sheltered us from the mid-day glare. Here in the winter we used to trundle our hoops; and in the summer stroll about to gather bright berries from the hedges to make chains for the adornment of our bowers. But death came to our happy home, and made sad the hearts of our good parents: the whooping-cough was very prevalent in the village, and a child of one of the villagers, who occasionally came to my father for relief, brought the contagion amongst us, and in a short time we were all seized with it. Two sisters died in one day, and the morning they were laid in the grave, sweet baby breathed his last. Then my mother fell sick, and she was very ill indeed; my brother and I were placed in a cot by her bedside, and when pain has prevented me sleeping, I have been comforted by hearing this dear, kind mother beseeching God to spare her boys. She seemed regardless of her own sufferings, and only repined when she thought how useful she might have been to us, had she too not been laid on a bed of sickness. But fever and delirium came on, and we were removed from her chamber. The next day poor Frank died, and was buried by the side of Clara and Lucy. The funeral service was read by my dear father, who was enabled to stand under all these trials of his faith, for God sustained him; and, having trained us up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, he did not grieve as one without hope, when his darlings were taken from him, for he knew they were gone to a better world, and were happy in the bosom of their heavenly Father. His greatest trial was the illness of my mother; but before we were all quite well, she was able to leave her chamber, and once again kneel with us at our family altar, to return thanks to God for his many mercies. There were only three of her seven children left to her, and when my father blessed God that they were not rendered childless, my mother's feelings overpowered her, and she was borne fainting from the room.
"'But I fear I am tiring you with these melancholy accounts, madam. You know not how deeply I enjoy the recollection of those days, for through this wilderness of sorrow there was a narrow stream of happiness placidly gliding, to which we could turn amidst the troubles of the world, and refresh our fainting souls; and, though we grieved at the remembrance of the loved ones now gone from us, yet we would not have recalled them to these scenes of woe, to share future troubles with us. Oh no! my dear father was a faithful follower of Christ; he used to show us so many causes for thankfulness in our late afflictions, which he said were "blessings in disguise," that happiness and tranquillity were soon restored to our home.
"'Two or three years glided by, and when I was eleven years old, my father, one day, called me into his study, and, looking seriously at me, said, "Frederic, my child, God has been very good to you; he has spared your life through many dangers; you, of all my sons, only remain to me, and may your days be many and prosperous! Now, what can you render unto the Lord for all his mercies towards you; ought not the life God has so graciously spared be in gratitude consecrated to his service? Tell me what you think in this matter. I speak thus early, my dear Frederic, because I wish you to consider well, before you are sent from home, what are to be your future plans; for as life is uncertain, and none of us know the day nor the hour in which the summons may arrive, I should feel more happy, were I assured that you would tread in my footsteps when I am gone; that you, my only boy," and he clasped me in his arms as he spoke, "that you would be a comfort to your mother and sisters, when my labors are ended, and would carry on the work which I have begun in this portion of the Lord's vineyard, and His blessing and the blessing of a fond father will ever attend your steps."
"'I raised my eyes to my father's face, and, for the first time, noticed how pale and haggard he looked; all the bright and joyous expression of his countenance when in health had given place to a mild and melancholy shade of sadness, which affected me painfully; for the thought struck me that my father was soon to be called away.
"'I evaded answering his question, and when he found I did not reply, he said, "My son, let us ask the direction of Almighty God in this great work." I knelt with him, and was lost in admiration. I could not remove my eyes from his face during the prayer; his whole soul seemed absorbed in communion with God, and as I gazed, I wondered what the glorious angels must be like, when the face of my beloved father, while here on earth, looked so exquisitely lovely, glowing in the beauty of holiness.
"'For several days, the conversation in the study was continually in my mind; I could think of nothing else. I did not like the profession well enough to have chosen it myself, for I disliked retirement; but after an inward struggle, betwixt my inclination and my duty, I resolved, that, to please my father, I would study for the church. One day, my godfather, Captain Hartly, came to see us, and he took great notice of me. He asked me if I should like to go to sea? Then he told me such fine things about life in the navy, and on board ship, that my wavering mind fired at his descriptions, and I determined to be a sailor, for such a life would be more congenial to my feelings than the quiet life of a country clergyman. I did not mention this to my father, for he was ill, and I feared to grieve him; nevertheless, had he asked me, I should certainly have opened my heart to him without dissimulation. I often fretted when I thought how sorry he would be to hear that I did not care to be engaged in the service of his Master; when one morning, as I was lying in bed, a servant came into my room, and desired me to hasten to my father's chamber, to receive his blessing, for he was dying.
"'I did hasten. I know not how I got there. I rushed into his arms, I threw myself on his neck, and felt as if I too must die. He was too much exhausted to speak; but he placed his hand on my head, and, slightly moving his lips, the expression of his features told, in plain language, that his heart was engaged in prayer. He was praying, and for me,—me, his unworthy son, and when I considered that I could not comply with his wishes without being a hypocrite, I thought my heart would burst. For several minutes, was my dear father thus occupied; then, turning to my weeping mother, who was kneeling by the bedside, he softly uttered her name. Alas! it was with his parting breath, for gently, as an infant falls asleep on the bosom of its nurse, did my revered parent fall asleep in the arms of that Saviour who had been his guide and comforter through life, and who accompanied him through the dark valley, and by his presence made bright the narrow path which leads to the abode of the redeemed.
"'The only earthly friend we had to look to, in our bereavement, was Captain Hartly; and he could only promise to assist me if I would enter the navy, or go on board a merchant-ship. My poor mother objected to this, and I remained at home another twelvemonth, and again mourned the loss of a dear relative. My sister Bertha fell a victim to consumption, exactly nine months after the death of my lamented father. It was cruel to leave my mother under such circumstances, particularly as she remonstrated with me so earnestly on my project of going to sea, and offered to make any sacrifice, if I would consent to go to college, and follow out my father's plans. But my heart was fixed; and every visit from my godfather tended to inflame me still more with a longing for a sea-faring life; and, at length, I told him I was willing to be bound apprentice to a captain of a merchant-ship, rather than lose the chance of going to sea. He eagerly embraced the offer, and in a few weeks the affair was settled satisfactorily for all parties but my dear mother and sister. Marian wept bitterly when the letter came which concluded the arrangements, and informed me what day to be on board. My mother went to see the captain, and entreated him to be kind to me. But she knew not the disposition of the man to whose care I was entrusted, or I am sure nothing would have induced her to consent to my plans. I dare say it is all for the best. I shall, perhaps, learn my duty better with Captain Simmons than I should have done with a kinder master. It is well my mother knows nothing of this; for, even believing I should be treated with the utmost kindness, the separation was almost more than she had fortitude to bear, and she bade me farewell nearly heart-broken. I have never ceased to regret that I preferred my own will to the authority of my parents; I deserve all I suffer, and much more, for my rebellion against them. This, madam, is all I have to tell you. I hope you will not cast me off, because I have been so self-willed; for here I have no friend to aid me, and I still feel the same desire for my present mode of life. I am quite sure I am not suited for a clergyman; but I do not think I could live long with this captain. If I could get shipped in another vessel, with a master not quite so severe, in a little time I should be able to work for money, and assist my dear mother; and if she saw me occasionally, and knew I was well and happy, she would be content and thankful.'
"Such was Frederic's simple account of himself. In five days we came in sight of Port Royal, and anchored off there during the night: the next day we went ashore, and my brother Herbert, who was a merchant in Kingston, was ready to receive me, and welcome me to his house.
"I took the earliest opportunity of speaking to him concerning Frederic: he promised to make some arrangement for the boy's advantage, and he fulfilled his promise. He got him transferred to the 'Albatross,' Captain Hill, a kind, gentlemanly man. There Frederic remained for several years, and gained such approbation by his exemplary conduct, that, at length, he became first mate, and afterwards (on the death of Captain Hill) master.
"A few years back, Captain Hartly died; leaving him considerable property. He made it his first business to settle his mother comfortably, and she is now residing with Marian (who married a surgeon,) in St. John's Wood. He next purchased a ship, and has already made six voyages in her to the West Indies; so that you see all things have prospered with Frederic Hamilton, because 'he feared the Lord always.' I hear from him after every voyage, and have seen him several times since he became a great man and a ship-owner; but he is not altered in one respect, for he is still the same grateful, affectionate creature as when I first met him on board the 'Neptune.' His story proves the truth of the text, 'I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging their bread.'"
Mr. and Mrs. Wilton were as much pleased as the children with this little story of Grandy's reminiscences. "And now, George," said Mr. Wilton, "carry my drawings into the study, for I hear John coming up-stairs with the supper."
George collected his papa's pencils and paper. Emma folded up the cotton frock she had been making for one of her young pupils in the Sunday-school, locked her work-box, cleared the table of all signs of their recent occupation, and took her seat by the side of her brother.
The children were not allowed except on particular occasions to sit up after ten o'clock; but as it was Mr. Wilton's wish that they should be present night and morning at family prayers he always had supper about nine o'clock, to give them time for their devotions before retiring to rest.
Supper over, the domestics were summoned, and, having humbly petitioned for pardon and grace, they besought the protection of Almighty God during the night season; then, with hearts filled with love to God, and good-will towards all men, they retired to their several apartments, and silence reigned throughout the house.
Beautiful, sublime and glorious;
Mild, majestic, foaming, free;—
Over time itself victorious,
Image of eternity.
Every day throughout the following week the young folks were busily engaged. It is needless to specify the nature of their occupations, or the reason of their untiring industry: it will be sufficient for their credit to mention that they did not work with the foolish desire of ostentatiously displaying a larger portion of information than the rest of the party, but really because they were fond of study; and as they advanced in knowledge, they became more sensible of their own comparative ignorance, and more anxious to learn. They made no parade of their own abilities; were equally gratified at the meetings, whether they were required to speak, or be silent; and no evil passions disturbed their repose, when they heard other members more praised than themselves. To prove this, the young lady to whom Emma had decidedly given the preference amongst her companions, was three years her senior, had nearly completed her education, and was a clever intelligent girl; consequently, it was very probable that she would far surpass her in knowledge, and be in fact more serviceable to the society than Emma ever had been, or could hope to be, for some time to come. But Emma's heart was a stranger to the wicked feeling of jealousy; it was overflowing with kindness; and she was delighted that she knew a person so agreeable, and so efficient to introduce, and thought how admirably they would travel "o'er the glad waters of the bright blue sea," if all the new members were as well qualified as Dora Leslie.
Day after day passed, and every day added to their stores, for they devoted at least two hours of their recreation to the pleasant and profitable occupation of making discoveries in the great oceans and smaller seas; and when they closed their books, it was with a sigh, that they were obliged to leave this interesting study to attend to other business of equal importance.
On the evening of the 7th instant the large round table in the front drawing-room presented a formidably learned appearance, covered with maps, papers, and books, and surrounded with chairs placed at convenient distances for the accommodation of the members of the Geographical Society.
They were to take tea in another apartment that evening, to give them an opportunity of arranging the requisite documents before the party assembled, and thereby prevent much trouble and confusion.
George's blue eyes sparkled with joy, as he carefully folded his large paper of notes, and placed it in an Atlas; and then, for the first time, he confessed that he felt very curious to see the "new members."
They had scarcely concluded their arrangements, when there was a knocking at the hall-door, and, seizing his sister's hand, George hurried down stairs.
The arrivals were shortly announced; for strange to say, the two young friends arrived at the same instant. John opened the parlor door, and ushered in "Miss Dora Leslie,"—"Master Charles Dorning."
These young people never having previously met at Mr. Wilton's house, as members of his Geographical Society, it seemed necessary that there should be a formal introduction,—at least, so thought George; and as he proposed it, they required him to perform the ceremony, which he did in a most facetious way, affixing the initials M.G.S. after every name.
They were all seated around the cheerful fire, laughing heartily, when again John threw open the door, and announced "Mr. Barraud." Immediately their mirth was checked, for to the younger folks this gentleman was a total stranger. Mr. Wilton advanced to greet his friend, and Mrs. Wilton and Grandy both appeared delighted to see him: they conversed together some time, until tea was ready, when the conversation became more general, and our little friends were occasionally required to give an opinion.
Before I proceed any farther, I should like to make you acquainted with Charles Dorning and Dora Leslie. Perhaps if I give you a slight sketch of their personal appearance, you could contrive to form a tolerably correct estimate of their characters from the conversations in which they both figured to such advantage at the evening meetings held in the drawing-room of Mr. Wilton's hospitable mansion.
Charles Dorning—No! We ought to describe the lady first. Dora Leslie was fourteen years of age; a gentle, quiet girl, with a meek yet intelligent countenance, which spoke of sorrow far beyond her years; and a decided expression of placidity, which none but the people of God wear, was stamped upon her delicate features and glowing in her mild blue eye. She had been in early childhood encompassed by the heavy clouds of worldly sorrow: she had wept over the tomb of both her parents; but now that she could think calmly of her afflictions, she could kiss the rod which chastened her, and praise God for thus testifying his exceeding love towards a sinful child. Her trials had indeed been sanctified to her; they had changed, but not saddened, her heart; for she was at the time of her visit to the Wiltons a cheerful, happy girl, delighting in the innocent amusements suitable to her age, though ever ready to turn all events to the advantage of her fellow-creatures, and the glory of her God. But I am telling you more than I intended. I was only to describe her person, and here I am giving a full, true, and particular account of the beauties of her mind also. Well, I trust you will excuse me; for the mind and the body are so nearly connected, that it is impossible to give a just idea of the graces of one without in some degree touching upon the merits of the other. I will now turn to Charles Dorning, as I think I have said enough of Dora Leslie to induce you to regard her with friendliness.
Charles Dorning was a fine romping boy of eleven years; he had no bright flaxen curls like our friend George, but straight dark hair, which, however, was so glossy and neat that no person thought it unbecoming. His eyes were the blackest I ever saw, and so sparkling when animated with merriment, that it was impossible to resist their influence, and maintain a serious deportment if he were inclined to excite your risibility. Charles was a merry boy, but so innocent in his mirth, that Mr. Wilton was always pleased to have him for his son's companion, knowing by observation that his mirth was devoid of mischief, and that he possessed a most inquiring mind, which urged George on to the attainment of much solid knowledge that would be greatly serviceable to him in after years.
I flatter myself you will, from this slight sketch, be able to form some idea of the "new members," and regard them as old acquaintances, as you already do Emma and George.
While they were drinking tea, there was an animated conversation, which still continued when the meal was over, until the tray had disappeared, and John had brushed the crumbs from the table; when Mrs. Wilton said, "Suppose we adjourn into the next room, and commence business"
There was a general move, and in a few moments the table was surrounded, and each person preparing to enjoy the evening's occupation. Miss Leslie seated George next to her, because she could assist him considerably in finding places on the maps; and Charles Dorning was gallant enough to offer to point out the localities for Emma. Thus they were arranged. Grandy only was away from the table: she was in her customary seat by the fire, with the pussy at her feet, and her fingers nimbly engaged on a par à tête, which she was knitting with extraordinary facility considering her age and impaired vision.
"Who is to commence?" inquired Mr. Wilton. "Emma, what have you prepared?"
EMMA. "Dora is to begin, papa, and my paper will be required presently."
MR. WILTON. "Very well. We are all ready, Dora, and most attentive. I think, as we have hitherto commenced with our own quarter of the world, it would be more systematic to do so now. Are you prepared for the seas of Europe?"
DORA. "I will readily impart all I have prepared, sir, and be thankful to listen to the rest.
"Europe is bounded on the north by the frozen ocean, south by the Mediterranean sea, east by Asia, and west by the Atlantic ocean. Seas being smaller collections of water than oceans, I have selected them for our first consideration, and, thinking the Mediterranean the most important of Europe, I have placed it at the head of my list. This sea separates Europe from Africa, and is the largest inland sea in the world. It contains some beautiful islands, and washes the shores of many countries planted with the myrtle, the palm, and the olive, and famous both in history and geography as scenes of remarkable adventures, warfares, and discoveries. Numerous rivers from Italy, Turkey, Spain, and France empty their waters into this great sea. Africa sends a contribution from the mighty Nile, that valuable river which is of such inestimable benefit to the Egyptians.
"The principal islands in the Mediterranean are Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Candia, Cyprus, Rhodes, Majorca, Minorca, and Iviza. There are scores of smaller isles, such as Malta, Zante, Cephalonia (the two latter are included in the Ionian isles); but it would be endless work to particularize each spot of earth fertile or otherwise, inhabited or uninhabited in every sea, unless there be something positively interesting connected with them, or something important to be known concerning them. I believe Mrs. Wilton undertakes to supply the particulars of which we are in need with respect to the various islands already specified. Therefore I close my paper for the present"
MRS. WILTON. "Sicily, formerly called Trinacria, from its triangular shape, is separated from Italy by the Straits of Messina, which are seven miles across. In these straits were the ancient Scylla and Charybdis, long regarded as objects of terror; but now, owing to the improved state of navigation, they are of little consequence, and have ceased to excite fears in the hearts of the poor mariners. The chief towns of Sicily are Messina, Palermo, and Syracuse. In the middle of this island stands the famous burning mountain Etna.
"Of Sardinia, the chief town is Cagliari.
"Corsica is a beautifully wooded country: its capital is Bastia. The great Napoleon Bonaparte was borne at Ajaccio, a sea port in this island."
MR. BARRAUD. "There are two interesting associations with Napoleon to be seen in the Mediterranean off Toulon. One is an old dismantled frigate, which is moored just within the watergates of the basin, and carefully roofed over and painted. She is the 'Muiron,' with an inscription in large characters on the stern, as follows:—'Cette frégate prise à Venise est celle qui ramena Napoleon d'Egypte.' Every boat which passes from the men of war to the town must go immediately under the stern of the Muiron. The hold of the Muiron is at present used as a dungeon for the forçats or galley-slaves who misbehave.
"The next association with the Emperor is a stately frigate in deep mourning, painted entirely black, which claims the distinction of having brought the remains of Napoleon to France. 'La belle Poule' is the pride of French frigates."
MRS. WILTON. "Candia is the ancient Crete: it is a fine fertile island, about 160 miles Jong, and 30 broad. The famous mount Ida of heathen mythology (now only a broken rock) stands here, with many other remains of antiquity; and through nearly the whole length of this island runs the chain of White Mountains, so called on account of their snow coverings. The island abounds with cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, and game, all excellent; and the wine made there is balmy and delicious. The people of Candia were formerly celebrated for their want of veracity; St. Paul alludes to their evil habits in the first chapter of his epistle to Titus, where he says, 'The Cretians are always liars.' There are some remarkably ugly dogs in Candia, which seem to be a race between the wolf and the fox.
"Cyprus contains the renowned Paphos: it is not quite so long an island as Candia, but it is ten miles broader.
"Rhodes is fifty miles long, and twenty-five broad. At the north of the harbor stood the celebrated colossus of brass, once reckoned one of the wonders of the world. It was placed with a foot on either side of the harbor, so that ships in full sail passed between its legs. This enormous statue was 130 feet high; it was thrown down by an earthquake, and afterwards destroyed, and taken to pieces in the year A.D. 653.
"Of Majorca I have little to say: its chief town is Majorca.
"Port Mahon is the capital of Minorca; and Iviza is the principal town in the island of that name.
GEORGE. "Excuse me for interrupting you, dear mamma; but I wish Grandy to tell me if Malta is the same island as the Melita mentioned in the 28th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Paul was shipwrecked?"
GRANDY. "Yes, my dear; it is commonly supposed to be the same. It is a very rocky island, inhabited by a people whom most modern travellers describe as very selfish, very insincere, and very superstitious. The population amounts to upwards of 63,000. In the days of St. Paul, the inhabitants were, without doubt, an uncivilized race, for he calls them a barbarous people! 'And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.' Here it was that from the circumstance of St. Paul experiencing no evil effects from the viper clinging to his hand, that the people concluded him to be a god; here too he was allowed to perform many mighty works, such as healing the sick, &c., which caused him to be 'honored with many honors;' and 'when they departed, they were laden with the bounty of the people.' Can any one of you young folks tell me the name of the chief town in this little island?"
"Yes, madam," replied Charles, "I know it; it is Valetta, so named from the noble Provençal Valette, who, after vainly endeavoring to defend the holy sepulchre from the defilements of the infidels, was by them driven with his faithful Christian army from island to island, until he ultimately planted the standard of the cross on this sea-girt rock, and bravely and successfully withstood the attacks of his enemies. Malta was given to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1530 by the Emperor Charles V., when the Turks drove them out of Rhodes. They have since been called 'Knights of Malta.' The island is in possession of the English."
DORA. "And so are the Ionian Islands, which include Zante, Cephalonia, and St. Maura: they are all pretty spots near the coast of Greece."
MR. WILTON. "In the Mediterranean Sea lays the largest ship in the world, the 'Mahmoud:' it is floating off Beyrout."
"I can tell you, papa," said George, "the size of the largest ship in the time of Henry VIII.; it was called the 'Henri Grace à Dieu,' and was of 1000 tons burthen; it required 349 soldiers, 301 sailors, and 50 gunners to man her."
MR. WILTON. "That was the first double-decked ship built in England; it cost £14,000, and was completed in 1509. Before this, twenty-four gun-ships were the largest in our navy; and these had no port-holes, the guns being on the upper decks only. Port-holes were invented by Descharges, a French builder at Brest, in the year 1500."
CHARLES. "That was a useful and simple invention enough: it must have been very inconvenient to have all the guns on the upper decks; besides, there could not be space for so many as the vessels of war carry now. Pray what is the size of a first-rate man-of-war, and how many guns does she carry?"
MR. BARRAUD. "The 'Caledonia,' built at Plymouth in 1808, is 2616 tons burthen, carries 120 guns, and requires 875 men without officers. You can imagine the size of a vessel that could contain so many men. But all are not so large: that is a first-rate: there are some sixth-rate, which only carry twenty guns, are not more than 400 tons burthen, and their complement of men is only 155. The intermediate ships, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th rate, vary in every respect according to their size, and are classed according to their force and burthen. Only first and second-rate men-of-war have three decks. Ships of the line include all vessels up to the highest rate, and not lower than the frigate."
GEORGE. "How I should like to have a fleet of ships. Will you buy me more, dear papa, when I have rigged the 'Stanley?' I am getting on very fast with her; Emma has stitched all the sails, and only three little men remain to be dressed; while I have cut the blocks, and set the ropes in order. It will look very handsome when it is quite finished; but a miniature fleet would be beautiful to launch on the lake at Horbury next summer. If I rig this vessel properly, may I have some others of different sizes, with port-holes to put cannon in? The 'Stanley,' you know, is a merchantman; but now I want some men-of-war."
MR. WILTON. "My dear, when your friend sent you the 'Stanley,' do you remember how delighted you were, and the remark you made at the time? I have not forgotten your exclamation—'Now I am a ship-owner! I should be quite satisfied if I were a man to possess one vessel to cross the great ocean, and bring all sorts of curiosities from foreign lands. I should not care to have half a dozen, because they would be a great deal of trouble to me, and would make me anxious and unhappy.' How quickly you have changed your opinion. I fear that if you had a little fleet, your desires would not be checked, for you would, after a while, be wishing for large ships, and real men, and, instead of being a contented ship-owner, would not be satisfied with any station short of the Lord High Admiral. I do not think it would be wise in me to gratify your desires in this matter, for then I should be like the foolish father of whom Krummacher relates a story."
"Oh! what is it, papa," inquired George: "will you tell us?"
MR. WILTON. "A father returned from the sea-coast to his own home, and brought with him, for his son, some beautiful shells, which he had picked up on the shore. The delight of the boy was great. He took them, and sorted them, and counted them over. He called all his playfellows, to show them his treasures; and they could talk of nothing but the beautiful shells. He daily found new beauties, and gave each of them a name. But in a few months, the boy's father said to himself, 'I will now give him a still higher pleasure; I will take him to the coast of the sea itself; there he will see thousands more of beautiful shells, and may choose for himself.' When they came to the beach, the boy was amazed at the multitude of shells that lay around, and he went to and fro and picked them up. But one seemed still more beautiful than another, and he kept always changing those he had gathered for fresh shells. In this manner he went about changing, vexed, and out of humor with himself. At length, tired of stooping and comparing, and selecting, he threw away all he had picked up, and, returning home weary of shells, he gave away all those which had afforded him so much pleasure. Then his father was sorry, and said, 'I have acted unwisely; the boy was happy in his small pleasures, and I have robbed him of his simplicity, and both of us of a gratification.' Now, my boy, does not this advise you to be content with such things as you have? King Solomon says, 'Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith;' and surely your trouble would be largely increased were you to have a whole fleet of ships to rig and fit up against next summer; and I rather think Emma would be bringing forward various objections, as her time would be required to prepare the sails and dress the sailors."
"Indeed, dear papa," said Emma, "I have had quite enough trouble with his 'merchantman,' for George is so very particular. I am sure I could not dress the marines for a man-of-war: they require an immense deal of care in fitting their clothes: loose trousers and check shirts are easy to make, but tight jackets and trousers, with all the other et ceteras required to dress a marine, would be more than I should like to undertake, as I feel convinced I could not do it to the admiral's satisfaction."
CHARLES. "George, shall I give you the dictionary definition of an admiral?"
GEORGE. "I know what an admiral is. He is an officer of the first rank; but I do not know what the dictionary says."
CHARLES. "Then I will tell you how to distinguish him: according to Falconer, an admiral may be distinguished by a flag displayed at his main-top-gallant-mast-head."
This caused a burst of merriment, when Emma exclaimed, "That sounds very droll, Charles, but I understand it: it refers to the admiral's ship, does it not, papa?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes, my dear. The Sicilians were the first by whom the title was adopted in 1244: they took it from the Eastern nations, who often visited them. Well, George, do not you think you had better be content with your merchant-ship, because, then, you can reckon on Emma's services?"
GEORGE. "I will try, papa, to exercise my patience on the 'Stanley,' and be satisfied to read of the men-of-war. Now, dear papa, I want to know if the Mediterranean has ever been frozen over like the Thames?"
MR. WILTON. "Not exactly like the Thames, but it has been frozen. In the year 1823, the Mediterranean was one sheet of ice; the people of the south never experienced so severe a winter, or, if they did, there is no mention made of it in history."
EMMA. "Ought not Venice, being nearly or totally surrounded by water, to be included in the islands of the Mediterranean?"
MRS. WILTON. "It is not in the Mediterranean, my dear, but situated to the north of the Adriatic Sea, which sea is undoubtedly connected with the Mediterranean, as are many other seas and gulfs; for instance, we may include the Archipelago or Egean Sea, the Sea of Marmora, the Gulf of Tarento, and the first-mentioned, the Adriatic Sea, or Gulf of Venice, the mouth of which is also called the Ionian Sea; and I cannot tell you how many smaller gulfs, or, more properly speaking, bays, beside; for in the Archipelago alone there are no fewer than eleven. However, while we are so near, it may be of some advantage to take a peep at Venice, 'the dream-like city of a hundred isles:' that expression is a poetical exaggeration, for Venice is built upon seventy-two small islands. Over the several canals, are laid nearly five hundred bridges, most of them built of stone. The Rialto was once considered the largest single-arched bridge in the world, and is well known to English readers from the work of our greatest dramatist, Shakspeare,—the 'Merchant of Venice,' and from 'Venice Preserved,' written by the unhappy poet Otway, who died of starvation. Although no longer the brilliant and prosperous city, from whose stories Shakspeare selected such abundant subjects for his pen, there is yet much to admire and wonder at. On the great canal, which has a winding course between the two principal parts of the city, are situated the most magnificent of the great houses, or palaces as they are termed; some of them of a beautiful style of architecture, with fronts of Istrian marble, and containing valuable collections of pictures. The canals penetrate to every part of the town, so that almost every house has a communication by a landing-stair, leading directly into the house by one way, and on to the water by another. The place of coaches is supplied by gondolas, which are light skiffs with cabins, in which four or five persons can sit, covered and furnished with a door and glass windows like a carriage. They are propelled by one man standing near the stern, with a single oar, which he pushes, moving the boat in the same direction as he looks. Those persons who are not rich enough to possess a gondola of their own, hire them, as we do cabs, when they require to go abroad. The Venetian territories are as fruitful as any in Italy, abounding with vineyards, and mulberry plantations. Its chief towns are Venice (which I have described), Padua, Verona, Milan, Cremona, Lodi, and Mantua. Venice was once at the head of the European naval powers; 'her merchants were princes, and her traffickers the honorable of the earth,' but now—
"'Her pageants on the sunny waves are gone,
Her glory lives in memory's page alone.'
"In a beautiful poem written by the lamented Miss Landon, there are some very appropriate lines:—
"'But her glory is departed,
And her pleasure is no more,
Like a pale queen broken-hearted,
Left lonely on the shore.
No more thy waves are cumbered
With her galleys bold and free;
For her days of pride are numbered,
And she rules no more the sea.
Her sword has left her keeping,
Her prows forget the tide,
And the Adriatic, weeping,
Wails round his mourning bride.'
"'In those straits is desolation,
And darkness and dismay—
Venice, no more a nation,
Has owned the stranger's sway.'"
CHARLES. "I have some scraps belonging to the 'tideless sea,' which will come in here very well. The first is the account of the Bosphorus, now called the Canal of Constantinople, situated between the Euxine and the Sea of Marmora. The whole length of it is about seventeen miles, and most delightful excursions are made on it in pretty vessels called 'Caiques.' They rest so lightly on the water, that you are never certain of being 'safely stowed.' The rowers are splendid-looking fellows from two to four in number, each man with two light sculls, and they sit lightly on thwarts on the same level with the gunwale of the caique. Their costume is beautiful; the head covered with the crimson tarbouche, and the long silk tassel dangling over the shoulders; a loose vest of striped silk and cotton, fine as gauze, with wide open collar, and loose flowing sleeves; a brilliant-colored shawl envelops the waist, and huge folds of Turkish trousers extend to the knee; the leg is bare, and a yellow slipper finishes the fanciful costume. In the aft part of this caique is the space allotted for the 'fare,' a crimson-cushioned little divan in the bottom of the boat, in which two persons can lounge comfortably. The finish of the caique is often extraordinary—finest fret-work and moulding, carved and modelled as for Cleopatra. The caiques of the Sultan are the richest boats in the world, and probably the most rapid and easy. They are manned by twenty or thirty oarsmen, and the embellishment, and conceits of ornament are superb. Nothing can exceed the delightful sensation of the motion; and the skill of the rowers in swiftly turning, and avoiding contact with the myriads of caiques is astonishing. My next scrap is about the Hellespont, situated between the Sea of Marmora and the Archipelago: it is broader at the mouth than at any other part; about half-way up, the width is not more than a mile, and the effect is more like a superb river than a strait; its length of forty-three miles should also give it a better claim to the title of a river. In the year 1810, on the 10th of May, Lord Byron accompanied by a friend, a lieutenant on board the 'Salsette,' swam across the Hellespont, from Abydos to Sestos, a distance of four miles; but this was more than the breadth of the stream, and caused principally by the rapidity of the current, which continually carried them out of the way, the stream at this particular place being only a mile in width. It was here also that Leander is reported to have swam every night in the depth of winter, to meet his beloved Hero; and, alas! for both, swam once too often."
MR. WILTON. "Before we sail out of the Mediterranean, I wish to mention the singular loss of the 'Mentor,' a vessel belonging to Lord Elgin, the collector of the Athenian marbles, now called by his name, and to be seen in the British Museum. The vessel was cast away off Cerigo, with no other cargo on board but the sculptures: they were, however, too valuable to be given up for lost, because they had gone to the bottom of the sea. A plan was adopted for recovering them, and it occupied a number of divers three years, before the operations were completed, for the Mentor was sunk in ten fathoms water, and the cases of marble were so heavy as to require amazing skill and good management to be ultimately successful. The cases were all finally recovered, and none of the contents in the least damaged, when they were forwarded to England. The whole cost of these marbles, all expenses included, in the collecting, weighing up, and conveying, is estimated at the enormous sum of 36,000l."
CHARLES. "When was this valuable collection made, sir?"
MR. WILTON. "It was many years in hand. I believe about the year 1799 investigations commenced; but the 'Mentor' was lost in 1802, and the marbles did not all arrive in England until the end of the year 1812; since then an immense number of valuable medals have been added to the collection."
DORA. "May we now sail through the straits of Gibraltar into the Atlantic?"
MR. WILTON. "We must necessarily pass through the straits of Gibraltar to get out of the Mediterranean; but as we proposed to examine into the different situations of the lesser divisions of water, first, we will merely sail through a portion of the Atlantic, and have a little information concerning the Bay of Biscay."
DORA. "The Bay of Biscay washes the shores of France and Spain; but the sea is so very rough there, that I think, were our voyage real instead of imaginary, we should all be anxious to leave this Bay as quickly as possible: and the next name on the list is the British Channel."
EMMA. "I have that. The British Channel is the southern boundary of Great Britain, and extends to the coast of France. The islands in this channel are the Isle of Wight—capital Newport,—Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Sark."
MRS. WILTON. "The Isle of Wight has, from time immemorial, been eulogized for its beautiful scenery. It is about twenty-three miles from east to west, and twelve from north to south. You have all heard of the Needles, which obtained their name from a lofty pointed rock on the western coast, bearing a resemblance to that little implement; and which, with other pieces of rock, had been disjointed from the mainland by the force of the waves. This rock was 120 feet high. About seventy years ago, it fell, and totally disappeared in the sea. The height of the cliffs now standing, is in some places 600 feet, and, when viewed from a distance, they are magnificent in the extreme. In this island her majesty Queen Victoria has a delightful residence.
"Guernsey is the most westerly of the Channel Islands: it is eight miles one way, and six miles the other, very fertile, with a mild and healthy climate. A striking object presents itself on approaching Guernsey, called Castle Cornet, situated on a rock somewhat less than half a mile from the shore, entirely surrounded by water, supposed to have been built by the Romans, and formerly the residence of the governors."
MR. BARRAUD. "I have read a curious description of a most remarkable thunder storm, which visited this place in December, 1672. It is as follows:—
"On Sunday night, about 12 o'clock, the magazine of the castle was blown up with the powder in it by the lightning. The night was very stormy and tempestuous, and the wind blew hard. In an instant of time, not only the whole magazine containing the powder was blown up in the air, but also the houses and lodgings of the castle, particularly some fair and beautiful buildings, that had just before been erected at great expense, under the care and direction of Lord Viscount Hatton (then governor.) who was at the same time within the buildings of the castle, all which buildings were with many others, reduced to a confused heap of stones, and several persons buried in the ruins. In the upper part of the castle, at a place called the New Buildings, was killed by the accident the dowager Lady Hatton, by the fall of the ceiling of her chamber, which fell in four pieces, one of them upon her breast, and killed her on the spot. The Lady Hatton, wife to the governor, was likewise destroyed in the following manner:—Her ladyship, being greatly terrified at the thunder and lightning, insisted (before the magazine blew up,) upon being removed from the chamber she was in to the nursery; where, having caused her woman to come also to be with her, in order to have joined in prayer, in a few minutes after, that noble lady and her woman fell a sacrifice, by one corner of the nursery-room falling in upon them, and were the next morning both found dead. In the same room was also killed a nurse, who was found dead, having my lord's second daughter fast in her arms, holding a small silver cup in her hands, which she usually played with, and which was all rimpled and bruised. Yet the young lady did not receive the least hurt. The nurse had likewise one of her hands fixed upon the cradle, in which lay my lord's youngest daughter, and the cradle was almost filled with rubbish: yet the child received no sort of prejudice. A considerable number of other persons were all destroyed by the same accident."
MRS. WILTON. "What a very remarkable preservation of those little children. Who could deny the finger of God, with such wonderful instances of his Omnipotence before their eyes? Surely such events must shake the tottering foundations of infidelity, and cause the most disbelieving to confess 'The Lord He is God.' Jersey is the next island for consideration; but I know so little of it, that I must refer you to some person better acquainted with the subject."
CHARLES. "I have been to Jersey, madam, and shall be happy to afford you the trifling information I have gained respecting its peculiarities. Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is situated in a deep bay of the French coast, from which it is distant twenty miles. Its extreme length from east to west is twelve miles, its breadth six. The island is fertile and beautiful, it enjoys a mild and salubrious climate; the coast is studded with granite rocks, and indented by small bays, which add greatly to the beauty of the scenery. The chief town is St. Helier's,—its principal trade is with Newfoundland: ship-building is carried on extensively. The natives are kind, but thrifty and parsimonious."
MRS. WILTON. "Thank you, Charles; your description is short, and very much to the purpose. The Channel Islands, I believe, were attached to England, as the private property of William the Conqueror: the French have made several unsuccessful attempts to gain possession of them. The natives are Norman, and the language Norman-French. These islands enjoy a political constitution of their own; exemption from all duties, and various privileges granted them by Royal Charter; they are much attached to the English government, but entirely averse to the French. We will now pass over the other islands, and, 'putting our ship about,' we will stop to view the Eddystone lighthouse."
MR. WILTON. "Before we quit the shores of France, I wish to read you an extract from Leigh Ritchie's Travelling Sketches. You remember in our conversations on the Rivers last winter, that we mentioned the stain that would ever remain on Havre from the prominent part taken by the inhabitants in the dreadful traffic in slaves. The extract I am about to read is from the journal of a youth named Romaine, on board the 'Rodeur,' a vessel of 200 tons, which cleared out of Havre for Guadaloupe, on the 15th January, 1819. The boy writes to his mother, while the vessel lay at Bony in the river Calabar, on the coast of Africa:—'Since we have been at this place, I have become more accustomed to the howling of these negroes. At first it alarmed me, and I could not sleep. The captain says if they behave well they will be much better off at Guadaloupe; and I am sure I wish the ignorant creatures would come quietly, and have it over. To-day, one of the blacks, whom they were forcing into the hold, suddenly knocked down a sailor, and attempted to leap overboard. He was caught, however, by the leg, by another of the crew; and the sailor, rising in a passion, hamstrung him with his cutlass. The captain, seeing this, knocked the butcher flat upon the deck with a handspike. "I will teach you to keep your temper," said he; "he was the best slave of the lot!"' The boy then runs to the chains, and sees the slave who was found to be 'useless,' dropped into the sea, where he continued to swim after he had sunk under the water, making a red track, which broke, widened, faded, and was seen no more. At last they got fairly to sea. The captain is described as being in the best temper in the world; walking the deck, rubbing his hands, humming a tune, and rejoicing that he had six dozen slaves on board; men, women, and children; and all in 'prime marketable condition.' The boy says, their cries were so terrible, that he dare not go and look into the hold; that at first he could not close his eyes, the sound so froze his blood; and that one night he jumped up, and in horror ran to the captain's room; he was sleeping profoundly with the lamp shining upon his face, calm as marble. The boy did not like to disturb him. The next day, two of the slaves were found dead in the hold, suffocated by the foulness of the atmosphere. The captain is informed of this, and orders them in gangs to the forecastle to take the fresh air. The boy runs up on deck to see them; he did not find them so very unwell, but adds, 'that blacks are so much alike that one can hardly tell.' On reaching the ship's side, first one, then another, then a third, of the slaves leaped into the sea, before the eyes of the astonished sailors. Others made the attempt, but were knocked flat on the deck, and the crew kept watch over them with handspikes and cutlasses, until they should receive orders from the captain. The negroes who had escaped, kept gambolling upon the waves, yelling what appeared like a song of triumph, in the burden of which some on deck joined. The ship soon left the 'ignorant creatures' behind, and their voices were heard more and more faint; the black head of one, and then another, disappearing, until the sea was without a spot and the air without a sound. The captain, having finished his breakfast, came on deck, and was informed of the revolt. He grew pale with rage, and, in dread of losing all his cargo, determined to make an example. He selects six from those who had joined in the chorus, has three hanged, and three shot before their companions. That night the boy could not sleep. The negroes, in consequence of the revolt, are kept closer than ever. As a consequence, ophthalmia makes its appearance among them. The captain is compelled to have them between decks, and the surgeon attends them 'just as if they were white men.' All the slaves, then the crew, save one, the captain, surgeon, and mate, the boy, and at last the solitary one of the crew, are stone blind. 'Mother,' says the boy, 'your son was blind for ten days.'
"Some of the crew were swearing from morning till night, some singing abominable songs, some kissing the crucifix and making vows to the saints. The ship in the meanwhile helmless, but with sails set, driving on like the phantom vessel, is assailed by a storm, and the canvass bursts with loud reports, the masts strain and crack, she carrying on her course down the abyss of billows, and being cast forth like a log on the heights of the waters. The storm dies away, when the crew are startled with a sound which proves to be a hail from another vessel. They ask for hands, and are answered with a demand for like assistance. The one crew is too few to spare them, and the other is too blind to go. 'At the commencement of this horrible coincidence,' continues the boy, 'there was a silence among us for some moments, like that of death. It was broken by a fit of laughter in which I joined myself; and before our awful merriment was over, we could hear, by the sound of the curses which the Spaniard shouted against us, that the St. Leo had drifted away.'
"The captain, crew, and some of the slaves gradually recover; some partially, with the loss of an eye, others entirely. The conclusion of the journal must be told in the boy's own words:—
"'This morning the captain called all hands on deck, negroes and all. The shores of Guadaloupe were in sight. I thought he was going to return God thanks publicly for our miraculous escape. "Are you quite certain," said the mate, "that the cargo is insured?" "I am," replied the captain: "every slave that is lost must be made good by the underwriters. Besides, would you have me turn my ship into a hospital for the support of blind negroes? They have cost us enough already; do your duty." The mate picked out the thirty-nine negroes who were completely blind, and, with the assistance of the rest of the crew, tied a piece of ballast to the legs of each. The miserable wretches were then thrown into the sea!'"
Tears glistened in the eyes of the children during the perusal of this melancholy account, and Emma, covering her face with her hands, wept aloud.
"Poor, poor people!" exclaimed George; "oh! how glad I am that the English have no slaves; those wicked captains and sailors deserve to be hanged for treating them so cruelly."
GRANDY. "'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.' These wicked men will one day be called to an awful account for the cruelties exercised on their hapless brethren; and not they alone, but also the purchasers of these wretched slaves, who, when possessed of them, still caused them to groan in bondage and misery; without once considering that negroes also are the work of God's hands, and are made immortal equally with themselves, notwithstanding their different complexion; for 'God is no respecter of persons,' and He takes as much interest in the soul of a poor negro as in that of the greatest white potentate on the earth."
MR. BARRAUD. "The glory of one of our celebrated navigators is tarnished, by not merely a participation in, but by being actually the originator of, the slave-trade in the English dominions. Sir John Hawkins was the first Englishman who engaged in the slave-trade; and he acquired such reputation for his skill and success on a voyage to Guinea made in 1564, that, on his return home, Queen Elizabeth granted him by patent, for his crest, a demi-moor, in his proper color, bound with a cord. It was in those days considered an honorable employment, and was common in most other civilized countries of the world: it was the vice of the age: therefore we must not condemn Sir John Hawkins individually, for it is probable that he merely regarded it as a lucrative branch of trade, and, like the rest of the world at that period, did no consider it as in the slightest degree repugnant to justice or Christianity. I presume our next halting-place will be Portsmouth?"
DORA. "Yes, sir; we are to anchor in Portsmouth harbor, because Charles has an excellent account of the wreck of the 'Royal George,' which, being so immediately connected with this naval town, will be more appropriate here than elsewhere. Will you read it, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Willingly. The narrative is written by one of the
survivors, a Mr. Ingram, who lived many years after, at Wood ford,
"'The "Royal George" was a ship of one hundred guns. In August, 1782, she came to Spithead in a very complete state, so that there was no occasion for the pumps to be touched oftener than once in every three or four days. By the 29th of August she had got six months' provisions on board and also many tons of shot. The ship had her top gallant-yards up, the blue flag of Admiral Kempenfeldt was flying at the mizen, and the ensign was hoisted on the ensign-staff,—and she was to have sailed in about two days, to join the grand fleet in the Mediterranean. It was ascertained that the water-cock must be taken out, and a new one put in. The water-cock is something like a tap of a barrel; it is in the hold of a ship on the starboard side, and at that part of the ship called the well. By turning a handle which is inside the ship, the sea-water is let into a cistern in the hold, and it is from that pumped up to wash the decks. In some ships, the water is drawn up the side in buckets, and there is no water-cock. To get out the old water-cock, it was necessary to make the ship heel so much on her larboard side as to raise the outside of this apparatus above water. This was done at about eight o'clock, on the morning of the 27th August. To do it, the whole of the guns on the larboard side were run out as far as they would go, quite to the breasts of the guns, and the starboard guns drawn in amidships and secured by tackles, two to every gun, one on each side. This brought the water-nearly on a level with the port-holes of the larboard side of the lower gun-deck. The men were working at the water-cock on the outside of the ship for near an hour, the ship remaining all on one side, as I have stated.
"'At about nine o'clock, A.M., or rather before, we had just finished our breakfast, and the last lighter, with rum on board, had come alongside: this vessel was a sloop of about fifty tons, and belonged to three brothers, who used to carry things on board the man-of-war. She was lashed to the larboard side of the "Royal George," and we were piped to clear the lighter, and get the rum out of her, and stow it in the hold of the "Royal George." I was in the waist of our ship, on the larboard side, bearing the rum-casks over, as some of our men were aboard the sloop to sling them.
"'At first no danger was apprehended from the ship being on one side, although the water kept dashing in at the port-holes at every wave; and there being mice in the lower part of the ship, which were disturbed by the water which dashed in, they were hunted in the water by the men, and there had been a rare game going on. However, by nine o'clock the additional quantity of rum aboard the ship, and also the quantity of sea-water which had dashed in through the port-holes, brought the larboard port-holes of the lower gun-deck nearly level with the sea.
"As soon as that was the case, the carpenter went on the quarter-deck to the lieutenant of the watch, to ask him to give orders to "right ship," as the ship could not bear it. However, the lieutenant made him a very short answer, and the carpenter then went below. This officer was the third lieutenant; he had not joined us long: his name I do not recollect; he was a good-sized man, between thirty and forty years of age. The men called him "Jib and-stay-sail-Jack;" for if he had the watch in the night, he would be always bothering the men to alter the sails, and it was "up jib" and "down jib," and "up foresail" and "down foresail," every minute. However, the men considered him more of a troublesome officer than a good one; and, from a habit he had of moving his fingers about when walking the quarter-deck, the men said he was an organ-player from London: but I have no reason to know this was the case. The captain's name was Waghorn. He was on board, but where he was I do not know: however, captains, if anything is to be done when the ship is in harbor, seldom interfere, but leave it all to the officer of the watch. The Admiral was, either in his cabin, or in the steerage (I do not know which); and the barber, who had been to shave him, had just left. The Admiral was a man upwards of seventy years of age; he was a thin tall man, and stooped a good deal.
"'As I have already stated, the carpenter left the quarter-deck and went below. In a very short time he came up again, and asked the lieutenant of the watch to "right ship," and said again that the ship could not bear it. Myself and a good many more were at the waist of the ship and at the gangways, and heard what passed, as we knew the danger, and began to feel aggrieved; for there were some capital seamen aboard, who knew what they were about quite as well or better than the officers.
"'In a very short time, in a minute or two, I should think, Lieutenant (now Admiral Sir P.H.) Durham ordered the drummer to be called to beat to "right ship." The drummer was called in a moment, and the ship was then just beginning to sink. I jumped off the gangway as soon as the drummer was called. There was no time for him to beat his drum, and I do not know that he had even had time to get it. I ran down to my station, and, by the time I had got there, the men were tumbling down the hatchways one over another, to get to their stations as quick as possible to "right ship." My station was at the third gun from the head of the ship, on the starboard side of the lower gun-deck close by where the cable passes. I said to the second captain of our gun whose name was Carrell, (for every gun has a first and second captain, though they are only sailors,) "Let us try to bouse our gun out, without waiting for the drum, as it will help to 'right ship.'" We pushed the gun, but it ran back upon us, and we could not start him. The water then rushed in at nearly all the port-holes of the larboard side of the lower gun-deck, and I directly said to Carrell, "Ned, lay hold of the ring-bolt, and jump out of the port-hole; the ship is sinking, and we shall all be drowned." He laid hold of the ring-bolt, and jumped out at the port-hole into the sea: I believe he was drowned, for I never saw him afterwards. I immediately got out at the same port-hole, which was the third from the head of the ship on the starboard side of the lower gun-deck, and when I had done so, I saw the port-hole as full of heads as it could cram, all trying to get out.
"'I caught hold of the best bower-anchor, which was just above me, to prevent falling back again into the port-hole, and seized hold of a woman who was trying to get out of the same place. I dragged her out. The ship was full of Jews, women, and people, selling all sorts of things. I threw the woman from me, and saw all the heads drop back again in at the port-hole, for the ship had got so much on her larboard side, that the starboard port-holes were as much upright as if the men had tried to get out of the top of a chimney, with nothing for their legs and feet to act upon. I threw the woman from me, and just after that moment, the air that was between decks, drafted out at the port-holes very swiftly. It was quite a huff of wind, and it blew my hat off. The ship then sunk in a moment. I tried to swim, but I could not, although I plunged as hard as I could, both hands and feet. The sinking of the ship drew me down so: indeed, I think I must have gone down within a yard as low as the ship did. When the ship touched the bottom, the water boiled up a great deal, and then I felt that I could swim, and began to rise.
"'When I was about half-way up to the top of the water, I put my right hand on the head of a man who was nearly exhausted. He wore long hair, as did many of the men at that time; he tried to grapple me, and he put his four fingers into my right shoe, alongside the outer edge of my foot. I succeeded in kicking my shoe off, and, putting my hand on his shoulder, I shoved him away: I then rose to the surface of the water.
"'At the time the ship was sinking, there was a barrel of tar on the starboard side of her deck, and that had rolled to the larboard, and staved as the ship went down, and when I rose to the top of the water, the tar was floating like fat on the top of a boiler. I got the tar about my hair and face: but I struck it away as well as I could, and when my head came above water, I heard the cannon ashore firing for distress. I looked about me, and at the distance of eight or ten yards from me, I saw the main topsail halyard block above water: the water was about thirteen fathoms deep, and at that time the tide was coming in. I swam to the main topsail halyard block, got on it, and sat upon it, and then I rode. The fore, main, and mizen tops were all above water, as were a part of the bow-sprit, and part of the ensign-staff, with the ensign upon it.
"'In going down, the mainyard of the "Royal George" caught the boom of the rum-lighter, and sunk her; and there is no doubt that this made the "Royal George" more upright in the water, when sunk, than she otherwise would have been, as she did not lie much more on her beam-ends than small vessels often do, when left dry on a bank of mud.
"'When I got on the main topsail halyard block, I saw the admiral's baker in the shrouds of the mizen-top-mast, and directly after that, the woman, whom I had pulled out of the port-hole, came rolling by: I said to the baker, who was an Irishman, named Robert Cleary, "Bob, reach out your hand, and catch hold of that woman; that is a woman I pulled out of the port-hole: I dare say she is not dead." He said, "I dare say she is dead enough; it is of no use to catch hold of her." I replied, "I dare say she is not dead." He caught hold of the woman, and hung her head over one of the ratlines of the mizen shrouds, and there she hung by the chin, which was hitched over the ratline; but a surf came and knocked her backwards, and away she went rolling over and over. A captain of a frigate which was lying at Spithead came up in a boat as fast as he could. I dashed out my left hand in a direction towards the woman as a sign to him. He saw it, and saw the woman. His men left off rowing, and they pulled the woman aboard their boat, and laid her on one of the thwarts. The captain of the frigate called out to me, "My man, I must take care of those who are in more danger than you." I said, "I am safely moored, now, sir." There was a seaman named Hibbs, hanging by his two hands from the main-stay, and as he hung, the sea washed over him every now and then, as much as a yard deep over his head; and when he saw it coming, he roared out: however, he was but a fool for that; for if he had kept himself quiet, he would not have wasted his strength, and he would have been able to take the chance of holding on so much the longer. The captain of the frigate had his boat rowed to the main-stay; but they got the stay over part of the head of the boat, and were in great danger, before they got Hibbs on board. The captain of the frigate then got all the men that were in the different parts of the rigging, including myself and the baker, into his boat, and took us on board the "Victory;" where the doctors recovered the woman, but she was very ill for three or four days. On board the "Victory," I saw the body of the carpenter lying on the hearth before the galley fire: some women were trying to recover him, but he was quite dead.
"'The captain of the "Royal George," who could not swim, was picked up and saved by one of the seamen. The lieutenant of the watch, I believe, was drowned. The number of persons who lost their lives, I cannot state with any degree of accuracy, because of there being so many Jews, women, and other persons on board who did not belong to the ship. The complement of the ship was nominally 1000 men, but she was not full. Some were ashore; sixty marines had gone ashore that morning.
"'The Government allowed 5l. each to the seamen who were on board, and not drowned, for the loss of their things. I saw the list, and there were only seventy-five. A vast number of the best men were in the hold stowing-away the rum-casks: they must all have perished, and so must many of the men who were slinging the casks in the sloop. Two of the three brothers belonging to the sloop perished, and the other was saved. I have no doubt that the men caught hold of each other, forty or fifty together, and drowned one another; those who could not swim catching hold of those who could; and there is also little doubt that as many got into the launch as could cram into her, hoping to save themselves in that way, and went down in her altogether.
"'In a few days after the "Royal George" sunk, bodies would come up thirty or forty nearly at a time. A body would rise, and come up so suddenly as to frighten any one. The watermen, there is no doubt, made a good thing of it: they took from the bodies of the men their buckles, money, and watches, and then made fast a rope to their heels, and towed them to land.'
CHARLES. "That is all I have copied, as the remaining part of the narrative is too full of nautical terms for us to understand; and, as it only relates to the state of the weather, the condition of the vessel, and the perverseness of the lieutenant, it is of no particular advantage to us in the explanation of the wreck, for we already know the why and wherefore of the disastrous event. But Mr. Ingram does not precisely state the number of persons lost. Was it not ascertained soon after?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes; I believe the number of persons who perished on this sadly memorable occasion was upwards of 800, out of whom 200 were women."
GEORGE. "And was the taking out the water-cock the original cause of the sinking of the 'Royal George'?"
MR. WILTON. "No doubt it was, because, to effect this, the vessel was hove on one side, and while in that situation, a sudden squall threw her broadside into the water, and the lower deck ports not having been lashed down, she filled, and sunk in about three minutes."
DORA. "Dear me! how very sudden; what an awful scene it must have been, so many poor creatures hurried, with scarcely a moment's warning or time to cry for mercy, into the presence of their Creator! Were the bodies all washed ashore? Oh! what a mourning and lamentation there must have been at Spithead, when the fatal truth was borne to their sorrowing friends."
MR. WILTON. "They were not all washed ashore, Dora, for the good old Admiral Kempenfeldt was never found. Vast portions of the wreck have been recovered, and many of her stores; but they are comparatively worthless when we think of the widows and orphans left to pine in poverty and wretchedness."
EMMA. "Cowper has written some touching-lines on this awful calamity, with which we shall wind up the subject:—
"'Toll for the brave!
The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore!
"'Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried,
Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.
"'A land breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,
With all her crew complete.
"'Toll for the brave!
Brave Kempenfeldt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought:
His work of glory done.
"'It was not in the battle;
No tempest gave the shock;
She sprang no fatal leak;
She ran upon no rock.
"'His sword was in its sheath
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfeldt went down,
With twice four hundred men!
"'Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes!
And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes.
"'Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again,
Full charged with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main.
"'But Kempenfeldt is gone,
His victories are o'er;
And he and his eight hundred
Shall plough the main no more!"
MRS. WILTON. "I fear we are prolonging this evening's discussion beyond the customary bounds; but I should not be satisfied to quit the Channel without a peep at rocky Eddystone."
GEORGE. "Mamma is very anxious to see the Lighthouse, and so am I. It appears to me a most wonderful building, standing as it does, surrounded by foaming waves, and in constant danger from winds and storms. Who knows anything about it?"
EMMA. "I do! the Eddystone Lighthouse is built on a rock in the Channel, about fifteen miles south-south-west from the citadel of Plymouth. It is, as George remarked, exposed to winds and waves, for the heavy swells from the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean send the waves breaking over the rock with prodigious fury. The first Lighthouse erected on these rocks was the work of a gentleman named Winstanley; it stood four years, when he was so confident of its stability that he determined to encounter a storm in the building himself. He paid for his temerity with his life, and found how vain it was to build houses of brick and stone to resist the mighty waters, which can only be controlled by the power of the most high God. Three years afterwards another Lighthouse was built which sustained the attacks of the sea for the space of forty-six years, but, strangely enough, was destroyed by fire in August, 1755. The fire broke out in the lantern, and burning downwards, drove the men, who in vain attempted to extinguish it, from chamber to chamber; until at last, to avoid the falling of the timber, and the red hot bolts, they took refuge in a cave on the east side of the rock, where they were found at low water in a state little short of stupefaction, and conveyed to Plymouth. The present Lighthouse was erected by Mr. Smeaton on an improved plan: no expense was spared to render it durable and ornamental; the last stone was placed on the 25th of August, 1759, and the first night the light was exhibited a very great storm happened, which actually shook the building; but it stood,—and it still stands,—a glorious monument of human enterprise, perseverance, and skill."
GRANDY. "We have done so much to-night, and have been so much interested, that I may venture to offer an apology for not having prepared my portion. It is now time for supper; and I think you have heard as much to-night as you can well remember. Shall I ring the bell, my dear?" Mrs. Wilton replied in the affirmative, and John quickly appeared with the tray. Some nice baked apples soon smoked on the table, with cakes of Grandy's own making, intended expressly for the children, and which gave universal satisfaction. The meeting dispersed about half-past ten, and all felt the wiser for their evening's amusement.
There lives and works
A soul in all things,—and that soul is God!
For a few minutes we will quit the "Research," and take a peep into Mr. Wilton's drawing-room. There is a bright, blazing fire; the crimson curtains are closely drawn; pussy is curled up in a circle on the soft rug; and Grandy, with her perpetual knitting, is still in the old leather chair.
"But where are all the others?" I fancy I hear my readers' inquiries. Look again. Who sits at the table writing so busily, and every instant turning over the leaves of a large book? It is George. Emma has gone with her papa and mamma to the Colosseum; but George was obliged to remain a prisoner at home, having been much inconvenienced by a severe cold. He is now working diligently to create a surprise for his sister on her return; and anxiety to please her gives such impetus to his exertions, that he accomplishes more than he even ventured to anticipate.
Grandy perseveres in her knitting: she silently commends her darling for his thoughtful affection, and occasionally pauses to cast a glance of deep earnest love, not unmixed with a degree of pride, on the beaming countenance of her favorite grandchild.
George completes his task, and causes his working apparatus to vanish before ten o'clock; then, twining his arms around the beloved grandmother's neck, he quietly whispers all the secret in her ear, and awaits her approval.
She suggests that he preserve it until the next evening, and then astonish the assembly by reading his extensive notes, the result of the last two hours' labor.
George is delighted, and amuses himself with imagining Emma's astonishment when he makes his grand display; and, with his mind vigorously engaged in picturing the pleasures of the surprise, he retires to rest.
Our young friends, Emma and George, were too sensible of the value of time to waste it in idleness or trifling pursuits; consequently, whenever you called at Mr. Wilton's, you might be sure to find them occupied with some work, profitable either to themselves or their fellow-creatures; and Mrs. Wilton in her daily instructions had so combined practice with theory, that her pupils almost unconsciously imitated her in the paths of industry and perseverance, no longer feeling (as heretofore) the sad effects of procrastination; but "whatsoever their hands found to do, they did it with their might."
Continually engaged, with no cares to harass, no troubles to distress them, their hours and days flew on the wings of hope,—laden only with fond recollections of the past, glowing with the bright realities of the present, and wafting the perfume of a glorious future crowned with the everlasting garlands of love, joy, and peace.
There was not much time lost in arranging their books and papers on the evening of this meeting; but they were obliged to commence without waiting Mr. Barraud's arrival, for the clock had struck seven, and their business admitted of no delay.
They were soon seated. "Which way are we to get out of the British Channel?" was the first question.
MR. WILTON. "There are two convenient ways for us to sail out of the Channel: the one through the Straits of Dover into the German Ocean; the other past Land's End, Cornwall, into the wide waters of the North Atlantic. We will take the former direction, and anchor off Yarmouth while we examine into the wonders connected with this division of the mighty sea."
CHARLES. "The German Ocean is the eastern boundary of England, and many of our most beautiful streams fall into its waters. I am not aware of the existence of any islands in this ocean; and the only fact I have to state concerning it is, that here the French first tried their strength with the English by sea. This happened in the reign of King John, in the year 1213, and the account is as follows:—'The French had previously obtained possession of Normandy, and thereby become a maritime power, which qualified them, as they thought, to contend with the English: they intended, therefore, to seize the first opportunity of trying their skill; but the English were too sharp for them, and came upon them when they were least expected. Five hundred sail were despatched by John to the relief of the Earl of Flanders; and on approaching the port of Daunne, in Flanders, they saw it crowded with an immense forest of masts; upon which they sent out some light shallops to reconnoitre, and bring tidings of the enemy's condition. The report was, that the ships had not hands to defend them, both soldiers and sailors having gone on shore for plunder. Upon this the English pressed forward and captured the large ships without difficulty, while the smaller ones they burnt after the crews had escaped. Having thus mastered the ships outside the harbor, the English advanced to attack those within it; and here the full rage of battle commenced. The port was so narrow, that numbers and skill were unavailing, while the dispersed French, perceiving the tokens of conflict, came running from every quarter to assist their party. The English upon this, after grappling with the nearest ships, threw a number of their forces on land; these arranging themselves on both sides of the harbor, a furious battle commenced on land and water at the same instant. In this desperate mêlée the English were victorious: three hundred prizes, laden with corn, wine, oil and other provisions were sent to England: one hundred other ships, that could not be carried off, were destroyed; and the French king, Philip II. (surnamed Augustus), during the temporary retreat of the English, perceiving the impossibility of saving the rest of his fleet in the event of a fresh attack, set it on fire, that it might not fall into the enemy's hands. Thus the first great naval victory of the English destroyed the first fleet that had been possessed by France."
GRANDY. "My opinions are no doubt at variance with the world; but it does seem to me, that many of these warfares by sea and land are the most unjust, wanton sacrifice of life and property, recorded in the annals of history. I know that there are times and occasions when it is necessary to do battle with foreign powers in self-defence, or to relieve the oppressed and defenceless of other nations; such was the glorious object of the battle of the Nile: but many, many battles are fought with ambition for their guiding star, and high hopes of honor and reward in this life to urge on the combatants, while their zeal in the performance of the work of destruction is dignified with the title of 'Patriotism.'
"We read continually of great victories; that, related by Charles, is designated a 'great naval victory,' and throughout, it breathes nothing but cruelty and unwarranted oppression. It does not appear that the stratagems used to win a battle are ever taken into consideration: it is evidently of no consequence how it is won, so long as it is won; and battles are more frequently decided by resorting to means which are dishonorable, to say the least of them, than by fair and open trials of strength. The discomfiture of the French, in this instance, was most assuredly owing to the cunning exercised by their enemies, and not, as stated, to their superiority of skill or power: they were not permitted to try either, but were attacked when unprepared, mercilessly robbed, and slaughtered. And this was a victory. A victory over people who were not allowed the chance of defending themselves. 'Tis true the French had been tyrannizing over the people of Normandy; but a bad example ought to be avoided, not imitated, as in this case. Retaliation is no part of a Christian's duty, and was not required at the hands of the English. What right has any nation, deliberately, and for no other purpose than gain, to invade the territories of another, to burn their houses, to destroy their inhabitants, and to plunder them of all their possessions? Is this a fulfilling of the law? Is this our duty to our neighbor? Surely not; and yet such are the principal features in a great victory, from which the conquerors return to be honored of all men—for which bonfires blaze, guns are fired, cities are illuminated, and every voice is raised to shout victory! victory! Such victories, my dear children, are abominations in the sight of God. He bid us live in love and charity with all men. His Son says, 'By this I know that ye are my disciples, because ye have love one toward another;' and St. Paul further desires us to 'love one another with pure hearts, fervently;' adding, 'for love is the fulfilling of the law.' Much more might be said on this subject; but I will detain the meeting no longer than merely to repeat a few verses from a poem of Southey's, written on the battle of Blenheim; which, as they coincide with my opinions, afford me much satisfaction, because they testify that I do not differ in sentiment from all mankind:—
"'With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childling mother then,
And new-born infant died.
But things like these, you know, must be
At every famous victory!
"'They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won,
For many thousand bodies here,
Lay rotting in the sun.
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory!'
"'Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay, nay, my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory!"
"'And everybody praised the Duke,
Who such a fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth Little Wilhelmine.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory!" '"
GEORGE. "If I were an admiral, I would never fight for gain, and I would not allow any of the men under my command to be cruel to the poor people in their power."
"If you had the opportunity, my son," said Mr. Wilton, "I fear that, like many others, you would be unable to resist the temptation to show your authority over the vanquished; for great and wise men have often found themselves unequal to the task of schooling their hearts, to listen to the dictates of humanity, when surrounded by the turmoil and excitement of a battle. But now, Charles. I must set you right with respect to the islands, and inform you that there are two well known islands in the German Ocean,—the Isle of Thanet and Sheppey Isle. I refer you to Mrs. Wilton for their description."
MRS. WILTON. "The Isle of Thanet forms the north-east angle of the county of Kent: from north to south it is five miles, and rather more than ten from east to west. It contains many beautiful watering places,—Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs on the sea; St. Lawrence, Birchington, and St. Peter's, inland. The whole of the district is in a very high state of cultivation, and remarkable for its fertility; the first market-garden in England was planted in the Isle of Thanet There is a little place called Fishness, not far from Broadstairs, which derived its name from the following circumstance:—On the 9th of July, 1574, a monstrous fish shot himself on shore, where, for want of water, he died the next day; before which time, his roaring was heard above a mile: his length was twenty-two yards, the nether jaw opening twelve feet; one of his eyes was more than a cart and six horses could draw; a man stood upright in the place from whence his eye was taken; his tongue was fifteen feet long; his liver two cart-loads; and a man might creep into his nostrils.' All this, and a great deal more, is asserted by Kilburne, in his 'Survey of Kent;' and Stowe, in his Annals, under the same date, in addition to the above, informs us, that this 'whale of the sea' came on shore under the cliff, at six o'clock at night, 'where, for want of water beating himself on the sands, it died about the same hour next morning.'"
CHARLES. "The size and other particulars seem probable enough, with the exception of the eye, which certainly must be an exaggeration; one such an eye would be large enough for any animal, were he as monstrous as the wonderful Mammoth of antediluvian days. Do not you think, madam, that the account is a little preposterous?"
MRS. WILTON. "I think it is very likely, my dear, because there were so few persons to write descriptions of these wonderful creatures, that those who undertook the task were seldom content with the bare truth, no matter how extraordinary, but generally increased the astonishment of their readers by almost incredible accounts, which they were quite aware would never be contradicted. We live in a more inquiring age, and do not so readily give credence to all we hear, without ascertaining the probabilities of such descriptions; and exaggerated accounts are now merely regarded as 'travellers' wonders,' and only partially believed.
"About seven miles south of the Isle of Thanet lies Deal, and immediately opposite Deal is that part of the sea called the 'Downs,' which has long been a place of rendezvous for shipping, where as many as 400 sail have been anchored at one time. The southern boundary of the Downs is formed by the Goodwin Sands, so often fatal to mariners. They were, originally, an island belonging to Earl Goodwin, when a sudden and mighty inundation of the sea overwhelmed with light sand, 'where-with,' as an old writer hath it, 'it not only remayneth covered ever since, but is become withall a most dreadful gulfe and shippe swallower.'
"We will now bestow a little consideration on Sheppey Isle."
GRANDY. "I should like you to be aware, before quitting this luxuriant Isle of Thanet, that it was here the precious truths of the Gospel were first set forth in England: it is supposed, on very just grounds too, that the apostle Paul was the preacher, who, in the middle of the first century, spread the doctrines of Christianity far and wide; and, from Rome, travelled to the isles of the far west, in which is included this lovely little spot, where he was received by the noble of the land. Instead of being persecuted as at Rome, he was eagerly followed, and the peaceful precepts he endeavored to inculcate were willingly obeyed.
"After St. Paul, came Augustine, who, in 597, landed in the Isle of Thanet, was welcomed by the king of Kent, Ethelbert, then holding his court at Canterbury. He, the second apostle, came to convert the people who were again sunk into barbarism and idolatry; he came in the name of the Most High, and his mission was successful. Ethelbert at once appointed St. Augustine a suitable residence at Canterbury, and gave him every facility of effecting his object, by permitting him to hold free converse with his subjects. Thus you see Canterbury thence became the 'nursing mother' of religion throughout the land. The greatest ornament in the Isle of Thanet is its church at Minster, built on the site of a convent founded by the princess Domneva, granddaughter of Ethelbald, king of Kent. Now we will travel on to Sheppey."
MRS. WILTON. "We shall not be detained there long with my description. It is a little island lying north of Chatham, and separated from the Isle of Grain by the river Medway. Both these isles may be considered as situated at the mouth of the Thames. The principal place in Sheppey is Sheerness."
GEORGE. "Now, dear mamma, I suppose we have done with the German Ocean?"
MRS. WILTON. "So far as I am concerned, my dear; but I have a notion that you are in possession of some wonderful story which will astonish us all. Is it so, my boy? Those sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks betray your secret. I am not deceived. Permit me then to request, in the name of the assembled members, that you will favor us with the contents of the paper in your hand."
"Nay, dear mamma," said George; "your expectations are raised too high. My paper only contains an account of a Yarmouth boatman; but it interested me: and Yarmouth being a seaport on the shores of the German Ocean, I thought it would be an agreeable termination to this part of our voyage, and I took the trouble to put it into a moderate compass for the occasion." George then unfolded two or three sheets of closely written paper, while he enjoyed the amazed looks of his sister; and so pleased was he at her expressions of astonishment, that he was unable to resist the impulse of throwing his arms around her neck, and kissing her affectionately. "You are surprised, dear Emma," said he; "I only cared to please you when I wrote it, but now I will try to please all" He then, in a clear distinct tone of voice read the following:—
"Amongst the sons of labor, there are none more deserving of their hard earnings than that class of persons, denominated Beachmen, on the shores of this kingdom. To those unacquainted with maritime affairs, it may be as well to observe, that these men are bred to the sea from their earliest infancy, are employed in the summer months very frequently as regular sailors or fishermen, and during the autumn, winter, and spring, when gales are most frequent on our coast, in going off in boats to vessels in distress in all weathers, to the imminent risk of their lives; fishing up lost anchors and cables, and looking out for waifs (i.e. anything abandoned or wrecked), which the winds and waves may have cast in their way. In our seaports these persons are usually divided into companies, between whom the greatest rivalry exists in regard to the beauty and swiftness of their boats, and their dexterity in managing them: this too often leads to feats of the greatest daring, which the widow and the orphan have long to deplore. To one of these companies, known by the name of 'Laytons,' whose rendezvous and 'look-out' were close to Yarmouth jetty, Brock belonged; and in pursuit of his calling, the following event is recorded by an acquaintance of Brock's.
"About 1 P.M. on the 6th of October, 1835, a vessel was observed at sea from this station with a signal flying for a pilot, bearing east distant about twelve miles: in a space of time incredible to those who have not witnessed the launching of a large boat on a like occasion, the yawl, 'Increase,' eighteen tons burden, belonging to Laytons' gang, with ten men and a London Branch pilot, was under weigh, steering for the object of their enterprise. About 4 o'clock she came up with the vessel, which proved to be a Spanish brig, Paquette de Bilboa, laden with a general cargo, and bound from Hamburg to Cadiz, leaky, and both pumps at work. After a great deal of chaffering in regard to the amount of salvage, and some little altercation with part of the boat's crew as to which of them should stay with the vessel, J. Layton, J. Woolsey, and George Darling, boatmen, were finally chosen to assist in pumping and piloting her into Yarmouth harbor: the remainder of the crew of the yawl were then sent away. The brig at this time was about five miles to the eastward of the Newarp Floating Light, off Winterton on the Norfolk coast, the weather looking squally. On passing the light in their homeward course, a signal was made for them to go alongside, and they were requested to take on shore a sick man; and the poor fellow being comfortably placed upon some jackets and spare coats, they again shoved off, and set all sail: they had a fresh breeze from the W.S.W. 'There was little better,' said Brock, 'than a pint of liquor in the boat, which the Spaniard had given us, and the bottle had passed once round, each man taking a mouthful, till about half of it was consumed: we all had a bit of biscuit each, and while we were making our light meal, we talked of our earnings, and calculated that by 10 o'clock we should be at Yarmouth.
"'Without the slightest notice of its approach a terrific squall from the northward took the yawl's sails flat aback, and the ballast which we had trained to windward, being thus suddenly changed to leeward, she was upset in an instant.
"'Our crew and passenger were nine men—'twas terrible to listen to the cries of the poor fellows, some of whom could swim, and others who could not. Mixed with the hissing of the water and the howlings of the storm, I heard shrieks for mercy, and some that had no meaning but what arose from fear. I struck out to get clear of the crowd, and in a few minutes there was no noise, for most of the men had sunk; and, on turning round, I saw the boat still kept from going down by the wind having got under the sails. I then swam back to her, and assisted an old man to get hold of one of her spars. The boat's side was about three feet under water, and for a few minutes I stood upon her, but I found she was gradually settling down, and when up to my chest I again left her and swam away; and now, for the first time, began to think of my own awful condition. My companions were all drowned, at least I supposed so. How long it was up to this period from the boat's capsizing I cannot exactly say; in such cases, there is no time; but now I reflected that it was half-past six P.M. just before the accident occurred; that the nearest land at the time was six miles distant; and that it was dead low water, and the flood tide setting off the shore, making to the southward; therefore, should I ever reach the land, it would take me at least fifteen miles setting up with the flood, before the ebb would assist me.'
"While Brock was making these calculations, a rush horse collar covered with old netting floated close to him; he laid hold of it, and getting his knife out, he stripped off the net-work, and putting his left arm through, was supported until he had cut the waist band of his petticoat trousers which then fell off: his striped frock, waistcoat and neckcloth, were also similarly got rid of, but he dared not try to free himself of his oiled trousers, drawers, or shirt, fearing that his legs might become entangled in the attempt; he therefore returned his knife into the pocket of his trousers, and put the collar over his head, which, although it assisted in keeping him above water, retarded his swimming; and after a few moments' thinking what was best to be done, he determined to abandon it. He now, to his great surprise, perceived one of his messmates swimming ahead of him; but he did not hail him. The roaring of the hurricane was past; the cries of drowning men were no longer heard; the moonbeams were casting their silvery light over the smooth surface of the deep, calm and silent as the grave over which he floated, and into which he saw this last of his companions descend without a struggle or a cry, as he approached within twenty yards of him. Yes, he beheld the last of his brave crew die beside him; and now he was alone in the cold silence of night, more awful than the strife of the elements which had preceded. Perhaps at this time something might warn him that he too would soon be mingled with the dead; but if such thoughts did intrude, they were but for a moment; and again his mental energies, joined with his lion heart and bodily prowess, cast away all fear, and he reckoned the remotest possible chances of deliverance, applying the means,
"'Courage and Hope both teaching him the practice.'
"Up to this time, Winterton Light had served instead of a land-mark to direct his course; but the tide had now carried him out of sight of it, and in its stead 'a bright star stood over where' his hopes of safety rested. With his eyes steadfastly fixed upon it, he continued swimming on, calculating the time when the tide would turn. But his trials were not yet past. As if to prove the strength of human fortitude, the sky became suddenly overclouded, and 'darkness was upon the face of the deep.' He no longer knew his course, and he confessed, that for a moment he was afraid; yet he felt, that 'fear is but the betraying of the succors which reason offereth,' and that which roused him to further exertion, would have sealed the fate of almost any other human being. A sudden short cracking peal of thunder burst in stunning loudness just over his head, and the forked and flashing lightning at brief intervals threw its vivid fires around him. This, too, in its turn passed away, and left the sea once more calm and unruffled: the moon (nearly full) again threw a more brilliant light upon the waters, which the storm had gone over without waking from their slumbers. His next effort was to free himself from his heavy laced boots, which greatly encumbered him, and in which he succeeded by the aid of his knife. He now saw Lowestoft's high Lighthouse, and could occasionally discern the tops of the cliffs beyond Garlestone on the Suffolk coast. The swell of the sea drove him over the Cross Sand Ridge, and he then got sight of a buoy, which, although it told him his exact position, 'took him rather aback,' as he had hoped he was nearer the shore. It proved to be the chequered buoy, St. Nicholas' Gate, off Yarmouth, and opposite his own door, but distant from the land four miles. And now again he held counsel with himself, and the energies of his mind seem almost superhuman; he had been five hours in the water, and here was something to hold on by; he could have even got upon the buoy, and some vessel might come near to pick him up, and the question was, could he yet hold out four miles? 'But,' said he, 'I knew the night air would soon finish me, and had I stayed but a few minutes upon it, and then altered my mind, how did I know that my limbs would again resume their office?' He found the tide was broke; it did not run so strong; so he abandoned the buoy, and steered for the land, towards which, with the wind from the eastward, he found he was now fast approaching. The last trial of his fortitude was now at hand, for which he was totally unprepared, and which he considered (having the superstition of a sailor) the most difficult of any he had to combat. Soon after he left the buoy, he heard just above his head a sort of whiffing sound, which his imagination conjured into the prelude to the 'rushing of a mighty wind,' and close to his ear there followed a smart splash in the water, and a sudden shriek that went through him,—such as is heard
"'When the lone sea-bird wakes its wildest cry.'
"The fact was, a large gray gull, mistaking him for a corpse, had made a dash at him, and its loud discordant scream in a moment brought a countless number of these formidable birds together, all prepared to contest for a share of the spoil. These large and powerful foes he had now to scare from their intended prey, and, by shouting and splashing with his hands and feet, in a few minutes they disappeared.
"He now caught sight of a vessel at anchor, but a great way off, and to get within hail of her he must swim over Carton Sands (the grave of thousands), the breakers at this time showing their angry white crests. As he approached, the wind suddenly changed; the consequence of which was that the swell of the sea met him. Here is his own description:—'I got a great deal of water down my throat, which greatly weakened me, and I felt certain, that, should this continue, it would soon be all over, and I prayed that the wind might change, or that God would take away my senses before I felt what it was to drown. In less time than I am telling you, I had driven over the sands into smooth water; the wind and swell came again from the eastward, and my strength returned to me as fresh as in the beginning.'
"He now felt certain that he could reach the shore; but he considered it would be better to get within hail of the brig, some distance to the southward of him, and the most difficult task of the two, as the ebb tide was now running, which, although it carried him towards the land, set to the northward; and to gain the object of his choice would require much greater exertion. Here, again, are Brock's reflections:—'If I gained the shore, could I get out of the surf, which at this time was heavy on the beach? And, supposing I succeeded in this point, should I be able to walk, climb the cliffs, and get to a house? if not, there was little chance of life remaining long in me: but if I could make myself heard on board the brig, then I should secure immediate assistance. I got within two hundred yards of her, the nearest possible approach, and, summoning all my strength, I sung out as bravely as if I had been on shore.'
"'The seaman's cry was heard along the deep.'
"He was answered from the deck; a boat was instantly lowered; and at half-past 1 A.M., having swam seven hours in an October night, he was safe on board the brig Betsey of Sunderland, coal laden, at anchor in Corton Roads, fourteen miles from the spot where the boat was capsized. The captain's name was CHRISTIAN!
"Once safe on board, 'nature cried enough:' he fainted, and continued insensible for some time. All that humanity could suggest was done for him by Christian and his crew: they had no spirits on board, but they had bottled ale, which they made warm, and by placing Brock before a good fire, rubbing him dry, and putting him in hot blankets, he was at length, with great difficulty, enabled to get a little of the ale down his throat; but it caused excruciating pain, as his throat was in a state of high inflammation from breathing (as a swimmer does) so long the saline particles of sea and air, and it was now swollen very much, and, as he says, he feared he should be suffocated. He, however, after a little time, fell into a sleep, which refreshed and strengthened him, but he awoke to intense bodily suffering. Round his neck and chest he was perfectly flayed; the soles of his feet, hands, and other parts were also equally excoriated. In this state, at about 9 A.M., the brig getting under weigh with the tide, he was put on shore at Lowestoft in Suffolk, and immediately despatched a messenger to Yarmouth, with the sad tidings of the fate of the yawl and the rest of her crew. Being safely housed under the roof of a relative, with good nursing and medical assistance, in five days from the time of the accident, with a firm step he walked back to Yarmouth, to confirm the wonderful rumors circulated respecting him, and to receive the congratulations of his friends. The knife, which he considers as the great means of his being saved, is preserved with great care, and in all probability will be shown a century hence by the descendants of this man. It is a common horn-handle knife, having one blade about five inches long. A piece of silver is now riveted on, and covers one side, on which is the following inscription:—
"' BROWN, EMERSON, SMITH, BRAY, BUDDS, FENN, RUSHMERE,
BOULT:—BROCK, aided by this knife, was saved after being 7-1/2
hours in the sea. October 6. 1835.'
"'It was a curious thing,' observed Brock when relating his story, 'that I had been without a knife for some time, and only purchased this two days before it became so useful to me; and having had to make some boat's tholes, it was as sharp as a razor. I ought to be a good-living chap,' continued he, 'for three times I have been saved by swimming. What I did on this night, I know I could not have done of myself, but God strengthened me. I never asked for anything but it was given me.'
"This man had great faith, and he had also other good traits in his character. A large subscription was made for the widows and children of Brock's unfortunate companions; and a fund being established for their relief, the surplus was offered to him. This was his answer: 'I am much obliged to you, gentlemen, but, thank God! I can still get my own living as well as ever, and I could not spend the money that was given to the fatherless and widow.' In contemplating the feat of this extraordinary man, it must appear to every one, that his bodily prowess, gigantic as it is, appears as dust in the balance compared with the powers of his mind. To think and to judge rightly under some of the most appalling circumstances that ever surrounded mortal man, to reject the delusive for the arduous, to resolve and to execute, form such a combination of the best and rarest attributes of our nature, that where are we to look for them in the same man? Brock at the time of this disastrous affair was thirty-one years of age, a fine, stout, athletic man, and as upright in his life and conversation as he was in his very handsome person."
George read all this so clearly and distinctly, that he really merited the praise bestowed upon him: even Grandy, generally too partial, did not award him more than he deserved, for it was a great work for a boy of his age.
"My dear boy." said Mr. Wilton, "I am quite delighted to find you have been so industrious, as it proves most satisfactorily that you are resolved to overcome all obstacles of weariness or difficulty in order to accomplish the great end—the attainment of useful knowledge. I am much, very much, pleased with you, my dear boy."
The color mounted to the cheeks of the happy child, and in those few moments of heartfelt joy he was amply repaid for the previous evening's toil.
"Where sail we next?" inquired Mrs. Wilton.
EMMA. "The North Sea is the track, dear mamma. I am sorry Mr. Barraud has not come, as he, having been to Scotland, might have helped us considerably. However, Dora is prepared with some particulars, and we need not be idling because of the absence of one member."
"No, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Wilton, "for I have a few words to say on that subject; so sail on, Dora, and 'I'll give thee a wind.'"
"And I another," added Charles; "for I have actually been along the coasts that are washed by the blue waves of the North Sea, and can say a few words after our honored member in the chair."
DORA. "The North Sea washes the shores of Scotland, Denmark, and Norway. There are a great many islands in this sea, many more than I can enumerate. Near Scotland there are several little unimportant places of trifling interest, of which I should be glad to gain some information, as at present I know nothing more than that they are there, are inhabited, and tolerably fertile."
CHARLES. "I believe I can enlighten you to a certain extent, Dora, at least so far that you may acknowledge that there are interesting places in the North Sea near Scotland. Ten leagues, or thirty geographical miles, north of the ancient castle of Dunglass (once the head-quarters of Oliver Cromwell) lies the Bell Rock: you can see it in the map, just off the mouth of the Tay, and close to the northern side of the great estuary called the Firth of Forth. Up to the commencement of the present century, this rock was justly considered one of the most formidable dangers that the navigators of the North Sea had to encounter. Its head, merged under the surface during greater part of the tide, at no time made much show above the water. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to keep well clear of the mischief, or, as seamen express themselves, to give the rock a wide berth. Ships, accordingly, bound for the Forth, in their constant terror of this ugly reef, not content with giving it ten or even twenty miles of elbow room, must needs edge off a little more to the south, so as to hug the shore in such a way, that when the wind chopped round to the northward, as it often did, these over-cautious navigators became embayed in a deep bight to the westward of Fast Castle. If the breeze freshened before they had time to work out, they paid dearly for their apprehensions of the Bell Rock, by driving upon ledges fully as sharp and far more extensive and inevitable. The consequence was that from three to four vessels, or sometimes half a dozen, used to be wrecked each winter. Captain Basil Hall in speaking of this place says, 'Perhaps there are few more exciting spectacles than a vessel stranded on a lee-shore, and especially such a shore, which is fringed with reefs extending far out and offering no spot for shelter. The hapless ship lies dismasted, bilged, and beat about by the waves, with the despairing crew clinging to the wreck, or to the shrouds, and uttering cries totally inaudible in the roar of the sea; while at each successive dash of the breakers the number of the survivors is thinned, till at length they all disappear. The gallant bark then goes to pieces, and the coast for a league on either side is strewed with broken planks, masts, boxes, and ruined portions of the goodly cargo, with which, a few hours before, she was securely freighted, and dancing merrily over the waters.' I am happy to add, in conclusion, that this fatal Bell Rock, the direct and indirect cause of so many losses, has been converted into one of the greatest sources of security that navigation is capable of receiving. By means of scientific skill, aided by well-managed perseverance, with the example of the Eddystone to copy from, a lighthouse, one hundred and twenty feet high, has been raised upon this formidable reef, by Mr. Robert Stevenson, the skilful engineer of the 'Northern Lights;' so that the mariner, instead of doing all he can to avoid the spot once so much dreaded, now eagerly runs for it, and counts himself happy when he gets sight of the revolving star on the top, which, from its being variously colored he can distinguish from any other light in that quarter. He is then enabled to steer directly for his port in perfect security, though the night be never so dark."
Mr. Wilton remarked how much one man, by the right use of the talents he possessed, might benefit his fellow-creatures, when he was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Barraud.
A welcome rose to every lip, and Mr. Barraud apologized for being so late, adding that he had been detained by a friend who was about to start for Scotland, and wished to have an hour's conversation with him before his departure.
"How singular!" exclaimed Mr. Wilton; "we have been regretting your absence particularly this evening, because we are navigating the North Sea, where you have been so often tossed to and fro, and we thought it quite possible you might have met with some amusing or instructive incidents in your travels along the coast, which would agreeably relieve the tedium of our voyage. Now I see no reason why you should not accompany your friend to Scotland, and charm us with a soul-stirring narrative of real life."
"Oh! I perceive the state of affairs clearly," said Mr. Barraud; "the young folks are getting weary of the monotony of a sea voyage, and desire to step ashore again."
"No! no! we are not tired," anxiously exclaimed the little group.
"But," said Charles, "it makes a voyage so much more pleasant when we drop anchor now and then, to look around on the beauties of other lands; and more profitable also, if we learn something of the customs, laws, and peculiarities of the inhabitants of those lands."
MR. BARRAUD. "Very true, Charles; and to gratify you I will relate a story written by Colonel Maxwell, the well-known author of many pleasing and instructive works, which will serve the purpose better than any other I can think of just now—besides, to heighten its interest, it is all true."
"During a tedious passage to the North, I remarked among the steerage passengers a man who seemed to keep himself apart from the rest. He wore the uniform of the foot artillery, and sported a corporal's stripes. In the course of the afternoon, I stepped before the funnel, and entered into conversation with him; learned that he had been invalided and sent home from Canada, had passed the Board in London, obtained a pension of a shilling a-day, and was returning to a border village, where he had been born, to ascertain whether any of his family were living, from whom he had been separated nineteen years. He casually admitted, that during this long interval he had held no communication with his relations; and I set him down accordingly as some wild scapegrace, who had stolen from a home whose happiness his follies had compromised too often. He showed me his discharge—the character was excellent,—but it only went to prove how much men's conduct will depend upon the circumstances under which they act. He had been nineteen years a soldier—a man 'under authority,'—one obedient to another's will, subservient to strict discipline, with scarcely a free agency himself, and yet, during that long probation, he had been a useful member of the body politic, sustained a fair reputation, and as he admitted himself, been a contented and happy man. He returned home his own master, and older by twenty years. Alas! it was a fatal free agency for him, for time had not brought wisdom. The steward told me that he had ran riot while his means allowed it, had missed his passage twice, and had on the preceding evening come on board, when not a shilling remained to waste in drunken dissipation. I desired that the poor man should be supplied with some little comforts during the voyage; and when we landed at Berwick, I gave him a trifling sum to assist him to reach his native village, where he had obtained vague intelligence that some aged members of his family might still be found.
"A few evenings afterwards, I was sitting in the parlor of one of the many little inns I visited while rambling on the banks of the Tweed, when the waitress informed me that 'a sodger is speerin' after the colonel.' He was directed to attend the presence, and my fellow-voyager, the artilleryman, entered the chamber, and made his military salaam.
"'I thought you were now at Jedburgh,' I observed.
"'I went there, sir,' he replied, 'but there has not been any of my family for many a year residing in the place. I met an old packman on the road, and he tells me there are some persons in this village of my name. I came here to make inquiries, and hearing that your honor was in the house I made bold enough to ask for you.'
"'Have you walked over?' I inquired.
"'Yes, sir,' he replied.
"''Tis a long walk,' said I; 'go down and get some supper before you commence inquiries.'
"The soldier bowed and left the room, and presently the host entered to give me directions for a route among the Cheviots, which I contemplated taking the following day. I mentioned the soldier's errand.
"'Sure enough,' returned the host, 'there are an auld decent couple of the name here. What is the soldier called?'
"'William,' I replied, for by that name his discharge and pension bill were filled up.
"'I'll slip across the street to the auld folk,' said Boniface, 'and ask them a few questions.'
"The episode of humble life that followed was afterwards thus described to me by mine host.
"He found the ancient couple seated at the fire; the old man reading a chapter in the Bible, as was his custom always before he and his aged partner retired for the night to rest. The landlord explained the object of the soldier's visit, and inquired if any of their children answered the description of the wanderer.
"'It is our Jock!' exclaimed the old woman passionately, 'and the puir neer-do-weel has cam hame at last to close his mither's eyes.'
"'Na,' said the landlord; 'the man's name is Wolly.'
"'Then he's nae our bairn,' returned the old man with a heavy sigh.
"'Weel, weel—His will be done!' said his help-mate, turning her blue and faded eyes to heaven; 'I thought the prayer I sae often made wad yet be granted, and Jock wad come hame and get my blessin' ere I died.'
"'He has! he has!' exclaimed a broken voice; and the soldier, who had followed the landlord unperceived, and listened at the cottage door, rushed into the room, and dropped kneeling at his mother's feet. For a moment she turned her eyes with a fixed and glassy stare upon the returned wanderer. Her hand was laid upon his head—her lips parted as if about to pronounce the promised blessing—but no sounds issued, and she slowly leaned forward on the bosom of the long-lost prodigal, who clasped her in his arms.
"'Mither! mither! speak and bless me!' cried he in agony.
"Alas! the power of speech was gone forever. Joy, like grief, is often fatal to a worn-out frame. The spirit had calmly passed; the parent had lived to see and bless her lost one; and expire in the arms of him, who, with all his faults, appeared to have been her earthly favorite."
DORA. "What an affecting story! How sorry Jock must have felt that he came so suddenly into his mother's presence; but his father was yet alive for him to comfort and cheer in his declining age. I hope he was kind and affectionate to him all his days, to compensate for the loss of the poor old woman?"
MR. BARRAUD. "I trust he was, but our historian saith no more."
MR. WILTON. "There is a little cluster of islands between Alnwick
and Berwick called the Farne islands, on one of which was situated
the lighthouse where the heroine Grace Darling spent her dreary
days. These rocky islands have for centuries been respected as holy
ground, because St. Cuthbert built an oratory on one of them, and
died there. At one time there were two chapels on these rocks; one
dedicated to St. Cuthbert, the other to the Virgin Mary: they are
now ruins; and a square building, erected for the religieux
stationed on these isles, has been put to better use, and converted
into a lighthouse. Off these islands occurred that dreadful
calamity, the wreck of the Forfarshire steamer, of which I will give
you a brief account:—
"It appears, that shortly after she left the Humber her boilers began to leak, but not to such an extent as to excite any apprehensions; and she continued on her voyage. The weather, however, became very tempestuous; and on the morning of the fatal day, she passed the Farnes on her way northwards, in a very high sea, which rendered it necessary for the crew to keep the pumps constantly at work. At this time they became aware that the boilers were becoming more and more leaky as they proceeded. At length, when she had advanced as far as St. Abb's Head, the wind having increased to a hurricane from N.N.E., the engineer reported the appalling fact that the machinery would work no longer. Dismay seized all on board; nothing now remained but to set the sails fore and aft, and let her drift before the wind. Under these circumstances, she was carried southwards, till about a quarter to four o'clock on Friday morning, when the foam became distinctly visible breaking upon the fearful rock ahead. Captain Humble vainly attempted to avert the appalling catastrophe, by running her between the islands and the mainland; she would not answer her helm, and was impelled to and fro by a furious sea. In a few minutes more, she struck with her bows foremost on the rock. The scene on board became heart-rending. A moment after the first shock, another tremendous wave struck her on the quarter, by which she was buoyed for a moment high off the rock. Falling as this wave receded, she came down upon the sharp edge with a force so tremendous as to break her fairly in two pieces, about 'midships; when, dreadful to relate, the whole of the after part of the ship, containing the principal cabin, filled with passengers, sinking backwards, was swept into the deep sea, and thus was every soul on that part of the vessel instantaneously engulfed in one vast and terrible grave of waters. Happily the portion of the wreck which had settled on the rock remained firmly fixed, and afforded a place of refuge to the unfortunate survivors. At daylight they were discovered from the Longstone; and Grace Darling and her father launched a boat, and succeeded, amidst the dash of waters and fearful cries of the perishing people, in removing the few remaining sufferers from their perilous position to the lighthouse. The heroism of this brave girl, who unhesitatingly risked her own life to save others, was justly appreciated and rewarded. A large sum of money was collected for her, and many valuable presents were despatched to the 'lonely isle;' among others, a gold watch and chain, which she always after wore, although homely in her general attire. Poor Grace Darling! she did not long enjoy the praises and rewards which she so richly merited for her courage and humanity: a rapid consumption brought her to the grave; and her remains rest in a churchyard upon the mainland, in sight of that wild rock, on which she earned so great celebrity. A beautiful and elegant monument is erected to her memory, which will trumpet forth her praises to many yet unborn."
GRANDY. "A curious circumstance occurred on these shores some years ago, and was related to my dear husband by an old man at Aberdeen, on whose veracity he could rely:—
"Three or four boys, one of them the son of a goldsmith in Dundee, went out in a boat towards the mouth of the Tay, but rowing farther than was prudent, they were carried out to sea. Their friends finding they did not return, made every search for them, and were at length compelled with sorrowful hearts to conclude that they had perished.
"One night a farmer (father of the old man who related the story) was very much disturbed by a dream; he awoke his wife, and told her he had dreamed that a boat with some boys had landed in a little cove a few miles from his house, and the poor boys were in a state of extreme exhaustion. His wife said it was but a dream, and advised him to go asleep; he did so, but again awoke, having had the same dream. He could rest no longer, but resolved to go down to the shore. His wife now began to think there was a Providence in it. The farmer dressed himself, went down to the cove, and there, true enough, to his horror and amazement, he found the boat with four boys in it; two were dead already, and the others so exhausted that they could not move. The farmer got some assistance, and had them conveyed to his own home, when he nourished the survivors until they were quite recovered. From them he learned that they had been carried out to sea, and, notwithstanding their utmost exertions, the contrary winds had prevented them returning, and they were drifted along the coast, until the boat grounded at the place where they were found. They had been out four days, without provisions of any kind, except some sugar-candy which one boy had in his pocket; this they shared amongst them while it had lasted; but two sank on the third day, and probably a few hours might have terminated the existence of the remaining two, had they not been providentially discovered by the farmer. As soon as they were in a condition to be removed they were taken to Dundee, about fifty miles from the place where they were found; and the grateful parents earnestly besought the generous farmer to accept a reward, but he magnanimously refused. The goldsmith, however, whose son was saved had a silver boat made, with the names of the parties and a Latin inscription engraved thereon recording the event. This was presented to the farmer, and is still in the possession of his descendants, and no doubt will be long preserved as an heir-loom in the family of the kind-hearted Scotchman."
DORA. "I had no idea there were so many interesting stories concerning the shores of Scotland, and in my ignorance I should have travelled to the colder regions of Norway for information and amusement.
"Ay," said Charles; "but we have said nothing of Denmark yet, and, to get into the Baltic Sea, we must sail for many miles along the shores of that curious country. It consists of the peninsula of Jutland, formerly called Cimbria, and several islands in the Baltic. The boundaries of Denmark are, the Skagerac Sea on the North; the kingdom of Hanover on the South; the Baltic, with part of Sweden, to the East, and the North Sea on the West. I here wish to know if the North Sea and the German Ocean are names used to designate all that portion of the ocean which lies to the east of the British Isles, for I have seen the different names placed in different maps to signify the same waters, and have been a little puzzled to ascertain their boundaries?"
"I am glad you have asked that question, Charles," said Mr. Wilton; "because I now remember that for the convenience of our illustrations we made a division, but in reality the North Sea and the German Ocean are the same, and ought perhaps to have been mentioned thus—German Ocean or North Sea."
CHARLES. "Jutland, including Holstein, is about 280 miles long and 80 miles broad; the islands, of various dimensions, are Zealand, Funen, Langland, Laland, Falster, Mona, Femeren, Alsen, &c. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a large, rich, and well-fortified town, situated on the island of Zealand; the population about 100,000."
MR. BARRAUD. "Near Copenhagen stands the little isle of Hawen, now belonging to Sweden, where Tycho Brahe took most of his astronomical observations. There are many academies and public schools in Denmark, which reflect great honor on the Danish government. There are fine woods and forests in Denmark; indeed the whole country may be regarded as a forest, which supplies England with masts and other large timber. It is for the most part a flat country."
MR. WILTON. "The islands west of Jutland which you observe, viz.: Nordstrand, Fera, Sylt, Rom, Fanoe, and others, suffer greatly from the fury of the ocean. Towards the north of Jutland is an extensive creek of the sea, Lymfiord, which penetrates from the Cattegat, within two or three miles of the German Ocean; it is navigable, full of fish, and contains many islands."
MRS. WILTON. "To get into the Baltic, we must go through the Sleeve or Skagerac; through the Cattegat, passing on our way the little isles of Hertzholm, Lassoe, Anholt, and Haselov; then, taking care to keep Kullen's Lighthouse in view, enter the sound near Elsinore, sail on past Rugen Isle, and anchor at Carlscrona, in the Baltic."
GEORGE. "The Baltic! the Baltic! I am so anxious to hear all about that sea. All I know is that there are three very large gulfs connected with it, the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, and the Gulf of Riga."
MR. WILTON. "The two latter wash the shores of a part of Russia, not generally much noticed in geographical works; I mean the two divisions of the Russian territories, known by the names of Revel and Livonia. The waters of the Gulf of Finland also extend to the greatest town in this country of ice and snow, St. Petersburgh, founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and seated on an island in the middle of the river Neva, near the bottom of the gulf, and which, from the singularity in its buildings, streets, people, and customs, is well worth a visit. The inconveniences caused by travelling in such an extreme climate doubtless prevent this part of Europe from being better known to other nations."
GEORGE. "Is it so very, very cold, then, papa?"
MR. WILTON. "When our thermometer stands at 20° we all exclaim, how bitterly cold! everything around is frozen hard, and unless we take violent exercise, and are well wrapped up, we feel extremely uncomfortable. Now in this part of Russia, the thermometer is often below zero many degrees; and travellers, be they never so well clothed, are frequently found frozen in their carriages."
GEORGE. "Their dresses are rather clumsy-looking garments, are they not, and principally made of fur?"
MRS. WILTON. "I have an amusing description of the preparation for a journey in the immediate neighborhood of the Gulf of Finland, which will satisfy your inquiring mind, and afford us all pleasing information. 'On the evening of the 20th of February, all the juvenile portion of the family were consigned to rest at an earlier hour than usual; and by six o'clock the next morning, little eyes were wide awake, and little limbs in full motion, by the flickering candle's light; in everybody's way as long as they were not wanted, and nowhere to be found when they were. At length the little flock were all assembled; and having been well lined inside by a migratory kind of breakfast, the outer process began. This is conducted somewhat on the same principle as the building of a house, the foundation being filled with rather rubbishy materials, over which a firm structure is reared. First came a large cotton handkerchief, then a pelisse three years too short, then a faded comfortable of papa's, and then an old cashmere of mamma's, which latter was with difficulty forced under the vanishing arms, and tied firmly behind. Now each tiny hand was carefully sealed with as many pairs of gloves as could be gathered together for the occasion; one hand (for the nursemaids are not very particular) being not seldom more richly endowed in this respect than its fellow. The same process is applied to the little feet, which swell to misshapen stumps beneath an accumulation of under-socks and over-socks, under-shoes and over-shoes, and are finally swallowed up in huge worsted stockings, which embrace all the drawers, short petticoats, ends of handkerchiefs, comfortables, and shawls they can reach, and are generally gartered in some incomprehensible fashion round the waist. But mark! this is only the foundation. Now comes the thickly-wadded winter pelisse of silk or merino, with bands or ligatures, which instantly bury themselves in the depths of the surrounding hillocks, till within the case of clothes before you, which stands like a roll-pudding tied up ready for the boiler, no one would suspect the slender skipping sprite that your little finger can lift. Lastly, all this is enveloped in the little jaunty silk cloak, which fastens readily enough round the neck on ordinary occasions, but now refuses to meet by the breadth of a hand, and is made secure by a worsted boa of every bright color. Is this all? No,—wait,—I have forgotten the pretty clustering locked head and rosy dimpled face; and, in truth, they were so lost in the mountains of wool and wadding around as to be fairly overlooked. Here a handkerchief is bound round the forehead, and another down each cheek, just skirting the nose, and allowing a small triangular space for sight and respiration; talking had better not be attempted; while the head is roofed in by a wadded hat, a misshapen machine with soft crown and bangled peak, which cannot be hurt, and never looks in order, over which is suspended as many veils, green, white, and black, as mamma's cast-off stores can furnish, through which the brightest little pair of eyes in the world faintly twinkle like stars through a mist. And now one touch upsets the whole mass, and a man servant coolly lifts it up in his arms like a bale of goods, and carries it off to the sledge.
"'These are the preparations. Now for the journey.—It was a lovely morning as we started with our little monstrosities; ourselves in a commodious covered sledge, various satellites of the family in a second, followed up by rougher vehicles covered with bright worsted rugs, and driven by the different grades of servants, wherein sat the muffled and closely-draped lady's maids and housemaids of the establishment; not to forget the seigneur himself, who, wrapped to the ears, sat in solitude, driving a high-mettled animal upon a sledge so small as to be entirely concealed by his person, so that, to all appearance, he seemed to be gliding away only attached to the horse by the reins in his well-guarded hands. The way led through noble woods of Scotch and Spruce fir, sometimes catching sight of a lofty mansion of stone, or passing a low thatched building of wood with numberless little sash windows, where some of the nobles still reside, and which are the remnants of more simple times. And now "the sun rose clear o'er trackless fields of snow," and our solitary procession jingled merrily on, while, yielding to the lulling sounds of the bells, our little breathing bundles sank motionless and warm into our laps and retrieved in happy slumbers the early escapades of the day. There is no such a warming-pan on a cold winter's journey as a lovely soft child. After driving thirty wersts, we stopped at the half-way house of an acquaintance, for here the willing hospitality of some brother-noble is often substituted for the miserable road-side accommodations. This was one of the wooden houses so common in this part of Russia, and infinitely more pleasing within than without; divided with partitions like the tray of a work-box, fitted up with every accommodation on a small scale; a retreat which some unambitious pair might prefer to the palace we had quitted. After a few hours' rest we started again with the same horses, which here perform journeys of sixty wersts in the day with the utmost ease; and when evening was far advanced, our little travellers pushed aside their many-colored veils, and peeped at the lamps with astonished eyes, as we clattered up the steep hill which led to our residence in the town of Reval.'"
EMMA. "Well, George, what think you of that? You are so partial to cold weather, and are so desirous to travel in a sledge, do not you think you would like to dwell in Russia, and go about always like a roll-pudding?"
GEORGE. "To travel in a sledge I should certainly like, but I would prefer my sledge in Lapland, where the beautiful reindeer, fleet as the wind, scamper over snow and ice, and convey you to your friends almost as expeditiously as a railroad; but the wrapping up would not suit me at all, for I like to have the free use of my limbs, more particularly in cold weather; and for these various reasons I do not wish to dwell in Russia, but should be delighted to visit it, and should not even object to remain there a season. How much is a werst, papa?"
MR. WILTON. "A Russian werst is nearly two thirds of an English mile."
MR. BARRAUD. "There are people of almost every nation living in the government of Reval, the chief town of which is a port on the Gulf of Finland, of the same name. Within the last few years, the inhabitants of this place have been making a growing acquaintance with the Finlanders on the opposite shores, at a place called Helsingforst, which is only approachable between a number of rocky islands. The town of Helsingforst is clean and handsome, with good shops, containing cheap commodities, which are a source of great attraction to the Esthonians (or natives of Reval) and others who reside in Reval; consequently, in the fine weather, parties are made about once a fortnight for a trip to Helsingforst: these trips are both pleasurable and profitable. The voyage occupies six hours in a little steamboat; and, when landed, the voyagers procure every requisite at a magnificent hotel in the town for moderate charges. They then go shopping, buying umbrellas, India-rubber galoshes, and all descriptions of wearing apparel, which they contrive to smuggle over, notwithstanding the vigilance of the custom-house officers at Reval."
GRANDY. "I have read that the fishermen on the shores of the Baltic are remarkably superstitious, and careful not to desecrate any of their saints' days. They never use their nets between All Saints' and St. Martin's, as they would be certain not to take any fish throughout the year. On Ash Wednesday the women neither sew nor knit, for fear of bringing misfortune upon the cattle. They contrive so as not to use fire on St. Lawrence's day: by taking this precaution, they think themselves secure against fire for the rest of the year. The Esthonians do not hunt on St. Mark's or St. Catherine's day, on penalty of being unsuccessful all the rest of the year. It is reckoned a good sign to sneeze on Christmas day. Most of them are so prejudiced against Friday, that they never settle any important business or conclude a bargain on this day; in some places they do not even dress their children. They object to visit on Thursdays, for it is a sign they will have troublesome guests all the week. Thus they are slaves to superstition, and must, consequently, be a complaining, unhappy people. Now Dora, my dear, proceed."
DORA. "In the Baltic, north of the Gulf of Riga, lies the Isle of Dagen, belonging to Russia, and containing some fine estates of the Esthonian nobility. The dress of the female peasantry in this island is so remarkable that they deserve a passing notice. The head-dress is a circular plait of hair, braided with a red cloth roll, which fastens behind, and hangs down in long ends tipped with fringe. The dress is merely a linen shift, high to the throat, half-way down the leg, crimped from top to bottom, the linen being soaked in water with as much strong starch as it can hold, crimped with long laths of wood, and then put into the oven to dry, whence it issues stiff and hard as a board. The belt is the chief curiosity, being made of broad black leather, studded with massive brass heads, with a fringe of brass chains. High-heeled shoes and red stockings complete the attire, and altogether make a fanciful picture of a pretty maiden bandit."
EMMA. "But such garments must surely be very cold?"
DORA. "The dress I have described is worn in the summer, for they have a warm season for a short period during the year; of course, when the cold sets in, they hide their faces and figures in furs, in the same fashion as their neighbors."
GEORGE. "How very uncomfortable to be dressed so stiffly in warm weather; and then they can surely never sit in such garments, for to rumple them would spoil them, I suppose?"
MRS. WILTON. "It is the fashion in Dagen, my dear; and there, as elsewhere, many inconveniences are submitted to, from an anxiety to vie with other folks in the style of dress, and from a fear of being considered old-fashioned. I am sure we English must not find fault with the dress of other countries, for some of our fashions are truly ridiculous."
"Yes, mamma," said Emma; "but they do not strike us as being ridiculous, because we are accustomed to them; and this must be the case with other nations: they are used to their peculiar dresses, and have no idea of the astonishment of strangers when viewing the novel attire, which to the wearers possesses nothing remarkable to astonish or attract."
MR. BARRAUD. "Near Dagen the navigation of the Baltic is very dangerous; and many years ago the island was principally occupied by men who wickedly subsisted on the misfortunes of others. A slight sketch of one will sufficiently inform you of the general character of these men. 'Baron Ungern Sternberg, whose house was situated on a high part of the island, became notorious for his long course of iniquity. He lived in undisputed authority, never missing an opportunity of displaying his false lights to mislead the poor mariners. No notice was taken of these cruel practices for some time, for Sternberg was powerful in wealth and influence; until the disappearance of a ship's captain, who was found dead in his room, the existence of an immense quantity of goods under his house, and other concurring circumstances, led to his apprehension. He was tried, condemned to Siberia, and his name struck off the roll of the nobility. His family, however, stands as high now as it ever did; for his descendants were not disgraced; and they still possess all the daring, courage, enterprise, and sparkling wit of their pirate ancestor, although it is but just to say they have not inherited his crimes. The sensation caused by the dread of this man reached even to the shores of England, and the streets of London were placarded, "Beware of Ungern Sternberg, the Sea Robber!" as a warning to sailors. This of course was before his seizure, for when he was taken his accomplices could not longer continue their vile occupation.'"
CHARLES. "I am anxious to know if it is from the shores of the Baltic the Turks procure the golden-colored amber of which they make the mouth-pieces for their pipes?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes, Charles; the amber-gathering is carried on extensively there, and is the wealth of half the inhabitants. The amber is sent to Turkey and Greece, and there manufactured into those splendid mouth-pieces, which it is the pride of these smoke-loving people to possess. Some of these are excessively gorgeous and proportionably valuable. I have heard of one being worth the enormous sum of 100l!"
GEORGE. "Parts of Sweden are entirely separated by the Gulf of Bothnia. What sort of ships have they, papa, to cross the water in that cold country?"
MR. WILTON. "They do not often cross the water in ships, but transact nearly all their business with the opposite shores, during the four months when the waters of this sea, which has no tides, is firmly frozen, and when they can travel across in sledges, comfortably defended from the inclemency of the weather. The Baltic being full of low coasts and shoals, galleys of a flat construction are found more serviceable than ships of war, and great attention is paid to their equipment by Sweden as well as Russia. We have neglected to mention the Islands of the Baltic. There is the isle of Oesal, remarkable for its quarries of beautiful marble; its inhabitants like those of Dagen Isle, are chiefly Esthonians: Gothland and Oeland are both fertile and productive. In the Gulf of Bothnia are the Aland Isles, which derive their names from the largest, forty miles in length and fifteen in breadth, containing about 9000 inhabitants, who speak the Swedish language. These isles form almost a barrier of real granite rocks stretching to the opposite shores. In the Gulf of Finland lies the Isle of Cronstadt, formerly called Retusavi; it has an excellent haven, strongly fortified, which is the chief station of the Russian fleet."
CHARLES. "Is not the chief fleet of Russia that of the Baltic?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes; it consists of about thirty-six ships of the line; but the maritime power of Russia is trifling."
MRS. WILTON. "As in leaving the Baltic we quit the shores of Sweden, we shall have no other opportunity to view Stockholm, the capital. It occupies a singular situation between a creek or inlet of the Baltic Sea and the Lake Maeler. It stands on seven small rocky islands, and the scenery is truly singular and romantic. This city was founded by Earl Birger, regent of the kingdom, about the middle of the thirteenth century; and in the seventeenth century the royal residence was transferred hither from Upsal. Sweden was formerly under the Danish yoke, but Gustavus Yasa delivered it when he introduced the reformed religion in 1527. His reign of thirty-seven years was great and glorious in the annals of Sweden. We will now proceed on our course: shall we go still further north, into the White Sea, or are you tired of the cold, and prefer journeying to the south, and embarking on the Black Sea?"
CHARLES. "Oh! the White Sea first, for the distance is much less, and we shall sooner get there; but it must be an overland journey."
MR. WILTON. "Yes; for the Bielse More, or White Sea, is reckoned, with the Mediterranean and the Baltic, as one of Europe's principal inland seas. The largest gulfs connected with this sea are the Gulf of Archangel and the Gulf of Candalax; the waters of the latter wash the shores of Lapland, and are filled with numerous small islands. Archangel is a port on the White Sea; and here the Russians build most of their men-of-war: before the reign of Peter the Great, it was the only port from which Russia communicated with other countries of Europe."
MRS. WILTON. "With a few remarks on Lapland, we will quit this part of our quarter of the globe. Lapland can boast of but few towns. The people lead wandering lives, and reside greater part of the year in huts buried in the snow; occasionally they have warm weather, that is, for the space of three or four weeks in the year, when the sun has immense power; so that a clergyman residing at Enontekis informed Dr. Clarke that he was able to light his pipe at midnight with a common burning-glass, and that from his church the sun was visible above the horizon at midnight during the few weeks of summer. But the delights of this long day scarcely compensate for the almost uninterrupted night which overshadows them with its dark mantle for the remainder of the year; one continual winter, when scarcely for three hours during the day can the inhabitants dispense with the use of candles. The climate, although so extremely frigid, is nevertheless wholesome, and the people are a hardy race. In Lapland the Aurora Borealis is seen to perfection; the appearance it exhibits at times is beyond description magnificent: it serves to illuminate their dark skies in the long night of winter; and, although they cannot benefit by it so continually as the inhabitants of Greenland and Iceland, yet they never behold the arch of the glorious Northern Lights spread abroad in the starry heavens but they bless God for the phenomenon which they cannot comprehend, but know full well how to appreciate. Here in this wintry region George might enjoy himself agreeably to his wishes, for the Laplanders travel in sledges drawn by the swift reindeer; but I fear he would find it difficult to keep his seat, as the sledge is but of narrow dimensions and easily upset, while the animal requires a great deal of management to guide him properly. What think you, George? Would you not be like Frank Berkeley or Paul Preston, who fancied it must be so easy and delightful to ride in a pulk or sledge, and found instead, that, from inexperience, their journey was one continued chapter of accidents?"
GEORGE. "I dare say I should fare as badly at first, but I would not be discouraged by one failure."
MR. WILTON. "That is right, my boy! Perseverance and determination are an extra pair of legs to a traveller in his journey through life."
CHARLES. "There appears to be no islands in the White Sea."
MRS. WILTON. "There are islands, but they are mostly barren uninhabited rocks. Archangel, a port on this sea, is famous for the manufacture of linen sheeting. Now quit we these dreary regions for the bright and enlivening southern climes; and, if all parties are agreeable, we will cast our anchor where we may behold the heights of Caucasus, and picture to ourselves the situation of still more interesting elevations; viz. Ararat, Lebanon, and Hermon; mountains mentioned in the Sacred Writings, and certainly great points of attraction to Christian travellers in Asiatic Turkey."
CHARLES. "There are several gulfs; but I do not know of any islands, in the Black Sea. There is a peninsula attached to Russia, which contains the towns of Kafa, Aknetchet, Sevastopol, and Eupatoria: it lies between the Sea of Asof and the Gulf of Perecop. The principal gulfs are the Gulf of Baba, the Gulf of Samson, the Gulf of Varna, and the Gulf of Foros."
MR. BARRAUD. "The peninsula you mention, Charles, is the Crimea, which possesses a most delicious climate, although lying contiguous to the Putrid Sea, which bounds it on the north. There is an island in the Euxine,—the Island Leuce, or Isle of Achilles, also called the Isle of Serpents. It is asserted by the ancients to have been presented to Achilles by his mother Thetis. In the Gulf of Perecop there is also another island, called Taman, which contains springs of naphtha."
MR. WILTON. "The principal port on the Black Sea is Odessa. It ranks next in Russia after the two capitals of the empire, but is not a desirable residence, being subject to hurricanes and other evils, of which dust is undoubtedly the greatest. A learned French writer says: 'Dust here is a real calamity, a fiend-like persecutor that allows you not a moment's rest. It spreads out in seas and billows that rise with the least breath of wind, and envelop you with increasing fury, until you are stifled and blinded, and incapable of a single movement.' The same writer describes a curious phenomenon he witnessed in Odessa: 'After a very hot day in 1840, the air gradually darkened about four in the afternoon, until it was impossible to see twenty paces before one. The oppressive feel of the atmosphere, the dead calm, and the portentous color of the sky, filled every one with deep consternation, and seemed to betoken some fearful catastrophe. The thermometer attained the height of 104° Fahrenheit. The obscurity was then complete. Presently the most furious tempest imagination can conceive burst forth; and when the darkness cleared off, there was seen over the sea what looked like a waterspout of prodigious depth and breadth, suspended at a height of several feet above the water, and moving slowly away until it dispersed at last at a distance of many miles from the shore. The eclipse and the waterspout were nothing else than dust; and that day Odessa was swept cleaner than it will probably ever be again.'"
MRS. WILTON. "Such a description is quite sufficient to drive the weary traveller to seek shelter; and I think we have had enough of other places for to-night. Let us take our own at the supper-table, and refresh ourselves after the voyage, for we have reason to congratulate each other on the success of our plan; hitherto, there has been no halting for lack of a finger-post, and I hope we shall be as well prepared at future meetings, and be enabled to accomplish as much as we have this evening."
GRANDY. "I have been silent for the last hour, principally because I do not feel very well this evening; but I cannot refrain from speaking a word or two before we disperse. A good and wise man says—
'Full often, too,
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn
Of nature, overlooks her Author more.'
My dear children, let not this be said of you; but look upward to the Source of light and life, and pray that all knowledge may lead you on to seek Him who is the author and giver of all good things; then will wisdom, heavenly wisdom, illumine your minds; then will peace, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, fill your hearts, and
'Reveal truths undiscerned but by that holy light.'"
O'er the stormy, wide, and billowy deep,
Where the whale, the shark, and the sword-fish sleep;
And amidst the plashing and feathery foam,
Where the stormy-petrel finds a home.
"George is to open this meeting, by reciting some lines written by Mrs. Howitt, which are very clever, and will most appropriately introduce our subject." So saying, Mrs. Wilton proceeded to arrange the members in their various places; and, seating herself, she turned to her son, who by virtue of his office was allowed to remain near Grandy's chair until the great work was accomplished. George was hesitating, but an encouraging smile from this kind mother inspired him with confidence, and he commenced without further ceremony:—
"'The earth is large,' said one of twain;
'The earth is large and wide;
But it is filled with misery
And death on every side!'
Said the other, 'Deep as it is wide
Is the sea within all climes,
And it is fuller of misery
And of death, a thousand times!
The land has peaceful flocks and herds,
And sweet birds singing round;
But a myriad monstrous, hideous things
Within the sea are found—
Things all misshapen, slimy, cold,
Writhing, and strong, and thin,
And waterspouts, and whirlpools wild,
That draw the fair ship in.
I've heard of the diver to the depths
Of the ocean forced to go,
To bring up the pearl and the twisted shell
From the fathomless caves below;
I've heard of the things in those dismal gulfs,
Like fiends that hemm'd him round—
I would not lead a diver's life
For every pearl that's found.
And I've heard how the sea-snake, huge and dark,
In the arctic flood doth roll;
He hath coil'd his tail, like a cable strong,
All round and round the pole:
And they say, when he stirs in the sea below,
The ice-rocks split asunder—
The mountains huge of the ribbed ice—
With a deafening crack like thunder.
There's many an isle man wots not of,
Where the air is heavy with groans;
And the bottom o' th' sea, the wisest say,
Is covered with dead men's bones.
I'll tell thee what: there's many a ship
In the wild North Ocean frore,
That has lain in the ice a thousand years,
And will lie a thousand more;
And the men—each one is frozen there
In the place where he did stand;
The oar he pull'd, the rope he threw,
Is frozen in his hand.
The sun shines there, but it warms them not;
Their bodies are wintry cold:
They are wrapp'd in ice that grows and grows,
Solid, and white, and old!
And there's many a haunted desert rock,
Where seldom ship doth go—
Where unburied men, with fleshless limbs,
Are moving to and fro:
They people the cliffs, they people the caves,—
A ghastly company!—
never sail'd there in a ship myself,
But I know that such there be.
And oh! the hot and horrid track
Of the Ocean of the Line!
There are millions of the negro men
Under that burning brine.
The ocean sea doth moan and moan,
Like an uneasy sprite;
And the waves are white with a fiendish fire
That burneth all the night.
'Tis a frightful thing to sail along,
Though a pleasant wind may blow,
When we think what a host of misery
Lies down in the sea below!
Didst ever hear of a little boat,
And in her there were three;
They had nothing to eat, and nothing to drink,
Adrift on the desert sea.
For seven days they bore their pain;
Then two men on the other
Did fix their longing, hungry eyes,—
And that one was their brother!
And him they killed, and ate, and drank—
Oh me! 'twas a horrid thing!
For the dead should lie in a churchyard green,
Where the pleasant flowers do spring.
And think'st thou but for mortal sin
Such frightful things would be?
In the land of the New Jerusalem
There will be no more sea!'"
MR. WILTON. "Well done! George; very nicely repeated indeed: you are a most promising member of our little society; and we will drink your health in some of Grandy's elder-wine to-night at supper, and not forget the honors to be added thereto. Now, is it determined how we are to proceed; whether we take the seas of Asia, or enter on the broad waves of the various oceans which wash many of the shores of Europe?"
CHARLES. "The seas first, sir. I have the list of those for consideration belonging to this most interesting division of the globe: the Caspian, between Turkey, Persia, and Tartary; the Whang-hai, or Yellow Sea, in China; the Sea of Japan; the Sea of Ochotsh or Lama; the Chinese Sea; the Bay of Bengal; the Persian Gulf; and the Arabian Gulf or Red Sea: these are the largest; but there are numbers of small seas, some of them so entirely inland that they should more properly be called lakes; of these, the largest is the Sea of Aral. The bays and gulfs around Asia are so numerous that you would be tired of hearing their names. North, are the Bays of Carskoe and Obskaia: south, Tonquin, Siam, Cambay, and Cutch; east, Macao and Petchelee; west, Balkan, Kindelnisk, and Krasnai Vodi; the latter in the Caspian."
GEORGE. "Are those all, Charles? why, from your preface, I thought you would be at least ten minutes enumerating the Bays of Asia."
CHARLES. "Were I to name all, I could do it in less time than ten minutes; but I should incur too great a liability for my trouble, as I should be expected to describe the situations of all, and that would be beyond my capability."
DORA. "The Caspian falls to my share: it is usually called by the Persians, 'Derrieh Hustakhan' (Sea of Astrachan). It is likewise called the 'Derrieh Khizzar.' The absence of all shipping, save now and then a solitary Russian craft; the scarcity of sea-weed, and the want of the refreshing salt scent of the ocean, together with the general appearance of the coast, suggest the idea of an immense lake. Numbers of that large fish called 'sturgeon' are taken from the waters of the Caspian; and there is quite a colony of fishermen engaged in this occupation on the Persian coast; and during the season they catch thousands of these useful fish. No part of a sturgeon is wasted: the roe is taken out, salted, and stowed away in casks; this is known by the name of 'caviare,' and is esteemed a great luxury. From the sound or air-bladder isinglass is made, simply by being hung in the sun for a time; and the fish itself is dried, and exported to various parts of the world. Astracan is the chief seat of Caspian commerce."
MR. WILTON. "And here the traveller finds collected into a focus all the picturesque items that have struck him elsewhere. Alongside of a Tartar dwelling stretches a great building blackened by time, and by its architecture and carvings carrying you back to the middle ages. A European shop displays its fashionable haberdashery opposite a caravanserai; the magnificent cathedral overshadows a pretty mosque with its fountain; a Moorish balcony contains a group of young European ladies, who set you thinking of Paris; whilst a graceful white shadow glides mysteriously under the gallery of an old palace. All contrasts are here met together; and so it happens, that in passing from one quarter to another you think you have made but a short promenade, and you have picked up a stock of observation and reminiscences belonging to all times and places. The Russians ought to be proud of this town; for, unlike others in this country, it is not of yesterday's formation, and is the only place throughout the empire where the traveller is not plagued with the cold monotonous regularity which meets him at every other city in Russia. The Caspian Sea covers an extent of 120,000 square miles, and is the largest salt lake known."
MR. BARRAUD. "Near a place called Semnoon, not many miles from Asterabad, there formerly stood a city of Guebres, named Dzedjin, with which a droll legend is connected:—
"'When Semnoon was built, the water with which it was supplied flowed from the city of the Guebres, who one day turned the stream, and cut off the supplies. Sin and Lam (two prophets), seeing the town about to perish for want of water, repaired to Dzedjin, and entreated the chiefs of that place to allow the stream to return to its old channel. This they at first refused, but finally made an agreement, that on the payment of a sum equal to a thousand tomauns, or 500l., the water should be allowed to flow into the city as long as life remained in the head of a fly, which was to be cut off and thrown into a basin of water. This was done; but, to the great astonishment of the Guebres, the head retained life during thirteen days, which so exasperated them against Sin and Lam, whom they perceived to be men of God that they sent an armed party to Semnoon to make them prisoners.
"'Meanwhile Sin and Lam had received intelligence of their designs, and fled. The first village they halted at was called Shadderron, where, having rested awhile, they continued their flight, strictly enjoining the inhabitants not to tell their pursuers the direction which they had taken. Shortly afterwards the Guebres arrived, and inquired where they had gone. The villagers did not mention the direction in words, but treacherously indicated it by turning their heads over their right shoulders, in which position they became immovably fixed; and since then all their descendants have been born with a twist in the neck towards the right shoulder.'"
Here the boys had some difficulty in repressing their laughter; for Charles placed his head in the position of the faithless Shadderrons, and looked so mischievously at George, that he was obliged to cover his eyes, or he would have stopped the story by a boisterous shout of merriment.
MR. BARRAUD continued: "'The fugitives next arrived at a place called Giorvenon, on quitting which they left the same injunctions as before. On the arrival of the pursuers, however, the people pointed out the direction of their flight by stretching their chins straightforward. An awful peal of thunder marked the divine displeasure; and the inhabitants of Giorvenon now found themselves unable to bring their heads back to their proper position; and the curse likewise descended to their posterity, who have since been remarkable for long projecting chins. After a long chase, the Guebres overtook the prophets at the foot of a steep hill, up which they galloped into a small plain, where, to the astonishment and disappointment of their pursuers, the earth opened and closed over them. It was now evening; and the Guebres, placing a small heap of stones over the spot where Sin and Lam had disappeared, retired for the night. Early the next morning the Guebres repaired thither with the intention of digging out the prophets; but, to their confusion, they found the whole plain covered with similar heaps of stones, so that all their endeavors to find the original pile were completely baffled, and they returned to Dzedjin disappointed. There is now a small mosque, said to cover the exact spot where Sin and Lam sank into the ground, which is called Seracheh, to which people resort to pray, and make vows; and close by is an almost perpendicular rock, whence (the inhabitants aver) may be seen the marks of the feet of the horses ridden by the Guebres!'"
This story amused the children much, and they would gladly have listened to Mr. Barraud while he related some other extraordinary tradition, but his reply to their request silenced these wishes.
"Every place," said he, "throughout this wild country has a legend: were I to tell you all, there would be no time for business. I merely selected this because it is concerning a town situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and gives you a tolerable idea of the superstition of its inhabitants."
MR. WILTON. "The Caspian extends about 700 miles in length, and 200 in breadth. The northern shores of this sea are low and swampy, often overgrown with reeds; but in many other parts the coasts are precipitous, with such deep water that a line of 450 fathoms will not reach the bottom. The best haven in the Caspian is that of Baku; that of Derbent is rocky, and that of Sensili not commodious, though one of the chief ports of trade."
DORA. "The Whang-hai, or Yellow Sea, on the coast of China, contains several islands,—Tebu-sou, Lowang, Tsougming, Vun-taichan, Fouma, and Stanton's Island. By the Straits of Corea we can enter the Sea of Japan, sail along by the great Japan Islands, the principal of which are Niphon, Kinsin, and Sikokf, and, passing the Jesso Isles, go through the Channel of Tartary, and enter the Sea of Ochotsk or Lama."
MRS. WILTON. "A very good route, Dora, but rather too expeditious to be advantageous. These islands and seas are connected with many interesting facts. And why pass the Island of Sagalien without a glance? I am sure, could you have seen one of the people, your attention would have been sufficiently arrested to stay your rapid flight o'er land and sea. The Sagaliens are similar in many respects to the Tartar tribes. Their dress is a loose robe of skins, or quilted nankeen, with a girdle. They tattoo their upper lip blue. Their huts or cabins of timber are thatched with grass, with a fire-place in the centre. The native name of this large island is Tehoka.
"Between Japan and Mantchooria is the great peninsula of Corea, remarkable for the coldness of its climate, although in the latitude of Italy. We are told that in the northern parts snow falls in so large quantities as to render it necessary to dig passages under it in order to go from one house to another. It is supposed that the surface of this country being so extremely mountainous is the cause of this curious climate. There are numbers of ponies here not more than three feet high!"
GEORGE. "Oh what sweet creatures! how very much I would like to have one; actually not larger than a dog: how very pretty they must be."
EMMA. "Around the three great islands of Japan, I observe countless numbers of little ones,—are they in any way connected with Japan?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; they all belong to the kingdom of Japan."
EMMA. "And what sort of people are the Japanese?"
MR. WILTON. "Very similar in appearance to their neighbors, the Chinese, with a yellow complexion and small oblique eyes: there is this difference, however; their hair is thick and bushy, while the hair of the Chinese is cultivated in a long tail. A Japanese is certainly rather ludicrous, in both manners and appearance. His head half-shaved; the hair which is left accumulated on the crown of his head; his body wrapped (when travelling) in an enormous covering of oiled paper, and a large fan in his hand, he presents an extraordinary figure. These people are very particular concerning points of etiquette, and have many books written on the proper mode of taking a draught of water, how to give and receive presents, and all the other minutiae of behavior."
GRANDY. "The Japanese have curious notions with regard to the life eternal. They believe that the souls of the virtuous have a place assigned to them immediately under heaven, while those of the wicked wander in the air until they expiate their offences."
CHARLES. "I am very glad that is not my creed, for I should not at all enjoy life with the continual idea of wicked spirits hovering in the air around me. They might as reasonably believe in ghosts."
MRS. WILTON. "In the Indian and China Seas, and in many other parts of the great tropical belt, the periodical winds called 'monsoons' are found. The south-west monsoon prevails from April to October, between the equator and the tropic of Cancer: and it reaches from the east coast of Africa to the coasts of India, China, and the Philippine Islands. Its influence extends sometimes into the Pacific Ocean, as far as the Marcian Isles, or to longitude about 145º east; and it reaches as far north as the Japan Islands. The north-east monsoon prevails from October to May, throughout nearly the same space, that the south-west monsoon prevails in during the former season. But the monsoons are subject to great obstructions by land; and in contracted places, such as Malacca Straits, they are changed into variable winds. Their limits are not everywhere the same; nor do they always shift exactly at the same period, but they are generally calculated upon about the times I have mentioned."
EMMA. "Mamma, are not trade-winds something like monsoons?"
MRS. WILTON. "So far similar that they are confined to a certain region, and are tolerably regular in their operations. The trade-winds blow, more or less, from the eastern half of the compass to the western. Their chief region lies between the tropics from 23-1/2º north to 23-1/2º south latitude, although in some parts of the world they extend farther; but it is only in the open parts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that the true trade-winds blow. These winds shift many degrees of latitude in the course of the year; but skilful navigators usually know where to catch them, and make them serviceable in helping to blow their richly laden vessels 'o'er the glad waters of the bright blue sea.'"
GEORGE. "Do you know the cause of these regular winds, papa? You say learned men try to discover why such things are so, and generally find out causes from their effects."
MR. WILTON. "Exactly so, my boy; and learned women do the same: as an instance, I will quote the learned Mrs. Somerville on this very subject, and give you an excellent reply to your question.
"'The heat of the sun occasions the trade-winds, by rarefying the air at the equator, which causes the cooler and more dense part of the atmosphere to rush along the surface of the earth to the equator, while that which is heated is carried along the higher strata to the poles, forming two currents in the direction of the meridian. But the rotatory velocity of the air corresponding to its geographical situation, decreases towards the poles; in approaching the equator it must therefore revolve more slowly than the corresponding parts of the earth, and the bodies of the surface of the earth must strike against it with the excess of their velocity, and by its reaction they will meet with a resistance contrary to their motion of rotation; so that the wind will appear, to a person supposing himself to be at rest, to blow in a contrary direction to the earth's rotation, or from east to west, which is the direction of the trade-winds.'"
GEORGE. "May I read that to-morrow, papa? I do not quite understand it; and if you have the book, I could read it over and over until I found out the meaning."
MR. WILTON. "You will find it in Mrs. Somerville's 'Mechanism of the Heavens.' If you come to my study to-morrow morning before I leave home, I will assist you in the solution of the difficulties."
MR. BARRAUD. "In an account of Cabul I have read a fine description of the commencement of a monsoon:—'The approach is announced by vast masses of clouds that rise from the Indian Ocean, advancing towards the north-east, gathering and thickening as they approach the land. After some threatening days, the sky assumes a troubled appearance in the evening, and the monsoon sets in generally during the night. It is attended by such a violent thunder-storm as can scarcely be imagined by those who have only witnessed the phenomenon in a temperate climate. It generally begins with violent blasts of wind, which are succeeded by floods of rain. For some hours lightning is seen without intermission: sometimes it only illuminates the sky, and shows the clouds near the horizon; at others, it discovers the distant hills, and again leaves all in darkness; when, in an instant, it reappears in vivid and successive flashes, and exhibits the nearest objects in all the brightness of day. During all this time the distant thunder never ceases to roll, and is only silenced by some nearer peal, which bursts on the ear with such a sudden and tremendous crash, as can scarcely fail to strike the most insensible heart with awe. At length the thunder ceases, and nothing is heard but the continued pouring of the rain and the rushing of the rising streams.'"
CHARLES. "I would much rather live in our temperate climate than between the tropics; for everything connected with the elements is so outrageously violent, that I should be continually in a state of alarm, and in constant dread of a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or some such awful visitation.'"
GRANDY. "Why should you fear, my dear boy? Who, or what, can harm you if you follow that which is good? Is not the arm of the Lord mighty to save? and is it not stretched forth all the day long to defend his own children? Has he not promised to be a stronghold whereunto the faithful may always resort, and to be a house of defence for his people? Cast thy fear from thee, Charles; rely on God's gracious promises, and pray for faith to believe in his omnipotence."
DORA. "The Sea of Ochotsk. This sea is nearly land-locked, being in this respect, as well as in size and general situation, not unlike Hudson's Bay. The waters are shallow, not exceeding (about fifty miles from land) fifty fathoms, and rarely giving, even in the centre, above four times the depth just mentioned. There are three gulfs belonging to this sea, the Gulf of Penjinsk, the Gulf of Gijiginsk, and the Gulf of Tanish; but not many islands of consideration."
MR. WILTON. "Although Asia cannot vie with Europe in the advantages of inland seas, yet, in addition to a share of the Mediterranean, it possesses the Red Sea and Gulf of Persia, the Bays of Bengal and Nankin, and other gulfs already mentioned, which diversify the coasts much more than those of either Africa or America, and have doubtless contributed greatly to the early civilization of this celebrated division of the globe. I wish each of you young folks to describe the following seas as I mention their names. Dora, tell me all you have learnt respecting the Red Sea."
DORA. "The Red Sea, or Arabian Gulf of antiquity, constitutes the grand natural division between Asia and Africa; but its advantages have been chiefly felt by the latter, which is entirely destitute of inland seas. Egypt and Abyssinia, two of the most civilized countries in that division, have derived great benefits from that celebrated sea, which, from the Straits of Babelmandel to Suez, extends about 21°, or 1470 British miles, terminating not in two equal branches, as delineated in old maps, but in an extensive western branch; while the eastern ascends little beyond the parallel of Mount Sinai."
GRANDY. "The Gulf of Suez was the scene of the most stupendous miracle recorded in Exodus—the Passage of the Israelites,—when God clave in sunder the waters of the sea, and caused them to rise perpendicularly, so as to form a wall unto the Israelites, on their right hand, and on their left. This is not to be read figuratively, but literally; for in Exodus xv. 8, it is said they 'stood as an heap,' and were 'congealed,' or suspended, as though turned into ice:—'And with the blast of thy nostrils, the waters were gathered together: the floods stood upright as an heap; the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.'"
MR. WILTON. "Emma, I call upon you for the account of the Persian Gulf; but you seem so intent on the book before you, that I feel a little curious to know the subject of your meditations."
EMMA. "You shall hear, papa, although perhaps you may laugh at me afterwards. I was thinking that it seemed rather absurd for people who are constantly voyaging to the East Indies to go such an immense way round Africa, when by cutting a passage through the Isthmus of Suez they could arrive at the desired haven in half the time. What is the width of the isthmus, papa? Would such a thing be practicable, or am I very foolish?"
MR. WILTON. "Not at all, my dear, as I will readily prove. The width is about seventy-five miles; and there has been a communication between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Strabo, the historian, asserts that a canal was built by Sesostris, king of Egypt; and in February, 1799, Napoleon, then General of the French Republic, accompanied by some gentlemen skilled in such matters, proceeded from Cairo to Suez with the view of discovering the vestiges of this ancient canal. They were successful: they found traces of it for several leagues, together with portions of the old great wall of Sesostris, which guarded the eastern frontiers of Egypt, and protected the canal from the sands of the desert. It was a short time since in contemplation to renew this communication by the same means as those used by Sesostris; viz., by forming a canal for the advantage of commerce, &c.; which advantage is well explained by Mr. Edward Clarkson, in an article on Steam Navigation, thus: 'The distance from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea by the Suez navigable canal would be from eighty to ninety miles. The time consumed by a steamboat in this transit might be averaged at five hours. What is the time now consumed in the transit through Egypt by the voyager from England to Bombay? and what is the nature of the transit? Passengers, packages, and letters, after being landed at Alexandria, are now conveyed by the Mahmoudie Canal forty miles to Atfeh, on the Nile. This consumes twelve hours, and is performed by a track-boat, attended by numerous inconveniences. The passengers, goods, and letters are landed at Atfeh; they are there reshipped, and carried by steamboat from Atfeh up the Nile to Boulac, a distance of 120 miles. This water transit consumes eighteen hours. At Boulac, which is the port of Cairo, the passengers, goods, and letters are again unshipped, and have a land transit of two miles before they arrive at Cairo. At that capital a stoppage of twelve hours, which is considered indispensable to travellers, occurs. A fourth transit then takes place to Suez from Cairo, across the Desert. This is performed by vans with two and four horses, donkey-chairs (two donkeys carrying a species of litter between them for ladies and children,) and is often attended, owing to the scarcity of good horses, with great inconveniences. The distance of this land transit is eighty-four miles, and consumes thirty-six hours. The whole distance by the present line is thus 246 miles; by the projected line it is 80: the transit by the present line consumes four days; the transit by the proposed line would not consume more than five hours!'.
"'Instead of a land, and river, and desert transit, with all the obstructions and inconveniences of track-boats, native steamers, donkey-chairs, and vans, shipping and unshipping, there will be no land transit, and the whole passage may be made by sea from London to Bombay without stoppage. Instead of four days being consumed in the Egyptian transit, five hours will only be requisite. Moreover, the 2l. 12s. expense caused by the present transit in Egypt, and charged to each person, will in future be saved by every passenger.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "I propose a vote of thanks to Emma for introducing the subject, as by so doing we have gained a great deal of information."
MR. WILTON. "There you see, Emma, you are not laughed at, but we all thank you, for revealing your thoughts. Now to the Persian Gulf, if you have any particulars."
EMMA. "The Persian Gulf is another noted inland sea, about half the length of the Red Sea, and is the grand receptacle of those celebrated rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris. The small bays within this gulf are Katiff Bay, Assilla Bay, Erzoog Bay. There are various islands and large pearl banks here; and on the Euphrates, not many miles from these shores, stands Chaldaea. The inhabitants are the Beni Khaled Arabs, descendants of the founders of the 'Great Babylon.'"
GEORGE. "Oh, papa, I have a discovery: here is an island nobody has noticed—its name is Dahalac."
MRS. WILTON. "That was certainly an omission, for Dahalac is a large island, sixty miles in circumference. It contains goats which have long silky hair, and furnishes gum-lac, the produce of a particular kind of shrub. To this island vessels repair for fresh water, which, however, is very bad, being kept in 370 dirty cisterns!"
MR. BARRAUD. "This district is especially interesting to Christians, for here are situated the mounts celebrated in Scripture. In the centre of Armenia you may observe Mount Ararat, a detached elevation with two summits; the highest covered with perpetual snow. On this mountain rested the Ark, when God sent his vengeance over all the earth, and destroyed every living thing. Mount Lebanon is in Syria; and not far distant stands Mount Sinai, an enormous mass of granite rocks, with a Greek convent at its base, called the convent of St. Catharine: here was the law delivered to Moses, inscribed on two tables of stone by the Most High God."
MR. WILTON. "The whole coast of Oman, in South Arabia, which on the north is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf, and on the south by the Sea of Oman, abounds with fish; and, as the natives have but few canoes, they generally substitute a single inflated skin, or sometimes two, across which they place a flat board. On this contrivance the fisherman seats himself, and either casts his small hand-net, or plays his hook and line. Some capital sport must arise occasionally, when the sharks, which are here very numerous and large, gorge the bait; for, whenever this occurs, unless the angler cuts his line, (and that, as the shark is more valued by them than any other fish, he is often unwilling to do,) nothing can prevent his rude machine from following their track; and the fisherman is sometimes, in consequence, carried out a great distance to sea. It requires considerable dexterity to secure these monsters; for when they are hauled up near to the skins, they struggle a good deal, and if they happen to jerk the fisherman from his seat, the infuriate monster dashes at once at him. Many accidents arise in this manner; but if they succeed in getting him quickly alongside, they soon despatch him by a few blows on the snout."
MRS. WILTON. "There are many little circumstances of interest connected with the Persian Gulf. In several parts fresh springs rise in the middle of the salt water, particularly near the Islands of Baharein. The whole shore of this gulf is lined with islands; and on its shores are several independent Arabs, who almost all live in the same manner. They subsist by maritime trade, and by the peril and other fisheries. Their food consists of dates, fish, and dhoura bread. Their arms are muskets, with matchlocks, sabres, and bucklers. These tribes, among whom the Houles are the most powerful, all speak the Arabic language, and are enemies to the Persians, with whom they form no alliances. Their houses are so wretched, that an enemy would think it lost labor to destroy them. As they generally have but little to lose on land, if a Persian army approaches, all the inhabitants of the towns and villages go on board their little vessels, and take refuge in some island in the Persian Gulf until the enemy retires."
EMMA. "Where are the Baharein Isles, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Near the Arabian shore. They are remarkable for the pearl fishery, which is carried on in their neighborhood during the months of June, July, and August; a fishery which, in the sixteenth century, was estimated at 500,000 ducats. The name Baharein signifies two seas."
MR. WILTON. "Well, Charles; what can you tell us about the little Sea of Aral?"
CHARLES. "Not much I am afraid, sir. The Sea of Aral, or Eagles, is situated about 100 miles east of the Caspian, and is nearly 200 miles in length and 70 in breadth; it is surrounded with sandy deserts, and has been little explored; its waters are not so salt as the Caspian, but there are many small saline lakes in its vicinity. There is a remarkable detached sea in Siberia, or Asiatic Russia, which we have not noticed, called Baikal Sea; it extends from the 51° to the 55° of north latitude. This sea is 350 miles in length and only 50 in breadth. The water is fresh and transparent, yet of a green or sea tinge, commonly frozen in the latter end of December, and clear of ice in May. At particular periods it is subject to violent and unaccountable storms, whence, as terror is the parent of superstition, probably springs the Russian name of Svetoie Morè, or the Holy Sea. There are many seals here, and abundance of fish, particularly a kind of herring called omuli."
MR. WILTON. "Very good, Charles. Now, my son, try your best memory on the Eastern Sea."
GEORGE. "I am glad you have given me that sea to describe, for I have been much amused with the curious names of the islands printed on the map in these waters. A little group not far from 'Tchusan' is called 'the Bear and Cubs;' another 'Lowang,' or 'Buffalo's Nose;' another 'Chutta-than,' or 'Shovel-nosed Shark.' Near the Japan Isles there is a little cluster called 'Asses' Ears.' This sea is called by the Chinese Tong-hai; and in it are the large islands Formosa and Loo-choo; but I know nothing of them."
MRS. WILTON. "I will aid you there, George, because you have done well to remember all those difficult names. Formosa is a fine fertile island, belonging to the Chinese, where oxen are used for equestrian purposes for want of horses or asses. The Loo-choo Islands constitute a little civilized kingdom, tributary to China. There are thirty-six of them. The capital is Kinching. These isles were discovered by the Chinese many hundred years ago. Their products are sulphur, copper, tin, shells, and mother-of-pearl. The inhabitants vie with the Japanese in the manufacture of lacquered ware. Loo-choo itself is one of the most delightful places in the world, with a temperate climate and great fertility. All animal creation here is of a diminutive size, but all excellent in their kind. The people are amiable and virtuous, though, unhappily, worshippers of Confucius."
MR. WILTON. "The China Sea falls to Dora's share: are you prepared, my dear?"
DORA. "I think so, sir. It lies south-west of China, and connected with it are the Gulfs of Siam and Tonquin. In the former are the Islands Hastings and Tantalem: the latter washes the coast of Cochin China; a coast that suffers more from the encroachment of the sea than any other known: in five years the sea gained 190 feet from east to west. The low country is exposed to an uncomfortable degree of heat during part of the year, and the rains are so plentiful, that boats are navigable over the fields and hedges, and the children go out in small barks to fish for the mice which cling to the branches of the trees."
EMMA. "Poor little mice! I dare say they would rather be playthings for children than be drowned."
CHARLES. "They need no fishing-tackle for their sport; I suppose they catch them in their hands. Do you know, Dora?"
DORA. "I believe they do.—Now what comes next? Oh! Hainan. It lies in the China Sea; its capital is Kiang-tchou. In the southern part this island is mountainous, but towards the north it is more level, and productive of rice; in the centre there are mines of gold; and on the shores are found small blue fish, which the Chinese value more than we do those known as gold and silver fish. The blue fish will not survive long after they are caught, and two days' confinement to a glass bowl suffices to end their lives."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Gulf of Tonquin and the adjacent seas are remarkable for dreadful whirlwinds, called 'typhons.' After calm weather they are announced by a small black cloud in the north-east part of the horizon, which gradually brightens until it becomes white and brilliant. This alarming appearance often precedes the hurricane twelve hours."
CHARLES. "Pray what is the cause of this dreadful 'typhon?'"
MR. BARRAUD. "They seem to arise from the mutual opposition of the north-wind coming down from the mountains of the continent and the south-wind proceeding from the ocean. Nothing can exceed their fury. They are accompanied by dreadful thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. After five or six hours a calm succeeds; but the hurricane soon returns in the opposite direction with additional fury, and continues for an equal interval."
GEORGE. "Papa, there are seas of all colors, for I have actually found a Blue Sea. Here it is, between Loo-choo and China. What droll people the Chinese are! they have such odd names for their places."
MR. WILTON. "Yes; they call China Tchou-Koo, or the 'Centre of the World;' for in their overweening pride, they consider other countries as mere strips surrounding their territory; and their names and titles are very grand. At a distance of six hundred paces from the shore of the 'Yang-tse-Kiang' is the wonderful Island of Chin-shan, or 'Golden Mountain.' This island is covered with gardens and pleasure-houses. Art and nature have united their efforts to give it the most enchanting aspect. It is in the fields of this isle that the shrub grows producing the cotton of which the article known by the name of Nankeen is made. The fibre is not white like other cotton, but of a delicate orange color, which it preserves after it is spun and woven."
MR. BARRAUD. "There are many noble lakes in China, particularly in the province of Howquang, which name signifies 'Country of Lakes;' and I remember reading of a traveller who often observed on one near the Imperial Canal, thousands of small boats and rafts, constructed for a singular species of fishery. 'On each boat or raft are ten or a dozen birds, which, at a signal from the owner, plunge into the water; and it is astonishing to see the enormous size of the fish with which they return grasped within their bills.' They appeared to be so well trained, that it did not require either ring or cord about their throats to prevent them from swallowing any portion of their prey, except what the master was pleased to return to them for encouragement and food. The boat used by these fishermen is of a remarkably light make, and is often carried to the lake, together with the fishing-birds, by the fishermen themselves."
CHARLES. "What preposterous things people do in other countries! How strange to train birds to catch fish!"
"Why, Charles, we have fishing-birds in England," exclaimed George. "The only difference between them is, that our birds fish for themselves, while the Chinese birds fish for their masters. I have often seen the kingfishers pounce upon their prey, and I have heard of herons and storks living on fish caught by themselves."
MR. WILTON. "Quite true, George; and this proves that many 'traveller's wonders' cease to be wonderful when we examine into the circumstances and particulars, or compare their relations with the commonplace occurrences of everyday life. Now for the Bay of Bengal, which contains the fine islands of Andaman, Nicobar, and Ceylon; for the particulars of these islands I beg to refer the members to Mrs. Wilton."
MRS. WILTON. "We will describe them according to their merits; and by so doing, the last will be first. Ceylon is considered the finest and richest island in the world: we read that the stones are rubies and sapphires, that amonium scents the marshes, and cinnamon the forests, and that the most common plants furnish precious perfumes. Its length is about 250 miles, its breadth 150. Its principal productions are gold, silver, and other metals; excellent fruits of all kinds; delicious spices; ivory, cotton, silk, musk, and many varieties of precious stones. The chief town is Candy, situated on a mountain in the middle of the island. Trincomalé and Columbo are its other great towns. I forgot to tell you that elephants of the most handsome and valuable kind run here in herds, as the wild boars do in the forests of Europe; while the brilliant peacock and bird of paradise occupy the places of our rooks and swallows.
"The Andainans—The inhabitants are probably cannibals; their antipathy to strangers is singularly strong. They possess all the characteristics of the negro, but scarcely know how to build a boat, or manage a rope; however, they have acquired a little more civilization since the foundation of an English establishment on the Great Andaman, for the reception of criminals sent from Bengal.
"The Nicobar Isles are inhabited by a harmless inoffensive race of people; and here, as also in Andaman, are found the edible bird's-nests so much esteemed in China."
MR. BARRAUD. "These nests form an extensive article of commerce: they are built by a little bird called the Jaimalani, black as jet, and very much like a martin, but considerably smaller. The nests are made of a slimy gelatinous substance found on the shore, of the sea-weed called agal-agal, and of a soft, greenish, sizy matter, often seen on rocks in the shade, when the water oozes from above. The best are found in damp caves, very difficult of access. They are sold at a high price, and considered a great luxury, consequently only consumed by the great people of China, chiefly by the emperor and his court."
MR. WILTON. "George looks as if he did not relish the idea of feasting on bird's-nests. I believe the Chinese monopolize these delicacies entirely, and they are quite welcome so to do, as they are not esteemed elsewhere: so do not look so scornful George; the inhabitants of the celestial empire would not offer you a bird's-nest for your supper if you paid them a visit. They cost, I have heard, their weight in silver! Emma, can you tell me in what sea to look for the Maldives?"
EMMA. "Yes, dear papa, Maldives and Laccadives are both in the Arabian Sea. The first are small islands, or rocks, just above the water. The Dutch trade with the natives for cowries, little shells used as money on some parts of the coasts of Africa and India. Ships from India sometimes resort thither to procure sharks' fins for those epicures the Chinese, who consider them an excellent seasoning for soup.
"The Laccadives are about five degrees further north, and are in themselves larger islands, but not so numerous as the Maldives. Bombay, which is the central point of communication between India and Europe, is on the Arabian Sea. Have we not devoted sufficient time to Asia, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "I scarcely think so, my dear; we could find subjects for conversation which would profitably occupy the hours of many meetings in this delightful quarter of the world. Remember here were our first parents placed, when in innocence and happiness they were created by Almighty God; here in the Garden of Eden they dwelt enjoying the light of His countenance; here they fell in guilt and misery, and were banished from the presence of their offended God; here was the prophecy fulfilled, for here was born our Blessed Saviour. By Him was the great and wondrous work of redemption accomplished; He offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; He gave us the Everlasting Gospel, and He has become our mediator with God: by Him we gain access to the Father; by His blood only can we be cleansed; by His merits only can we hope for salvation; and only through His Grace assisting us can we perform that which is right and well-pleasing in the eyes of our Heavenly Father: then believing in Him, trusting in Him, rejoicing in Him, Christ will be our All in all here, and All in all hereafter. There are many lakes and small inland seas in Asia, memorable as having been the scene of our Blessed Saviour's labors, trials, and triumphs. Not the most insignificant on the list is the lake of Genesareth, sometimes called the Sea of Galilee, or Sea of Tiberias; for near here is situated Nazareth, the great city of Jesus Christ. About six miles to the south stands the hill of Tabor, which a venerable tradition assigns as the scene of Christ's transfiguration; and on the south-west side of the Gulf of St. Jean d'Acre is Mount Carmel, where, we are told, the prophet Elijah proved his divine mission by the performance of many miracles. Thousands of Christians once lived in caves of the rocks around this mountain, which then was covered with chapels and gardens: at the present day naught but scattered ruins remain to prove the truth of these statements."
MR. WILTON. "A most extraordinary fact relating to this sea is, that its waters are 300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean: and this reminds me of the Dead Sea, situated in Palestine, which covers from 450 to 500 square miles; for its waters are no less than 1300 feet below the Mediterranean. We are told by many who have visited this sea, that neither fish nor shells are to be found in it, and that its shores, frightfully barren, are never cheered by the note of any bird. The inhabitants in its vicinity, however, are not sensible of any noxious quality in its vapor; and the accounts of birds falling down dead in attempting to fly over it are entirely fabulous. The water is exceedingly nauseous, and the effluvia arising from it unwholesome, but so buoyant, that gentlemen, who have made the attempt from curiosity, have found it impossible to sink. An Irishman, named Cortigan, some fifteen years ago, conveyed a boat to the waters of the Dead Sea, and, aided by an old Maltese sailor, rowed nearly all round. He was a week exploring, and imagined he had made great discoveries; but no one knew what they were, for on the eighth day he became seriously ill. He was carried to the shore by his companion, and expired soon after in the hut of a Bedouin Arab. We are led to believe that in this place stood the famous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by the wrath of God, and utterly buried beneath this bituminous lake."
GRANDY. "We have gone through our toils this evening with no personal inconvenience; but that is owing to our travels being of the mind instead of the body: for what man journeying through Arabia but has felt the annoyances of heat, the pangs of thirst and unutterable anguish from the horrors of a lingering death? That we stay-at-home travellers may justly appreciate the blessings of home, I will give you an instance of the sufferings of those who are compelled to wander.
"The caravans which carry goods from Bagdat to Aleppo usually pass by Anah. They pay tribute to the Arabs, who reckon themselves Lords of the Desert, even to the east of Euphrates. They have to encounter the dangers of the suffocating winds, the swarms of locusts, and the failure of water, as soon as they depart from the line of the river. A French traveller tells us he witnessed one of the most appalling scenes of this kind between Anah and Taïbu. The locusts, having devoured everything, perished in countless heaps, poisoning with their dead bodies the ponds which usually afforded water when no springs were near.
"This traveller saw a Turk running down from a hillock, with despair in his looks. 'I am,' cried he, 'the most ill-fated man in the world. I have purchased, at an enormous rate, 200 young women, the finest of Greece and Georgia. I brought them up with great care, and now, when arrived at the age of marriage, I have come with them on my way to Bagdat, thinking to dispose of them to advantage. Alas! they are all now dying of thirst in this desert.' The traveller, going round the hillock, beheld a sight of horror. In the midst of twelve eunuchs and about a hundred camels, he saw all these girls, from twelve to fifteen years old, stretched on the ground in the agonies of a burning thirst and inevitable death. Some had already been buried; a larger number had fallen down by the side of their keepers, who had not sufficient strength left to bury them. On every hand were heard the sobs of the dying; and the cries of those in whom enough of life still remained, begging for a drop of water. The traveller hastened to open his flask, in which a little water was left, and was now offering it to one of these poor victims. 'You fool!' exclaims his Arabian conductor, 'would you have us also to perish for want of water?' and with his arrow he laid the girl dead at his feet; laid hold of the bottle, and threatened the life of any one who dared to touch it. He advised the Turkish merchant to go on to Taïbu, where he would find water. 'No,' said the Turk, 'at Taïbu the robbers would carry off all my slaves.' The Arab forced the traveller to accompany him. At the moment of their departure, these unfortunates, losing the last ray of hope, uttered a piercing shriek: the Arab was affected, he took one of the girls, poured some drops of water on her burning lips, and placed her on his camel, intending her as a present for his wife. The poor girl fainted repeatedly on passing the dead bodies of her companions. The small stock of water of the travellers was soon exhausted, when they discovered a well of fresh clear water. Here, disconcerted by the depth of the well, and the shortness of their rope, they tore their clothes into strips, which they tied together, and, with this frail cordage, contrived to take up the water in small quantities, dreading the loss of their bucket, and the disappointment of their hopes. Through such perils and anxieties, they at last found their way to Syria."
MRS. WILTON. "With this we will conclude the evening's business; and as we have been so much in the East, I have prepared a little present for each of you, in the form of a Chinese Puzzle; and whenever you exercise your patience on them (and I assure you they will require it, for they are most ingenious) you will think of our travels, and of the many little facts you learnt while visiting the lands of other nations. Also, I wish you to endeavor to gain knowledge, not merely for ornament and reputation, but because your mind is a rich storehouse, by means of which you may glorify God, and do much for the happiness of your fellow-creatures."
Mrs. Wilton then produced a beautiful Japan box, and, opening it, displayed to the admiring gaze of the young party a number of curious contrivances to tease and tire impatient folks, exquisitely cut in ivory, and mother-of-pearl, and light woods. Each puzzle was ticketed; and, highly delighted, they all sat down to partake of the good things spread on the table, determined to vie with each other in trials of skill and perseverance on their curious little toys. We wish them success, and "Good night."
There was an old and quiet man,
And by thy fire sat he:
"And now," he said, "to you I'll tell
A dismal thing which once befel
To a ship upon the sea."
"Oh, mamma, dear mamma," exclaimed Emma, bursting into the parlor where Mrs. Wilton was sitting at work, "everything goes wrong to-day. Look here, the postman has brought a note from Dora Leslie: she has been to a party, caught a cold, and is obliged to remain in the house for I know not how long. What can we do without her? I am sure my portion will not be ready; for, in the first place, I know not how to begin with America: the number of seas, gulfs, and bays quite puzzles me, and I have felt so miserable all day, because I have no notes prepared for the meeting."
Mrs. Wilton continued her sewing while Emma thus gave vent to her feelings; then quietly taking her hand, "My dear little girl," said she, "sit down by me and listen.
"Many years ago there dwelt in a little cot on a hill's side an aged matron and her grandchild; they were alone, but not lonely, for they were happy in each other's society; their wants were few, and their gratitude unbounded. There were no neighbors near them,—no gossips to drop in upon them, and fritter away the precious moments. They subsisted on the produce of their garden, and labored for their daily bread in gladness of heart.
"Every morn, almost with the sun, Eva arose, fed the chickens that fluttered around her, and went through her business merrily,—richly rewarded by the approving smile of her aged parent, when she blessed her darling before retiring to rest.
"But 'man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward,' and this happy pair were not exempt from the curse. One night, the wind blew, the rain fell in torrents, thunder and lightning rent the skies, and, in fear and trembling, the aged woman and her fair grandchild wept and prayed, until the glorious sun rose above the horizon, and proclaimed the advent of another day. Then Eva stepped to the cottage door, and gazed in speechless agony on the devastation wrought by the fury of the elements in one single night. The beautiful path, lately so trim and neat, which led to her garden, was blocked up with stones borne from the mountain's side by the violence of the torrent. Her vines were crushed and drooping; and even the poor birds came not to her side, but remained crowded together in a corner under the shade of the cottage roof.
"'Alas! alas!' cried she, 'where is the pretty path I used to tread,—where are my flowers, my shrubs,—where all my joys and happiness? Gone! gone! and left desolation and misery in their stead. I cannot repair this damage, I shall no longer have pleasure in my work, for one storm has undone the toil of months; and now our cottage must stand in a wilderness, our garden must be overgrown with weeds, and my chickens must die of starvation!' then, wringing her hands, she sank on the earth and wept.
"How long she wept I know not, but she was aroused by a gentle pressure on her shoulder; and, raising her eyes, she beheld a beautiful female, whose cheerful, good-natured countenance put to shame the tears of despair which bedewed the cheeks of the fair Eva.
'Why weepest thou?' said she; 'why not be up and doing? What has been done, can in like manner be again effected. Arise, and follow me.'
"'But I am alone,' remonstrated the weeping girl; 'and without assistance am unable to repair these ravages.'
"'I will assist thee,' replied her beauteous visitor; 'fear not, together we will accomplish much.' So saying, she led forth the gentle girl, and in a few hours their voices might be heard in one united stream of flowing harmony, filling the air with delicious sounds, and the heart of the aged woman with rapture.
"For many days, Eva worked in company with her angelic friend, until, at length, Desolation acknowledged her power, and disappeared. Her garden was restored to its pristine beauty,—the path was cleared.—her favorites flocked around her; and again kneeling in thankfulness at her grandmother's feet, she read her evening lesson, and praised Almighty God, who in love and mercy sent 'Peace on earth, Goodwill toward all men.' Now, my child, who thinkest thou was Eva's helpmate?"
"I know not, dear mamma, unless it were Perseverance."
"No, my dear," replied Mrs. Wilton; "Perseverance might have hindered instead of assisting her; she might have persevered in her resolution to await the total destruction of her little property. No, her heavenly companion was 'Goodwill.' Entreat her aid, Emma, set about your task with renewed energy, and certain I am that you will be successful."
Emma Wilton appreciated her mamma's kindness, and the result of her labors will be seen in the following pages.
"I see one of our number missing," said Mr. Wilton, as he opened the large Atlas. "What has become of Dora Leslie?"
"She is slightly indisposed, my dear," replied Mrs. Wilton; "but Emma will be her substitute."
"What an industrious little girl!" exclaimed her papa; "and you are really going to supply the meeting with information sufficient to prevent us from feeling the loss of your friend. You are resolved we shall not be becalmed, eh?"
"Ah! papa, you know not what has happened. I have been nearly becalmed, but, in a lucky moment, mamma sent a gentle breeze which filled my sails, and carried me gaily on my course, or I fear I should have been ill prepared to supply the deficiencies to-night. If the members approve the following plan, we will act upon it. I propose, that we start from England, cross the North Atlantic Ocean, enter Baffin's Bay by Davis's Straits, and following the coast, work our way round to the other waters in America."
MR. WILTON. "I see not the slightest objection to the plan; and we will call at all the islands which lie in our way, beginning with Madeira. This name is a corruption of Madera, so called by its first discoverers on account of the uncommon luxuriance of its foliage. It is an exquisitely beautiful island, with every variety of climate in various parts: the soil is volcanic, though there has been no eruption within the memory of man. Madeira belongs to the Portuguese, and lies north of the Canaries. Madeira is about sixty miles long, and forty broad: its chief town is Funchal.
"The Canary Isles, formerly called Fortunate Isles, belong to Spain. The three largest are Grand Canary, Teneriffe, and Ferro. These islands are famous for wine, and those pretty little singing birds called Canaries.
"Teneriffe, the second in size, is remarkable for a volcanic mountain, called the Peak."
CHARLES. "Are we not going out of our way, sir, to look at these islands? Baffin's Bay is much more to the north."
MR. WILTON. "You are right, Charles; but on voyages of discovery we are permitted to wander hither and thither at will, so long as it be for the advantage of all parties."
GEORGE. "But ships of war, papa, may not go out of the way: they are obliged to be very orderly, are they not?"
MR. WILTON. "So long as the winds will allow them, they keep on their course together, but adverse winds will send them far asunder at times, as in the case of the destruction of the Spanish Armada 'He blew with His winds, and they were scattered,' was the motto inscribed on the medal Queen Elizabeth caused to be struck in commemoration of that great victory."
MR. BARRAUD. "England can never forget the destruction of the Spanish Armada, for it was the immediate cause of the acquisition of so many colonies to England. The signal success which attended Sir Francis Drake and others, induced them again to sally forth with sanguine hopes of extending the kingdom of their sovereign. This was providential; at least, that is my view of it: all this was wisely arranged that England might, by obtaining dependencies, strive to enlighten, moralize, and spiritualize the people who acknowledged the same temporal sovereign with herself, that in due time they might also acknowledge the same spiritual sovereign."
GEORGE. "I should like to go on board a man-of-war, and see all the arrangements; because so many men on board one ship must need close packing, I should think."
MR. WILTON. "You shall be gratified, my boy. Put on your coat and hat: we will go on board one of Her Majesty's ships before the gentlemen have dined."
EMMA. "Papa is only joking, George; you may sit still. I can guess what you are going to say, papa. 'Is not our voyage imaginary, and should we not be consistent?' Am I right?"
MR. WILTON. "Very nearly, my dear. You are very sharp to-night: the extra duty has quickened your discernment."
CHARLES. "I enjoy this imaginary travelling very much; but I must confess, if everything connected with it is to be consistent, I shall not be at all satisfied with my supper."
"No! no!" exclaimed the other children; "supper is to be real, because we get really hungry."
"But, papa," added George, "can you tell me any of the ways of a man-of-war?"
MR. WILTON. "Yes, my dear. I will fulfil my promise, and initiate you in some of the mysteries which are enacted at dinner-time on board of one of these wonderful vessels. As the hour of noon approaches, the cooks of the messes may be seen coming up the fore and main hatchways with their mess-kids in their hands, the hoops of which are kept as bright as silver, and the woodwork as neat and as clean as the pail of the most tidy dairymaid. The grog also is now mixed in a large tub, under the half-deck, by the quarter-masters of the watch below, assisted by other leading and responsible men among the ship's company, closely superintended, of course, by the mate of the hold, to see that no liquor is abstracted, and also by the purser's steward, who regulates the exact quantity of spirits and of water to be measured out. The seamen, whose next turn it is to take the wheel, or heave the lead, or who have to mount the mast-head to look out, as well as the marines who are to be planted as sentries at noon, are allowed to take both their dinner and their grog beforehand. These persons are called 'seven-bell-men,' from the hour at which they have their allowance served to them.
"Long before twelve o'clock all these and various other minor preparations have been so completely made, that there is generally a remarkable stillness over the whole ship just before the important moment of noon arrives. The boatswain stands near the break of the forecastle, with his bright silver call or whistle in his hand, which ever and anon he places just at the tip of his lips to blow out any crumbs which threaten to interfere with its melody, or to give a faint' too-weet, too-weet,' as a preparatory note to fix the attention of the boatswain's mates, who being, like their chief, provided with calls, station themselves at intervals along the main-deck, ready to give due accompaniment to their leader's tune.
"The boatswain keeps his eye on the group of observers, and well knows when the 'sun is up' by the stir which takes place amongst the astronomers; or by noticing the master working out his latitude with a pencil on the ebony bar of his quadrant or on the edge of the hammock railing,—though, if he be one of your modern, neat-handed navigators, he carries his look-book for this purpose. In one way or other the latitude is computed as soon as the master is satisfied the sun has reached his highest altitude in the heavens. He then walks aft to the officer of the watch, and reports twelve o'clock, communicating also the degrees and minutes of the latitude observed. The lieutenant proceeds to the captain wherever he may be, and reports that it is twelve and that so-and-so is the latitude. The same formal round of reports is gone through, even if the captain be on deck and has heard every word spoken by the master, or even if he have himself assisted in making the observation.
"The captain now says to the officer of the watch, 'Make it twelve!' The officer calls out to the mate of the watch, 'Make it twelve!' The mate, ready primed, sings out to the quarter-master, 'Strike eight bells.'
"And lastly, the hard-a-weather old quarter-master, stepping down the ladder, grunts out to the sentry at the cabin door, 'Turn the glass, and strike the bell!'
"By this time the boatswain's call has been in his mouth for several minutes, his elbow in the air, and his finger on the stop, ready to send forth the glad tidings of a hearty meal. Not less ready, or less eager, are the groups of listeners seated at their snow-white deal tables below, or the crowd surrounding the coppers, with their mess-kids acting the part of drums to their impatient knuckles. At the first stroke of the bell, which, at this particular hour, is always sounded with peculiar vivacity, the officer of the watch exclaims to the boatswain, 'Pipe to dinner!'
"These words, followed by a glorious burst of shrill sounds, 'long drawn out,' are hailed with a murmur of delight by many a hungry tar and many a jolly marine. The merry notes are nearly drowned the next instant in the rattle of tubs and kettles, the voices of the ship's cook and his mates bawling out the numbers of the messes, as well as by the sound of feet tramping along the decks and down the ladders with the steaming ample store of provisions, such as set up and brace the seaman's frame, and give it vigor for any amount of physical action.
"Then comes the 'joyous grog!' that nautical nectar, so dear to the lips of every true-hearted sailor, with which he washes down Her Majesty's junk, as he roughly but good-humoredly styles the government allowance of beef; and while he quaffs off his portion, or his whack, as he calls it, he envies no man alive, and laughs to scorn those party philanthropists who describe his life as one of unhappy servitude. The real truth is, there is no set of men in the world, in their condition of life, who are better taken care of than the sailors and marines of the navy, or who, upon the whole, are more content and happy. There, George, what think you of all that?"
GEORGE. "Why, that they must be a merry set of fellows, and I should like to be a 'Middy' amongst them."
EMMA. "Oh! George, do not wish to be a sailor: remember Frederic Hamilton.—The next islands we come in sight of are Cape Verd Islands near Africa. They were discovered in 1446 by the Portuguese, their present proprietors; they are remarkably fertile. St. Jago is the largest, and is the residence of the Portuguese viceroy."
CHARLES. "May we now steer north, and call at the Azores or Western Isles? We shall then be half-way between Europe and America."
MR. WILTON. "We shall be very willing to accompany you, if you will entertain us when there."
CHARLES. "That might be done at a moderate expense, for they are delightful islands, with a fine climate, a spacious harbor, good anchorage, and all essentials,—but they are subject to earthquakes; therefore it is not advisable to prolong our visit One remarkable circumstance I had almost forgotten is, that no noxious animal can exist, or is ever to be found on these islands."
MRS. WILTON. "The Azores are also called the Land of Falcons, because when discovered there were so many of these birds found tame on the islands. They are 800 miles from the shores of Portugal, and belong to that kingdom. Nature appears everywhere smiling; the plains wave with golden harvests, delicious fruits adorn the sides of the hills, and the towering summits are covered with evergreens. But, as Charles observes, they are volcanic; and many new islands have been raised from the bottom of the sea by volcanic action. In the year 1720 one of these phenomena took place, on approaching which next day an English captain observes:—'We made an island of fire and smoke. The ashes fell on our deck like hail and snow, the fire and smoke roared like thunder.' The inhabitants of the Azores are an innocent, honest race, who prefer peace to conquest, and distinction in industry rather than in arms."
EMMA. "My course is now tolerably plain; but while we are so near Newfoundland, we may as well look in upon the people. This large island shuts up the northern entrance into the Gulf of St. Lawrence; is for the most part barren and unfruitful, and covered with perpetual fogs."
MR. BARRAUD. "These fogs are, no doubt, produced by the currents that flow from the Antilles, and remain for a time between the great bank and the coast before they escape into the Atlantic Ocean."
CHARLES. "Sir, I do not understand how the currents can cause a fog."
MR. BARRAUD. "It is because these streams, coming from tropical regions, are warmer than the water surrounding the banks of Newfoundland, and necessarily warmer than the atmosphere, consequently they cause a vapor to arise which obscures the island with a moist and dense air. Newfoundland was for a long time considered the inhospitable residence of fishermen; but of late it has doubled its population and industry, and the activity of the British nation has added another fine colony to the civilized world."
MRS. WILTON. "Newfoundland is the nearest to Great Britain of any of our North American possessions. It is rather larger than England and Wales. Its chief town is St. John's. It was discovered in 1497 by John Cabot. The fisheries here are the chief wealth of the island, and consist principally of codfish, herrings, and salmon. The great Bank of Newfoundland, which appears to be a solid rock, is 600 miles long, and in some places 200 broad."
CHARLES. "Newfoundland is famous for dogs; but I find the most numerous there are not like those we call Newfoundland dogs, which are large handsome animals, for they are comparatively rare. The most abundant are creatures with lank bodies, thin legs and tail, and a thin tapering snout. They are very intelligent though, and would beat the Chinese birds in catching fish; for Mr. Jukes, a gentleman who has been to Newfoundland, says of one of these dogs:—'He sat on a projecting rock beneath a fish-flake, or stage, where the fish are laid to dry, watching the water, which had a depth of six or eight feet, and the bottom of which was white with fish-bones. On throwing a piece of cod-fish into the water, three or four heavy, clumsy-looking fish, called in Newfoundland "sculpins," with great heads and mouths, and many spines about them, generally about a foot long, would swim in to catch it. These he would watch attentively, and the moment one turned his broadside to him, he darted down like a fish-hawk, and seldom came up without the fish in his mouth. As he caught them, he carried them regularly to a place a few yards off, where he laid them down; and his owner told us that in the summer he would sometimes make a pile of fifty or sixty a day, just at that place. He never attempted to eat them, but seemed to be fishing purely for his own amusement. I watched him for about two hours; and when the fish did not come, I observed he once or twice put his right foot in the water, and paddled it about. This foot was white, and my friend said he did it to "toll" or entice the fish.' Cunning dog was he not, George?"
GEORGE. "Yes; he would make his master's fortune if the fish he caught were worth selling."
EMMA. "To get into Baffin's Bay, we must go through Davis's Straits, so called from their discoverer, John Davis, who sailed through them in 1585; and following the coast on the north side, we shall pass South-east Bay and Coburg Bay. In 1818 Captain Ross completed the circumnavigation of this oblong bay. The middle of it seems everywhere occupied with impenetrable ice, between which and the land is the only passage for ships."
MRS. WILTON. "That portion of the bay you have just described washes the shores of Greenland and the Arctic Regions. Greenland is considered as a peninsula attached to America, wretchedly barren, for no trees grow there. But God, who made man of the dust, also promised to supply his wants, and most wonderfully is this exemplified with regard to Greenland. To provide the inhabitants with the means of warming and nourishing their bodies, God causes the sea to drive vast quantities of wood from distant shores, and with thankfulness the poor Greenlanders regularly gather these providential supplies from their own coasts. Some parts of Greenland are nothing more than huge masses of rocks, intermingled with immense blocks of ice, thus forming at once the image of chaos and winter."
GEORGE. "Is it not near Greenland the ships go to catch whales?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Yes; and, as you have mentioned the subject, we may as well stop and inquire into the particulars of this fishing."
GEORGE. "I remember reading that there are three sorts of whales—the finback, the right whale, and the sperm whale; but I should like to hear how they are caught."
MR. BARRAUD. "A man is stationed at the mast-head to look out, and as soon as he perceives a whale, he shouts, 'There she blows!' Immediately all hands are on the move to prepare the boats: this takes but a short time, and the chase commences. I will now give you an American account of such a chase.
"'The moment of intense excitement now arrived. We pulled as if for life or death. Not a word was spoken, and scarcely a sound was heard from our oars. One of the men sprang to his feet, and grasped a harpoon. A few more strokes of the oar, and we were hard upon the whale. The harpooner, with unerring aim, let fly his irons, and buried them to the sockets in his huge carcass. "Stern all!" thundered the mate. "Stern all!" echoed the crew, but it was too late. Our bows were high and dry on the whale's head! Infuriated with the pain produced by the harpoons, and, doubtless, much astonished to find his head so roughly used, he rolled half over, lashing the sea with his flukes (tail), and in his struggles dashing in two of the upper planks. "Boat stove! boat stove!" was the general cry. "Silence," thundered the mate as he sprang to the bow, and exchanged places with the harpooner; "all safe, my hearties! stern hard! stern! stern! before he gets his flukes to bear upon us." "Stern all!" shouted we, and in a moment more we were out of danger. The whale now "turned flukes," and dashed off to windward with the speed of a locomotive, towing us after him at a tremendous rate. We occasionally slacked line in order to give him plenty of play. A stiff breeze had sprung up, causing a rough, chopping sea; and we leaked badly in the bow-planks; but, notwithstanding the roughness of the sea, we went with incredible swiftness. "Hoorah!" burst from every lip. We exultingly took off our hats, and gave three hearty cheers; but while we were skimming along so gallantly, the whale suddenly turned, and pitched the boat on her beam-ends. Every one who could grasp a thwart hung on to it, and we were all fortunate enough to keep our seats. For as much as a ship's length the boat flew through the water on her gunwale, foaming and whizzing as she dashed onward. It was a matter of doubt as to which side would turn uppermost, until we slacked out the line, when she righted. To have a boat, with all her iron, lances, gear, and oars, piled on one's head in such a sea, was rather a startling prospect to the best swimmer. Meantime, the whale rose to the surface to spout. The change in his course enabled another boat to come up, and we lay on our oars, in order that Mr. D----, (the other mate) might lance him.—He struck him in a vital part the first dart, as was evident from the whale's furious dying struggles; but in order to make sure, we hauled up and lanced the back of his head. Foaming and breaching, he plunged from wave to wave, flinging high in the air torrents of blood and spray. The sea around was literally a sea of blood. At one moment his head was poised in the air; the next, he buried himself in the gory sea, carrying down, in his vast wake, a whirlpool of foam and slime. But this respite was short; he rose again, rushing furiously upon his enemies; but a slight prick of a lance drove him back with mingled fury and terror. Whichever way he turned, the barbed irons goaded him to desperation. Now and again intensity of agony would cause him to lash the waters with his huge flukes, till the very ocean appeared to heave and tremble at his power. Tossing, struggling, dashing over and over in his agony, he spouted up the last of his heart's blood. Half an hour before, he was free as the wave, sporting in all the pride of gigantic strength and unrivalled power. He now lay a lifeless mass; his head towards the sun, his tremendous body heaving to the swell, and his destroyers proudly cheering over their victory.'"
EMMA. "It seems very cruel to catch these poor creatures."
MRS. WILTON. "They are tortured as little as possible; but they are so strong, that it requires immense skill and bravery to contend with them. Their usefulness justifies the act, for I know not what we should do without some of the comforts produced from these monsters of the deep."
EMMA. "What part does the oil come from?"
MR. BARRAUD. "First, from the blubber which is the outer covering, or, as whalers call it, the 'blanket-piece;' this is stripped off by means of an ingenious contrivance, cut into pieces, and the oil boiled out. Secondly, from the head, which is called the 'case,' and sometimes contains from ten to fifteen barrels of oil and spermaceti. A sperm whale frequently yields as much as 120 barrels of oil. Forty-five barrels is considered a medium size."
GEORGE. "I hope, when we go to Jamaica, we shall see some whales."
MR. WILTON. "No doubt we shall. I have often seen them rolling and spouting in the wide Atlantic: and you will also see the flying fish skimming in the hollows of the waves: they are very pretty."
GRANDY. "Yes, they are, poor unfortunates! for, though possessing the qualifications of a bird as well as a fish, they are so persecuted by enemies in both elements, that, whether taking their temporary flight through the air, or gliding through the waters, their double faculty proves insufficient to defend or secure them from pursuit."
CHARLES. "What creatures war against these innocent fish, madam?"
GRANDY. "While in the air the man-of-war bird pounces upon them; and they are chased in the water by the bonito and albacore: thus constantly persecuted, they do not become very numerous."
CHARLES. "Icy Peak, in Greenland, is an enormous mass of ice near the mouth of a river: it diffuses such a brilliancy through the air, that it is distinctly perceived at a distance of more than ten leagues. Icicles, and an immense vault, give this edifice of crystal a most magic appearance."
EMMA. "Shall we now continue our voyage through Lancaster Sound?"
MRS. WILTON. "I have been considering whether it would not be better to finish with these northern latitudes before we proceed on our voyage. In that case we will test the hospitality of the people of Spitzbergen, Iceland, Nova Zembla, Ferroe Isles, and sundry others in this part of the Atlantic and Frozen Ocean, and then descend to warmer climates."
MR. WILTON. "A very good plan, if we do not get blocked up by the ice in these dreadful seas. By-the-by, there is an account of such a calamity happening to a vessel some years ago.—In the year 1775, Captain Warrens, master of the 'Greenland,' a whale-ship, was cruising about in the Frozen Ocean, when at a little distance he observed a vessel. Captain Warrens was struck with the strange manner in which her sails were disposed, and with the dismantled aspect of her rigging. He leaped into his boat with several seamen, and rowed towards her. On approaching, he observed that her hull was miserably weather-beaten, and not a soul appeared on deck, which was covered with snow to a considerable depth. He then hailed her crew, but no answer was returned. Previous to stepping on board, an open port-hole near the main-chains caught his eye; and, on looking into it, he perceived a man reclining back in a chair, with writing materials on a table before him; but the feebleness of the light made everything very indistinct. The party went upon deck, and, having removed the hatchway, descended to the cabin. They first came to the apartment which Captain Warrens viewed through the port-hole. A terror seized him as he entered it: its inmate retained his former position, and seemed to be insensible to strangers. He was found to be a corpse! and a green damp mould had covered his cheeks and forehead, and veiled his open eyeballs. He had a pen in his hand, and a log-book lay before him. The last sentence in its unfinished page ran thus:—
"'Nov. 14th, 1762.
"'We have now been enclosed in the ice seventeen days. The fire went out yesterday, and our master has been trying ever since to kindle it again without success. His wife died this morning. There is no relief!'
"Captain Warrens and his seamen hurried from the spot without uttering a word. On entering the principal cabin, the first object that attracted their attention was the dead body of a female, reclining on a bed in an attitude of deep interest and attention. Her countenance retained the freshness of life: but a contraction of the limbs showed that her form was inanimate. Seated on the floor was the corpse of an apparently young man, holding a steel in one hand and a flint in the other, as if in the act of striking fire upon some tinder which lay beside him. In the fore-part of the vessel several sailors were found lying dead in their berths, and the body of a boy crouched at the bottom of the gangway stairs. Neither provisions nor fuel could be discovered anywhere; but Captain Warrens was prevented by the superstitious prejudices of his seamen from examining the vessel as minutely as he wished to have done. He, therefore, carried away the log-book, and immediately steered to the southward, impressed with the awful example he had just witnessed of the danger of navigating the Polar Seas in high northern latitudes. On returning to England, and inquiring and comparing accounts, he found that this vessel had been blocked up by the ice for upwards of thirteen years!!! Yes!—
"'There lay the vessel in a realm of frost,
Not wrecked, nor stranded, yet forever lost;
Her keel embedded in the solid mass;
Her glistening sails appear'd expanded glass.'"
GRANDY. "A most awful situation to be placed in, surrounded on all sides by impenetrable ice, which closeth up the water as with a breast-plate."
MRS. WILTON. "Iceland is first in point of distance. It is situated south east of Greenland, in the North Atlantic Ocean, and considered an appendage to America; although it was known seven centuries before the time of Columbus. It is truly, a land of prodigies: where the subterranean fires of the abyss burst through a frozen soil; where boiling springs shoot up their fountains, amidst eternal snows; and where the powerful genius of liberty and the no less powerful genius of poetry have given brilliant proofs of the energies of the human mind at the farthest confines of animated nature."
CHARLES. "There are twelve volcanoes in Iceland; the most celebrated of which is Mount Hecla, situated in the southern part of the island: its elevation is about 4800 feet above the level of the sea."
GEORGE. "And there are hot springs, too, in this island; but they have not all the same degree of heat. Mamma, do you know anything of them?"
MRS. WILTON. "Those springs, whose tepid waters issue as gently as an ordinary spring, are called Langers, or baths; others that throw up boiling water with great noise, are denominated Caldrons, in Icelandic 'Hverer.' The most remarkable is the Geyser, which is found near Skalholdt, in the middle of a plain, where there are about forty springs of a smaller size. It rises from an aperture nineteen feet in diameter, springing at intervals to the height of fifty or even ninety feet. In these hot springs, which formerly served to baptize their Pagan ancestors, the Icelanders boil their vegetables, meat, eggs, and other articles of food; but it is necessary to cover the pot suspended in these steaming waters, in order to prevent the volcanic odor from imparting a taste to their contents. Iceland is not so barren as you might imagine from its extreme cold, for gardening is cultivated throughout the island: but there are no large trees."
MR. WILTON. "The present houses of the Icelanders differ little from those used by their ancestors, who first colonized the island, and are, no doubt, the best fitted for the climate. They are only one story high; the stone walls have all the interstices stuffed with moss, and are about six feet in thickness. In the better sort of houses, the windows are glazed, in the others, secured by a thin skin stretched over the frames. They have no chimney or grates; the smoke escapes through a hole in the roof. The beds are merely open frames filled with feathers or down, over which they throw their blankets, and cover themselves with a counterpane of divers colors. Their seats are, in general, the bones of a whale or a horse's skull. But much is said and done in these rude huts which would astonish you."
EMMA. "Are the Icelanders civilized people: I mean, at all refined?"
MRS. WILTON. "Every Icelander knows how to read, write, and calculate, which is more than we can say of the English. They are a grave, honest, benevolent people, but not remarkable for their industry. Their favorite amusements, when assembled together, consist in reading history or poetry, in singing, or playing at chess, in which game they take great delight, priding themselves on their skill. They are refined enough to admire poetry and music: I think I need say no more. We will now visit Spitzbergen."
EMMA. "Spitzbergen is a group of three large islands, and a number of lesser ones near the North Pole. The mountains crowned with perpetual snow, and flanked with glaciers, reflect to a considerable distance a light equal to that of a full moon. The Icy Sea washes its shores, and abounds with whales, who love to roll their enormous bodies among the marine forests of the sea. In the vicinity is found the polar bear, which pursues everything animated with life, devours every animal he encounters, and then, roaring with delight, seats himself enthroned on the victorious trophy of mutilated carcasses and bones."
CHARLES. "The only tree growing in Spitzbergen is the dwarf willow, which rises to the vast height of two inches! towering with great pride above the mosses, lichens, and a few other cumbent plants."
GEORGE. "What a ridiculous little shrub! We might just as well dignify mustard and cress with the title of trees. To whom does this very fertile island belong?"
MRS. WILTON. "To the Russians; and it certainly is not an enviable possession, for the climate is most wretched. From the 30th of October, until the 10th of February, the sun is invisible; it is as one long dreary night, and bitterly cold. The inhabitants sit by dull fires during this season, immersed in furs, and endeavor to doze through the tedious gloom. They are chiefly of Russian extraction, and many of them natives of Archangel."
MR. WILTON. "Other animals are found in these regions besides the bear and whale: for we read of foxes, reindeer, walruses, and seals being occasionally caught by the people; and many islands about here (for the Frozen Sea is full of islands, principally composed of turf hills,) are the dreary abodes of bears and reindeer."
EMMA. "The Ferroe Isles, belonging to Denmark, are seventeen in number; they produce agate, jasper, and beautiful zeolites, and export feathers, eider-down, caps, stockings, tallow, and salted mutton."
CHARLES. "I do not think that can be very nice: I wonder who buys it?"
EMMA. "It always finds purchasers: therefore some folks are not so fastidious as Mr. Charles Dorning."
GEORGE. "Mamma, let us go back past Norway, and see what are all these little islands on the coast."
MRS. WILTON. "As you please, George; but most of the islands are barren, uninhabited spots. Those worthy of notice are Karen, Bommel, Sartar, Hittern, at the entrance of the Gulf of Drontheim; the Victen or Victor Isles, and the Luffoden Isles: the latter are the most numerous and extensive, and noted for the whirlpool Maelstrom, which has drawn so many fine ships into its abyss, and from which even the bellowing struggles of the great whale will not suffice to redeem him if once he gets within the vortex."
GEORGE. "What causes this whirlpool?"
MR. BARRAUD. "When two currents of a more or less contrary direction and of equal force meet in a narrow passage, they both turn, as it were, upon a centre, until they unite, or one of the two escapes. This is what is termed a whirlpool or eddy. There are three celebrated whirlpools noticed in geography—the Maelstrom, the Euripus, near the island of Eubaea, and Charybdis, in the Straits of Sicily."
CHARLES. "Bergen, one of the principal towns of Norway, stands on the North Sea: it is seated in the centre of a valley, forming a semicircle round a small gulf of the sea. On the land side it is defended by mountains; and on the other, by several fortifications. This city is chiefly constructed of wood, and has been many times destroyed by fire. So dreadful was the last conflagration, in 1771, that it is said the flames were visible in the Isles of Shetland, or at least the red lurid glare of them in the sky."
MR. WILTON. "There are silver mines in Norway; but the iron mines are the most profitable. We have to thank Norway for the magnet, of such inestimable value to the navigator."
GEORGE. "Papa, who found out the use of the magnet?"
MR. WILTON. "Flavio Gioia was the author of the great discovery of the property of the magnet, about the year 1302. He was a citizen of Amalfi, a town in Naples."
EMMA. "Is there not a destructive little animal, native of Norway, called a lemming?"
MR. BARRAUD. "It is called the lemming, or Norwegian mouse; it comes from the ridge of Kolen; and sometimes spreads desolation, like the locust. These animals appear in vast numbers, proceeding from the mountain towards the sea, devouring every product of the soil, and, after consuming everything eatable in their course, they at last devour each other. These singular creatures are of a reddish color, and about five inches in length."
EMMA. "We may now return to our station in Lancaster Sound, pass Croker's Bay, and enter Barrow's Straits which wash the shores of North Devon."
GEORGE. "In the New Archipelago, north of Barrow's Straits, are the Georgian Isles. They are numerous, and the principal are Cornwallis, Bathurst, and Melville. The latter is the largest, being 240 miles long, and 100 miles in breadth."
MR. BARRAUD. "Here is another dreary land where no tree or shrub refreshes the eye. The climate is too cold for any person to live there; and, from its vicinity to the magnetic meridian, the compass becomes useless, remaining in whatever position it is placed by the hand."
EMMA. "Prince Regent's Inlet will lead us into Bothnia Gulf, thence through Fury and Hecla Straits, which are between the peninsula of Melville and Cockburn Island, we can enter Foxes Channel, pass through Frozen Straits, and launch on the great waters of Hudson's Bay."
MRS. WILTON. "We enter Hudson's Bay on the north, close by Southampton, a large island inhabited chiefly by Esquimaux. Nothing can exceed the frightful aspect of the environs of this bay. To whichsoever side we direct our view, we perceive nothing but land incapable of receiving any sort of cultivation, and precipitous rocks that rise to the very clouds, and yawn into deep ravines and narrow valleys into which the sun never penetrates, and which are rendered inaccessible by masses of ice and snow that seem never to melt. The sea in this bay is open only from the commencement of July to the end of September, and even then the navigator very often encounters icebergs, which expose him to considerable embarrassment. At the very time he imagines himself at a distance from these floating rocks a sudden squall, or a tide, or current, strong enough to carry away the vessel, and render it unmanageable, all at once hurries him amongst an infinite number of masses of ice, which appear to cover the whole bay."
MR. WILTON. "Sixty years after the intrepid navigator Hudson had first penetrated the gulf that bears his name, the British Government assigned to a company of traders to those parts (by the title of the Hudson's Bay Company) the chartered possession of extensive tracts south, and east of Hudson's Bay, to export the productions of the surrounding country."
GEORGE. "Are there any whales in Hudson's Bay?"
MRS. WILTON. "No, all attempts at the whale fishery have been unsuccessful: indeed, there are very few fish of any sort here; but in the lakes around there are plenty, such as pike, sturgeon, and trout, and their banks are inhabited by aquatic birds, among which are observed several species of swans, geese, and ducks."
EMMA. "James's Bay is directly in the south of Hudson's Bay, and extends a hundred leagues within the country. I believe it is near here that the Company's most important establishments are situated, such as Fort Albany, Fort Moose, and the factory of East Main. This bay contains many islands."
MRS. WILTON. "What bays must we pass to get to Hudson's Straits?"
EMMA. "Mosquito Bay is the only one I can perceive; but there is Mansfield Isle, and Cape Diggs to make before we reach the straits; and in the straits there are several bays, the principal of which are North Bay and Ungava or South Bay."
MRS. WILTON. "Quite correct, Emma. The straits were discovered by Hudson, in his voyage of 1610. The eastern coast of Hudson's Bay forms part of the peninsula of Labrador. Will any member vouchsafe some information concerning this country?"
CHARLES. "All that we know of Labrador is, that it is a mass of mountains and rocks, intersected with numerous lakes and rivers, and inhabited by Esquimaux."
MRS. WILTON. "Once more in the Atlantic, the great highway and thoroughfare of civilized nations. Where sail we next?"
EMMA. "Through the Straits of Belle-isle into the Gulf of St. Lawrence."
MR. BARRAUD. "This gulf abounds with fish in a remarkable degree. The bears here combine together in numerous herds, to catch the salmon near the cataracts in the rivers, where great numbers are stopped in their ascent, and are exceedingly relished by that animal. Some of them plunge into the water, and pursue their prey, while others more idle watch them from the banks. There are only two islands of note in this gulf,—the island of Anticosti, 90 miles long and 20 broad, covered with rocks, and wanting the convenience of a harbor; and Prince Edward's Islands, pleasant fertile spots. The Gulf of St. Lawrence washes the shores of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island."
MR. WILTON. "Nova Scotia is about 350 miles long, and 250 broad: its chief town is Halifax. This island, with regard to fishing, is scarcely inferior to Newfoundland, which place is connected with the government of Nova Scotia."
MRS. WILTON. "Cape Breton, or Sydney Isle, lies north-east of Nova Scotia, from which it is separated by a strait only a mile broad. Its length is 100 miles, its breadth 60. A remarkable bed of coal runs horizontally, at from 6 to 8 feet only, below the surface through a large portion of the island: a fire was once accidentally kindled in one of the pits, which is now continually burning. Cape Breton has been termed the Key to Canada and is the principal protection, through the fine harbor of Louisburg, of all the fisheries in the neighborhood."
EMMA. "The next important bays in our southward course are Bay of Fundy, Delaware Bay, and Chesapeake Bay: then we come in sight of the Bahamas."
MRS. WILTON. "Which islands must stand aside while we examine the Bermudas, which are half-way between Nova Scotia and the Antilles. They were so called by Juan Bermudas, who discovered them in the year 1557, but did not land upon them: they are of various sizes, the largest being about twelve miles. The cedar-trees grown there form the chief riches of the inhabitants, and they estimate a man's income by the number of trees he possesses. St. George is the capital, and the islands belong to the English. They are sometimes called 'Somers Isles,' from the circumstance of Sir John Somers being shipwrecked on the rocks by which they are surrounded. Previous to this occurrence Henry May, an Englishman, was cast ashore on one of the largest, and as the islands abound with cedar, he contrived, with the assistance of the materials he obtained from the wreck, to build a small vessel, in which he returned to England, and was the first person who gave any account of the group."
GEORGE. "Now for the Bahamas. They are 300 in number! but only twelve are large. Nassau is the capital They were the first land discovered by Columbus in the year 1492."
MR. WILTON. "And were once a nest of pirates, but the English expelled them, and established a colony in 1720."
MR. BARRAUD. "Speaking of pirates, have you ever heard the plan adopted by the Portuguese for the suppression of piracy?"
No one had heard it, and Mr. Barraud proceeded.
"The Portuguese, in their early intercourse with the Indians, had a summary punishment, and accompanied it with a terrible example to deter others from the commission of the crime. Whenever they took a pirate ship they instantly hanged every man, carried away the sails, rudder, and everything that was valuable in the ship, and left her to be buffeted about by the winds and waves, with the carcasses of the criminals dangling from the yards, a horrid object of terror to all who might chance to fall in with her."
CHARLES. "Almost as dreadful a vessel to fall in with as the Phantom Ship in Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner,' I always feel uncomfortable when I read that poem, and yet I admire it very much."
MRS. WILTON. "It is replete with such truthful descriptions, that you are involuntarily borne on the wings of imagination until all seems reality, and you identify yourself with the Ancient Mariner."
MR. WILTON. "I anticipate we shall all be ancient mariners before we conclude our voyage, but we must not be idle ones. Lead on, Emma, we will follow."
EMMA. "I have no more bays yet, and it is mamma's province to describe the islands."
MRS. WILTON. "Well and good: here are the Antilles. I shall not hasten over them, for they are our isles, whither we hope shortly to sail in reality; therefore it is highly necessary that we should be well informed concerning their locality. They form an arch between the two continents of America, and extend from the Gulf of Florida to that of Venezuela. They are divided into the greater and the less; Cuba, Jamaica, St. Domingo, and Porto Rico are called the Great Antilles, all the others the less Antilles.
"Cuba is the largest and most important: it commands the windward passage, as well as the entrance into the gulfs of Mexico and Florida, and is for that reason sometimes called the Key of the West Indies. It is more than 700 miles in length, and its medium breadth 70 miles. Havannah is the capital.
"Jamaica is a delightful island, endeared to me by many fond recollections; it is mountainous, extremely fertile, and abounding with springs (as its name signifies) of delicious water, a great luxury in a warm climate. The top of the highest mountain, Blue Mountain Peak, is 7800 feet above the level of the sea. Kingston is the chief place for trade. The island is 150 miles from east to west, and its breadth is 60 miles in its widest part.
"St. Domingo, capital same name, is a pleasant fertile country. The first town founded by Europeans in America was St. Domingo. The bones of Christopher Columbus and his brother Lewis are deposited in two leaden coffins in the cathedral of this city.
"Porto Rico is 100 miles long and 40 broad. It is beautifully diversified with woods, valleys, and plains, and extremely fertile."
GRANDY. "The Antilles are lovely islands, and some of the happiest moments of my life have been passed in admiring the wonderful works of our Creator, as shown to such advantage in the bright lands of the West. Beautiful are the mornings in Jamaica, when the sun, appearing through a cloudless and serene atmosphere, illumines with his rays the summits of the mountains, and gilds the leaves of the plantain and orange-trees. The plants are spread over with gossamer of fine and transparent silk, or gemmed with dew-drops, and the vivid hues of industrious insects, reflecting unnumbered tints from the rays of the sun. The aspect of the richly cultivated valleys is different, but not less pleasing; the whole of nature teems with the most varied productions. The views around are splendid; the lofty mountains adorned with thick foliage; the hills, from their summits to their very borders, fringed with plants of never fading verdure. The appearance of the valleys is remarkable: to form an imperfect idea of it, we must group together the stately palm-tree, the cocoa-nut, and tamarind trees, the clustering mango and orange-trees, the waving plumes of the feathery bamboo, and many others, too numerous to mention. On these plains, too, you will find the bushy oleander, many varieties of Jerusalem thorn and African rose, the bright scarlet of the cordium, bowers of jessamine, vines of grenadilla, and the silver and silky leaves of the portlandia. Fields of sugar-cane, houses of the planters, huts of the negroes almost hidden by the patches of cultivated ground attached to them, and the distant coast with ships, add to the beauty of the West Indian landscape."
MR. WILTON. "That is the bright side of the scene, my dear mother; and lest we should form wrong impressions, we will let the young folks hear how all this beauty is sometimes marred by hurricanes and earthquakes. One specimen will be sufficient; and I will describe a hurricane, in order that you may have some slight notion of the many delights attendant on a residence in the West Indies.—A hurricane is generally preceded by an awful stillness of the elements, the air becomes close and heavy, the sun is red, and the stars at night seem unusually large. Frequent changes take place in the thermometer, which rises sometimes from 80° to 90°. Darkness extends over the earth; the higher regions gleam with lightning. The impending storm is first observed on the sea; foaming mountains rise suddenly from its clear and motionless surface. The wind rages with unrestrained fury; its noise may be compared to distant thunder. The rain descends in torrents; shrubs and lofty trees are borne down by the mountain stream; the rivers overflow their banks, and submerge the plains. Terror and consternation seem to pervade the whole of animated nature: land birds are driven into the ocean; and those whose element is the sea, seek for refuge in the woods. The frighted beasts of the field herd together, or roam in vain for a place of shelter. All the elements are thrown into confusion, and nature appears to be hastening to her ancient chaos. Scenes of desolation are disclosed by the next morning's sun; uprooted trees, branches shivered from their trunks; and even the ruins of houses scattered over the land. The planter has sometimes been scarcely able to distinguish the place of his former possessions. By these dreadful hurricanes, fertile valleys may in a few hours be changed into dreary wastes, covered with the remains of domestic animals and the fowls of heaven."
CHARLES. "I do not envy you the prospect of an abode in the Antilles, friend George; but I shall be heartily glad to see you safe back again."
GRANDY. "Every country has an evil; 'tis right it should be so, or we should like this fair world and its enjoyments so well, that we should not care to 'go up higher.' There are many evils 'tis true, but there is also so much good to counter-balance the evil, that we should raise our hearts with thankfulness, and open our lips with praises to sing the goodness of our God.
"Emma, my child, where roam we next?"
EMMA. "We cannot quit the Gulf of Mexico yet, dear Grandy, until we have examined its environs. We entered it through the Gulf of Florida, which is situated between Florida and Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico almost intersects the two continents; and is, in fact, an extensive sea. It washes the shores of Mexico and Yucatan, and contains many comparatively small bays."
MR. BARRAUD. "This gulf may be considered as a Mediterranean Sea, which opens a maritime commerce with all the fertile countries by which it is encircled. The islands scattered in it are inferior only to those in the Indian Archipelago in number, in magnitude, and in value."
MRS. WILTON. "Mexico is a very rich city; the shops literally overflowing with gold, silver, and jewels. The cathedral, in some respects, surpasses all the churches in the world. The balustrade which surrounds the altar is composed of massive silver. A lamp, of the same metal, is of so vast a size that three men go into it when it has to be cleaned; and it is enriched with lion's heads and other ornaments of pure gold. The statues of the Virgin and the saints, are made of solid silver, richly gilded and ornamented with precious stones.
"Yucatan is celebrated for beautiful ruins, adorned with the most striking, imposing, and elegant decorations, but who were the architects, or when built, is at present a mystery; for when discovered by the Spaniards in the fifteenth century, it was inhabited by a fierce tribe of Indians, who were perfectly ignorant of arts and sciences; therefore, these magnificent erections must have been the work of civilized men, before Yucatan was possessed by the Indians. Many attempts were made by the Spaniards to obtain a footing in this country, but to no purpose. At length they hit upon the expedient of sending priests among the people. Five were found willing to go: they were introduced as men of peace by the Mexicans, were amicably received, and allowed to settle in the country. Their conduct soon gained them the love and esteem of the fierce Indians, and they brought their children to be taught, and were baptized with their whole families. Every day strengthened their attachment to the Padres: they built them houses to live in, and a temple for worship; and at last, without any compulsion, the chiefs acknowledged the authority of the King of Castile. But this allegiance was of short duration. Some Spanish soldiers went over, and carried fire and sword into the heart of their country, and soon obliterated the impression made by the good Padres. The Indians again waged war with civilized man, and the priests fled for their lives. Many years after the Spaniards were the conquerors, and succeeded in planting their standard in Yucatan, in the year 1537. It is now inhabited by Spaniards and Indians: there is an appearance of civilization surrounding many of these desolated places. Villages and towns have been formed, and lands cultivated in every direction."
EMMA. "Through the Bay of Honduras we enter the Caribbean Sea, and it is the last sea on this side of the equator."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Caribbean Sea is, generally speaking, still and quiet, and in fine weather the water is so transparent, that the mariner can discern fish and coral at fifty fathoms below the surface. The ship seems to float in the air, and the spectator is often seized with vertigo, while he beholds through the crystalline fluid, submarine groves and beautiful shells glittering among tufts of fucus and sea-weed. Fresh-water springs issue from the sea on both sides of the Channel between Yucatan and Cuba. They rush with so much violence out of the deep, that it is dangerous for small vessels to approach them; boats have been dashed to pieces by the force of the surge. Ships on the coast sail here sometimes for a supply of fresh water, which the seamen draw from the bottom of the Ocean!"
EMMA. "What extraordinary things we meet with in our travels! May we, before crossing the equator, visit the lakes, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "I am quite agreeable. Who wishes to go to the lakes?"
CHARLES. "I do, and will start directly I have prepared the necessary documents. Oh! here they are; Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, are considered as forming one large inland sea, dividing the United States from Canada. There are several islands in these lakes, particularly in Lake Superior, which islands the savages believe to be the residence of the Great Spirit. It is strange that these lakes are never frozen over, although the entrances are frequently obstructed with ice."
EMMA. "Lake Superior is more than 500 leagues in circumference; its clear waters, fed by forty rivers, are contained in extensive strata of rocks, and their surges nearly equal those of the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Huron is connected with Superior, by the Straits of St. Mary. Lake Michigan communicates with Huron by a long strait, and the country around its banks belongs exclusively to the United States."
CHARLES. "Lake Erie is my favorite, because it communicates with the river Niagara, and with those celebrated cataracts of which so much has been written."
GEORGE. "For the same reason then, you should patronize Lake Ontario. It is 170 miles long, and 60 miles broad, at its widest part, and empties itself through the romantic 'Lake of a thousand Isles,' into the St. Lawrence."
EMMA. "Lake Winnipeg is the next nearest; it is more than sixty leagues in length, by thirty or forty broad. Its banks are shaded by the sugar-maple and poplar, and it is surrounded by fertile plains, which produce the rice of Canada.
"The Great Slave Lake is quite north, and the last of any consequence. It is more than a hundred leagues in length, and sprinkled with islands, covered with trees resembling the mulberry. Mackenzie found them loaded with ice in the middle of June."
MRS. WILTON. "There is nothing in other parts of the globe which resembles the prodigious chain of lakes in North America. They may properly be termed inland seas of fresh water; and even those of second and third class in magnitude, are of larger circuit than the greatest lake in the old continent. They all unite to form one uninterrupted current of water, extending above 600 leagues in length. The country around is intersected with rivers, lakes, and marshes to a greater extent than any other part of the world: but few mountains rise above this savage icy plain. One is tempted to inquire, why do such superb streams waste their fertilizing waters upon these frozen deserts? We only know they manifest the Power, and we must not doubt the Wisdom of their Creator."
MR. WILTON. "Now, Emma, return to our former situation in the Bay of Honduras. What of that bay?"
EMMA. "Only this, papa, that it washes the shores of Yucatan, which has already been described, and runs into the Caribbean Sea. Mamma will help me here."
MRS. WILTON. "The coast of Honduras was discovered by Columbus, in his last voyage, but its verdant beauties (for it is a lovely place.) could not win him to the shore. Without landing, he continued on to the Isthmus of Darien, in search of that passage to India which was the aim of all his hopes, but which it was destined he should never see."
EMMA. "The Caribbean Sea contains the Caribbee Islands, which are also distinguished by the names of Windward and Leeward Isles. The only one we should have to pass near in sailing out of this sea, is Tobago."
MR. WILTON. "But, Emma, are you going to leave this coast without a visit to Panama?"
EMMA. "My only reason for so doing, dear papa, is because I know nothing about it, except that it is situated close to the Isthmus of Darien, and its chief town is Porto Bello."
MR. WILTON. "Panama is itself an isthmus, and is most luxuriant in vegetable productions, and could challenge competition with any part of the world, in the vigor and variety of its woods. There are known to be growing there, no less than ninety-seven different qualities of wood. It is famed, as most woody places are, for snakes and poisonous reptiles: the country people will scarcely move abroad after nightfall for fear of them, and always carry a charm about their person to prevent injury from their bite. This charm is an alligator's tooth, stuffed with herbs, compounded and muttered over by some old woman."
MR. BARRAUD. "I have heard that toads at Porto Bello are so numerous, that it is the popular prejudice that the drops of rain are changed into toads; and even the more learned maintain that the eggs of this animal are raised with the vapors from the adjoining swamps, and being conveyed to the city by the succeeding rains, are there hatched. They are large and frightful, many of them six inches in breadth; and after a night of rain, the streets are almost covered, so that it is impossible to walk any distance without crushing dozens of them. The city is so badly situated, and the climate so unhealthy, that few persons can exist there, and it is justly termed by the Spaniards 'La Sepultura de los Europeanos.'"
CHARLES. "The people of Porto Bello are not particularly dainty. I am sure I should starve there, for I could not consent to eat their food. What do you think of shovel-nosed sharks being sold in the markets, and guanas—which you know are lizards—being considered a special treat? and then, worse than all, the country folks mostly feed upon monkeys. How should you fare amongst them, George? Could you make a dinner off a roasted monkey?"
GEORGE. "I do not think I should enjoy it, but if I were very hungry, I might not be particular: however, I must own I should even then prefer beef or mutton to lizards and monkeys."
MR. WILTON. "Panama is, notwithstanding their want of taste, a rich country; rich in gold, silver, and other mines. Commerce is gaining ground there, and in the present day the people are more anxious to make their fortunes than to display their magnificence. Formerly, no family in Panama ate off anything but plate, almost every domestic utensil was of the same material, and the women wore a profusion of chains, pearls, and other ornaments. But times are altered there as elsewhere; most of the gold has passed through the melting-pot to the Old World."
MR. BARRAUD. "True; but they have still enough left to make very grand displays on gala days; and, on these occasions, the dresses of the women are peculiarly splendid. A loose chemise of beautiful cambric, with innumerable and immense frills richly worked with lace, is, with a petticoat of the same, fastened at the waist by several massive chased-gold buttons. Round the neck are several gold chains, with pearl rosettes, crosses, and rows of pearls; the ear-rings are of the shape of a telegraph, and reach nearly to the shoulders; the fingers are covered with rings: and various combs, studded with rows of pearl cased in gold, are placed together with a massive gold bodkin, to great advantage in beautiful hair, plaited in two tails down the back. The feet are barely introduced into a little slipper, turned up very much at the toes, and also richly ornamented. The whole appearance is elegant and becoming."
MR. WILTON. "The pearls thus tastefully disposed around the person of a fair Panamenian, are procured among the islands of the coast by diving. The occupation is very laborious, and success most uncertain; but the pursuit is a favorite one, and the divers are very expert. They generally proceed in companies of several canoes together, each containing six or seven men, who dive in succession, armed with a sharp knife, rather for the purpose of detaching the oysters from the rocks to which they adhere, than for defence against danger. Before descending, they repeatedly cross themselves, (for you must understand, nearly all Central America is inhabited by Roman Catholics,) and generally bring up four oysters, one under each arm, and two in the hand. The usual time of stopping under water is from fifty seconds to two and a half minutes. Much has been said of the danger of these fisheries, both from the shark, and another enemy called the 'Manta.' which crushes its victim. But the shark is ever a coward, and no match for an expert diver with a knife; and accidents rarely occur."
EMMA. "Oh! how much information I should have lost, had I gone sailing on by myself. I think I had better resign my station at the wheel to some member who is better able to steer. Who will have it?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Keep it, Emma, unless you are weary, and we will direct your course occasionally. I am sure you have proved yourself so indefatigable on all occasions, that our vessel cannot be in better hands."
EMMA. "Before proceeding any further, I wish to read the enclosed account. I received it with two or three other papers, from our friend Dora, a few minutes before we assembled. She knew we should be explaining the Atlantic to-night, and begged I would introduce this at the meeting.
"'There was a poor little middy on board, so delicate and fragile, that the sea was clearly no fit profession for him; but he or his friends thought otherwise; and as he had a spirit for which his frame was no match, he soon gave token of decay. This boy was a great favorite with everybody; the sailors smiled whenever he passed, as they would have done to a child; the officers patted him, and coddled him up with all sorts of good things; and his messmates, in a style which did not altogether please him, but which he could not well resist, as it was meant most kindly, nicknamed him, "Dolly." Poor fellow! he was long remembered afterwards. I forget what his particular complaint was, but he gradually sank, and at last went out just as a taper might have done, exposed to such gusts of wind as blew in that tempestuous region. He died in the morning, but it was not until the evening that he was prepared for a seaman's grave.
"'I remember in the course of the day, going to the side of the boy's hammock; and, on laying my hand upon his breast, being astonished to find it still warm; so much so, that I almost imagined I could feel the heart beat. This, of course, was a vain fancy; but I was greatly attached to my little companion, being then not much taller myself, and I was soothed and gratified, in a childish way, by discovering that my friend, though many hours dead, had not yet acquired the usual revolting chilliness.
"'Something occurred during the day to prevent the funeral taking place at the usual hour; and the ceremony was deferred until long after sunset. The evening was extremely dark, and it was blowing a treble-reefed topsail breeze. We had just sent down the top-gallant yards, and had made all snug for a boisterous winter's night. As it became necessary to have lights to see what was done, several signal lanterns were placed on the break of the quarter-deck, and others along the hammock railing on the lee-gangway. The whole ship's company and officers were assembled; some on the booms, others in the boats; while the main-rigging was crowded half-way up to the cat-harpings. Overhead the mainsail, illuminated as high as the yard by the lamps, was bulging forwards under the gale, which was rising every minute, and straining so violently at the main-sheet, that there was some doubt whether it might not be necessary to interrupt the funeral in order to take sail off the ship. The lower-deck ports lay completely under water, and several times the muzzles of the main-deck guns were plunged into the sea; so that the ends of the grating on which the remains of poor "Dolly" were laid, once or twice nearly touched the tops of the waves, as they foamed and hissed past. The rain fell fast on the bare heads of the crew, dropping also on the officers during all the ceremony, from the foot of the mainsail, and wetting the leaves of the prayer-book. The wind sighed over us amongst the wet shrouds, with a note so mournful, that there could not have been a more appropriate dirge.
"'The ship pitching violently, strained and cracked from end to end; so that, what with the noise of the sea, the rattling of the ropes, and the whistling of the wind, hardly one word of the service could be distinguished. The men, however, understood by a motion of the captain's hand, when the time came, and the body of our dear little brother was committed to the deep.
"'So violent a squall was sweeping past the ship at this moment that no sound was heard of the usual splash, which made the sailors (naturally superstitious) allege, that their young favorite never touched the water at all, but was at once carried off in the gale to his final resting-place!'"
GEORGE. "Oh! how very melancholy. It seems much more dismal to be buried in the sea than on the land:
"'For the dead should lie in the churchyard green,
Where the pleasant flowers do spring.'"
EMMA. "I shall be grateful to Captain Hall if his pathetic description of the funeral of 'Dolly' checks your desire to become a sailor, George; for I cannot bear to think of it. We are now to sail along the coast of South America, and the first gulfs in the north of this coast are the gulfs of Maracaybo, Coro, Trieste, and Paria, by the island of Trinidad, where----"
CHARLES. "Stop! stop! Emma. Out of four gulfs there must be something to be had worth fishing for, is there not?"
MR. BARRAUD. "You may fish for melancholy in the Gulf of Trieste, Charles, if you are so disposed, for it is a dreadful place. Here, in the midst of furious waves, enormous rocks raise their isolated heads, and scarcely, even with a fair wind, can ships overcome the strength of the stream."
CHARLES. "We will not angle in that gulf; but I have fished up an island in Maracaybo, or Venezuela Gulf. It is called Curacoa, and is arid and sterile. There is very little water, and only one well in the island, and the water is sold at a high price. Its capital is Williamstadt, one of the neatest cities in the West Indies."
MRS. WILTON. "The entrance to the Gulf of Paria on the north side is called Dragon's Mouth, on the south, Serpent's Mouth. This gulf separates Trinidad from South America. Trinidad is about 70 miles from east to west, and nearly 50 from north to south. The most remarkable phenomenon there is a bituminous lake, situated on the western coast, near the village of La Brea. It is nearly three miles in extent, of a circular form, and about 80 feet above the level of the sea. Small islands, covered with plants and shrubs, are occasionally observed on this lake, but it is subject to frequent changes, and the verdant isles often disappear. Trinidad is important on account of its fertility, its extent, and its position."
EMMA. "The next bay in our course is the Bay of Oyapok."
MRS. WILTON. "And the next country in our course is Guiana, washed by the Atlantic. This country is subject to annual inundations. All the rivers overflow their banks; forests, trees, shrubs, and parasitical plants seem to float on the water, and the sea tinged with yellow clay, adds its billows to the fresh-water streams. Quadrupeds are forced to take refuge on the highest trees: large lizards, agoutis, and pecaries quit their waterydens and remain on the branches. Aquatic birds spring upon the trees to avoid the cayman and serpents that infest the temporary lakes. The fish forsake their ordinary food, and live on the fruits and berries of the shrubs through which they swim,—the crab is found upon trees, and the oyster multiplies in the forest. The Indian, who surveys from his canoe this new chaos, this confusion of earth and sea, suspends his hammock on an elevated branch, and sleeps without fear in the midst of so great danger."
GRANDY. "Emma will have more than she can accomplish to-night, if she wishes to enter all the bays around South America, for no country in the world is so famous for its enormous gulfs."
MR. WILTON. "Yes; we must make a division for another meeting. To-night we will sail down to Cape Horn, and sojourn there until the 21st of this month. We could not choose a more favorable time than March for our visit."
EMMA. "Very well, then, we will merely mention some of these bays, viz.:—Pinzon, Maripani, Gurupy, Turiassu, Cuma, Paraiba, All Saints, Camanu, and St. Salvador Bay, near Rio de Janeiro."
MR. WILTON. "Well, Emma, you have certainly manoeuvred well to bring us over the equator without the usual visitation of Neptune and Amphitrite, and we must all thank you for landing us, without a ducking, in the principal town of Brazil. So now we will walk about and see the lions."
GEORGE. "We can go and fill our pockets, papa; for it is said that through the whole of this country, at the depth of twenty-four feet from the surface, there is a thin vein of gold, the particles of which are carried by the springs and heavy rains into the neighboring rivers, from the sands of which they are gathered by negroes employed for that purpose. There, too, we might happen to find some diamonds"
CHARLES. "You would find it not so easy to collect gold and diamonds as you imagine, and I expect you would come back poorer than you went."
MRS. WILTON. "Rio de Janeiro possesses one of the finest harbors known, having at its entrance a bar, at the extremes of which rise two rocks. This bay is twenty-four leagues in length, and eight in width, and has in it many islands; some are cultivated and possess sugar-works. The most celebrated of them is named De Cobra, off which island ships cast anchor. On the opposite side of this city, a natural wall of rocks, called Los Organos, extends itself as far as the sea, and forms a perfect line of defence independently of the neighboring fortresses."
EMMA. "Paraguay is the adjacent coast, and derives its name from the Payaguas, a treacherous and deceitful people, who subsist by fishing. It is a fertile district, and produces a species of ilex, which makes the tea so much used in South America. The laborers, who esteem it vastly more than we do our Chinese tea, will refuse to work if deprived of it. The twigs are steeped with the leaves, and the tea is taken through a silver or glass tube. The gulfs along here are not very important. I have no account of them."
MRS. WILTON. "Monte Video is the next coast, and derives its name from a mountain near the city; it is completely enclosed with fortifications. The inhabitants are humane and well disposed. The ladies in general affable and polite, and extremely fond of dress, and very neat and cleanly in their persons. They adopt the English costume at home, but go abroad usually in black, and always covered with a large veil or mantle. Provisions here are very cheap; and such is the profusion of flesh-meat, that the vicinity for two miles round, and even the purlieus of the town itself, present filthy spectacles of bones and raw flesh at every step, which feed immense flocks of sea-gulls, and, in summer, breed myriads of flies, to the great annoyance of the inhabitants, who are obliged, at table, to have a servant or two continually employed in fanning the dishes with feathers to drive away these troublesome intruders."
EMMA. "Between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres are many bays: False Bay, Brightman Bay, and Union Bay are the principal."
MRS. WILTON. "Buenos Ayres was founded in 1535 by Don Pedro de Mendoza, who gave it that name on account of the salubrity of its climate. This town is in many respects the most considerable of all the commercial towns in South America. Bread is by no means the staff of life here, for meat and the great variety of roots and grain with which the country abounds, afford to the poor inhabitants an equally healthy and even more nutritious substance."
EMMA."—South of Buenos Ayres are Antonio Bay, Nuevo Gulf, Ergano Bay, Gulf of Vera, and Gulf of St. George, which last runs into the country of the gigantic Patagonians."
MR. BARRAUD. "The bays here afford good anchorage for ships; but there are neither inhabitants, wood, nor fresh water in the adjacent country: a few aquatic birds and sea-wolves remain unmolested on these dismal shores."
MR. WILTON. "Patagonia is inhabited by wandering tribes of Indians. From their extraordinary size they have given rise to many remarkable tales. Fernandez de Magalhanes says, that one day, when the fleet was anchored at Port San Julian, a person of gigantic stature appeared on the shore. He sang, he danced, and sprinkled dust on his forehead: a sailor was sent to land, with orders to imitate his gestures, which were considered signals of peace. The seaman performed his part so well, that the giant accompanied him to the commander's vessel. He pointed to the sky, wishing to inquire if the Spaniards had descended from heaven. His size was such that the sailors' heads did not come up to his waist."
GEORGE. "But are they really giants, papa?"
MR. WILTON. "Not exactly giants, my dear; not men who could travel in seven league boots: but they are really large people; many of them seven feet high; and such men seen through a traveller's microscope, would be magnified to huge giants!"
CHARLES. "Now, here we are in the land of Fires! and yet it is very cold. Emma, you are surely not going to name all these little bays?"
EMMA. "Do not be alarmed, Charles: I will not so far tax your patience; but we must see Terra del Fuego. It is divided into three large islands,—South Desolation, Clarence Island, and King Charles's Southland; besides which there are hundreds of smaller isles, habited and uninhabited."
MRS. WILTON. "Having reached the southern extremity of the American continent, we may take an excursion to some of the neighboring islands; for although they are not all subject to America, still they are nearer to it than to any other country. To the south of Patagonia there is a number of cold, barren, and mountainous islands; volcanoes which cannot melt, brighten and illumine the perpetual snow in these dismal regions. Here it was that the sailors observed fires on the southern shores of the strait, for which reason the land on that side was called Terra del Fuego."
GEORGE. "Mamma, I wish to know why March is a favorable month for visiting Cape Horn?"
MRS. WILTON. "Because midsummer takes place in February, and is the best time of the year. July is the worst month, for then the sun does not rise until nine o'clock, and it sets at three, giving eighteen hours night; and then, also, snow and rain, gales and high winds are in abundance. Charles, will you favor us with some account of the islands?"
CHARLES. "Staten is a detached island, which may be considered as forming part of the archipelago of Terra del Fuego. It was discovered by Lemaire.
"The Falklands are two large islands, separated from each other by a broad channel of the same name. We are now nearly out of the Atlantic."
MR. WILTON. "Yes; we had now better clear the decks, and pipe to supper."
GEORGE. "One question more, dear papa. Can any one tell the depth of the Atlantic?"
MR. WILTON. "The depth is extremely various, and in many places wholly beyond the power of man to fathom. The greatest depth that has ever been reached, was effected by Captain Scoresby in the sea near Greenland, in the year 1817, and was 7,200 feet. Many parts of the Atlantic are thought to be three times this depth. How much is that, my boy?"
GEORGE. "21,600 feet, papa."
MR. WILTON. "Well done! Now go and discuss mamma's realities, and try and remember as much as possible of our imaginary wanderings, that they may prove of real utility to you in your journey through life."
The water of the vast ocean,
When it has raged with all its fury, becalms itself again;
This is the course of the world;—and likewise still to forget.
There were no disappointments on the twenty-first; but there was evidently some cause of uneasiness, for there was a great deal of whispering between George and his sister, and a great many significant glances at papa, which plainly indicated that some important disclosure was about to be made. But muffins and tea appeared, and disappeared, and still not a word. George fidgeted, and Emma looked uneasy, which Mr. Wilton observing, he said: "I apprehend there will be no business done to-night, unless I set these anxious little folks at rest, by informing the present company of the events which have transpired since our last meeting. I believe you were aware that it was my intention shortly to visit Jamaica. During the past week I have been bringing affairs to a crisis, and it is now finally arranged, that, should nothing intervene to the prevention of our plans, we sail for that island on or about the thirtieth of next month. This, of course, will preclude the possibility of meeting many more times; but I think we may promise ourselves one farewell debate. I regret our separation principally on account of our little society, for it has been the means of passing our evenings, not only agreeably, but profitably. Should our lives be spared, I trust we shall again assemble under the same roof and again enjoy the advantages of each other's researches."
This news spread a gloom over the little party, for they could not contemplate a separation from their kind friends without feelings of deep regret, and there were more tears than smiles in their usually bright eyes.
Grandy looked from one young face to another: all wore the same expression. Thoughtful, sorrowful, and silent, they sat around the table where they had enjoyed so many happy hours; and she, too, felt that, although it is delightful to possess the affection of friends, yet too often that affection is the cause of much anxiety and deep enduring sorrow.
A separation of 5000 miles was not a trifling cause of grief; but it was a pity to tinge the next month of their existence with unavailing melancholy: it had been better that it had remained a secret, than to have caused such unhappiness to cloud their serene and cheerful days; and Mrs. Wilton endeavored to make them view the matter in a brighter light. "At all events," she said, "we must not render each other miserable, because we are called upon to exercise this self-denial. It is wrong to waste in unavailing regrets the time we have still to be together, and be gloomy and sad for a whole month. No! that cannot possibly improve our affairs, and will only unfit us for the performance of our duty, and increase our misery. Come, wipe away those glistening tears, my children, or they will freeze on your cheeks; for, if I mistake not, we are supposed to be somewhere about the sixtieth parallel of south latitude, and the thermometer somewhat below Zero. Come, see who will find the situation first. George, try what you can do."
The children commenced their search, and before George exclaimed "South Shetland, dear mamma!" every eye, although still dimmed with tears, was eagerly in quest of the desired parallel.
MRS. WILTON. "Right, George! I fear it will not be prudent to venture any further south, as we may encounter some ice-islands, for there are several in this vicinity; but I should like to hear, if any of you can tell me why Deception Isle (one of the South Shetland group) is so called?"
DORA. "It is so called from its very exact resemblance to a ship in full sail, and has deceived many navigators. This island is inhabited only by penguins, sea-leopards, pintadors, and various kinds of petrels. It is volcanic, apparently composed of alternate layers of ashes and ice, as if the snow of each winter, during a series of years, had been prevented from melting in the following summer by the ejection of cinders and ashes from some part where volcanic action is still in progress; and that such is the case seems probable, from the fact of there being at least one hundred and fifty holes from which steam issues with a loud hissing noise, and which are, or were, visible from the top of one of the hills immediately above the small cone where Lieutenant Kendall's ship was secured, to whom I am indebted for this information."
MRS. WILTON. "The only habitable islands near here are the Sandwich Isles (not Captain Cook's) and Georgia; but they are neither large, numerous, nor important: we will, therefore, round the Cape and enter the Pacific Ocean."
DORA "According to Emma's chart we are to follow the coast, calling at as many of the islands as are worthy of notice; but, previously, here are the bays to be enumerated, and such a number of them! I could scarcely have imagined it possible for any shores to be so indented."
EMMA. "I need not read all the names, as with your maps you can each read for yourself; but the following are the largest: Gulf of Trinidad. Gulf of Penas, Gulf of Ancud by the Island of Chiloe, and Conception Bay on the coast of Chili."
MRS. WILTON. "Here is a part for me to play, I perceive. The natives of the coast of the Gulf of Penas are descendants of the Araucanians, a warlike people, who, observing the great advantages the Europeans possessed from the use of gunpowder, tried in vain to learn its composition. They saw negroes among the Spaniards, and because their color was supposed to resemble that of gunpowder, they imagined they had discovered the long-wished-for secret. A poor negro was caught by them and burnt alive, in the full belief that gunpowder would be obtained from his ashes."
GEORGE. "Poor man! what ignorant people they must be. Are we to stop at the Island of Chiloe?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Most certainly, as you will agree when you hear what I have to say. It lies near the south coast of Chili: its length is 120 miles, average breadth 40 miles. It is mountainous and covered with cedar, which is exported in great quantities to Peru and Chili. The climate is healthy, but damp, as it rains ten months out of the year. Money is here almost unknown, and traffic is conducted by barter, or payment in indigo, tea, salt, or Cayenne pepper. All these articles are much valued, particularly the indigo for dyeing woollens, for the weaving of which there is a loom in every house. According to Captain Blankley, the golden age would seem to be revived in this part of the world. 'Murders,' says he, 'robbery, or persons being in debt, are never heard of: drunkenness is only known or seen when European vessels are in port: not a private dwelling in the towns or country has a lock on the doors, and the prison is in disuse.' The inhabitants are cheerful, and passionately fond of music and dancing."
EMMA. "I think we had better remain at Chiloe: it must be a delightful place to live in, where all the inhabitants are so upright and honest."
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; but business must be attended to before pleasure, and we are bound for Chili.
"Chili is an independent State, and includes the country of those same ignorant Araucanians; who, notwithstanding their attributed ignorance, have proved themselves equal in some respects to Europeans; for they have tried in vain to subdue this warlike race of men. The shores of Chili are mostly high, steep, and rocky. The whole country is extremely rich in metals: silver is there found nearer the surface than in any other country. Nearly all the rivers wash down gold and there are copper, lead, and even coal mines. The Chilians are good potters, and make light, strong, earthenware jars, which ring like metal. Chili is specially subject to earthquakes; shocks are felt in some parts almost daily, and the country is continually desolated by them."
MR. WILTON. "The little island of Mocha on this coast was once celebrated as a resort of buccaneers, and thickly peopled; but it was found deserted by Captain Strong in 1690; and appears to have remained uninhabited since."
EMMA. "The most memorable island near our course is Juan Fernandez, 110 miles from the coast. I ought rather to have said islands, for there are two. The largest was discovered by a Spaniard in 1563, and has been so much praised by early navigators, that it has been thought an earthly paradise. Its chief advantages arises from its being a good resting-place for ships. This island is called Mas-a-terra, because nearest the continent. There are many Spanish settlers there, who have erected a battery, and built a town. The smaller island is generally called Mas-a-fuero, because further from the continent."
MR. WILTON. "Juan Fernandez has lately been taken on lease from the Chilian Government, by an enterprising American, who has taken thither about 150 families of Tahitians, with the intention of cultivating the land, rearing cattle, and so improving the port of Cumberland Bay, that it may become the resort of whalers, and other vessels navigating the Pacific Ocean."
CHARLES. "Oh! for the imagination of Daniel de Foe to conjure up the delightful pictures of his Robinson Crusoe. The poet Cowper has done much towards handing the event down to posterity, in his touching account of the feelings of the poor outcast when he found himself on the desolate shore."
GEORGE. "Oh! you mean Alexander Selkirk's soliloquy. I think I can remember some of the verses:—
"' I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference bee;
They're so unaccustomed to man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.'
"'Religion I what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
More precious than silver or gold,
Or all that this earth can afford;
But the sound of the church-going bell,
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd."
"'Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore,
Some cordial, endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends—do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
Oh! tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see!'"
EMMA. "A life of solitude must be very dreadful: we cannot conceive such an existence while surrounded by our dear friends, and all the luxuries of civilized life. How long was Alexander Selkirk on the island?"
CHARLES. "Four years and four months, I believe."
DORA. "In sailing along the coast of Peru we must pass close to Lima, its capital, which is a magnificent city. Like other Spanish cities of America it is laid out in quadras or squares of houses, and through the centre of nearly all the streets runs a stream of water three feet wide, which carries away a good portion of the refuse of the city."
MR. BARRAUD. "The ladies of Lima are celebrated for beauty and fineness of figure. They wear a very remarkable walking dress, peculiar to this city and Truxillo. It consists of two parts, one called the saya, the other the manto. The first is an elastic dress, fitting close to the figure down to the ankles; the other is an entire envelope, disclosing scarcely more than one eye to the most scrutinizing observer. A rich colored handkerchief or a silk band and tassel are frequently tied around the waist, and hang nearly to the ground in front."
MRS. WILTON. "The population of Peru consists principally of Indians, Spaniards and Negroes. The first are represented by travellers as in the lowest stage of civilization, without any desire for the comforts of civilized life, immersed in sloth and apathy, from which they can rarely be roused, except when they have an opportunity of indulging to excess in ardent spirits, of which they are excessively fond. They are dirty in the extreme, seldom taking off their clothes even to sleep, and still more rarely using water. Their habitations are miserable hovels, destitute of every convenience and disgustingly filthy."
MR. WILTON. "The Peruvians had at one time a curious contrivance for crossing their rivers. They did not know how to make a bridge of wood or stone; but necessity, the parent of invention, supplied that defect. They formed cables of great strength, by twisting together some of the pliable withes or osiers with which their country abounds; six of these cables they stretched across the stream parallel to one another, and made them fast on each side; these they bound firmly together, by inter-weaving smaller ropes so close as to form a compact piece of net-work, which being covered with branches of trees and earth, they passed along it with tolerable security. Proper persons were appointed to attend to each bridge, to keep it in repair, and to assist passengers."
GEORGE. "Almost as clever a contrivance as the bridge of the present day, although neither so strong nor durable. They were a persevering people."
EMMA. "The Gulf of Guayaquil is so called from a river of this name which is famous for its shifting sand-banks, on which as the water recedes alligators are left in great numbers. The Bay of Choco is on the same coast (Columbia), and is the scene of continual storms. The greatest riches in washed gold are deposited in the provinces of Choco. The largest piece found there weighed twenty-five pounds; but this country, so rich in gold, is at the same time scourged with continual famine."
GRANDY. "Proving that gold is only valuable as the means of procuring the necessaries of life, and enabling its possessor to benefit his fellow-creatures. 'Whoso seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassion, how dwelleth the love of God in him?' The people here value not the gold, for it is unable to buy them freedom from the awful scourge."
DORA. "Emma, the Bay of Choco is on the coast of Granada, which, although it is a district of Columbia, is large enough to be regarded with some attention, particularly as it is actually one of the three great divisions of Columbia."
CHARLES. "Nearly in the same latitude, just over the equator, are the Galapagos. They are pretty islands: the cactus and aloe cover the sides of the rocks, flamingoes and turtle-doves fill the air, and the beach is covered with enormous turtle. But no trace whatever indicates the residence of man, and I believe no man has ever landed on these lonely shores."
MRS. WILTON. "Columbia abounds in stupendous natural wonders; amongst the rest are the natural bridges of Iconongo, not far from Bogota; the fall of Tequendama, the loftiest cataract; and the Silla de Caracas, the loftiest cliff yet discovered. The climate is hot and unhealthy, and the country subject to earthquakes. It is inhabited by Indians, Spaniards, and Negroes. The Caribs are the ruling Indian tribe; they are tall, of a reddish copper-color, with dark intelligent eyes, and a grave expression of features. They raise the flesh of their legs and thighs in long stripes, and shave most of the hair from their heads, but do not flatten the forehead, as is customary with the other tribes along the Orinoco. Columbia is a country of great natural riches, but suffered to lie for the most part waste, for the people are naturally indolent; and Captain Hall remarks, that the Columbian who can eat beef and plantains, and smoke cigars as he swings in his hammock, is possessed of almost everything his habits qualify him to enjoy, or which his ambition prompts him to attain."
MR. BARRAUD. "Along this coast many of the inhabitants subsist as fishermen; and the Indians of Cartago have a singular method of catching wild-fowl, which may here be noticed:—They leave calabashes continually floating on the water that the birds may be accustomed to the sight of them. When they wish to catch any of these wild-fowl, they go into the water with their heads covered each with a calabash, in which they make two holes for seeing through; they then swim towards the birds, throwing a handful of maize on the water from time to time, the grains of which scatter on the surface. The birds approach to feed on the maize, and at the moment the swimmer seizes them by the feet, pulls them under water, and wrings their necks before they can make the least movement, or, by their noise, spread an alarm among the flock. Many families are supported in this way by disposing of the birds thus caught at a low price in the markets."
EMMA. "The next bay is Panama, in which are the Gulf of St. Michael and Gulf of Parita. There are several islands here, but the largest is Rey Isle. The Gulf of Dolce runs into Costa Rica, and so does the Gulf of Nicoya: and the little bays about here must not detain us."
MRS. WILTON. "San José is the capital of Costa Rica. There are no fine buildings in this city, and the churches are inferior to many erected by the Spaniards in the smallest villages. Nevertheless, the whole place exhibits a business like appearance, much more so than most cities in this lethargic part of the world. In Costa Rica is a volcanic mountain, Cartago (now quiet), from the top of which the traveller can view the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at one glance. In a right line over the tops of the mountains, neither is more than twenty miles distant, and from the great height from which they are seen they appear to be almost at the traveller's feet. It is the only point in the world which commands a view of the two Oceans."
GRANDY. "I remember a touching description of a funeral in San José, which will not be out of place here:—
"'While Mr. Stephens (the author of several delightful books) was standing in a corridor of his friend's house, a man passed with a child in his arms. He was its father, and with a smile on his face was carrying it to its grave. He was followed by two boys playing on violins, and others were laughing around. The child was dressed in white, with a wreath of roses around its head; and as it lay in its father's arms, it did not seem dead but sleeping. The grave was not quite ready, and the boys sat on the heap of dirt thrown out, and played their violins until it was finished. The father then laid the child carefully in its final resting-place, with its head to the rising sun, folded its little hands across its breast, and closed its fingers around a small wooden crucifix; and it seemed, as they thought it was, happy at escaping the troubles of an uncertain world. There were no tears shed; on the contrary, all were cheerful; and though it appeared heartless, it was not because the father did not love his child, but because he and all his friends had been taught to believe, and were firm in the conviction, that, taken away so young, it was transferred immediately to a better world. The father sprinkled a handful of dirt over its face; the grave-digger took his shovel; in a few moments the little grave was filled up, and, preceded by the boys playing on their violins, they departed.'"
MRS. WILTON. "There is a spirit of thankfulness evinced in that father's conduct which requires great faith. I fear none of us would be found to possess as much under such a trial, for the spirit is, unhappily, at most times under the dominion of the flesh."
GEORGE. "Is not Papagayo Bay close to the Lake of Nicaragua?"
EMMA. "It is only divided from the Ocean by a portion of the district of Nicaragua. It is a great lake, ninety five miles long, and thirty broad, and is navigable for ships of the largest class."
DORA. "It is covered with beautiful and populous islands, and two of them—viz. Isola and Madeira—contain burning mountains. The largest volcano—Omotepeque—always continues burning, and reminds one of Mount Etna rising from the water's edge, a smooth unbroken cone to the height of nearly 1000 feet. The waters of this lake descend by the river St. John towards the Atlantic; but there is no outlet into the Pacific Ocean."
GEORGE. "I should like to know why the Pacific is so called?"
CHARLES. "I can tell you, George. In the year 1520, when Magellan was on his way to the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, you know), he and the crew suffered dreadful privations: they were nearly four months at sea without discovering land. Their stock of provisions was almost exhausted, the water became putrid, and in consequence the poor men were attacked with that horrible disease the scurvy. The only source of consolation, under these troubles, was the uninterrupted fair weather they enjoyed, and the favorable winds which wafted them gently onward; so that Magellan was induced to call the Ocean Pacific: hence the origin of its name."
GEORGE. "Thank you, Charles. How pleasant it is to get all the information we require, without the trouble of searching in great dusty books. Now, Emma, will it please you to travel onward?"
EMMA. "What, George! Have you, too, caught the mania, that you are in such a hurry to get to California?"
GEORGE. "Not to go gold-hunting, indeed; but the Rocky Mountains are up in the north, and I have a story about them."
EMMA. "Well, to oblige you and ourselves too, we will proceed. The Gulfs of Fonseca and Conchagua are deep indentations, about the middle of the coast of Guatemala, to which country Costa Rica belongs."
MRS. WILTON. "The city of Guatemala was founded in 1776. It is situated on table-land, 5000 feet above the sea and enjoys a delicious climate,—literally, a perpetual spring. Beautiful churches and buildings adorn this city; but the houses are built only one story high, in order more effectually to resist the action of earthquakes; for you must know this city has close to it two burning mountains—Fuego and Agua, which prove the volcanic nature of the earth. Among all the phenomena of nature few appear to be attended with such horrible consequences as earthquakes. Thousands, who in one moment are full of busy life, are, the next, swallowed up as if they had never existed, or crushed to death by fragments of falling buildings. In six minutes, by the great earthquake of Lisbon, in 1755, sixty thousand souls were launched into eternity; and though none in this city have equalled in destructiveness the great one at Lisbon, yet Guatemala has been several times nearly destroyed by earthquakes, combined with the eruptions of the neighboring volcanoes."
MR. BARRAUD. "The inhabitants are mostly of Spanish origin; consequently, mostly Roman Catholics; and a recent traveller says that from the moment of his arrival, he was struck with the devout appearance of the city of Guatemala. At matins and vespers, the churches were all open, and the people, particularly the women, went regularly to prayers. Every house had its figure of the Virgin, the Saviour, or some tutelary saint, and on the door were billets of paper with prayers. You will be surprised to hear that nearly all the ladies in Central America smoke. The married ladies smoke puros, or all tobacco; the unmarried ladies smoke cigars, or tobacco wrapped in paper or straw."
DORA. "What an odd indulgence for a lady! In England, ladies never smoke; although I must say I have often seen poor women with pipes in their mouths, and thought what a dirty habit it was."
MRS. WILTON. "It is the custom of the country, and were you a Spanish lady, Dora, I have no doubt you would enjoy a cigar as much as any of the señoritas. We shall next see the shore of Mexico. What gulfs must we pass to accomplish this?"
EMMA. "Only the Gulf of Tehuantepec which is worth noticing."
MRS. WILTON. "Mexico has been travelled over already; so we will pass on to the Gulf of California."
GEORGE. "But is there not a place called New Mexico?"
DORA. "Yes, but not near the coast: however, I will tell you all I know about it. It is mostly inhabited by Christian Indians, of whom there are no fewer than thirty villages. They are of various tribes, but all trained to industrial habits, and are in every respect a worthy set of people. Their clothing is the skin of wild goats; their women wear mantles of cotton or wool. Their mode of travelling is on horseback, and the only access to their huts, which are square, with open galleries on the top, is by a ladder, which is removed during the night."
CHARLES. "Robinson Crusoe fashion, I presume?"
DORA. "Exactly. 'Now we are in front of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The mountains on the northern side are 3000 feet in height, and come boldly down to the sea As the view opens through the splendid strait, three or four miles in width, the island rock of Alcatraz appears, gleaming white in the distance. At last we are through the Golden Gate—fit name for such a magnificent portal to the commerce of the Pacific. The Bay is crowded with the shipping of the world, and the flags of all nations are fluttering in the breeze.' Before us lies the grand emporium of the Gold Region—a city which has well nigh realized the extravagance of the Arabian Nights Entertainments. As if by the touch of a magic wand, what was five years ago a little Indian village is now a large and flourishing city, which is increasing at a prodigious rate. From every nation and people and clime, emigrants have been pressing to it in pursuit of the precious metal. The golden sands of California, with their brilliant glitter, have attracted thousands upon thousands from every land—and there is now arising on the far distant shores of the Pacific a great Empire destined to exert a mighty influence in the affairs of the world. The glowing prospect which the success of the first adventurers had created, soon drew to her shores the energy and enterprise of the nations of both Europe and America. 'Around the curving shore of the Bay and upon the sides of three hills, which rise steeply from the water, the middle one receding so as to form a bold amphitheatre, the town is planted and seems scarcely yet to have taken root, for tents, canvass, plank, mud and adobe houses are mingled together with the least apparent attempt at order and durability.' However, the appearance of the city is fast improving—for churches and schools and public buildings are springing up on every side, and substantial edifices are fast taking the place of the more temporary erections. The sudden rush or so many people to one point, and many of them poorly provided, combined with the abundance of the gold, caused provision, rents, and labor to rise to enormous prices. A tent for instance, called Eldorado, fifteen by twenty feet, occupied mostly by gamblers brought the enormous yearly rent of $40,000. 'Miners' Bank,' used by Wright & Co., brokers, about half the size of a fire-engine house, was held at a rent of $75,000. A gentleman who wished to find a law office, was shown a cellar in the earth, about twelve feet square and six feet deep, which he could have at $250 per month. One of the common soldiers at the battle of San Pasquale was reputed to be among the millionaires of the place, and had an income of fifty thousand dollars monthly.
"The prices paid for labor were in proportion to everything else. The carman of Mellus Howard & Co., had a salary of $6000 a year, and many others made from fifteen to twenty dollars daily. Servants were paid from a hundred to two hundred dollars a month. This state of things, as might have been expected, did not long continue, for all things soon find their level, and the rapid importation of produce, materials and laborers, had soon the effect of lowering the prices to a fair and ordinary scale.
"California territory belongs to the United States of North America, and will, doubtless, in a short time, form several distinct states in that already powerful confederacy."
MR. WILTON. "Now, George, we have arrived at the Gulf of Georgia;—you will not have very far to travel to the Rocky Mountains."
CHARLES. "The Gulf of Georgia is very considerable: it divides Quadra or Vancouver's Island from the continent, and communicates with the Pacific to the south by Claaset's Straits, and to the north by Queen Charlotte's Sound. Quadra is a large island, and I think better known by the name of Nootka Sound, which is at the south end of the island, and contains an English establishment."
MRS. WILTON. "The natives of Nootka Sound are not an interesting people, and are greatly inferior to the other tribes inhabiting the continent. They are short, plain-looking people, not unlike the Esquimaux. Their ordinary dress consists of a mantle edged with fur at the top, and fringed at the bottom, which is made out of the bark of the pine, beaten into fibres. Their food is mostly drawn from the sea. Large stores of fish are dried and smoked, and the roes, prepared like caviare, form their winter bread. They drink fish-oil, and mix it with their food. The women go fishing occasionally, and are as skilful as the men; but their usual occupation is within doors, preparing the fabric of which their garments are composed. Captain Cook, in speaking of their houses, says: 'They are as filthy as hog-sties,—everything in and about them stinking of fish, train-oil, and smoke.'"
GEORGE. "I shall have to travel upwards of 600 miles to tell my story; but, as truth is worth seeking, I do not mind the trouble: so here it is:—
"A young man named Boone, son of the mighty American hunter, made a settling amongst the Rocky Mountains, and when his hut was erected he used to leave it for days, out on hunting expeditions. One night, after returning from one of these enterprises, he retired to rest on his solitary pallet. The heat was intense, and, as usual in these countries during summer, he had left his door wide open. It was about midnight, when he was awakened by the noise of something tumbling in the room: he rose in a moment, and hearing a short and heavy breathing, he asked who it was, for the darkness was such that he could not see two yards before him. No answer being given, except a kind of half smothered grunt, he advanced,—and, putting out his hand, he seized the shaggy coat of a BEAR! Surprise rendered him motionless; and the animal, giving him a blow on the chest with his terrible paw, threw him down outside the door. Boone could have escaped, but, maddened with the pain of his fall, he only thought of vengeance,—and, seizing his knife and tomahawk, which were fortunately within his reach, he darted furiously at the beast, dealing blows at random. Great as was his strength, his tomahawk could not penetrate through the thick coat of the animal, which, having encircled the body of his assailant with his paws, was pressing him in one of those deadly embraces which could only have been resisted by a giant like Boone (who was six feet nine inches in height and proportionably strong). Fortunately, the Black bear, unlike the Grizzly, very seldom uses his claws and teeth in fighting, contenting himself with smothering his victim. Boone disentangled his left arm, and with his knife dealt a furious blow upon the snout of the animal, which, smarting with pain, released his hold. The snout is the only vulnerable part in an old black bear. Even at forty yards, the ball of a rifle will flatten against his skull, and if in any other part of the body it will scarcely produce any serious effect. Boone, aware of this, and not daring to risk another hug, darted away from the cabin. The bear, now quite angry, followed and overtook him near the fence. Fortunately, the clouds were clearing away, and the moon threw light sufficient to enable the hunter to strike with a more certain aim: he found also on the ground one of the rails, made of the blue ash, very heavy, and ten feet in length; he dropped his knife and tomahawk, and, seizing the rail, he renewed the fight with caution, for it had now become a struggle for life or death.
"Had it been a bull or a panther, they would have had their bones shivered to pieces by the tremendous blows which Boone dealt upon his adversary with all the strength of despair; but Bruin is by nature an admirable fencer, and, in spite of his unwieldy shape, there is not in the world an animal whose motions are more rapid in a close encounter. Once or twice he was knocked down by the force of the blows, but generally he would parry them with a wonderful agility. At last he succeeded in seizing the other end of the rail, and dragged it towards him with irresistible force. Both man and beast fell, Boone rolling to the place where he had dropped his arms, while the bear advanced upon him. The moment was a critical one; but Boone was accustomed to look at and brave death under every shape,—and, with a steady hand, he buried the tomahawk in the snout of his enemy, and, turning round, he rushed to his cabin, believing he would have time to secure the door. He closed the latch, and applied his shoulders to it; but it was of no avail: the terrible brute dashed in head foremost, and tumbled into the room, with Boone and the fragments of the door. The two foes rose and stared at each other. Boone had nothing left but his knife; but Bruin was tottering and unsteady, and Boone felt that the match was more equal. Once more they closed.
"A few hours after sunrise a friend called at the hut,—and, to his horror, found Boone apparently lifeless on the floor, and alongside of him the body of the bear. Boone soon recovered, and found that the timely blow which had saved him from being crushed to death had buried the whole blade of his knife through the left eye, in the very brain of the huge animal."
CHARLES. "That is a spirited story, and very well told, George. I should not like to have been Mr. Boone in such a situation, although he was a 'mighty hunter;' a bear is an ugly animal to embrace."
DORA. "Yes; and, lest we should meet with any, we will leave the Rocky Mountains and go on to the north of Quadra, where are situated King George's Archipelago and the Admiralty Isles. The inhabitants of the former bear some resemblance to the Esquimaux. The women wear an extraordinary kind of ornament, which gives them the appearance of having two mouths: it consists of a small piece of wood, which they force into the flesh below the under lip."
MR. BARRAUD. "Those are Norfolk Sound people; but they are a kindly race, notwithstanding their outrageous customs; and, to show you how readily they are affected for good or evil, I will relate a circumstance which happened when Captain Cleveland was trading with them. A canoe containing eleven persons went alongside his vessel, and raised the screens at the port-holes, to look in on the deck. Before the captain had time to speak to them, the cook (either by accident or design) threw a ladleful of hot water over them, which causing an involuntary and sudden motion of their bodies to the other side of the boat, immediately upset, and all were immersed in the water. The confusion was then very great,—as those who at the time were under the stern, engaged in traffic, fearing some treachery, made haste to paddle away, without regarding the distress of their comrades. All of these, however, appeared to be capable of taking care of themselves; excepting an infant of about a year old, whose struggles being observed by one of the mates, he jumped overboard and saved it. The weather was very raw and chilly: the captain had the child dried and warmed by the fire, then wrapped it in a blanket, gave it a piece of sugar, and returned it to its parents, who were exceedingly pleased and grateful; and, as soon as all had recovered from the effects of their immersion, their business (which was trading for skins of various kinds) was conducted throughout the day to the mutual satisfaction of all parties."
MR. WILTON. "As these islands are near the coast of Columbia, I wish to inform you that here there is an excellent harbor and a navy yard, to which ships of the largest tonnage may ascend. The yard covers a space of thirty-seven acres, and in it are made nearly all the anchors, cables, and blocks required for the service of the United States' Navy, which, although inconsiderable in point of numerical strength, is perhaps the best organized and most effective in the world. The unexpected success of their frigates in contests with British vessels of the same class has established the reputation of the American navy for skill and prowess in the eyes of Europe; and the United States, with comparatively few ships, already rank high as a naval power."
EMMA. "We now pass Admiralty Bay, go through Cook's Inlet, out by the Straits of Chilogoff, round by the Aleutian Isles into Bristol Bay."
MRS. WILTON. "The Aleutian Isles are very numerous, principally volcanic: the three largest are Bhering's, Attoo, and Onolaska. The natives are of a dark brown complexion, and the women disfigure themselves by cutting an aperture in the under lip, to which various trinkets are suspended. Their subsistence is principally obtained by hunting and fishing. The seal is particularly valuable to them, affording a constant supply of food and clothing. Their dwellings are spacious excavations in the earth, roofed over with turf, as many as 150 individuals sometimes residing in the different divisions."
GEORGE. "Must we go through Bhering's Straits: they will take us into such very cold regions?"
EMMA. "We must not mind the cold if we can learn anything by going; but, as you are afraid of venturing so far, we will leave you at Point Hope, while we make our way to Point Barrow."
CHARLES. "Appear not at Point Hope. George; for if you do, you must never hope to see us again. Do you know that the Indians who live in the mountains not far from the Point are cannibals, and would seize you for a delicious morsel? They are not at all particular folks; and when there is a scarcity of food among them, they cast lots for victims, and eat their relations without the slightest remorse."
MR. BARRAUD. "The fierce and savage propensities of these mountain Indians have been circumstantially described by an old man, who, while yet a stripling, fled from the tribe, and joined himself to another tribe called Dog Ribs, in consequence of his finding his mother, on his return from a successful day's hunting, employed in roasting the body of her own child, his youngest brother!"
MRS. WILTON. "Oh! horrible! Let us quit this savage Point, and see what Point Barrow resembles."
Mr. WILTON. "It is a long spit of land composed of sand and gravel. When Captain Simpson was on an exploring expedition in the Polar Seas, he landed there, and one of the first objects that presented itself was an immense cemetery. There, the miserable remnants of humanity lay on the ground, in the seal-skin dresses worn when alive. A few were covered with an old sledge, or some pieces of wood, but far the greater number were exposed to the voracity of dogs and wild animals. The inhabitants of this Point are Esquimaux."
EMMA. "Bhering's Straits divide the Old from the New Continent, and the water to the south beyond the Gulf of Anadir is called Bhering's or Kamtschatka Sea, and washes the shores of Kamtschatka."
MRS. WILTON. "Kamtschatka is a portion of Asia, about the same size as Great Britain. It is a cold, foggy country, and subject to sudden storms of snow and sleet, which the natives call 'poorgas,' and when overtaken by one they do not attempt to travel through it, but suffer the snow to bury them and their dogs, and as soon as it is over, they extricate themselves as well as they can. The natives comprising the two tribes of the Kamtschatdales and Koriaks differ principally in their mode of life. They are all of low stature, and not remarkable for their beauty. They are shy, averse to strangers, but honest, and extremely hospitable. They dwell in fixed habitations, although hunters and fishers; but their dwellings are low, comfortless, and filthy, sunk in the ground in the winter months, and raised on posts during summer to facilitate the curing of fish, which are hung up on lines to dry. In travelling, they use dogs harnessed to a sledge instead of horses."
DORA. "We are now to leave the coasts, and sail about in search of the islands in the Pacific Ocean; and, as we happen to be above the equator, we can more conveniently see those of the North Pacific. We have each selected our favorite isles for description, and Charles is at the head of the catalogue."
MRS. WILTON. "To make our remarks better understood, we will, like scientific geographers, class all these islands under the head of Polynesia, for the term is applied to the numerous groups, both above and below the equator, in the Pacific Ocean. The equator forming a dividing line between North and South Polynesia. Sir Francis Drake was the first English captain to whom appertained the honor of sailing on the Pacific Ocean.
"'The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
He was the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.'"
CHARLES. "The Sandwich Islands appear to me one of the most interesting groups, although the most isolated of all in North Polynesia. They are ten in number,—eight inhabited,—and were named by their discoverer, Captain Cook, in honor of the Earl of Sandwich, a minister who had warmly promoted his labors. The island of Owyhee, or more properly Hawaii, is the largest, being 415 miles in circumference. It obtained a celebrity, as the scene of Captain Cook's death, who was killed by the natives on the 14th of February, 1779. A celebrity of a different kind now awaits it, as the focus of civilization in Polynesia. The inhabitants have, with the assistance of the English and Americans, built twenty merchant-ships, with which they perform voyages to the north-west coast of America, and even visit Canton. They used to sacrifice human victims, but were never cannibals; they tattoo their bodies, and the women tattoo the tips of their tongues. Hawaii contains a tremendous volcano, the top of which is 16,000 feet above the level of the sea. The whole island, indeed, is one complete mass of lava. Christianity was introduced by the American missionaries in 1820, and is now the religion of the state. Schools have been established, and churches built. Honoruru, in the Island of Cahu, is the capital of the group. Some of the houses are built of stone; but the natives still prefer living in their huts, so that the town is grotesquely irregular. The principal public building is the English school, where children of both sexes are taught to read and write. The place is altogether in a flourishing condition, and so advanced in the refinements of life, that the news-paper, lately established in the town, sets forth the following articles for sale:—'Ladies' shoes from Paris, Ices, and Eau de Cologne.'"
GRANDY. "It is a great cause for thankfulness, that religion is spreading her benign influence over these volcanic isles. The women who, truly speaking, were the most callous and obdurate, have exhibited bright and numerous proofs of that change of heart, which is the single end and aim of pure Christianity. Kekupuhe, who in Cook's days was one of the wives of the king of Hawaii, evinced the sincerity of her conversion, which took place in 1828, by learning to read when she was more than eighty years of age, and by inditing hymns in honor of the God of her old age."
GEORGE. "I cannot understand why they killed Captain Cook; and I have never read the account of his first visit to the Sandwich Islands: have you, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Yes, and a very interesting account it is. On the first appearance of the English ships, the chiefs and priests, taking them for floating islands, imagined that their long-expected guardian spirit, 'Etuah Orono,' was arrived. Hence Captain Cook was received with honor approaching to adoration, as they imagined him to be their 'Orono.' The king was absent at the time of his arrival; but the chief priest and his son received the captain. Scarcely were the ships anchored, when a priest went on board, and decorating Cook with a red cloth, such as adorned their deities, offered him a pig in the manner of a sacrifice, and pronounced a long harangue. They chanted hymns before him, and priests, bearing wands, preceded him on his landing, while the in habitants prostrated themselves on the ground, as he walked from the beach to the village."
GEORGE. "But if they held him in such reverence, how was it they killed him?"
MR. WILTON. "His own imprudence brought about his melancholy end. Some time after his arrival, it appears, that one of his smaller boats was stolen by some of the natives, for the sake of the nails in her, and was broken up the very night it was stolen. Captain Cook, angry at losing his boat, attempted to get the king on board his ship, to confine him there, until the boat should be restored. This caused a tumult, and in the tumult, Captain Cook was slain. There certainly was no malice in the case,—not the slightest intention of injuring him; and his body was treated in the same manner as those of their own chiefs, the bones being assigned to different Eries (chiefs), who, either from affection, or from an idea of good luck attending them, desired to preserve them. Long after Captain Cook's death, the natives believed he would re-appear, and perhaps punish them for their breach of hospitality."
MR. BARRAUD. "They are a most interesting people; and, to prove to you how they have advanced in civilization, I will give you two instances of their mode of living and taking their meals. Forty years ago, the Rev. Mr. Stewart, being then on a mission, visited a chief, and, when he entered the apartment, one of his queens was seated on the ground à la Turc, with a large wooden tray in her lap. Upon this a monstrous cuttle-fish had just been placed, fresh from the sea, and in all its life and vigor. The queen had taken it up with both hands, and brought its body to her mouth, and, by a single application of her teeth, the black blood with which it was filled gushed over her face and neck, while the long sucking arms of the fish, in the convulsive paroxysm of the operation, were twisting and writhing about her head, like the snaky hairs of a Medusa. Occupied as both hands were, she could only give her visitor a nod. Mr. Stewart remarks, 'It was the first time I had seen her Majesty, and I soon took my departure, leaving her, as I found her, in the full enjoyment of her luxurious luncheon.' Now,—observe the contrast. In 1841, Sir George Simpson and friends visited a chief. They were received in an immense apartment: several white persons were there to meet them: all the rules of etiquette were observed on going to table. The chiefs were all handsomely attired, their clothes fitting to a hair's breadth, for they had imported a tailor from England to make them. The dining-room was handsomely furnished, and lighted with elegant lamps. The dinner was excellent, with fine pastry and preserves from every country, and the glass and plate on the table would have been admired even in a London mansion. The chiefs, especially the host, were men of excellent address, and, adds Sir George Simpson, 'we soon forgot that we were sipping our coffee in a country which is deemed uncivilized, and among individuals who are classed with savages. There were but few incongruities in the course of the evening's entertainment, such as could at all mar the effect, excepting that one of the chiefs frequently inquired, with much solicitude, whether or not we thought his whiskers handsome.' In conclusion, he says, 'After chatting a good deal, and smoking a few cigars, we took our leave, highly gratified with the hospitality and courtesy of the governor and his friends'."
DORA. "It must have been a work of time to convert these people; for their belief in the power of their idols was so strong, and had been preserved through so many generations."
GRANDY. "The work was of God, my dear, and he made it to prosper. Civilization once introduced, the way to Christianity was paved; and the chiefs with their wives setting the example, the mission was soon full of hopes for the future. The great women of the islands, when converted themselves, endeavored to propagate the truths of the Gospel; and amongst them, one of the most justly celebrated Christians was Kapiolani. She wished to undeceive the natives concerning their false gods; and knowing in what veneration Peli, the goddess of the volcano, was held, she determined to climb the mountain, descend into the crater, and by thus braving the volcanic deities in their very homes, convince the inhabitants that God is God alone, and that the false and subordinate deities existed only in the fancies of their ignorant adorers. Thus determined, and accompanied by a missionary, she, with part of her family, and a number of followers, both of her own vassals, and those of other chiefs, ascended Peli. At the edge of the first precipice that bounds the sunken plain, many of her followers and companions lost courage and turned back: at the second, the rest earnestly entreated her to desist from her dangerous enterprise, and forbear to tempt the powerful gods of the fires. But she proceeded; and, on the very verge of the crater, caused a hut to be constructed for herself and people. Here she was assailed anew by their entreaties to return home; and their assurances, that, if she persisted in violating the dwellings of the goddess, she would draw on herself, and those with her, certain destruction. Her answer was noble:—'I will descend into the crater,' said she; 'and if I do not return safe, then continue you to worship Peli; but, if I come back unhurt, you must learn to adore the God who created Peli.' She accordingly went down the steep and difficult side of the crater, accompanied by a missionary, and by some whom love or duty induced to follow her. Arrived at the bottom, she thrust a stick into the liquid lava, and stirred the ashes of the burning lake. The charm of superstition was at that moment broken. Those who had expected to see the goddess, armed with flames and sulphurous smoke, burst forth and destroy the daring heroine who thus braved her, in her very sanctuary, were awe-struck when they saw the fire remain innocuous, and the flames roll harmless, as though none were present. They acknowledged the greatness of the God of Kapiolani; and from that time few indeed have been the offerings, and little the reverence paid to the fires of Peli."
CHARLES. "What delightful anecdotes concerning my island! but I have one reserved for the conclusion, which illustrates the truth of the assertion, that the women of the Sandwich Islands are superior to the men in many exercises requiring skill, and also in their powers of endurance. The latter quality may, I believe, be fairly adjudged to the women of all countries. 'A man and his wife, both Christians, were passengers in a schooner, which foundered at a considerable distance from the land. All the natives on board promptly took refuge in the sea; and the man in question, who had just celebrated divine service in the ill-fated vessel, called his fellows (some of them being converts as well as himself) around him, to offer up another tribute of praise and supplication from the deep; exhorting them, with a combination of courage and humility rarely equalled, to worship God in that universal temple, under whose restless pavement he and most of his hearers were destined to find their graves. It was done: they called on God from the midst of the waves, and then each struggled to save the life they valued. The man and his wife had each succeeded in procuring the support of a covered bucket by way of a buoy; and away they struck with the rest for Kahoolawe, finding themselves next morning alone in the ocean, after a whole afternoon and night of privation and toil. To aggravate their misfortunes, the wife's bucket went to pieces soon after daylight, so that she had to make the best of her way without assistance or relief; and, in the course of the second afternoon, the man became too weak to proceed; till his wife, to a certain extent, restored his strength by shampooning him in the water. They had now Kahoolawe in full view after having been about four-and-twenty hours on their dreary voyage. In spite, however, of the cheering sight, the man again fell into such a state of exhaustion, that the woman took his bucket for herself, giving him at the same time the hair of her head as a towing-line; and, when even this exertion proved too much for him, the faithful creature, after trying in vain to rouse him to prayer, took his arms round her neck, holding them together with one hand, and making with the other for the shore When a very trifling distance remained to be accomplished, she discovered that he was dead, and dropping his corpse she reached the land before night, having swam upwards of twenty-five miles during an exposure of thirty hours! The only means of resting from her fatigue being by floating on the top of the water."
MR. WILTON. "Very good, Charles; but if our notes of all the other islands in Polynesia be as extensive as those of the Sandwich Isles, I fear we shall not cross the equator before midnight."
EMMA. "I can soon quiet your fears, dear papa; for the description of the remaining isles in North Polynesia rests with the elder members, and of course they are at liberty to abridge them if they please."
MR. WILTON. "In that case I will undertake to run over the Ladrones, sometimes called the Marianne Isles. There are twenty of them; but only five are inhabited, and they lie in the south extremity of the cluster. They are so close together, and so broken and irregular in their form and position, as to appear like fragments disjointed from each other, at remote periods, by some sudden convulsion of nature. The coasts consist for the most part of dark brown rocks, honey-combed in many places by the action of the waves. The islands are fertile, abounding in hogs, cattle, horses, mules, and many other agreeable things; while in order that, like other countries in this sublunary world, they may lay claim to a portion of disagreeables, they are infested with mosquitoes and endless varieties of loathsome insects; and the fish that are found around the coasts are not fit for food. So much for the country—now for the natives:—They are tall, robust, and active; the men wear scarcely any covering, and the women only a petticoat of matting. Both sexes stain their teeth black, and many of them tattoo their bodies. The Ladrone Islands were originally discovered by Magellan, who called them 'las Islas de las Ladrones' or the islands of thieves; because the Indians stole everything made of iron within their reach. At the latter end of the seventeenth century, they obtained the name of Marianne from the Queen of Spain, who sent missionaries thither to propagate the Christian religion. Guajan is the largest island of the group. Near the Ladrones lies the famous pyramidal rock called 'Lot's wife.' A sea neither broken nor interrupted for an immense space in all directions, here dashes with sublime violence on the solid mass which rises almost perpendicularly to a height of 350 feet. On the south-east side is a deep cavern, where the waves resound with a prodigious noise."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Philippine Isles fall to my share. They are, correctly speaking, in the Eastern Archipelago. Luzon, the most northerly, is the largest: it is a long narrow island, and, like all the others, abounding in volcanoes. Gold, iron, and copper have been found in the mountains, and rock salt is so abundant in some parts as to be an article of export. These islands are exceedingly mountainous and fertile, but from the large swamps are very unhealthy. There are no beasts of prey, but numerous herds of cattle; the inhabitants, however, are too indolent to profit by these gifts of nature; they are actually too idle to make their cow's milk into butter, and throughout the islands use hog's lard instead, because they will not be at the trouble of keeping and milking the cows. Rice is the chief support of the population. Sugar, coffee, and many other delightful things grow here, and cotton shrubs thrive well. Manilla is the only port of trade in the Philippines: it is a fortified city inhabited by people from all parts of the world. This city is entered by six gates. The streets have carriage ways and footpaths, and are lighted at night. The houses are solidly constructed, but, on account of earthquakes, seldom more than one story above the ground floor. Most of the houses are furnished with balconies and verandahs; the place of glass in the windows is supplied by thin semi transparent pieces of shell, which though more opaque repel heat better. In the year 1762 Manilla was taken by the English; but ransomed by Spain for 1,000 000l. sterling. There! who can compete with my islands in value?"
MRS. WILTON. "Quantity must compensate for the loss of quality. Here are the Caroline or New Philippines,—forty-six groups of them, comprising several hundred islands. A few of them are high, rising in peaks, but by far the greater number are merely volcanic formations. They were discovered in 1686, by a Spaniard, who named them after Charles II. of Spain. There are no hogs on these islands, and the inhabitants subsist chiefly on fish. They are reputed to be the most expert sailors and fishermen in Polynesia; and, notwithstanding the tremendous sea by which they are surrounded, they have a considerable trading intercourse with the Ladrone and many other islands."
GEORGE. "Papa, it is your turn again.—Pelew Isles."
MR. WILTON. "They are chiefly known from the accounts of Captain Wilson, who was wrecked on them in 1783. He describes the inhabitants as hospitable, friendly, and humane; and they are a gay and comparatively innocent people; but they do not appear to have any form of religion, although they conceive that the soul survives the body. These islands are covered with close woods. Ebony grows in the forests. Bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees are in abundance. Cattle, goats, poultry, &c., have been sent there and thrive well. The Pelews have a considerable trade with China.
"Now it seems to me that we had better cross the equator with all expedition, for there are so many islands up here, we cannot possibly go to all, and I think we have noticed the most important."
DORA. "South Polynesia then. Papua or New Guinea is my portion, and it happens to lie near the Pelew Isles. It is supposed to be the first part of Australia discovered by Europeans, and is the favorite residence of the superb and singular birds of paradise, of which there are ten or twelve kinds. There are three kinds reckoned the most gorgeous: viz., the King, which has two detached feathers parallel to the tail, ending in an elegant curl with a tuft: the Magnificent, which has also two detached feathers of the same length with the body, very slender, and ending in a tuft: the Golden Throat, which has three long and straight feathers proceeding from each side of the head. These birds are considered the best, but they are all arrayed in brilliant colors, and all superbly magnificent. They are caught chiefly in the Aroo Isles, either by means of bird-lime, or shot with blunted arrows. After being dried with smoke and sulphur, they are sold for nuts or pieces of iron and carried to Bunda."
EMMA. "The New Hebrides are in my course, but the Friendly Isles are allotted to me."
MRS. WILTON. "Nevertheless, the New Hebrides claim a few words. They were discovered in 1506, and so named by Captain Cook. They are considerably hilly, and well clothed with timber. The valleys are extremely abundant, producing figs, nutmegs, and oranges, besides the fruits common to the rest of Polynesia. The inhabitants present the most ugly specimen extant of the Papuan race; the men wear no covering, and the women, who are used as mere beasts of burden; wear only a petticoat, made from the plantain leaf. Their canoes are more rudely constructed than in most of the other islands; and, on the whole, these people seem to be among the most degraded of the islanders of the Pacific."
EMMA. "I should not like to live with such people; therefore we will pass on to my Friendly Islands. They are low and encircled by dangerous coral reefs; the soil is almost throughout exceedingly rich, producing with very little care, the banana, bread-fruit, and yam. The population may amount to about 90,000; but the natives, though favorably mentioned by Captain Cook, appear to be as treacherous, savage, and superstitious as any in the worst parts of Polynesia. The Wesleyan Missionaries established themselves in these islands in 1821, and are reported to have met with considerable success. The leading island is that which is called Tongataboo, or the 'consecrated island.' The name is properly two words 'Tonga Taboo,' signifying 'Sacred Island,' the reason of which appellative will appear, when I tell you that the priest of this island, whose name was Diatonga, was reverenced and resorted to by all the surrounding islands. Earthquakes are very frequent here; but the islands display a spectacle of the most abundant fertility. The foundations of this group are coral rocks, and there is scarcely any other kind of stone to be found. Tongataboo has a large and excellent harbor, which admits of being well fortified."
GRANDY. "You wisely passed the Feejees, Emma; and I will explain why I say wisely. They have the reputation of being cannibals; but they are industrious, and at times kindly; and their islands are tolerably fertile. A missionary ship was nearly lost here, in broad daylight and calm weather, by coming in contact with a reef, of which no previous warning was presented. George, my child, you are next; what have you selected for your display?"
GEORGE. "The Society Islands, Grandy. They consist of six large and several smaller islands. The principal is called Otaheite, or more properly, Tahiti; which is often styled the 'Queen of the Pacific.' The whole circumference of this royal isle is 180 miles; on all sides, rivers are seen descending in beautiful cascades, and the entire land is clothed, from the water's edge to its topmost heights with continual verdure, which for luxuriance and picturesque effect, is certainly unparalleled."
CHARLES. "Excuse me interrupting you, George; but how do you contrive to remember all those long words?"
MR. WILTON. "I have heard of honorable members being taken to task for ignorance, but never for possessing superior abilities, and I suggest that the learned member be allowed to proceed with his account, without further interruption."
GEORGE. "There, Charles, you are called to 'order,' and I hope you will not commit yourself again, by trying to break the thread of my narrative."
CHARLES. "I am full of contrition; pray proceed, and I trust you will find no great difficulty in joining your thread again. If you are disposed to retaliate, I give you free permission to criticize me to any extent when my turn comes."
GEORGE. "Never fear but I will watch for an opportunity. The Society Islanders are light-hearted, merry, and fond of social enjoyment, but, at the same time, indolent, deceitful, thievish, and addicted to the excessive use of ardent spirits. The highest ambition of an Otaheitan is to have a splendid 'morai,' or family tomb. The funerals, especially those of the chiefs, have a solemn and affecting character. Songs are sung; the mourners, with sharks' teeth, draw blood from their bodies, which, as it flows, mingles with their tears. An apron, or maro of red feathers, is the badge of royal dignity, and great deference is paid to the chiefs. These people manufacture handsome cloths and mats; but the commerce consisting of pearl-shells, sugar, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root, in exchange for European manufactures, is carried on chiefly by foreigners, as the natives have no vessels larger than their double canoes. Otaheite is a fine place, but not so important a commercial station as Oahu, in the Sandwich Islands. There, Charles, I am at the end of my thread."
GRANDY. "And very well you have spun it, George; but as you have not informed us on the subject of the religion of these islanders, I presume it is unknown to you. They believe in a sort of deity, that he resides in the palace of heaven, with a number of other divinities, who are all designated 'children of the night.' The forms of Christian worship are enforced here as rigidly as in the Sandwich Islands; but civilization is considerably less advanced; although I am happy to add, in conclusion, that the people are undergoing a remarkable change, and Christianity is certainly gaining ground; for the idols are being destroyed, and the labors of the zealous missionaries are now sanctioned by the highest authorities. We will make no more remarks on the Society Islands; for they have formed the subject of more writings, perhaps, than many a kingdom of Europe, and the Otaheitans are positively better known to us than the inhabitants of Sardinia or Corsica."
GEORGE. "Thanks, dear Grandy, for winding up my subject so beautifully. Now, friend Charles, perhaps you will spin your yarn?"
CHARLES. "Most willingly; but it will be a short one, as I have very little material. Pitcairn's Island stands alone near the eastern extremity of Polynesia. It is chiefly interesting on account of its having been the refuge of the mutinous crew of Captain Bligh's ship, the 'Bounty.' The mutineers, after having turned their captain and a few of the crew out in an open boat, tried to make a settlement in the Society Islands; but failing, they, accompanied by some Otaheitans, fixed themselves in this isolated spot. They landed here in 1790, fifteen men, and twelve women. Nine of the men were mutineers; all the others were Otaheitans. Captain Beachey visited the island in 1825, and found about sixty persons on it, the descendants of Captain Bligh's men. Pitcairn's Isle is a little spot not more than seven miles in circumference, with an abrupt rocky coast. I believe the reason there are so few persons on the island, is accounted for by the dismal fate of the original settlers. The sailors had married Otaheitan women, whose brothers in one night murdered them, only one escaping, whose name was Adams. On the following night, the Otaheitan widows of the English inflicted dreadful vengeance, by murdering all their brothers who had committed the first frightful deed. Their children grew up under the fostering care of Adams, who officiated as a sort of patriarch. The present population comprises about eighty individuals, who form an interesting link between the European and Polynesian races."
MR. WILTON. "In a Bermuda paper of August, 1848, there is an interesting letter from a school-master named Nobbs, which is so replete with information, that I will read it all to you, as it is not so remarkable for its length as its interest:—
"More than twenty years ago, I left England for the express purpose of visiting Pitcairn's Island, and to remain there if I could render my talents available to the inhabitants. The proprietor of a small vessel of but eighteen tons' burthen, hearing me express my anxiety to obtain a passage to Pitcairn's Island, remarked, it was a spot he had long desired to visit, and if I would assist him in fitting out his vessel, he would go with me. I accepted his proposal advanced him what money I could command, and embarked from Callao de Lima, with no other person than the owner of the little cutter; and in six weeks arrived here (Pitcairn's Island) in safety.
"'Five months after my arrival, John Adams departed this life. After his decease, the superintendence of the spiritual affairs of the island, and the education of the children, devolved on me chiefly; and from that time to the present (with the exception of ten months, during which period I was banished from the island by brute force, and recalled by letters of penitential apology), I have been with them, and have lived to see the labor of my hands prosper; for there is not a person on the island, between the ages of six years and twenty-five, who has not received, or is not receiving, a tolerable education.
"'There is one untoward but prominent object on the horizon of paternal affection, and which, though imperceptibly, yet rapidly approaches our increasing colony, and that is the imperious necessity of a separation; for so very limited are the available portions of the island, that some families who number ten or twelve persons, have not five acres of arable land to divide among them.
"'Animal food is a luxury obtained with difficulty once or twice in the week; and though we have, by dint of very hard labor, been enabled to obtain cloth and other indispensable necessaries from whale-ships, in exchange for potatoes, yet this resource is beginning to fail us; not from scarcity of visitors, but from inability on our part to supply them.
"'This is the exact state of affairs at present: how much it will be aggravated ten years from this, may be imagined, but cannot be fully realized even by ourselves. Whether the British Government will again interest itself in our behalf, is doubtful; if it does not, despite the most assiduous industry, a scanty allowance of potatoes and salt must be the result, and the "Tibuta" and "Maro," will be the unchanging food and raiment of the rising generation.'"
GEORGE. "What a pity the coral insects have not been at work there, and enlarged these poor peoples' island; then they could have all remained together, and brought up their families. As it is, some must migrate. Charles, you are very ingenious; cannot you contrive a plan for overcoming these difficulties."
CHARLES. "Much as I should glory in benefiting mankind, I could not by any effort or sacrifice ameliorate the condition of these poor people, although I would willingly do anything in my power to testify my sorrow for their wretched destitution."
DORA. "I fear none of us can accord them more than our sympathy; so we must needs journey on to the Marquesas, which were discovered by the Spaniards in 1595. There are thirteen. The largest, Nukahiva, is about seventy miles in circumference, and is the only one generally frequented by shipping. The coast scenery is neither picturesque nor inviting; its principal features being black, naked cliffs, or barren hills; but in the interior are grassy plains and forests filled with birds of elegant plumage. The inhabitants, with regard to personal beauty, are superior to most of the Polynesian tribes, some of the women being almost as fair as a European; in civilization, however, they are far behind the Sandwich Islanders. They have steadily resisted all attempts to convert them to Christianity, and have practised cannibalism within a very recent period. The tattooing of the Marquesans is remarkable for its regularity and good taste."
CHARLES. "You call them Marquesans, Dora? I thought they were Kannaks."
DORA. "So they denominate themselves: but I have more to tell you yet. They are all excellent swimmers; men, women, and children. They throw themselves fearlessly into the water several times a day, and, although in a state of perspiration, they suffer no harm. They are also dexterous climbers of trees; making the ascent like monkeys, with the hands and feet only. But their treatment of their sick is, in the highest degree, cruel and unnatural. Instead of giving assistance, every one shuns the invalid; and if he is thought to be at all in the way, he is taken to some distant spot, whither it is thought sufficient to carry him food at intervals. It is also their custom to prepare the dying man's coffin before his eyes; and what is still more incredible, when they see him about to render up his last sigh, they place a bit of moistened 'tapa' in his mouth, whilst the fingers of some friend are employed in closing the lips and nostrils!"
GRANDY. "All this appears very unfeeling to us my dear; but cruelty is not the intention of the poor Kannaks. They believe that the soul escapes with the parting breath, and their desire is to secure the spirit within the body until the body wastes; when, according to their doctrine, it animates another body, which, during the process of decomposition in the old one, has been created in a far distant island, where all the good things of this life are found in abundance, and the soul flies thither as soon as its old habitation is destroyed."
EMMA. "Poor people! What a lamentable state of ignorance! How I pity them. Are there any more miserable people to be visited here?"
CHARLES. "Well, here are the Low Islands to the south of the Marquesans; but I have not the pleasure of an acquaintance with the people, therefore I cannot say if they be happy or miserable. Gambia, Crescent, and Clermont Isles are the principal. Gambia contains upwards of a thousand inhabitants. Crescent Isle is not very fertile, and occupied by a few natives, who have erected little huts their, and procure a scanty subsistence."
MR. BARRAUD. "Those islands were discovered by the ship 'Duff,' when on a missionary voyage in the year 1797. We shall have to retrace our steps to come to the large islands in our chart; but Easter Island is so near, it may be as well to call; although we may gain nothing by the visit, for it is a sterile spot inhabited by demi-savages, who worship small wooden deities. They tattoo themselves so as to have the appearance of wearing breeches. Most of them go naked; some few wear a maro which is made either of fine Indian cloth of a reddish color, of a wild kind of parsley, or of a species of sea-weed."
GEORGE. "There are more small islands before we go to New Zealand or Australia, and I have an account of one,—viz., New Caledonia, lying south-west of the New Hebrides. It is rather a large island, rocky for the most part; and there not being much food for animals, very few are found there. One, however, must be mentioned. It is a spider called a 'nookee,' which spins a thread so strong, as to offer a sensible resistance before breaking. This animal (for I have discovered that a spider is not an insect) constitutes part of the people's food. The inhabitants are cannibals from taste. They eat with an air of luxurious pleasure the muscular parts of the human body, and a slice of a child is esteemed a great dainty. Horrible wretches! They wear no clothes; the women just have a girdle of fibrous bark, and the men sometimes encircle their heads with a fillet of sewed net-work or leaves, and the hair of the vampire bat. Their houses are in the form of beehives, and the door-posts are of carved planks."
DORA. "New Zealand, almost the antipodes of England, lies in the South Pacific, and consists of two large islands, the extreme points of which are called North and South Cape. Near North Cape is Norfolk Island, where the English, at one time, had a flourishing colony, now removed to Van Diemen's Land. We must all help to work our ship round these larger islands, for no individual can be responsible for the entire management."
MRS. WILTON. "I will set the example. New Zealand was discovered by Tasman in 1642; but its extent and character were ascertained by Cook in his voyage of 1774. It is now a regularly established colony belonging to the British crown. There is a bishop, several clergymen of the Church of England, and many other missionaries resident there. It is a fertile group, but contains several active volcanoes. In the north island, or New Ulster, are various cavities, which appear to be extinct craters; and in their vicinity numerous hot springs are to be met with; some of them, as they rise to boiling point, the natives use for cooking."
GRANDY. "The New Zealanders belong to the Malay family: they are a fine handsome race, and possess fewer of the vices of the savage than almost any other savage people. The Missionaries have been eminently successful in the conversion of the natives to Christianity. The first establishment formed there, was commenced in the Bay of Islands, at a village called Rangiona, in 1814. The persons were sent out by the Church Missionary Society, and have never relaxed in their endeavors to promote the laudable work of converting the heathen natives from the error of their superstitions, although they have had numerous difficulties to overcome. They went out, in the strength of the Lord, resolved to do nothing in strife or vain-glory, but all in lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than themselves: and they succeeded notwithstanding the numerous hindrances; for the work was of God, and He gave them power to do all things without murmuring, in order to attain the salvation of the souls of their fellow-creatures."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Bay of Islands is quite in the north, and has been for the last thirty years the favorite resort of whale-ships. Upwards of thirty vessels have been anchored there at the same time; and at this bay the chief intercourse between European vessels and New Zealand has principally taken place. Numerous islands are sprinkled over the space, and several creeks or entrances of rivers penetrate the surrounding country. It is on the north and west sides of this bay that the principal territories of Shunghee, the New Zealand chief who visited this country, are situated; and in these spots the horrid rites of this superior race of savages have also been witnessed."
MR. WILTON. "It is remarkable that when New Zealand was first discovered, there were no animals whatever on the islands except a few species of lizards, which quadrupeds the inhabitants held in great veneration and terror. Even the rat and dog were introduced by Europeans; and the rat is at present the principal species of game. A good many parrots, parroquets, wild ducks, pigeons of large size and fine flavor, inhabit the forests; and poultry are found to thrive very well, though not yet reared to any great extent. Indeed, if we except their prisoners of war, (for the New Zealanders were cannibals,) almost the only animal food hitherto used by them has been fish, which abounds around their coasts."
GEORGE. "They must be right glad that Europeans have visited them."
CHARLES. "I understand that when pigs were first introduced into New Zealand, the natives, not knowing what animals they were, nor what were their uses, mounted two, and forthwith rode them to death! They had seen some horses on board Captain Cook's vessel, and supposed the pigs to be for the same purpose."
MRS. WILTON. "The New Zealanders are a fine race, but not exempt from vice. They do not regard lying or stealing as crimes, and are remarkable for their propensities to make use of these qualifications on every available occasion. Captain Cook relates an instance which will give you a tolerable idea of the native character:—He had been purchasing a great quantity of fish from the natives. He says, 'While we were on the traffic, they showed a great inclination to pick my pockets; and to take away the fish with one hand which they had just given me with the other. This evil, one of the chiefs undertook to remove, and with fury in his eyes made a show of keeping the people at a proper distance. I applauded his conduct, but at the same time kept so good a look-out as to detect him picking my pocket of a handkerchief, which I suffered him to put in his bosom, before I seemed to know anything of the matter, and then told him what I had lost. He seemed quite ignorant and innocent, until I took it from him; then he put it off with a laugh, acting his part with so much address, that it was hardly possible to be angry with him; so we remained good friends, and he accompanied me on board to dinner.'"
EMMA. "But they are better now, are they not?"
MRS. WILTON. "Very slightly in these points, my dear; and still less so as regards their superstitions. Generations to come may be free from these vices; but at present they are too deeply rooted to be discarded altogether. They have some curious and simple notions peculiar to themselves, and some extraordinary legends concerning natural objects of earth, sea, and sky. They account for the appearance of the face in the moon thus:—They say, 'A native girl, named Rona, went with a calabash to fetch water. The moon hid her pale beams behind dark and sweeping clouds. The maid, vexed at this uncourteous behavior, pronounced a curse on the celestial orb; but as a punishment, for so doing, she stumbled and fell. The moon descended—raised the maid from the ground, and took her to reside on high, in her realms of silvery light.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "A curious idea: they have many such. I remember an anecdote of a chief who lost a son for whom he grieved greatly; but one day a European met him, and observed he was very merry: he accosted him, and inquired the cause of so sudden a discontinuance of his grief. The chief replied, he had passed a bush some few days previously, when his late son, who had inserted himself into the body of a little Tikan bird, whistled to him, and bade him dry up his tears, as he felt perfectly satisfied with the quarters he then occupied. 'Shall I grieve at his happiness?' added the old man."
DORA. "There is a sweet simplicity about that little story which prepossesses me in favor of these New Zealanders, although they were once such horrible cannibals. Do they not tattoo very much?"
MR. WILTON. "The art of tattooing has been brought to such perfection here, that it actually excites admiration. It is looked upon as answering the same purposes as clothes. When a chief throws off his mats, he seems as proud of displaying the beautiful ornaments figured on his skin, as a civilized dandy does of his fashionable attire. Mr. Earle speaks of a man named Aranghie, a professor of the art of tattooing, thus:—'He was considered by his countrymen a perfect master in the art, and men of the highest rank and importance were in the habit of travelling long journeys, in order to put their skins under his skilful hands. Indeed, so highly were his works esteemed, that I have seen many of his drawings exhibited even after death. A neighbor of mine very lately killed a chief who had been tattooed by Aranghie, and appreciating the artist's work so highly, he skinned the chieftain's thighs, and covered his cartouch box with it!—I was astonished to see with what boldness and precision Aranghie drew his designs upon the skin, and what beautiful ornaments he produced: no rule and compasses could be more exact than the lines and circles he formed. So unrivalled is he in his profession, that a highly finished face of a chief from the hands of this artist, is as greatly prized in New Zealand as a head from the pencil of Sir Thomas Lawrence is amongst us. Such respect was paid to this man by the natives, that Mr. Earle expresses the gratification he felt, on seeing the fine arts held in such estimation by the savages."
MR. BARRAUD. "I do not doubt but the New Zealanders are still cannibals in heart; for, so late as 1832, when Mr. Earle was there, he unfortunately had ocular proof of the fact. He had been residing with them some months, when a chief claimed one of his (Mr. Earle's) servants, stating she was a runaway slave. He tied her to a tree and shot her through the heart, and his men prepared an oven and cooked her. Mr. Earle heard of it, and hastened to the spot. He caught them in the act of preparing some of the poor girl's flesh, and endeavored, in vain, to prevent the horrible feast; but to no purpose; for they assembled at night and devoured every morsel except the head, which he saw a hungry dog run off with to the woods. The poor girl was only sixteen years of age, pretty and well-behaved, and her murderer was one of the aristocracy of New Zealand, and, as Mr. Earle observes, a remarkably polite savage."
CHARLES. "We must bid adieu to these interesting savages, and pass on to the last, but certainly not the least, of the Pacific islands.—viz. Australia."
MR. WILTON. "As all land is surrounded by water, and continents differ from islands merely in point of size, and as Australia or New Holland is in extent as large as Europe, and ten times larger than either Borneo or New Guinea, it is certainly more proportionate with continents than with islands; and it seems reasonable to class Australia with the former rather than with the latter."
MRS. WILTON. "With Australia we close our investigations. To use a nautical expression, it is, compared with Europe and Asia, almost an iron-bound coast. It possesses only two large indentations,—the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north, and Spencer's Gulf on the south. Shark's Bay, on the west, and Hervey's Bay, on the east, are the next in size."
MR. WILTON. "New Holland was discovered by Paulmyer de Gonville. That navigator sailed from Honfleur for the East Indies about the middle of 1503, and experienced a violent storm off the Cape of Good Hope, during which he lost his reckoning, and was driven into an unknown sea. After sailing for some time, he observed birds flying from the south, and, directing his course towards that quarter, he soon fell in with land. This was thought to have been New Holland or Australia."
MR. BARRAUD. "It is remarkable how extremely ignorant the Australians are: they are certainly the lowest in intellect of the human creation. The tribes on the western shores of Spencer's Bay are positively ignorant of any method of obtaining fire: they say that it originally came down from the north. Like the vestal virgins, the women keep it constantly lighted, and carry it about with them in firesticks when they travel: should it happen to go out, they procure a fresh supply from a neighboring encampment. Then their manners are so atrociously savage. Their mode of courtship is one which I fancy would not become popular among English ladies. If a chief, or any other individual, be in love, with a damsel of a different tribe, he endeavors to waylay her; and if she be surprised in any quiet place, the ambushed lover rushes upon her, beats her about the head with his 'waddie' till she becomes senseless, when he drags her in triumph to his hut, and thenceforth she is his lawful wife!"
GRANDY. "After that, you will readily credit the story I am going to tell you. A Mr. Meredith went over with his goods to Kangaroo Island, whence he journeyed across the bay to Yankalilly, where he built a hut, placed in it a glass window or two, and made it look snug. As he was a young man of about twenty-one or twenty-two, his warm, generous spirit had led him into difficulties; and, the friends of his brief sunshine flying from him in his distress, he contracted a disgust for the world. He lived some time amongst these people, acquired their language, and seemed to be beloved by them all. But volumes might be filled with accounts of their treachery, and the sequel will sufficiently prove the malignity of these wretched people. He had adopted one of their sons, and was endeavoring to instruct him in a few points of education. He had also taken a native woman to assist him in household matters. One day he went out in his boat, and his favorite boy went with him. When in the boat, the boy complained of hunger, and Mr. Meredith gave him a biscuit. The boy commenced eating it, when Mr. Meredith (who was a religious man) observed that he had not thanked the Great God for the food,—a practice which he invariably endeavored to inculcate. The boy appeared unwilling to do so: Mr. Meredith insisted, and on his refusal, he boxed his ears. The boy thereupon leaped out of the boat, and swam ashore, saying, he should repent it.
"In the evening, Mr. Meredith put his boat ashore, and went to his hut, had his supper, and was preparing for bed; and taking up a prayer-book, as was his custom, was reading the prayers before the fire, with his back to the door, when some natives looked through the window, saw their advantage, and opened the door silently. The woman, his attendant, then entered with an axe belonging to him in her hand, and several men followed her. She approached the unsuspecting youth, and, while his soul was devoutly engaged in prayer, she raised the fatal axe, and, with one blow, severed his skull, and the men with their clubs beat his body into a shapeless mass."
EMMA. "Poor Mr. Meredith! What a frightful murder!"
MRS. WILTON. "The Australians thought nothing of it, for they glory in the most atrocious deeds. I fear it will be long before they will be civilized. But let us look at their country, of which, in some respects, but little can be said; for it is not remarkable for its fertility, and in many parts exceedingly barren. But few animals range there, and in the south-west the natives subsist during the winter chiefly on opossums, kangaroos, and bandicoots, in the summer upon roots, with occasionally a few fish."
DORA. "Port Adelaide appears to be a neat town. Its harbor is a deep creek or inlet of the sea, running out of Gulf St. Vincent: it contains two spacious wharfs, alongside of which, vessels from Great Britain, Singapore, Manilla, China, Mauritius, Sydney, Hobart Town, and New Zealand, are continually discharging their cargoes."
MRS. WILTON. "There are many lakes in Australia, but none of them very large. Lake Alexandria is the largest, but it is very shallow; and Lake St. George, the second in size, which, in 1828, was a sheet of water 17 miles long by 7 broad, was said by an old native female to have been a forest within her memory, and in 1836 it was dried up to a grassy plain."
EMMA. "Does not Van Diemen's Land belong to New Holland, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; and the part nearest to it is New South Wales, from which it is separated by Bass's Straits, which are 100 miles broad, and contain a great many small islands. Van Diemen's Land was discovered by Tasman, in 1644, and named by him in honor of the Dutch Governor-General of the East Indies: but it is now more appropriately called Tasmania. This island contains several mountains of considerable elevation. The highest is ascertained to be 3964 feet in height. Hobart Town is the capital. The population of Tasmania has of late years much increased, for, owing to its eligibility, the tide of emigration has been strong. For many years, three or four vessels have annually sailed from Great Britain, laden with emigrants possessed of more or less capital, and they have, in most cases, prospered equal to their expectations."
GEORGE. "Are there not more coral reefs about Australia than in any other part of the Ocean?"
MR. WILTON. "It is generally supposed so; but, in asking that question, do you know what coral reefs are?"
GEORGE. "Yes, papa; they are the work of insects, who build them for their habitations; but it is very wonderful."
GRANDY. "It is wonderful, my dear; and there are many other marvellous productions of the Most High God, so infinitely beyond the power of man to produce, that, in meditating on them, the mind is lost in wonder and surprise. 'The most powerful, acutest, and holiest mind,' says a learned divine, 'will eternally be unable fully to find out God, or perfectly to comprehend Him.' May these wonders then increase our reverence, and humble us before the mighty Creator of all things."
MR. WILTON. "Captain Hall examined some coral reefs during the different stages of one tide, and gives the following description as the result:—'When the tide has left it for some time, it becomes dry, and appears to be a compact rock, exceedingly hard and rugged; but as the tide rises, and the waves begin to wash over it, the coral worms protrude themselves from holes that were before invisible. These animals are of a great variety of shapes and sizes, and, in such prodigious numbers, that, in a short time, the whole surface of the rock appears to be alive and in motion. The most common worm is in the form of a star, with arms from four to six inches long, which are moved about with a rapid motion, in all directions, probably to catch food. Others are so sluggish, that they may be mistaken for pieces of rock; and are generally of a dark color, from four to five inches long, and two or three round. When the coral is broken about high-water mark, it is a solid hard stone; but if any part of it be detached at a spot where the tide reaches every day, it is found to be full of worms of different lengths and colors, some being as fine as a thread and several feet long, of a bright yellow, and sometimes of a blue color; others resemble snails, and some are not unlike lobsters in shape, but soft, and not above two inches long.'"
DORA. "We must be content to see these in imagination. But sometimes I feel disposed to regret that we are not really afloat in the 'Research;' and at other times I congratulate myself that the voyage is only imaginary; for in Polynesia particularly, we have met with so many ignorant, savage people, it is well for us that we can, if we choose, steer clear of them. I suppose it would not be possible in all Europe to find a country where such unreasonable things were done from religious superstition?"
GRANDY. "My dear Dora, you are very much mistaken. Europe has been, and still is in many parts, a slave to superstition; and, although not savages, there are many vices and iniquitous deeds committed in civilized Europe, which no temptation would induce the savages of Polynesia to commit. But, to assure your mind that horrible crimes were perpetrated from zeal in the doctrines of their religion, I will give you an instance connected with Sweden in olden time. The story is told by a slave girl named Kumba, thus:—'My mother was amongst the slaves of Queen Gunnild: she was the most faithful of her servants. Poor and heavy was her lot, yet did she wish to live. My father was a free-born person, who thought little of forsaking the woman who loved him, and the child she had nursed for him. I remember a night—that night has stretched itself over my whole life. Flames arose from a pile: they ascended high into heaven. It was the corpse of the Queen which was burned. My mother was amongst those who tended the pile: she with many others was cast alive into the flames. The Queen, it was said, needed her attendance in another world. I stood amongst the people, still a child, and heard my mother's cry, and saw her burn! Fatherless and motherless, I went thence into the world alone, and wandered in the woods without knowing whither. There came people who seized me, and carried me back to the Court of King Atle. They said that I wished to run away, and I was conducted to the presence of the king. I answered haughtily to his questions, and he caused me to be whipped till the blood came: in punishment, as he said, of my disobedience.' Is not that barbarous enough for a savage land, Dora?"
DORA. "Oh yes, madam, that is very shocking. Poor, unhappy Kumba! What a life of wretchedness was hers."
MR. WILTON. "Grandy's story must conclude our conversation to-night. At the next meeting we will endeavor to explore the coast of Africa, and visit the islands of the Indian Ocean. Carry away the books, boys: I am sure you must all be hungry, and tired too, for we have been over an immense space of water.
"Right gaily our bark's glided over the ocean,
Bright nature we've viewed in majestic array;
But our own native shores we greet with emotion,
For the heart of a Briton exults in her sway."
They journeyed at night
In the pale moonlight,
'Mid sunshine and storm on they sail'd;
Baffling winds and still calms
Caused our friends no alarms,
For Faith ever fearless prevail'd.
"It is of no use, Emma: I cannot do it. Girls are certainly a most persevering race of beings, and you deserve to be at the top of the class; for, if you determine to accomplish anything, I believe not even Mr. Stanley's knock at the door, or, what would be more to you, Dora Leslie's loving kiss, would make you swerve from your purpose. Ah well! You are quite welcome to the work; and if you are not tired, I know I am, and these very important articles may remain unpacked for the trouble I shall take. I wonder you are so particular about them: what signifies how they are put in, if you can but shut the box? It can be of no consequence; and yet you have been on your knees for the last two hours, arranging and placing, until I am positively weary with watching you."
"George! George! Where is your boasted patience? Your fellow traveller in your anticipated voyage? Only see what a trifling exertion makes you weary and complaining. Now, suppose I act according to your sage proposition, and merely fill the trunk; we can then both jump on the lid, and make it shut—what think you would be the effect?"
GEORGE. "Well, my most patient sister, I think it very probable that my microscope would be smashed to atoms, and all your little knick knacks reduced to a similar condition. But surely there is no necessity for such violent means to secure the lid: let me see, I have no doubt it will shut quite easily."
"There, you see it will not shut," said Emma, as George in vain endeavored, by moderate pressure, to bring the lid to its proper place. "Now the things must be arranged differently; and, if you will only help me this once, we shall have done before Dora or Mr. Stanley or any one else knocks at the door: come, be my own good brother, and lay all these parcels carefully on the floor while I find places for them."
Emma looked so irresistibly kind and coaxing, that George once more good humoredly set to work; and presently the carpet was strewed with packages, apparently sufficient to fill three such trunks, but which Emma was determined should be snugly packed into one.
The articles might almost be arranged alphabetically, there was such a miscellaneous collection; but the variety in their size and shape rendered it actually a puzzle to dispose them so as to allow space for all, without the hazard of any portion being crushed.
"Perseverance overcomes difficulties," said Emma, as she carefully deposited the last paper, and turned the key in the lock.
"Hurrah!" shouted George. "Now we have done it. Well, really, I did not think it possible: only imagine the number of parcels in that one trunk, Emma! What a treat it will be when we get to Jamaica to unpack it all again. Oh dear! how I wish we were there!"
"Miss Emma, you are wanted," said Hannah, entering the room; "Mistress cannot find the books that came to-day, and she wants to pack them up."
"Ah! it is nothing but pack up now all day, and every room is in confusion," said George, wearily. "Well, I am glad our share is at an end for this day, for I am heartily tired of the business, and shall be thoroughly glad when there is nothing more left to pack up."
"Oh! master George, how impatient you are," exclaimed Hannah. "But come, you have no time to be grumbling now. Only look at your dirty fingers, and dinner will be ready in five minutes: why, you will scarcely be washed before the bell rings;" and the anxious maid bustled out of the room with her weary charge.
The mention of Mr. Stanley's name requires an explanation. On the previous evening, when Mr. Wilton returned from his office, he brought with him a letter, which he put into George's hand after tea, desiring him to read it aloud. It was from Mr. Stanley, and George almost shouted for joy, when he read that his dear, dear friend was then at Liverpool, and hoped to be with them the next day to dinner.
"What a grand muster we shall have to-night, George," said Mr. Wilton, while they were waiting the arrival of their expected guest. "Why, we shall not find sufficient subject for so many speakers, shall we?"
"Oh yes! papa. Emma and I have been too busy, packing up, to prepare much. Besides, Mr. Stanley is sure to have a great deal to tell: he has been away so long, and seeing strange countries all the while. But there he is! I saw him pass the window;" and away ran George to embrace his beloved friend.
"What bright eyes and rosy cheeks!" exclaimed Mr. Stanley, kissing his pet. "My boy has indeed grown since I was here: why you will soon reach my shoulder. I suppose, when next I come, I must inquire for Mr. Wilton, junior. But where is sister Emma, and mamma and papa, and dear, kind Grandy?"
"Oh! they are all in the dining-room," replied George: "we were only waiting for you, sir."
Into the dining-room they went accordingly; and the welcome guest was soon engaged, equally with the rest of the party, in discussing a hearty meal, and the various events that had taken place during his absence.
The hours flew like moments; and the arrival of the other members quite astonished George, who had no idea it was so near seven o'clock. He was in high glee, as he assisted Charles in placing the chairs and books. But when Mr. Stanley, taking his hand, requested permission to sit by his side, the proud and happy boy looked doubtingly into his face, not thoroughly comprehending the drift of the request.
"I am anxious to have the services of an experienced pilot through the stormy seas," said Mr. Stanley; "and if you are by my side, George, to direct me, I think I can manage to steer clear of difficulties."
"Now, you are joking," returned George: "why, you have positively been to these very countries, and yet apply to me for directions! But I understand the reason. You intend to make observations on subjects not geographical, and I expect you will be keeping a sharp look-out on my observations, to discover what progress I have made lately."
MR. STANLEY. "I perceive already that there is a decided improvement, my boy; and I candidly aver that I expect to be edified by these juvenile discoveries. Now to business—weigh anchor and start. Who is pilot?"
CHARLES. "I have charge of the 'Research' for the present; but I am not an experienced navigator, and if I happen to run you on a shoal, I hope all hands will help to get the vessel clear off?"
MR. BARRAUD. "We will make due allowance for your youth and inexperience, Charles. Now give your orders."
CHARLES. "The first voyage, we are to navigate the Indian Ocean, calling on as many Robinson Crusoes as we can find in the various little islands: our second voyage is to explore the whole coast of Africa.
"Our ship was last at anchor off the coast of New Holland, and our next stoppage will be at the Moluccas. The name signifies 'Royal Islands,' and was given by the Arabs in the days of their maritime prosperity. The principal are Celebes, Gililo, and Ceram. Dora, Emma, and George have patronized those isles, and will set forth their various qualifications."
DORA. "Celebes is the largest of the Moluccas, and is a ragged, irregular-looking island, in shape similar to a star-fish. The inhabitants are rendered active, industrious, and robust by an austere education. At all hours of the day, the mothers rub their children with oil or water, and thus assist nature in forming their constitutions. At the age of five or six, the male children of persons of rank are put in charge of a friend, that their courage may not be weakened by the caresses of relatives, and habits of reciprocal tenderness. They do not return to their families until they attain the age at which the law declares them fit to marry. Celebes was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1512; but the Dutch expelled them in 1660, and it now belongs to them. Unlike most of the other islands, it abounds in extensive grassy plains, free from forests, which are looked upon as the common property of the tribes who dwell thereon, and are carefully guarded from the intrusion of aliens. The people are Mohammedans."
GEORGE. "Gililo is Celebes in miniature, being of the same singular shape, and producing similar fruits. I have little more of its advantages to set forth. But near here is a portion of the Ocean called Molucca Sea, which possesses a strange peculiarity. It is the periodical appearance of a current of opaque white water, like milk, which, from June to August or September, covers the surface of the basin in which the Banda Islands are situated. During the night it is somewhat luminous, which makes the spectator confound it with the horizon. It is dangerous for vessels, for the sea seems to undergo an inward boiling agitation wherever it passes. During its prevalence the fish disappear. This white water is supposed to come from the shores of New Guinea and the Gulf of Carpentaria."
MR. STANLEY. "You are slightly wrong, George, in stating this curious sea to be near Gililo. Gililo is on, the equator, and the Molucca Sea is at least 5° below the equator, and directly south of Ceram."
EMMA. "Ceram produces quantities of sago, and contains large forests of those trees: they are extremely profitable, for one tree will sometimes yield as much as five or six hundred pounds of sago! The original inhabitants were called Alfoors, and, as some of the race still exist, I will introduce them. The only dress of the men is a girdle encircling the loins. They fix bunches of palm leaves to their heads, shoulders, and knees, and wear square bucklers, which they ornament with considerable taste. The eyesight of these people is uncommonly acute; and their swiftness is such as to enable them to chase the wild hog with success. Rats and serpents form part of their food. This island is equally fertile with the other Moluccas, and produces spices of all kinds, but particularly cloves and nutmegs. There are, happily, more Christians now to be found in Ceram than there were a few years since: nevertheless the majority are still Mohammedans, and barbarous in their habits."
MR. BARRAUD. "Yes. Very little improvement has taken place in the manners of the Alfoors. The young men, even to this day, adhere to the savage practice of propitiating their intended wives, by presenting them with the heads of five or six of their enemies. In order to seize their victims by surprise, they lie in ambush in the woods, cover themselves with moss, and hold branches of trees in their hands, which they shake in a manner so natural, that they have the appearance of real trees: they then allow the enemy to pass, assassinate him by coming up behind him, and, cutting off his head, carry it away as a trophy. These murderers are received by the people of the village with all the honors of a barbarous triumph."
MR. STANLEY. "These identical Alfoors have a singular method of evincing their respect for friends or visitors: as an instance: One of the kings (for the nation has three to share the government) invited a Dutch missionary to an entertainment. When Mr. Montarnes arrived, he was received with great demonstrations of joy, and treated by the king with the most splendid repast that the resources of the country could afford. When the meal was over, the king ordered a number of men armed with swords to step forward. They performed a war-dance, and, after a few feats of this sort, commenced a serious fight: their swords clashed, blood flowed, and some of their bodies were laid dead on the ground. The peaceful minister of religion, shocked at the horrid spectacle, entreated the king to put a stop to it. 'It is nothing,' was the reply: 'they are my slaves! it is only the death of a few dogs! Happy shall I be if this mark of my high respect convinces you of my eager desire to please you!'"
GRANDY. "Astonishing! that people with any belief in a superior power, should hold life in such low estimation; and, simply for amusement, deprive a fellow-creature of that which their utmost stretch of power cannot restore. Oh! may God, in his mercy, soon enlighten these wretched Alfoors, and write in plain characters on the tables of their hearts—'Thou shalt do no murder.'"
CHARLES. "We now come to Java, one of the finest and most flourishing colonies in the world. It is about 600 miles in length, and 90 miles average breadth; almost entirely volcanic; therefore, metals and precious stones are not to be expected. Iron is not to be found in Java; indeed, it is extremely rare in the whole Archipelago; consequently it bears a high price, and the art of the blacksmith is held in a sort of reverence. The term for a son of the anvil signifies 'learned.' The inhabitants of this island trace their origin to a monkey, which they call 'woo-woo.' They are, for the most part, Mohammedans, but not strict, as they will not hesitate to drink wine at the religious festivals."
MRS. WILTON. "The Javanese are remarkable for their veracity and love of music: their ear is so delicate, that they readily learn to play the most difficult and complex airs on any instrument. They are remarkable also for their superstition, and people their forests, caves, and mountains with numerous invisible beings of their own creation. I will quote two instances of whimsical superstition, which took place in Java about thirty years ago. The skull of a buffalo was conducted from one end of the island to the other; this skull was to be kept in constant motion, for a dreadful fate was to await the individual who detained it in his possession, or allowed it to rest. After travelling many hundred miles, it reached Samarang, where the Dutch governor caused it to be thrown into the sea. No person could tell how this originated; but no person refused to obey while the skull was on terra firma. Again, in 1814, a smooth road, fifty or sixty miles long, and twenty feet broad, leading to the top of an inland mountain, called Sumbong, was suddenly formed, crossing no rivers, but passing in an undeviating line through private property of all descriptions. The population of whole districts was employed in the labor, and all because an old woman dreamed that a divine personage was to descend on the mountain!"
"Oh! how very ridiculous!" exclaimed Charles. "Such silly people deserve to be imposed upon, for not using the faculties they possess, to greater advantage."
GRANDY. "When once superstition usurps the throne of reason, Charles, it is a difficult task to displace her. There are so many pleasing fallacies connected with her sway over the naturally indolent mind of man, that reason is altogether banished, and superstition's authority knows no bounds."
MR. STANLEY. "Java produces, in great abundance, the Hirundo esculenta, a species of swallow, whose nests are used as an article of luxurious food among the Chinese. This nest has the shape of a common swallow's nest, and the appearance of ill-connected isinglass. The bird always builds in the caves of the rocks, at a distance from any human dwelling. Along the sea-shore, these nests are particularly abundant, the caverns there being more frequent. The finest are those obtained before the nest has been contaminated by young birds. Some of the caverns are very difficult of access, and dangerous to climb; so that none can collect the nests but persons accustomed to the trade from their youth."
GEORGE. "Oh, yes! I remember all the particulars of that business; we were told at one of our meetings; but I do not care to taste them: it is both nasty and cruel to eat bird's-nests."
CHARLES. "Sumatra is, next to Borneo, the largest island in the Eastern seas. It is situated in the midst of the torrid zone, is upwards of 1000 miles long, nearly 200 in breadth, and is divided from Java by the Straits of Sunda.
"The Sumatrans are a well-made people, with yellow complexions, sometimes inclining to white. They have some of the customs of the South Sea Islanders; amongst others, those barbarous practices of flattening the noses, and compressing the heads of children newly-born, whilst the skull is yet soft or cartilaginous. They likewise pull out the ears of infants to make them stand at an angle from the head. They file, blacken, and otherwise disfigure the teeth; and the great men sometimes set theirs in gold, by casing the under row with a plate of that metal."
GEORGE. "Is Sumatra a gold country?"
"Why," said Mr. Wilton, smiling, "have you never heard of the gold of Mount Ophir? Well, that is the name of the highest mountain in Sumatra."
GEORGE. "Then there is gold in Sumatra, and I suppose it is washed down by the rivers. Is there any other metal there?"
MR. WILTON. "Gold is the most abundant; but saltpetre and naphtha are among the products. Quantities of rice are grown here, and a singular method is adopted for separating the grain from the ear. The bunches of paddy are spread on mats, and the Sumatrans rub out the grain under their feet, supporting themselves, for the more easy performance of this labor, by holding with their hands a bamboo placed horizontally over their heads."
CHARLES. "I should hope they wash the rice after this process: although, as rice is so dry, they doubtless consider it unnecessary: I find Sumatra is a foggy island, and contains only one important kingdom.—viz., Acheen."
MR. BARRAUD. "Fogs are not its worst calamities: thunder-storms and water-spouts off the coasts are very frequent."
GEORGE. "What produces water-spouts?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Dr. Franklin supposed that water-spouts and whirlwinds proceed from the same cause. A fluid moving from all parts horizontally towards a centre, must at that centre either mount or descend. If a hole be opened in the bottom of a tub filled with water, the water will flow from all sides to the centre, and there descend in a whirl; but air flowing in or near the surface of land or water, from all sides towards a centre, must at that centre ascend, because the land or water will hinder its descent."
MR. WILTON. "As Charles states, Acheen, with regard to business transactions, is the only place of note in the island of Sumatra. The inhabitants have no coin, but make their payments in gold dust, which they keep in divided parcels, contained in pieces of bladder, and these are weighed by the person who takes them in payment. They have some odd forms about them; for instance, in marriage and burial. The bride is bargained for with the parents, and if settled satisfactorily, the young couple partake together of two different sorts of rice, and the ceremony is concluded by the father of the lady throwing a piece of cloth over them.
"When a man of rank dies, his body is kept in a coffin for several months; the soft parts dissolving during that interval are conveyed in a fluid state by a bamboo tube, from the bottom of the coffin into the earth."
EMMA. "How very disgusting! and how very unwholesome for the relatives of the deceased, in such a hot country too. I wonder the inhabitants do not all die from infection."
MR. STANLEY. "These practices do vastly increase the mortality; but old customs are not easily abolished. Do you sail as far north as the Bay of Bengal, Charles?"
CHARLES. "No, sir, all that portion of the ocean has been navigated: our next island is Borneo."
MR. STANLEY. "But I suppose there would be no objection to my putting in a word on the Burman Empire, which probably you are not much acquainted with. Parts of it are in the same longitude as the north of Sumatra; and I merely wish to mention some peculiarities connected with the Burmese. The government is entirely despotic, and the sovereign almost deified. When anything belonging to him is mentioned, the epithet 'golden' is invariably attached to it. When he is said to have heard anything, 'it has reached the golden ears:' the perfume of roses is described as grateful to the 'golden nose.' The sovereign is sole proprietor of all the elephants in his dominions; and the privilege to keep or ride on one is only granted to men of the first rank. No honors here are hereditary. All officers and dignities depend on the crown. The 'tsaloë,' or chain, is the badge of nobility, and superiority of rank is signified by the number of cords or divisions."
GEORGE. "Is it true that they are a proud, consequential people?"
MR. STANLEY. "Yes, quite true. Men of rank have their barges tugged by war-boats, common watermen not being admitted into the same boat with them.
"A singularly absurd custom takes place in this country, in certain forms of political homage shown to a white elephant,—a preternatural animal kept for the purpose,—superbly lodged near the royal palace, sumptuously dressed and fed, provided with functionaries like a second sovereign, held next in rank to the king, and superior to the queen, and made the recipient of presents, and other tokens of respect from foreign ambassadors."
CHARLES. "Well, that is an odd superstition. I am much obliged to you for going out of the track to tell us these strange 'sayings and doings' of the Burmese. Are we now to resume our station?"
MR. WILTON. "You are pilot. Charles; we rely on your guidance! Go where you please: we are not to control your movements."
CHARLES. "Then, like Sir James Brooke, I will go to Borneo; but I do not expect to be made a rajah for my trouble: indeed I scarcely know if I should like to live there, although it is the largest island in the world, and is very fertile, and contains diamond mines and vast quantities of gold."
MR. STANLEY. "By-the-by, that reminds me of the fact that the petty prince of Mattan, in Borneo, is in possession of one of the largest diamonds in the world. It was obtained a hundred years ago from the mines of Landak, and is worth 269,378l."
EMMA. "Which are the other large diamonds?"
MR. WILTON. "The Great Russian diamond, which is valued at 304,200l.; and the Great Pitt diamond, valued at 149,605l. But we are departing from our subject. Borneo is, next to New Holland, the largest island in the world. It is 900 miles long, and 700 broad."
DORA. "When did Sir James Brooke go to Borneo, and what was his object in going?"
MR. WILTON. "In August, 1839, he anchored off Borneo; and his object was purely philanthropic. He went to spread abroad the glorious truths of Christianity—to arouse the slumbering energies of these interesting people—to increase trade—to suppress piracy,—and to gain information for the profit of his own native land. Such were his principal motives. Particulars of his success, of the benefits he has conferred on thousands of his fellow-creatures, and of his travels and adventures, may be seen in his own published journal, to more advantage than I can possibly set them before you."
MR. BARRAUD. "Since Sir James Brooke's visit, the Dido and several other vessels of war have cruised in the Asiatic Archipelago, all tending to suppress piracy, and encourage native trade and commerce. The island of Labuan, off the north-west of Borneo, has been ceded to England, and Sir James Brooke appointed agent for the British Government,—an appointment which confers on him additional power and influence; besides which, the Sultan has nominated him Rajah of Sarawak. Thus in the course of a few years has a complete revolution been worked in one of the finest portions of our globe, and a new and better system of things been established, all through the enlightened and philanthropic energy of a single individual."
CHARLES. "Borneo is the chief of the Sunda group, is extremely fertile, producing all sorts of tropical fruits, and various spices and drugs. Much of the interior is covered by immense forests, inhabited by wild animals, and aboriginal tribes of human beings almost as wild. It is in Borneo that the largest of the monkey tribe, the ponga, equalling the human race in stature, is to be found; also the ourang-outang, or Simia Satyrus, which comes nearer to man in his looks, manners, and gait. Some writers assert that these animals light fires, at which they broil their fish and rice; but these accounts are not verified by recent observers. Wild bees are so numerous here, that their wax forms a very extensive article of export."
MRS. WILTON. "Borneo is called, by the natives, Pulo Kalamantan. Borneo was the name of a city, the residence of a powerful prince in 1520, when Magellan went there: hence the Spaniards concluded that the whole island belonged to this prince, and they called it all Borneo. There are a great many tribes of Indians in this large island, and the sea-coasts are inhabited by Malayans, of whom Sir James Brooke speaks in the higher terms, as regards honesty, cleanliness, &c. They understand the art of cutting, polishing, and setting their diamonds. Gold and silver filigree works they excel in; and they are otherwise ingenious, but can scarcely be considered industrious."
DORA. "South-west of Sumatra, in latitude 12° south, longitude 97° east, are the Cocos or Keeling Islands, which are entirely coralline in their formation; very fertile, with a salubrious climate. In 1830, Captain Ross and Alexander Hare, Esq., undertook to cultivate these islands, and render them productive. They succeeded, and they now form a fine settlement."
CHARLES. "I shall feel greatly obliged if Mr. Stanley will take the helm, and steer us across the Indian Ocean; for there are such hundreds, I might almost say thousands, of islands, that I feel convinced I shall run you all ashore, where none of you are disposed to go."
MR. STANLEY. "Come, then, I will relieve you for a while, because it would be most unpleasantly awkward for the ladies to be cast ashore on a desert island; and equally so on an inhabited one, if they possessed no letters of introduction to the natives.
"In crossing the Indian Ocean, we must sail by a great many islands; but I do not think it will be prudent to go ashore until we arrive at the Isle of Bourbon, and there we can pass a few days very comfortably before we sail for Madagascar."
EMMA. "Oh, yes! Bourbon is quite a civilized island. It belongs to the French, does it not, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; but the discovery was not theirs. Mascarenhas, a Portuguese navigator, claims the credit. He discovered it in 1545, and it bore his name until the French took possession of it in the next century. When they first occupied it, the sides of the mountains were covered with forests, which reached even to the shores. The whole of the lower lands have since been cleared; but the centre of this island is still covered with its primitive vegetation, which affords forty-one different species of woods serviceable for arts and manufactures. The coasts abound with fish and large turtles, and furnish also coral and ambergris. Bourbon contains a college, and numerous schools, sixteen churches, two hospitals, two establishments for the relief of the poor, and two prisons."
MR. BARRAUD. "Why are we to take no notice of the fine colony of Mauritius, or Isle of France? It is quite as large as Bourbon: moreover it is a British possession."
MR. STANLEY. "I see no just cause or impediment why we should not land there. Let us see, what is its size?"
CHARLES. "Its circumference is about 140 miles. Port Louis is its principal town, and is said to contain 30,000 inhabitants; it has an excellent harbor, capable of containing 50 large vessels; and it is well protected by nature from the violence of the weather, and from the attacks of enemies, by strong fortifications."
GEORGE. "Now to Madagascar. I am longing to go there; for I know nothing about either country or people."
MRS. WILTON. "Madagascar is a large and beautiful island, with mountains, valleys, lakes and streams, diversifying its whole extent. It is between 800 and 900 miles long, and between 200 and 300 broad. The metals dug here, are gold, silver, copper, steel, and iron; and a great variety of precious stones are found in the rivers and brooks of Madagascar. Civet is plentiful, and is taken from the civet cat; and the natives obtain musk from the crocodile, and call it tartave. Tananarievo, the capital, stands on the summit of a lofty hill, and commands an extensive prospect of the surrounding country. The principal houses are of wood, and the palace of the king is about the centre of the town, enclosed in a high palisading of strong poles."
GEORGE. "If the palace be so homely, what can the poor folks' houses be like?"
MR. WILTON. "Oh! they are of wood too, but mere huts; they have no chimneys, and the door and window affording the only means of escape for the smoke arising from the fires, which are kindled on the floor of the house, the soot collects on the inner side of the roofs of their dwellings, where it is never disturbed by the people, who consider it a badge of honorable ancestry to have large quantities of soot hanging in long black shreds from the roof of their dwelling."
EMMA. "What a dirty badge! Are they dirty people?"
MR. STANLEY. "They are not exactly dirty, but very slothful; and when not compelled to exert themselves in husbandry or war, they pass their time in sleep. They have little thought for the morrow; and, in fact, seem to be a thoroughly contented happy race; and so they ought to be, in one sense, for they are surrounded by every comfort, and even luxury, which the hand of nature can produce. Their characteristic feature is simplicity; and they regard the example of their forefathers as authority for every action."
DORA. "They are Christians, I believe?"
MRS. WILTON. "I wish I could say they are, my dear Dora. Some Christians there certainly are in Madagascar; but the majority are ruled by superstition. They acknowledge one only true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and they call him 'Ungharry,' or 'Zanhare,' which signify the 'Highest God,' or 'God above.' They believe him to possess infinite power; but they consider him too great a being to condescend to attend to the concerns of mortals: they therefore suppose that four inferior spirits are appointed, to whom are delegated the affairs of the world. These are denominated the Lords of the North, South, East, and West. The East is supposed to be the dispenser of plagues and miseries to mankind, by the command of the Great God. The other three are employed in the dispensation of benefits. Besides this, they have faith in a world of spirits, and believe that every family has its guardian angel, which is generally supposed to be the soul of a particular ancestor; and, strangely enough, although they believe in the immortality of the soul, they deny that there can be a future punishment, or that the soul can suffer evil after its separation from the body; but they assert that bad men will be punished in this world by a complication of misfortunes, and that the good will be rewarded by health, constancy of friends, increase of fortune, and obedience of children."
GRANDY. "There was at one period great hopes concerning Madagascar. Missionaries went out, and were cordially welcomed by the authorities, although the people, from ignorance, were hostile. But, poor creatures! white men had never visited their shores but to carry away their children and friends to sell them for slaves in different parts of the world; and, of course, they were very suspicious; so much so, that when the missionaries first endeavored to establish schools in Madagascar, the parents refused to allow their children to attend, alleging that the white men wanted them for no other purpose than to eat them; for they attributed all their sorrows to the cannibalism of the white people, believing that the slaves they captured were caught, as wild animals would be, only for food. They carried their antipathy so far, that, rather than permit their little ones to enter the schools, they hid them in rice holes, where they were often suffocated. King Radama reigned at that time, and, being a convert himself, he naturally desired the conversion of his people. He reasoned with them, and prohibited the secretion of the unfortunate children, and after a time, by God's blessing, the people became aware of the advantage of the schools and many were converted from the error of their ways, and died rejoicing in God their Saviour. But Radama died also; and there arose a sovereign who knew not God; enemies crept into the fold, and endeavored to destroy the good work of the pious missionaries. They partially succeeded; and in 1837 these worthy men were obliged to quit Madagascar, and have never since been able to revisit it with any prospect of success. We cannot understand why this great work should be allowed to fall to the ground; but God in His wisdom appears to have withheld his blessing for a season, and we must in patience await the issue."
GEORGE. "The Malagasses were never cannibals, were they?"
MR. WILTON. "No. Their ordinary food consists of the natural produce of the soil; principally rice, dressed in the simplest manner, and seasoned with pepper; and they usually drink hot water or broth from the boiled meats; wines, of which they make several kinds, are reserved for the entertainments of their friends on occasions of festivity or ceremony. Their usual dinner hour is ten in the morning, and that of supper four in the afternoon."
MR. STANLEY. "Although not cannibals, their superstition prompts them to many acts of cruelty; for instance, one half of the infant population is murdered by the misfortune of being born on an unlucky day; and, to prove the truth of the dogma, they are deliberately killed. One mode of perpetrating this unnatural deed, is by taking the infant to a retired spot in the neighborhood of the village, digging a grave sufficiently large to receive it pouring in a quantity of water slightly warmed, putting a piece of cloth upon the infant's mouth, placing it in the grave, filling this up with earth, and leaving the helpless child, thus buried alive, a memorial of their own affecting degradation, and the relentless barbarism of their gloomy superstition, and a painful illustration of the truth of God's word, which declares that 'the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.'"
MR. WILTON. "We cannot enlighten these people without help from on high; and their circumstances are too melancholy to dwell on. Let us continue our voyage, and pray for their conversion. Who can inform me how many bays there are around this great island?"
GEORGE. "I can, papa. There are fourteen on my map; and the Bay of Antongil, up in the north-east, is the largest"
MR. WILTON. "So it is, George; and near it lies the Island of St. Mary, which once formed the principal retreat of the pirates who, in the 17th century, infested the Indian Ocean. It is a delightful island, abounding in every necessary of life. Now, I have a droll story to tell you, and that will conclude our remarks on Madagascar.
"A serpent and a young crocodile dwelt in the same part of the country. The serpent fixed itself in a tree by the water-side; and underneath the same tree the young crocodile watched for prey. After a time a dog came to drink; the crocodile pursued him; down came the serpent to stop the crocodile. "What have you to do with me?" said the crocodile.—"Why, you are seeking to eat everybody that passes this way," replied the serpent—"Be quiet,"—said the crocodile, "lest I give you a blow with my tail, and cut you in two."—"And pray what are you?" asked the serpent: "I suppose you are thinking that, because I have neither hands nor feet, I can do nothing; but, perhaps, you have not looked at my tail, how sharp it is."—"Cease your noise," replied the crocodile, "or I'll just break you in two." The serpent, then becoming excessively angry, struck the crocodile with his tail, and wounded his loins, so as nearly to break his body. All the fish were astonished; and, addressing the crocodile, said, "How is this,—you that can conquer people and cattle, however large, and anything else?" The crocodile, ashamed, dived out of sight; while the serpent resumed his place on the tree. The crocodile, however, hoping to repay him, kept watching for prey. After a time, there came a goose to the water. The crocodile pursued, and got hold of him; when down came the serpent, to stop him, as before. "Where are you going?" cried the crocodile.—"Let that goose alone," said the serpent, "lest I kill you." The crocodile replied contemptuously, and the serpent, enraged, exclaimed, "Well, this time, see if you are not the worse for it;" and then he struck the crocodile, and wounded him on the face, and made him scream again. So he was conquered that, time, and the goose got off. Then all the little fish came again, and said to the crocodile, "How is it that you are beaten by that foolish serpent? You are wise and powerful, and that little fellow conies and beats you." Completely ashamed, again the crocodile hid himself in the water, and began to think by what means he might conquer this serpent upon the tree. After thinking a long time, the crocodile determined on boring a hole through the root of the tree; and for a whole week he kept on boring. Presently, a dog came to drink; afterwards a goose; also a man; but, the crocodile keeping at his work, the serpent exulted in having intimidated his adversary, and said, 'There's nothing so strong, then, as I am." The crocodile heard him, and labored with all his might to finish boring at the root, one branch of which remained to cut. The crocodile then watched at the water-side a good while, when down came the dog to drink: the crocodile pursued him; the serpent, as before, came to oppose him, calling out, "Let that dog alone there, lest you get the worst of it."—"You," said the crocodile, "do not fear God. Yonder dogs deceive us, and that's the reason I pursue them: as to people, I never touch them, unless they are guilty of witchcraft. I only eat the small things,—so just let me alone." When the serpent heard that, he replied, "There is no God; for if there were, I should have had both hands and feet: there is no God at all. But I will have your carcass to-day." Then the dog and the serpent together made an attack on the crocodile; the crocodile got weaker, and dived in the water; when all the little fish came again, and expressed their astonishment, as before, that he should be conquered by that little serpent, "Wait a little," said the crocodile, "and you will see I am not conquered by him." The serpent got up the tree as usual; the crocodile watched,—bored the hole completely,—then looked up, and saw the serpent sound asleep on a branch overhanging the water; then, cutting what remained of the root, the tree broke and fell into the water, the serpent falling with it. Then all the fishes acknowledged that the crocodile was superior, for he had got the serpent into the water, and made him dive in it, and kept him under water half-an-hour. The serpent, however, survived it, and repented of what he had done. "Oh! that I had never opposed you; only let me go, and I will never attack you again."—"Ah!" said the crocodile; "but as often as I pursued the dog, I was pursued by you; so you must suffer in your turn." Thus the crocodile made him heartily repent before he let him go. "Then," said the serpent, "if ever I touch you again, may I be conquered." After that, the crocodile let him go. He was glad to get off; but he had been beaten, and took an oath not to renew the attack when the crocodile went to look out for prey. The crocodile, however, owed the dog a grudge, because he had attacked him, and so laid all his family under a curse to devour the dog whenever opportunity offered. "Unless you do that," said he, "may you die without posterity; for yonder dog took part with the serpent against me."
MR. STANLEY. "Well, George, are you like the serpent? Have you had enough of the water?"
GEORGE. "Oh! no! I shall be very sorry when the voyages are over."
MR. STANLEY. "You have been on the ocean a weary while. Have you, like Sir James Ross, reached either of the Poles?"
GEORGE. "No, sir; but we have been very near the North Pole; have we not, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Yes; in the Arctic Ocean we have been as high as 80° parallel of north latitude to Spitzbergen; and in the Antarctic as high as the 66° parallel of south latitude, to the New South Shetland Isles."
MR. STANLEY. "Well done! You will not then start any objections on the score of cold, to accompany me to Kerguelan's Land?"
"Oh dear, no!" exclaimed the boys. "We do not mind the cold."
MR. STANLEY. "Kerguelan's land was discovered in 1772 by Monsieur de Kerguelan, a French navigator, who took it for a continent, and so reported it to his government. He was sent back the following year to make critical examination. Three years after this, Captain Cook fell in with the island, and, not finding it of any importance, called it Isle of Desolation. But, despite its name, it is not a bad place by any means. It is a safe and commodious harbor, and abundance of fresh water. However, considering its latitude, it is exceedingly bare of vegetation; and there is only one plant which claims attention, that is the famous cabbage discovered by Captain Cook. For 130 days his crew enjoyed the luxury of fresh vegetables, which were served out with their salt beef and pork, and prevented sickness among them."
GEORGE. "Are there any animals on the island?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Numbers of birds; penguins, albatrosses, gulls, ducks, cormorants, &c.; and the island is the resort of seals and sea-elephants."
CHARLES. "It cannot be a very pretty place?"
MR. STANLEY. "Here is an idea of it. The whole island appears to be deeply indented by bays and inlets, the surface intersected by numerous small lakes and water-courses. These becoming swollen by the heavy rains, which alternate with the frost and snow, accompanied by violent gusts of wind, rush down the sides of the mountains and along the ravines in countless impetuous torrents, forming in many places beautiful foaming cascades, wearing away the rocks, and strewing the valleys below with vast fragments."
CHARLES. "That is grand, but decidedly not comfortable."
GRANDY. "Sailors need great powers of endurance to undergo such hardships as they must continually encounter on these voyages of discovery. How grateful we ought to feel towards the brave men who hazard life, property, everything to extend our knowledge! for how many happy hours are we indebted to their researches! how often have we perused with delight, the voyages, the discoveries, the exciting descriptions of enterprising sailors! and all, perhaps, without reflecting that the very adventures which have so much amused us, may have been the ruin of all their hopes, and the destroyer of all their happiness in this world. While you are sipping your wine, preparatory to our last voyage, I will tell you a true
"Four years ago I left the port of Boston, the master of a fine ship bound for China. I was worth ten thousand dollars, and was the husband of a young and handsome wife, whom I married but six months before. When I left her, I promised to return to her in less than a twelvemonth. I took all my money with me, save enough to support my wife in my absence, for the purpose of trading when in China, on my own account. For a long time we were favored with prosperous winds; but when in the China seas a terrible storm came upon us, so that in a short time I saw the vessel must be lost, for we were drifting on the rocks of an unknown shore. I ordered the men to provide each for himself in the best possible manner, and forget the ship, as it was an impossibility to save her. We struck: a sea laid me upon the rocks senseless; and the next would have carried me back to a watery grave, had not one of the sailors dragged me further up the rocks. There were only four of us alive; and when morning came, we found that we were on a small uninhabited island, with nothing to eat but the wild fruit common to that portion of the earth; and there we remained sixty days before we could make ourselves known to any ship. We were at length taken to Canton; and there I had to beg, for my money was at the bottom of the sea, and I had not taken the precaution to have it insured. It was nearly a year before I had an opportunity of coming home; and then I, a captain, was obliged to ship as a common sailor. It was two years from the time I left America that I landed in Boston. I was walking in a hurried manner up one of its streets, when I met my brother-in-law. He could not speak nor move, but he grasped my hand, and tears gushed from his eyes. 'Is my wife alive?' I asked. He said nothing. Then I wished that I had perished with my ship, for I thought my wife was dead; but he very soon said, 'She is alive.' Then it was my turn to cry for joy. He clung to me and said, 'Your funeral sermon has been preached, for we have thought you dead for a long time.' He said that my wife was living in our little cottage in the interior of the state. It was then three o'clock in the afternoon, and I took a train of cars that would carry me within twenty-five miles of my wife. Upon leaving the cars I hired a boy, though it was night, to drive me home. It was about two o'clock in the morning when that sweet little cottage of mine appeared in sight. It was a warm moonlight night, and I remember how like a heaven it looked to me. I got out of the carriage and went to the window of the room where the servant girl slept, and gently knocked. She opened the window and asked, 'Who is there?' 'Sarah, do you not know me?' said I. She screamed with fright, for she thought me a ghost; but I told her to unfasten the door and let me in, for I wished to see my wife. She let me in and gave me a light, and I went up stairs to my wife's room. She lay sleeping quietly. Upon her bosom lay her child, whom I had never seen. She was as beautiful as when I left her; but I could see a mournful expression upon her face. Perhaps she was dreaming of me. I gazed for a long time; I did not make any noise, for I dared not wake her. At length I imprinted a soft kiss upon the cheek of my little child. While doing it a tear dropped from my eye and fell upon her cheek. Her eyes opened as clearly as though she had not been sleeping. I saw that she began to be frightened, and I said, 'Mary, it is your husband!' and she clasped me about my neck, and fainted. But I will not describe that scene. She is now the happy wife of a poor man. I am endeavoring to accumulate a little property, and then I will leave the sea forever."
MR. WILTON. "A vote of thanks for Grandy. That little narrative has agreeably refreshed our minds, while the wine and cake has had the like effect on our bodies. Now, voyage the last!"
GEORGE. "Oh, papa! that sounds so strangely. I cannot bear the last of anything; and now particularly, it reminds us how soon our happy evening meetings will be at an end, and naught left but the bare recollection of them."
MRS. WILTON. "Well, my dear, I will not distress you by repeating the obnoxious word. We will start anew, and sail round the coast of Africa. We are a goodly party, and I dare venture to say, shall not lack for amusement during the voyage."
MR. STANLEY. "Then we are not to go so far south as Victoria Land, and see all the wonderful things Sir James Ross saw?"
MR. WILTON. "No: we have been in the cold long enough, and I am rejoiced that we have no more enormous icebergs to encounter—no more still ice-fields stretching away in every direction, or clashing and grinding under the influence of mighty storms—no more mountains cased in eternal ice; but we have really bid adieu to the wintry desolation of those frozen regions that
'Lie dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms.'"
MR. STANLEY. "I am glad to get into a more genial climate, and I perceive our next voyage commences in the Mediterranean; that is, if it be the intention of our young discoverers to call at the bays on the north of Africa."
DORA. "It is our intention, sir; and the first gulf, called Malillih, is on the coast of Morocco. Mrs. Wilton has kindly undertaken the land survey."
MRS. WILTON. "Morocco is now only the remains of a state, although at one period, when the Moors were in the zenith of their power, it was a splendid country. Still, however, the inhabitants entertain the loftiest ideas of themselves and their native land, and half-naked creatures as they are, they style the Europeans 'agein,' or barbarians, and hold them in contempt."
GRANDY. "But the Moors, although Mohammedans, are not destitute of virtues; and, as a peculiarly good trait in their character, a Moor never abandons himself to despair; neither sufferings nor losses can extort from him a single murmur; to every event he submits as decreed by the will of God, and habitually hopes for better times. We might learn something even from the Moors."
MR. STANLEY. "Ay! but we must keep at a distance if we wish the ladies of our party to learn; for the Moors would altogether object to teach them, as women are there regarded merely as tools—creatures without souls. They would not admire our ladies either, for their idea of female loveliness is most singular. Beauty and corpulence are synonymous. A perfect Moorish beauty is a load for a camel; and a woman of moderate pretensions to beauty requires a slave on each side to support her. In consequence of this depraved taste for unwieldy bulk, the Moorish ladies take great pains to acquire it early in life; and for this purpose, the young girls are compelled by their mothers to devour a great quantity of kous-kous and to drink a large portion of camel's milk every morning. It is no matter whether the girl has an appetite or not, the kous-kous and milk must be swallowed, and obedience is frequently enforced by blows."
DORA. "How very disagreeable! I scarcely know which is the worst stage of the affair, the cause or the effect."
EMMA. "I should say the cause; for the fat comes by degrees, and cannot inconvenience them so much as swallowing quantities of food and drink when they require it not."
MR. WILTON. "They have other quaint notions. Among the points of etiquette which prevail at the court of Morocco, the following is mentioned:—The word death is never uttered in presence of the Sultan. When it is unavoidable to mention the death of any person, it is expressed by such words as, 'He has fulfilled his destiny;' on which the monarch gravely remarks, 'God be merciful to him!' Another point of whimsical superstition is, that the numbers five and fifteen must not be mentioned in presence of the sovereign."
GEORGE. "I should be continually saying forbidden words if I were there; so we will go on, if you please, pilot."
EMMA. "I have the bays. They are Boujanyah, and Storah, on the coast of Algiers. This state is inferior to Morocco, both in extent and fertility; but the city has a grand harbor, is itself very populous, and contains some splendid ruins."
DORA. "I have the gulfs. They are Tunis, Hammamet, and Khabs, on the coast of Tunis, which was once the seat of Carthaginian power, but like the other states, is now reduced to a tithe of its former greatness, although it is still one of the finest cities in Africa. It has a good harbor and fortifications. The manufactures are silks, velvets, cloth, and red bonnets, which are worn by the people."
MR. WILTON. "There is yet another Barbary state to pass: who has a word for Tripoli?"
CHARLES. "I have, madam. Tripoli is the most easterly, and the most wretched of the Barbary states. It extends straggling along a great extent of coast, where may be seen the enormous Gulf of Sidra or Sert, called by the natives 'Djou al Kabit,' or Gulf of Sulphur, and the Gulf of Bombah. Tripoli received its name from once containing three cities of considerable importance, which are now little else than ruins."
MRS. WILTON. "The 'Research' has not tarried long on that coast, at any rate. We must now suppose ourselves authors instead of travellers; and without thinking of impossibilities, straightway carry our ship overland, across the Isthmus of Suez, and launch quietly on the waters of the Red Sea."
MR. BARRAUD. "It is scarcely fair to pass Egypt without a recognition: the Egyptians would sympathize with us in our partiality for the ancient element. They are special lovers of two things—gardens and water. Even stagnant water, if sweet, they consider a luxury; running water, however dirty, they hold to be extremely luxurious; when during the inundation, the canal of Cairo is full, all the houses on its banks are occupied by persons, who sit in their leisure hours, smoking by its muddy waters; but the height of their enjoyment consists in sitting by a fountain—this they esteem equal to paradise."
MRS. WILTON. "In the Red Sea there are eleven gulfs of moderate dimensions, and some small bays: we will not wait to examine them, as they are not important; but how are we to sail out of this sea? George, will you undertake to pilot us?"
GEORGE. "I know no other way out than through the Straits of Babelmandeb, by Abyssinia, of which country I should like to have a description."
MRS. WILTON. "The country consists of a succession of hills and valleys, the former for the most part well-wooded, and the latter fertile; with the climate mild upon the whole for so tropical a latitude. For the people and customs I must refer you to some other more intelligent member."
MR. STANLEY. "The present Bishop of Jerusalem went to Abyssinia
some years ago; and he has sketched a few interesting particulars
concerning the people. 'As soon as a child is born, it is
immediately taught to drink lukewarm butter, with a little honey.
After the age of six or seven years, the children are considered
servants. The boys are shepherds, till the age of fourteen or
fifteen, and reside with their parents; but if their parents are
poor, they leave them, by their own choice at the age of eight or
nine years, in order to get their livelihood by keeping cattle
elsewhere. The girls are occupied in managing the little affairs of
the house; and begin to fetch water, which is always at a distance,
as soon as they can walk steadily. At the age of eight or nine years
they begin to fetch wood from the mountains. There are some fathers
who send their children into convents to have them instructed; but
there are many who will not do this, lest their children should
become monks: on this account many boys desert their parents, in
order to seek instruction for themselves. Some enter the house of a
priest as servants during the day, and they receive instruction at
night. Others go, after the lessons are over, to get food by
begging. There are also many persons in easy circumstances who
support those children who seek for instruction without the help of
their parents. Nearly all the great men send their children into
convents to learn reading, and to repeat the psalms from memory;
this is all the instruction they receive. The daughters of the
higher class learn nothing but spinning and managing the affairs of
the house; there are, however, a few ladies who can read.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "They seem early accustomed to habits of industry; but in other respects, the training of the children is not very rigid: almost the only crime they punish them for, is stealing. Mr. Stanley's author, Bishop Gobat, says, he saw a mother, usually of a very meek temper, and who would not see a man cause suffering to the smallest reptile, burn the skin off both the hands and lips of her daughter, only nine years of age, for having dipped her finger into a jar of honey!"
EMMA. "Oh! how extremely cruel! they surely are not Christians."
GRANDY. "They are—and differ very little from the Roman Catholics of more civilized countries. Some of the points of variation in their doctrine are as follow:—They believe in no separate purgatory; but that almost all men go to hell at their death, and that from time to time, the Archangel Michael descends into that place of torment, in order to deliver men's souls, and to introduce them to paradise, sometimes for the sake of the prayers and meritorious works of their relatives and their priests. They have a great number of tales in support of this doctrine; the one they most frequently make use of, is the story of a man who had done nothing but evil when on earth, except that he had always observed the fast on Wednesday and Friday. When he died, he descended into hell, to a dark place; but had always two lights surrounding him, by the assistance of which he could go to the gate which separated hell from paradise. The Archangel Michael then went to receive him; saying, that the two lamps which had saved him, were the fasts which he had observed on Wednesdays and Fridays."
MR. STANLEY. "That is one of the fallacies of the Romish Church. But I am not surprised that popery acquires such power over the ignorant; for it assails the mind through every sense; through the sight by its pageantry, the hearing by its splendid music, the smell by the delicious odor of the incense, and thus gratifies and soothes its votaries by the application of forms destitute of power. But enough of this; if we venture on such a subject, we are continually reminded, that to speak evil of other sects is malicious, and that we cannot disapprove of a man's doctrine without having an uncharitable feeling towards the individual. I most strenuously deny the truth of that assertion; for I reckon many amongst my dearest connections, whose friendship I value extremely, but whose religious tenets I utterly repudiate. But I fear this is incomprehensible to the youngsters; we will return to business.
"The coast of Africa, from the Red Sea to the River Juba, which is as far as the equator, is inhabited by a tribe called Somauli, who are reckoned to be descendants from the aborigines of the country, and were early subjected to the laws of the Koran, by the Arab merchants trading with them. They are a mild people, of pastoral habits, and confined entirely to the coast; the whole of the interior of this portion being occupied by an untamable tribe of savages, called Galla, perhaps the most uncultivated and ferocious people in existence."
EMMA. "We shall cross the equator before we enter another bay; then, in the parallel of 3° south, lies the Bay of Formosa, on the coast of Zanguebar; and 4° nearer south, is the little island of Zanzibar. I am a stranger here."
MRS. WILTON. "Zanzibar is a most valuable possession of the Imaun of Muscat, on account of its abundant produce of grain and sugar. The climate is particularly fatal to Europeans, so that the crews of vessels trading there are never allowed to sleep on shore. But there is perhaps no place, where refreshments are so cheap as in this island: fowls may be had for two shillings the dozen, sugar twopence, and rice one penny a pound; and a large bullock is sold for one sovereign."
CHARLES. "No great advantage to get food cheap in a country so unhealthy that you lack the appetite to eat it."
MR. BARRAUD. "No; we will not go there to victual our ship. Here are the Seychelle Isles almost in the latitude of Formosa Bay; suppose we ''bout ship' and look in upon them. There appear to be fifteen, and navigators say they are composed of granite rocks. Their chief inhabitants are French Roman Catholics, who have very little of either religion or morality, but spend the greater portion of their time in dancing and gambling. All the blacks resident on these isles are unhappy slaves, although their owners live in luxurious indolence."
GEORGE. "They are such small islands, and some of them so close that, if I lived there, I would build bridges to go from one island to another."
MR. BARRAUD. "The inhabitants do that without a bridge. They have numerous canoes, built and fitted with much skill and neatness. In these they pay their visits, and at the close of a party a stranger would be surprised at hearing the announcement—'Madame le Jeune's canoe is waiting!' instead of Madame le Jeune's carriage stops the way.' But that is the fashion in the Seychelle Isles. Torches are at hand; the ladies and gentlemen are lighted to the water, where some stout negroes almost in a state of nudity, await to transport them to their own island."
DORA. "That may be very delightful when you are accustomed to it, but I should prefer a carriage.
"There are no more indentations until we enter Mozambique Channel, where we shall find Pemba Bay and Sofala Bay."
MRS. WILTON. "Pemba Bay is on the coast of Mozambique, which belongs to the Portuguese. The harbor of Mozambique is formed by a deep inlet of the sea. At the entrance are three small islets, which, together with reefs and shoals, render the anchorage perfectly safe in the worst weather. The city stands on an island of the same name, formed of coral, very low and narrow, and scarcely one mile and a half in length. The streets in the city are narrow, although the houses are mostly lofty and well constructed; but the place in itself is fast sinking into insignificance, and its finest buildings falling rapidly into decay. Mozambique, like many other cities of the world, is now reduced from its ancient wealth and vice-regal splendor, to the almost forgotten seat of desolation and poverty."
MR. WILTON. "Between this island and Sofala Bay is the slave town Quillimane. It is in a commodious situation and one of the finest countries in the world; but is continually in a state of turmoil, from the different tribes striving by mutual conflict to obtain prisoners for sale to the Portuguese, who wickedly excite the wars and fatten and grow wealthy on the blood and wretchedness they produce."
GRANDY. "The port of Sofala, its castle, its town; in short everything relating to it, is most interesting; for in olden time this was the Ophir of King Solomon, whence his fleets returned laden with gold, algum-trees, and precious stones."
GEORGE. "Then the Ophir of Sumatra is not the real Ophir, but only named after the place in Africa, because it was rich in gold?"
MR. WILTON. "Exactly so, George. I did not then explain it, as I wish you to feel sufficient interest in the subject to inquire into the truth yourself."
DORA. "Delagoa Bay. This coast is a continued tract of land and sand-hills from fifty to five or six hundred feet high, with a few straggling black rocks."
MR. WILTON. "The inhabitants of this coast are a harmless race, but have their own little peculiarities; and one of the greatest luxuries in life in the opinion of a Delagoan is smoking the 'hubble-bubble.' A long hollow reed, or cane, ending in two branches the lower one immersed in a horn of water, and the upper one capped by a piece of earthenware, forming a bowl, is held in the hand; they cover its top, with the exception of a small aperture, through which by a peculiar action of the mouth, they draw the smoke through the water below; they fill the mouth, and after having kept it there some time, they eject it with violence from the ears and nostrils. It makes them giddy, half stifles them, and produces a violent coughing, accompanied by profuse perspiration, and yet these people consider it highly strengthening and beneficial."
CHARLES. "Is not Caffraria near here?"
MR. STANLEY. "Yes: but you must go a few miles inland to see them; for the Caffres have an extraordinary dislike to water, and will never trust themselves on it, but from extreme necessity."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Caffres (Kaffirs) are worth looking at, for they are a fine, handsome race of men, nearly black, with very good and pleasing features. Their dress, male and female, is composed principally of softened hides; but the women are so fond of ornaments as often to wear fifty necklaces at one time. Their huts are constructed in the form of a beehive, and are perfectly water-tight and warm. In times of peace the men tend the cattle, the women cultivate the land. The elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, hippopotamus, lion, and various others are hunted in Caffraria with great spirit by the natives. Of a Divine Being whom they call 'Uhlanger,' or 'Supreme,' they have some idea; but as to a state of future rewards or punishments they are altogether in ignorance. Sorcery and witchcraft in various forms most extensively prevail, and are the causes of much cruelty."
GRANDY. "To hundreds of the Caffres, however, the preaching of the everlasting Gospel has been productive of much temporal and eternal benefit; and an interesting illustration of this occurs in some of the missionary records, which also exemplifies the character of the unconverted Caffre.
"A little girl about eight years of age, was reclining on the ground, in the cool of the day, when four wolves rushed upon the place. One of them seized the child by the head, a second by the shoulder, and the other two by her legs. The people of the kraal with all possible speed flew to her help, and succeeded in releasing her, but apparently too late. They tried for a few days to help her with their medicines; but finding all hope fail, and as from the heat and flies she had now become loathsome, they gave her her choice, either to be put to death by the youths of the place, or go to the woods to die or be farther devoured as might happen. The little girl chose the woods. In this forlorn condition she determined to cast herself on the mercy of the missionaries; and although she had never been at the station, she believed from what she had heard, that could she reach the place, she should receive that protection and help which her unnatural relatives refused to give. With this resolution she set out; and although she had to travel several miles through deep glens, she succeeded in reaching the station, an awful picture of deformity and suffering, all but in a state of nudity, covered with large wounds to the number of fourteen, among the most ghastly of which was that of the head and face, where the wolf having endeavored to grasp the whole head, had torn the mouth open to the ear, stripping the head of the upper part of its covering and making a ghastly wound of eight inches. Through the mercy of God she recovered, and was scarcely at all deformed; but she refused ever to return to the cruel people who forced her into the woods to die. She became a Christian, and the Rev. Mr. Shaw, who relates the incident, says, that one day, as he was walking a little distance from his house, he heard some one engaged in fervent prayer; he listened, it was the voice of a child; and going towards the place, he beheld in a secluded spot among the weeds, the young Caffre girl who had been rescued from the jaws of death, earnestly pouring out her soul to the God of her mercies, when she thought no eye saw, and no ear heard her, but God."
MRS. WILTON. "How encouraging for the missionaries to find that the seed had been sown on good ground, and was brought to bear the fruit of righteousness through the blessing of the Almighty God!"
DORA. "Algoa Bay is on the coast of that portion of Cape Colony, known by the name of Albany. It was discovered by Bartholomew Dias. His sailors becoming discontented with their long voyage, hesitated to proceed any further, and he, to satisfy their scruples, landed with the chief officers and several seamen, on an island in this bay, hoping by the touching solemnities of religion to soften a decision so discouraging to his adventurous hopes. He caused the sacrament to be administered at the foot of a cross which he then planted with his own hands, and which has given the name of Santa Cruz to the island. There, upon this rugged spot, at present only visited by a few fishermen, and where European foot had never before trodden, were the symbols of Christianity first displayed in the Southern Ocean."
MRS. WILTON. "Graham's Town is the emporium of these eastern frontier districts of Cape Colony, and its main streets present a scene of incessant commercial activity; while almost every article whether of utility or of ornament, may be as readily obtained as in most of the provincial towns of the mother country. There are several good inns, where visitors may command and receive every reasonable comfort and attention. Religious services are well attended, and numerous schools established, in which the children are making encouraging progress. The flowers and fruits of most parts of Europe flourish here, and the climate is unexceptionable. There are a great many missionaries in Graham's Town; and on the whole it may be safely averred, that the general intelligence of the inhabitants is not a whit inferior to that of the middle and lower classes of any country in the United Kingdom."
EMMA. "Camtoos or St. Francis Bay, is a few miles further along the coast, and Plestenburg, Mossel, Vaccas, and St. Sebastian's Bay, are among those in the south of Cape Colony.
"Cow Bay, or Bahia das Vaccas, is in latitude 34° south, longitude 22° east, and is so called on account of the vast number of sea-cows which used to frequent it in former times. The chief value of these animals is in their ivory tusks, which, being harder than those of the elephant, and not so liable to turn yellow, are much more esteemed by dentists. Their hides are also valuable for harness leathers; and the skins of the young ones make handsome coverings for trunks.
"St. Sebastian's Bay is at the mouth of Breede River, and is said to possess good holding ground. It is seldom visited, except by vessels intending to enter the river; and, as that is not our intention, we will pass it, and go on until we come to False Bay, near the Cape of Good Hope."
MR. WILTON. "False Bay is rather a sound than a bay. It contains within its capacious bosom several fine and safe inlets, among which Simon's Bay is the most important, for there is the naval arsenal and dépôt: but the proximity of the metropolis, and its more convenient bay, distant only twenty-one miles, diverts the whole of the trade from this excellent and perfectly land-locked harbor."
MRS. WILTON. "The Cape of Good Hope is a crown colony. Its affairs are administered by a governor and a lieutenant-governor. The first has his residence at Cape Town; the second, at Graham's Town. With much truth we may describe the inhabitants of Cape Colony at large, as a serious and religious people. In the towns and villages the strictest attention is paid to a close and regular attendance on public worship; and in the country districts, where churches are 'few and far between,' and the opportunities difficult, the private altar is every morning and evening duly served by the head of each family. The Lord's Supper is administered four times a year at every town and village, when the greater part of the population make a point of resorting thither with all the members of their families, though the distance to be traversed for the purpose often exceeds 200 miles."
MR. BARRAUD. "Cape Town is situated on the shores of Table Bay, which is the chief harbor of the Cape of Good Hope, and is exceedingly commodious; and close by rises a mountain of the same name, to the height of 3582 feet, by a declivity so gradual, that it has been ascended on horseback. I do not wish to detract from the general goodness of the inhabitants of Cape Town, but I must say they are an eager money-getting race. On the arrival of a ship from England an auction is generally held, and the various articles exhibited, damaged and sound, under the shade of some tree in the centre of the town; where an Englishman would be amused to see one of the first merchants shuffling round with a handful of tea, and telling the audience that it is just upon the rise, and recommending that he be allowed to send home a pound or two."
MR. STANLEY. "When I was there a few months since, I was much
struck with the appearance of the streets. They are broad and
handsome; but a wide ditch, which the townsfolk dignify with
name of a canal, runs through the centre. There is generally but
little water in this ditch, but millions of restless mosquitoes,
which populate the whole town, and (I speak from experience) are a
perfect torture. The houses being mostly plastered, have a
stone-like and cleanly appearance, with their green Venetian blinds,
and plantations of acacias and other Eastern trees, waving
gracefully in front of them. The climate is salubrious, and
provisions of all kinds abundant and cheap. I was within a very few
miles of Constantia, so famous for its wines. Unfortunately I had no
time to visit it, but a description given by a gentleman, who
was there much about the same time, will, perhaps, answer our
purpose better than my account. He says:—'The approach to
Constantia is as romantic and beautiful as it is possible to
conceive, from the mixture of the English shrubs and flowers with
those of Southern Africa. Here we passed by a long hedge of monthly
roses, all in full flower. Over our heads waved the fine foliage of
the banana and plantain. There was a long vineyard loaded with
grapes, and the African negroes employed therein. Now we pass an
avenue of English oaks; and this brings us to a fine large octagonal
building in the Dutch style, which is the residence of the
proprietor of Lower Constantia.' Mr. Leigh next describes the
interior of the wine vaults as 'a long building, 100 yards or more;
on either side enormous butts, with polished oak ribs, kept in the
cleanest style.' As I cannot offer you a glass of wine from these
celebrated butts, I will not detain the party any longer."
CHARLES. "The finest bay in the world falls to my share. It is Saldana Bay, which is capable of containing at safe anchorage the whole British fleet, during all seasons of the year."
MR. WILTON. "But dame Nature, always capricious in her favors, has denied fertility to the adjacent soil; and the supply of water is limited, in consequence of which it is seldom resorted to, except by foreign whalers fishing on the coast. Almost the same may be said of St. Helena Bay, and for the same reasons. How many more bays in Cape Colony?"
EMMA. "Only one, papa, and that is Donkin's Bay. We must then sail along the Hottentot coast until we arrive at Walwisch Bay."
GEORGE. "Papa, are not the Boschmen dwelling somewhere near here?"
MR. WILTON. "Why, they are a wandering people, and can scarcely be said to hold any definite territory of their own; but they are to be found north of Cape Colony, and are thus designated from the place of their residence, which is in the bushes or woods. They are a dirty, wild, savage people, and make a boast of the most inhuman actions, to get glory from their companions. They neither cultivate the ground, nor tend cattle, but are dependent on the chase for animal food."
MR. STANLEY. "Many superstitions and traditions are entertained by these rude people; among them there is one related by Sir J.E. Alexander as follows:—
"It is believed in the land that some of the Bosch people can change themselves into wolves and lions when they like. Once on a time, a certain Namaqua was travelling in company with a Bosch woman carrying a child on her back. They had proceeded some distance on the journey, when a troop of wild horses appeared; and the man said to the woman, 'I am hungry, and I know you can turn yourself into a lion: do so now, and catch us a wild horse, that we may eat.'
"The woman answered, 'You'll be afraid.'
"'No, no,' said the man; 'I am afraid of dying of hunger, but I am not afraid of you.'
"Whilst he was yet speaking, hair began to appear at the back of the woman's neck, her nails began to assume the appearance of claws, and her features altered. She set down the child.
"The man, alarmed at the change, climbed a tree close by. The woman glared at him fearfully, and, going to one side, she threw off her skin petticoat, when a perfect lion rushed out into the plain. It bounded and crept among the bushes, towards the wild horses; and springing on one of them, it fell, and the lion lapped its blood. The lion then came back to where the child was crying, and the man called from the tree, 'Enough, enough! do not hurt me! Put off your lion's shape. I will never ask to see you thus again.'
"The lion looked at him and growled. 'I will remain here till I die,' said the man, 'if you do not become a woman again.'
"The mane and tail then began to disappear; the lion went towards the bush where the skin petticoat lay; it was slipped on, and the woman, again in her proper shape, took up the child. The man descended, partook of the horse's flesh, but never again asked the woman to catch game for him."
GEORGE. "This is very droll: but I think they must be very ignorant people to believe such absurdities."
EMMA. "I have Walwisch Bay. There is a broad sandy beach around it, and sand-hills heaped up in various forms inland, and the general aspect of things here is very wild and Arabian-like. The climate is healthy and good. It is hot in the beginning of the year; but from May until August it is cool and pleasant."
MRS. WILTON. "About three miles from Walwisch Bay, or Bay of Whales, is a Hottentot village, containing nearly 300 inhabitants, who are a friendly, harmless people, but very indolent and filthy. Both sexes dress alike, in the skins of animals sewed together with the sinews of the same animals, in the form of a blanket, which they throw over their shoulders, with the hair-side next to their bodies. The women are only distinguished by the profusion of their ornaments. These consist of shells, bones, and minerals of different kinds, and are worn about the neck and wrists. They are all expert hunters and fishers. They devour their fish raw, and the small ones without even divesting them of their entrails; what they cannot eat they pickle with salt procured at the head of the bay."
GEORGE. "What nasty disgusting people, to eat raw fish!"
MR. WILTON. "In appeasing the cravings of hunger they are, in fact, horribly disgusting, being actually more fond of the entrails of cattle and sheep than of any other part; and when an animal is killed, these people positively devour its entrails raw, even before they are cold, while they will refuse to partake of the carcass, cooked or otherwise."
DORA. "Now we pass on to Great and Little Fish Bays, which are on the coast of that wretched slave country, Benguela."
GRANDY. "Ah! poor Africa is cursed with evils, unknown to the rest of the human race in any section of the globe—reptiles of the most deadly venom, beasts of unparalleled ferocity, deserts of sand, and moral deserts a thousand times more appalling. But her greatest curse of all is the white man's cupidity, tearing asunder the tenderest ties of human nature, and plunging villages and families into mourning and despair. The hyena, the tiger, the crocodile, are creatures existing by the will of God; the man-stealer is a sin-created monster! The depredations of the former are the effects of hunger; those of the latter avarice—the meanest passion that can enter the human breast."
MR. WILTON. "It is now sixty years since Great Britain commenced offensive warfare against the African slave-trade; but grieved am I to say that little good has resulted from it; for the slave-trade is still carried on as extensively as ever. Our ships, which are continually on the look-out to recapture the slave-vessels, scarcely ever take more than fifteen in the course of twelve months; and the cost of maintaining this force to our country is 600,000l. annually. This money, in my humble opinion, might be more advantageously laid out—mean in reference to this degraded and demoralized quarter of the world, Africa. It might be expended in planting industry, knowledge, and security; in fact, in civilizing the wretched people; and surely that would more effectually check the slave-trade than the occasional capture of one or two cargoes. For the African slave-trade is not the cause, but the effect, of African ignorance, as any wretched creature there will seize and sell his more wretched neighbor for the paltry sum of a dollar."
MRS. WILTON. "This civilization will take years to effect; for deep-rooted evils cannot be destroyed in a day, among an ignorant and prejudiced people."
EMMA. "We are at Fish Bay. Dora, will you continue."
DORA. "Yes: Fish Bay is one of the finest places in the world for fishing with a 'seine,' by which thousands of barrels of excellent fish are caught in the course of the year."
GEORGE. "What sort of a town is Benguela?"
DORA. "Small: it consists of not more than 200 houses, mostly one story high. Everything good to eat can be procured here; but there is no good water, except in the rainy season."
MR. STANLEY. "Then we had better make all sail, and get away, for it would be sad work to be becalmed with—
'Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.'
While we are in these latitudes, we may as well visit the two islands, which look so tempting after a long voyage on the great Atlantic. Come boys: St. Helena for Charles—Ascension for George."
CHARLES. "St. Helena was discovered by those pioneers of navigation,
the Portuguese, on Saint Helen's day, the 21st of May, 1501. It is
1200 miles from the continent, in latitude 5° south, longitude
west. It is a beautiful island, inhabited by about 300 English
families, whose ancestors took possession of it in 1600. The
Portuguese stocked it well with cattle and fruit, and the English
now benefit by their forethought. 'St. Helena,' says a clever
'is the dark monument of the most conspicuous man that
has arisen within the period of certain history.' Of course that
means Napoleon Bonaparte. I have done."
GEORGE. "Ascension Isle lies between Africa and Brazil: it was
discovered in 1508. It is about 39 miles in circumference, and of
nearly a circular form. It has water only in one spot, called the
Green Mountain, from the rich verdure with which it is covered. The
natural productions are not numerous. Guinea-fowl have been
introduced, and are now quite wild. Ten head of cattle were likewise
imported, which have also taken to the woods, and are hunted by the
garrison as required. This island was at one period overrun with
enormous rats, to destroy which somebody with good intent imported a
cargo of cats, which are now become as great a plague as their
predecessors, keeping the sportsmen constantly on the alert to
MR. STANLEY. "Well done, George! I am glad to hear you not only remember the information, but try to retain the phraseology of the geographers. That is the right method to improve your memory; do not halt at the trouble it cost you, for you will be abundantly repaid in the end."
DORA. "We have only one more bay on this side of the equator to notice. Among the numerous bays on the western coast of Africa, first in rank stands Kabenda Bay, near Congo. It is a very fine harbor, and is so agreeable a situation that it is denominated the 'Paradise of the Coast.' The sea is always smooth, and debarkation easy. The town of Kabenda stands amidst delightful scenery, composed of lofty cliffs, verdant hills, and deep luxuriant vales; it is resorted to principally by slavers, who trade thither for slaves, ivory, and wood. The poor inhabitants, strange to say, notwithstanding their oppression, have a great respect for white men, and believe that they know everything, or, in their dialect, 'sabe ebery ting.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "There is a fact worthy the attention of travellers connected with the kingdom of Loango, which you will perceive lies immediately north of Congo. It contains amongst its inhabitants numbers of black Jews scattered throughout the country. They are despised by the negroes, who do not even deign to eat with them. They are occupied in trade, and keep the sabbath so strictly that they do not even converse on that day; they have a separate burying-ground, very far from any habitation. The tombs are constructed with masonry, and ornamented with Hebrew inscriptions, the singularity of which excites the laughter of the negroes, who discern in these hieroglyphics only serpents, lizards, and other reptiles."
MRS. WILTON. "Crossing the line is no longer a novelty to such experienced voyagers as we are, and I think Dora may carry us on to our next station without further remark."
DORA. "The Gulf of Guinea."
MR. WILTON. "Plenty of sea-room there, Dora; but I hope we are to keep along the coast, for with the exception of Fernando Po and St. Thomas's, I know of no place where I should feel disposed to go ashore."
MRS. WILTON. "We are on a coasting expedition, although, for the furtherance of science, we occasionally sail out of the direct track; and as, in this instance, the mention of your inclination to visit these two islands implies some knowledge of their situation, we expect you will furnish the meeting with the requisite information."
MR. WILTON. "Your mamma is very sharp upon me, George. Take warning by my case, and do not interfere with the pilot."
GEORGE. "Ha, capital! Now, papa, Ferdinand Po!"
MR. WILTON. "Our sojourn there will be very brief; not because the island is deficient in fertility, but simply because the society of the natives would be intolerable to civilized noses. They are the filthiest people in the whole world. Words cannot convey an idea of their disgusting nature. They have long hair matted together with red clay and palm oil. This composition has a most outrageous smell, and with it they smear their faces and bodies. They are, generally speaking, a stout, athletic, well made race of people, and particularly harmless in their dispositions, though from their appearance you would not imagine that to be the case, as each individual is always armed with a spear about eight feet in length, made of hard wood, and barbed at each end; which, added to their fierce color and smell, would daunt the courage of a more enlightened savage.
"St. Thomas's should have been first, as it is nearer the equator. It is one of the four Guinea Islands; Prince's Island and Anaboa will make up the number. I know very little of it, except that it helps to furnish the Portuguese shipping with provisions and fresh water. Now I have satisfied the demands of the meeting, and will promise not to interfere again."
CHARLES. "I shall be rejoiced at your interference, sir, if it always have the effect of bringing out your stores; and, now I am pilot for a short time, I beg to state that I shall not require any apology, should you interrupt me in the discharge of my duty, but be thankful for the same.
"Fernando Po. It is in the Bight of Biafra, the coast of which bight is thus described by Dr. Bayle:—'This coast is forbidding in its aspect, dangerous to approach, repulsive when examined, and disgusting when known.' There: that is not a very inviting account: had we not better sail on? Who cries forward?"
"Forward all," exclaimed Mr. Stanley; and Charles was about to proceed, when George interrupted him to inquire if the chimpanzee were not a native of these parts.
MR. STANLEY. "Yes, my boy; it is found not very far from the equator."
GEORGE. "Is it not the largest ape in Guinea?"
MR. STANLEY. "Right again. I will tell you all I know about the gentleman. Its height is four feet, and there is no appearance of a tail. Monsieur de Grandpié gives an account of one which he had the opportunity of observing during a voyage. This animal had learned to heat the oven, and was particularly careful that no coals should escape to set fire to the vessel. It perfectly understood when the oven was sufficiently heated, and never failed to apprise the baker of the circumstance; while he in his turn so entirely confided in it, that he hastened with his bread as soon as the animal went to fetch him, and was never once led into an error. When they turned the capstan, it endeavored to assist with all its power, like a sailor. When the sails were loosened, it mounted the yards of its own accord. It belaced the shrouds as well as any sailor; and observing how the end of the rope was fastened to prevent its hanging, it did the same to the rope of which it had possession. It was as clever as many of the men, and much more nimble, and was treated by the sailors as one of their own crew. This animal died on the passage, owing to the brutal treatment of the second mate. It bore his cruel usage with the greatest resignation, raising its hands in a suppliant manner to implore a remission of the stripes he inflicted. From that moment it refused to eat, and died of hunger and suffering on the fifth day, almost as much regretted as one of the crew would have been. The chimpanzee generally walks upright, supported by the branch of a tree, after the manner of a walking-stick. The negroes dread it, and with much reason; for it is powerful, and uses its power with great harshness whenever they meet. I believe you may see a chimpanzee in the Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park. We will go some day on speculation, George. Now, Charles, 'forward!'"
CHARLES. "The Bight of Benin washes the coast of Dahomey and other countries, known also by the name of the Slave Coast. Dahomey, including the subjugated districts, extends at least 150 miles into the interior. The principal town is Abomey, lying about three degrees east longitude."
MRS. WILTON. "Whidah on this coast must be noticed, as it is so connected with Dahomey. It was once an independent kingdom; but in the year 1727 was conquered by Guadja Irudo, King of Dahomey. Its capital contains about 20,000 inhabitants. In Whidah the religion is pagan; but for some unaccountable reason they worship their divinity under the form of a particular species of snake, called daboa, which is not sufficiently large to be terrible to man, and is otherwise tamable and inoffensive. These daboas are taken care of in the most pious manner, and well fed on rats, mice, or birds in their fetish houses or temples, where the people assemble to pay their adoration, and where those also who are sick or lame apply for assistance."
GRANDY. "Their creed is an odd mixture. They believe in two beings, equal in power; the one doing good, the other evil; and they pray to the demon to allow them to remain unmolested by the magicians, who are constantly endeavoring to injure them."
MR. STANLEY. "In Dahomey the tiger is an object of religious regard; but the people wisely deem it the safest mode of worship to perform their acts of devotion to his skin only, and it is stuffed for that purpose. The government of this country is entirely despotic. The sovereign may cut off as many heads as he likes, and dispose of his subjects' property as he thinks fit, without being accountable to any earthly tribunal. He has from three to four thousand wives, a proportion of whom, trained to arms under female officers, constitute his body-guard."
CHARLES. "What a royal regiment! all queens; why the sight of them would strike terror into an English army. I should throw down my weapons directly."
MR. STANLEY. "But their enemies are not so gallant, and hesitate not to fight this female army, who very often gain the advantage by being so well disciplined."
MR. BARRAUD. "In Dahomey, at a particular period of the year, a grand annual festival is held; and, amidst feastings and rejoicings, deeds are done from which the civilized mind recoils with horror. Numbers of human victims are sacrificed in solemn form.
"They are generally prisoners of war set aside for the purpose; but as seventy is the required number, should there not be so many prisoners, the king makes it up from his own subjects. Their bodies are thrown to wild beasts, while their heads are used to decorate the walls of the royal palace! Still more barbarous is the notion of enjoying the gratification of trampling on the heads of their enemies; and, in order to do this, the King of Dahomey has the passage leading to his bedchamber paved with the skulls of his enemies!"
EMMA. "O cruel murderous people! Sail on, Charles, and leave them far behind. Is not the next coast Ashantee?"
CHARLES. "Yes; Ashantee is at present the most powerful state in all Western Africa, and, in fact, rules over a considerable portion of it. The natives are remarkable for oratory, and will discourse fluently on a given subject for hours. A taste for music is also extensively cultivated, and their taste is evidenced by the native band at Cape Coast Castle, which plays admirably by ear several of the most popular English tunes. The Ashantees, and the natives of the countries contiguous to this coast, build their houses of mud and sticks, which composition they call 'swish.'"
MR. WILTON. "They are a more civilized set than the people of Dahomey; and the Danes have furnished us with a portrait of one of their kings, whose name was Opocco. Here is the account:—'The monarch was seated on a throne of massive gold, under the shade of an artificial tree with golden leaves. His body, extremely lean, and inordinately tall, was smeared over with tallow mixed up with gold dust. A European hat, bound with broad gold lace, covered his head; his loins were encircled with a sash of golden cloth. From his neck down to his feet cornelians, agates, lazulites, were crowded in the form of bracelets and chains, and his feet rested on a golden basin. The grandees of the realm lay prostrate on the ground, with their heads covered with dust. A hundred complainers and accused persons were in a similar posture; behind them twenty executioners, with drawn sabres in their hands waited the royal signal, which generally terminated each cause, by the decapitation of one or other of the parties.'
"The Danish envoy was introduced; and passing a number of bloody heads, recently separated from the bodies, approached the throne. The magnificent flaming prince addressed him with the following most gracious questions:—'I would willingly detain thee for some months in my dominions, to give thee an idea of my greatness. Hast thou ever seen anything to be compared with it? 'No! lord and king,' replied the obsequious envoy, 'thou hast no equal in the world!' 'Thou art right,' said Opocco, 'God in heaven does not much surpass me!' The king drank some English beer from a bottle, and then handed it to the Dane; the latter took a little, and excused himself by saying that the liquor would intoxicate him. 'It is not the beer that confounds thee,' said Opocco; 'it is the brightness of my countenance which throws the universe into a state of inebriety!' This same king conquered the brave prince Oorsoock, chief of the Akims, who slew himself. He caused the head of the vanquished prince to be brought to him, decked it with golden bracelets, and in presence of his generals directed to him the following speech:—'Behold him laid in the dust, this great monarch, who had no equal in the universe, except God and me! He was certainly the third. Oh! my brother Oorsoock, why wouldst thou not acknowledge thyself my inferior? But thou hopedst to find an opportunity of killing me; thou thoughtest that there ought not to be more than one great man in the world. Thy sentiment was not to be blamed; it is one in which all mighty kings ought to participate.'"
GRANDY. "What fearful arrogance and presumption! It sufficiently testifies their direful state of ignorance, which ignorance, I trust to hear, will soon be effectually removed; for there are now missionary establishments on this coast, which, since the year 1834, have been progressing. At first, the ministers were much dispirited, owing to the evil effects of the climate on the European constitution, for after a year or two they were cut off by death; and, in order to continue the mission, other pious men and their wives were obliged to be sent out. Again, these died; but yet the work prospered; and now, blessed be God! the few whose lives have been spared, are enabled to report that many natives have turned unto the Lord their God. Every Sabbath morning, public worship is celebrated in the chapel at Cape Coast Town, when the beautiful liturgy of our Church is read; and the decorum which is observed by the natives, who read the responses, appears in striking opposition to the wild irrational service which they formerly offered at the temple of their fetish."
MRS. WILTON. "The unconverted believe in a Supreme Being; but they have a curious tradition respecting the creation, which has prevailed among them from the earliest period of their history. They believe that, in the beginning of the world, God, having created three white and three black men, with an equal number of women of each color, resolved, in order that they might be left without cause of complaint, to allow them to fix their own destiny, by giving them the choice of good and evil. A large box or calabash was placed upon the ground, together with a sealed paper or letter. The black men had the first choice, and took the calabash, expecting that it contained all that was desirable; but, upon opening it, they found only a piece of gold, some iron, and several other metals of which they did not know the use. The white men opened the paper, and it told them everything. All this is supposed to have happened in Africa, in which country it is believed God left the blacks, with the choice which their avarice had prompted them to make, under the care of inferior or subordinate deities; but conducted the whites to the water-side, where he communicated with them every night, and taught them to build a small vessel, which carried them to another country, from whence, after a long period, they returned with various kinds of merchandise to barter with the blacks, whose perverse choice of gold in preference to the knowledge of letters had doomed them to inferiority."
MR. STANLEY. "Affairs would have been better ordered for the blacks, had they allowed the ladies to have a voice in the selection; but they never had a good opinion of the fair sex, and they are no wiser at the present day as many of their customs sufficiently testify.—A peculiar provision is made in Ashantee with reference to the female sex. One of the king's sisters is constituted the governess of the empire, or queen over the females, and all are said to be placed under her control and direction: but whatever may be the nature and object of the training to which she subjects them, it is certain that it is not intended to make the wife the rational companion and confidential friend of her husband; for if an Ashantee wife is detected in listening to a conversation of her husband, her curiosity is sure to cost her an ear; and if she betray a secret with which she has by any means become acquainted, her incensed husband punishes her by cutting off her upper lip. The sight of women who have suffered such inflictions, is common even in the present day.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "These are the cruelties of a barbarous people, but they are not horrified at deeds of blood; indeed, such is the union of barbarism and magnificence in this African country, that on a court day there is invariably in immediate attendance upon the king the royal chief executioner, a man of gigantic size, bearing a massive gold hatchet, and having exhibited before him the execution stool, clotted with human blood and partly covered with a caul of fat!"
MRS. WILTON. "That is done, no doubt, from policy, to inure his courtiers to scenes of horror, in hopes of rendering them callous to human suffering and courageous in the field of battle. Ah, well! we have heard enough of them: let us now visit some other country."
DORA. "Liberia is the next station and much more desirable; for the climate is better than most other parts of the coast, the soil fruitful, and the inland population quiet and inoffensive, and more inclined to industry than their neighbors."
GRANDY. "There is a thriving missionary establishment at Liberia, which I hope will before long exert its benign influence over the Bowchee people, who are located some few miles distant. They are a miserable race, entirely devoid of feeling; the gentle appeals of nature are unknown to them; parental tenderness dwells not in their bosoms, for they will sell their children as slaves to the greatest strangers in the world, with no more remorse of conscience than if they had been common articles of merchandise. I will tell you a story of a Bowchee mother:—'A travelling slave-dealer passing through the place had purchased several of their children of both sexes, from the inhabitants, and amongst others an old woman had an only daughter, whom she parted with for a necklace of beads. The unhappy girl, who was about thirteen or fourteen years of age, on being dragged away from the threshold of her parent's hut, clung distractedly around the knees of her unfeeling mother, and looking up wistfully in her face burst into a flood of tears, exclaiming with passionate vehemence:—"O mother! do not sell me; what will become of me? what will become of yourself in your old age if you send me from you? who will fetch you corn and milk? who will pity you when you die? Have I been unkind to you? O mother! do not sell your only daughter. I will take you in my arms when you are feeble and carry you under the shade of trees. I will repay the kindness you showed me in my infant years. When you are weary, I will fan you to sleep; and whilst you are sleeping, I will drive away flies from you. I will attend on you when you are in pain; and when you die, I will shed rivers of sorrow over your grave. O mother! dear mother! do not push me away from you; do not sell your only daughter to be the slave of a stranger!" Her tears were useless—her remonstrances vain. The unnatural parent, shaking the beads in the face of her only child, thrust her from her embraces; and the slave-dealer drove the agonized girl from the place of her nativity.'"
EMMA. "Oh! how very shocking! Poor girl! how dreadful to have such cruel, relentless parents. Oh dear! I hope the work of the missionaries will be blessed, and that God will soften the hard hearts of those savage and mercenary people."
CHARLES. "Between Liberia and Sierra Leone are Sherboro' Bay and Yawry Bay. Sierra Leone, or 'Mountains of the Lioness,' is so unhealthy that we should not live long if we went there."
MRS. WILTON. "You are right, Charles. It was established as a colony in 1787, for the express purpose of laboring to civilize the Africans. All the cargoes of the recaptured slavers are taken there, and every comfort and convenience afforded to the unfortunate negroes. But it is so extremely unhealthy that Europeans can scarcely carry out their plans, and death mows them down in the midst of their usefulness."
CHARLES. "Then I may conclude that all members are desirous of proceeding. Between Sierra Leone and Cape Verd the bays are immaterial; but from Cape Verd, sailing north, we pass four tolerable-sized indentations—Tindal, Greyhound, Cintra, and Garnet Bays. Then a brisk wind will speedily waft us to the point from whence we started, viz. the Straits of Gibraltar."
MR. WILTON. "We have nearly come to a conclusion then, and without any of the misfortunes incidental to travellers. We have gone over the vast extent of waters which encompass our globe, and been for some months engaged in examining the wonders of the ocean, without meeting any of the monsters of the deep, such as krakens, sea-serpents, &c.; nevertheless, I am not so skeptical as to disbelieve all I have not the opportunity of viewing with my own bodily eyes. I do think that the sea contains monsters such as Mrs. Howitt describes:—
'Things all misshapen, slimy, cold,
Writhing, and strong, and thin,'
which it would be dangerous to observe too near; and I shall feel we have gained an advantage by these little meetings if they lead you young folks to reflect on the probabilities of different travellers' assertions, before you either receive or reject them."
MRS. WILTON. "We have sailed all round the coast of Africa, but would there be any danger in going to the lakes of Africa?"
MR. WILTON. "None that I am aware of; and as there are only three of any magnitude there, we shall not be long on the excursion. I will visit two myself, and report discoveries.
"Lake Ludea is in Tunis, and is scarcely worth the expense of a journey thither. Lake Maravi is in the south, near Mozambique, and is rather larger, but not an agreeable situation. Mr. Stanley, will you be good enough to conduct the ladies to the banks of Lake Tchad?"
MR. STANLEY. "I should be sorry to take the ladies to such a country; but I will venture alone and, like you, collect the necessary information, if that will suit the purpose?"
EMMA. "Oh! yes, sir, that will do quite as well."
MR. STANLEY. "Lake Tchad is the largest inland sea in Africa, its circumference about 300 miles, its situation in the country of Bornou. It contains sweet, fresh, and still water; is surrounded by many lakes, both fresh and salt; and has several rivers running into it, although it has no outlet, which is the cause of its occasionally overflowing the surrounding country. Bornou is not a pleasant place, it swarms with innumerable creeping horrors, and savage animals; the latter often enter the villages, and carry off the unfortunate slaves while at work. Simplicity, good-nature, and ugliness are the peculiar characteristics of the people; and although the men are not warriors, nor the women favored by nature, they are certainly a kind, inoffensive race. Angornou is the largest and most populous town of Bornou; it is situated a few miles from Lake Tchad, and contains 30,000 inhabitants. Major Denham gives a very good account of an interview with the Sultan of Bornou. He writes:—'The Sultan received us in an open space in front of the royal residence: we were kept at a considerable distance, while his people approached to within about 100 yards, passing first on horseback; and after dismounting and prostrating themselves before him, they took their places on the ground in front, but with their backs to the royal person, which is the custom of the country. The Sultan was seated in a sort of cage, of cane or wood, near the door of his garden, on a seat which, at the distance, appeared to be covered with silk or satin, and through the railing looked upon the assembly before him, who formed a semicircle in front of him. Nothing could be more absurd and grotesque than the figures who formed this court. Large stomachs and large heads are indispensable for those who serve the court of Bornou, and those who unfortunately possess not the former by nature, make up the deficiency with wadding. A little to our left, or nearly in front of the Sultan, was an extempore declaimer, shouting forth praises of his master, with his pedigree; and near him one who bore the long wooden "frum-frum," on which he ever and anon blew a blast, loud and unmusical,' The major says, the appearance of these courtiers was ridiculous in the extreme, squatting down in their places, or tottering under the weight and magnitude of their turbans and their stomachs, while their thin legs, that appeared underneath, but ill accorded with the bulk of the other parts. I see George laughing at the picture I have drawn of these curious little men, but you would not dare to laugh in the presence of the mighty Sultan of Bornou; he would immediately exclaim, 'Off with his head!' if you so far outraged the rules of Bornouan etiquette. I will now give you a description of a wedding in this African country, and we will then bid the people a long farewell. The bridegroom's friends, to the number of 200 or 300, sally forth, dressed in their best clothes, to meet the bride. Behold her! mounted on a bullock whose back is covered with blue and white cloths. She is followed by four female slaves, laden with straw baskets, wooden bowls, and earthen pots; after them appear two other bullocks carrying the remainder of the fair bride's dowry. She is attended by her mother, and five or six young ladies, who act as bridesmaids. According to their mode of salutation, we must gallop up to them repeatedly. See! the ladies cover their faces, and scream their thanks; and as it is extremely indelicate to gaze upon the bride, we must cast our eyes on the ground, wheel our horses round, and gallop back again. You will ask, 'Is that all; and where is the bridegroom?' Ah! poor fellow! he has been parading the streets all the day, with a crowd after him, dressed in all the finery he could buy or borrow, while the people blew horns, beat drums, and cried, 'May you live forever!' 'God prosper you!' 'Gray hairs to you!' There is no further ceremony. The bride is handed over to her husband in the evening by her mother, and henceforth they are man and wife."
GEORGE. "Oh! what very odd things are done in strange lands! I am so sorry our examinations are over, and I wish we could begin them all again. What religion are the people of Bornou?"
MR. STANLEY. "They are Mohammedans; and very superstitious, trusting greatly to their medicine men."
GRANDY. "I have really enjoyed these meetings as much as the young folks, for I think there is no study more delightful, nor more useful, than that which makes us acquainted with the world and its inhabitants. As our business has been mostly on the waters, I consider that we ought not to close the subject without calling to mind the period when 'the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth,' and 'all that was in the dry land died.' Beware, my dear children, that you forget not the awful catastrophe from which the family of faithful Noah alone escaped; nor that the cause of it was the iniquity of men!"
GEORGE. "I never see a rainbow, but I think of the Deluge, because you taught me the texts concerning God's covenant, dear Grandy, and the promise that the earth should no more be destroyed by a flood: but I have often wondered what could be the size of the ark to contain so many living creatures."
MR. WILTON. "I believe I can inform you somewhat on that head. A scriptural cubit measures twenty-one inches, and it has been calculated according to the dimensions given in the 6th chapter of Genesis, that the ark must have been of the enormous burden of 19,530 tons!"
CHARLES. "Enormous! why our first-rate men-of-war are scarcely 3000 tons, and yet how large they look. How long was it in building?"
MRS. WILTON. "Many authors agree in stating it to have been one hundred and twenty years in building."
MR. STANLEY. "There is now no alternative—our discussion must come to an end. The last voyage has been highly interesting, although, perhaps, not in the most delightful portion of the globe; but I cannot help expressing a sincere wish, that your real voyage to the West Indies may afford you as much enjoyment and edification; and its termination be as happy and well-ordered, as this imaginary voyage, which has not only proved us all tolerable sailors and respectable navigators, but also testified that the good ship 'Research' has truly merited her name, and earned many laurels for herself and owners."
Mr. Stanley then presented George with a beautiful telescope, as a reward for his perseverance in the acquirement of geographical knowledge. He charged him to make a profitable use of it, for the benefit of the captain on their voyage to Jamaica; and, added he, as he placed the valuable gift in the hands of the delighted boy: "Keep a sharp look-out, George; and mind that you are the first to shout a sail! a sail! Then you will see how the faces of the weather-beaten sailors will brighten as they run to have a look at her. Then will the captain call for his speaking trumpet, and some such questions as these will be put to the stranger. Where are you bound? Where do you come from? Are you all hearty on board? The boatswain will then hang out the black board, with the latitude and longitude marked on it; the stranger will do the same. If they agree, all well and good, they each sail on their separate courses, wishing for fair winds and a prosperous voyage; such as I sincerely hope may fall to the share of the members of our little Society."
We must now leave our young friends, as we cannot accompany them across the Atlantic for want of a vessel. The "Research" having behaved so well in their late expeditions, she is still to be honored with their company; and being a merchant ship, she cannot accommodate many passengers.
Should my readers be anxious to hear of the safe arrival of their young friends in the "Land of Springs," I must beg to refer them to Lloyd's for particulars of "Research," A. 1. 400 tons burden, Commander Frederic Hamilton.
The ancients are said to have derived the art of navigation from these animals, which, in calm weather, are seen floating on the surface of the water, with some of their tentacula extended at their sides, while two arms that are furnished with membranaceous appendages serve the office of sails. These animals raise themselves to the surface of the sea, by ejecting the sea-water from their shells; and on the approach of danger, they draw their arms, and with them a quantity of water, which occasions them to sink immediately. By possessing this power, they are but rarely taken perfect, as the instant they are disturbed they disappear. They are more frequently caught in the nets of fishermen than any other way, or found left dry on rocks.
Vide Sketches of Travel by Francis Schroeder.
More properly written "diwaun."
Thus named from Helle, who, according to poetical tradition, perished in these waters, and from Pontus, the Greek word for sea.
Vide History of Guernsey, by Dicey.
Xavier Hommaire de Hell.
Vide Lieutenant Wellsted's Travels in Arabia.
A ducat is of the value of nine shillings and threepence sterling.
Madera signifies wooded.
So named because these two vessels were here frozen up from October 20th, 1822, to August 8th, 1823.
Animals similar to the wild boar of Europe, but very small.
Cayman: a species of alligator.
Ilex: a species of oak.
J. Bayard Taylor's 'Eldorado.'
Tapa is a species of stuff made from the inner bark of the mulberry-tree.
Right Rev. Samuel Gobat.
Mr. Leigh, surgeon of the Australian Company's ship "South Australia."