Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

foolishly put in the bottom of her sed it by loud shrieks, buč still kept trunk. A young girl went about in- firm hold of the articles i had put into quiring what we would do when it got their hands; the mother gliding across dark, for if the wind blew out the the floor with the brandy bottle, and lights upon deck, the Captain could the daughter following close behind not possibly know which way the ship with the glass. At last, the trunk went; and her mother, who was à came into colesion with the back of fisherman's widow, said that her expe= the former, and hit her such a severe rience of sea matters taught her to blow that she began so gasp for breath, know that unless things were differ- and soon fell prostrate, on which sitoently managed on board, our vesselation she was firmly pinioned by the would soon go to pieces. The man weight of a couple of chairs that hap. who had fallen down the gangway, pened to roll above her. The Captain met with no sympathy or attention, now entered the cabin, and the scene and I was obliged to order some seamen before him seemed so ludicrous, that to carry him to his birth, otherwise he he could not refrain from laughter. would have been totally neglected. He immediately released the old woHowever, on examination, we found man from her jeopardy, and then adthat he was but slightly hurt, and ministered a liberal portion of brandy therefore consigned him to the care of to both females, telling them that the one of his relations, and then left the worst of the gale was over, and that we steerage.

would soon have fine weather ConThe gale continued without the soled by these assurances, they returnleast abatement, and as the violent ed to the steerage, and made the happy pitching of the vessel rendered it im- intelligence known there, and all me possible for one to sit up, or employ had hoped for was soon realized. The himself any way, I returned to my wind suddenly changed its direction, birth. It soon after grew dark, and and abated to a gentle breeze, and long the situation of all parties became ere midnight, tranquillity prevailed doubly disagreeable and alarming. In both above and below decks. the course of the evening I was start Next morning we found ourselves ed by loud cries, and next moment an sweeping along under the influence of old woman and her daughter rushed favourable and moderate wind. Most into the cabin, with looks of terror, of the emigrants having alike recovered and dropping on their knees, said that from their fears and their sea sickness, their time would not now be long, for kept the deck, and began to display the vessel had twice been half under their respective characters more fully water. I at the same moment, heard than they had hitherto done. The perthe brine trickling down the gangway, son who seemed most inclined to take and consequently supposed we had the lead, was a man named M‘Arthur, shipped a sea, but endeavoured to re- and by profession a distiller. He was move their fears, by saying that such tall and raw boned, and had something things occurred frequently, and did very whimsical in the expression of his not prove the existence of danger. countenance, and in his whole deportHowever, as they remained nearly ment. He walked the deck constantly speechless with dread, I got up, and with his hands in his pockets, obserhaving taken a bottle of brandy and a ving all that passed, and making reglass from the locker, gave the one to marks upon it to those around him, the mother, and the other to her daugh- and whoever disputed his opinions was ter, telling them to revive their spirits sure to feel the weight of his ridicule by drinking a little cordial. They and sarcasm. The person next in im. readily agreed to this, and the old wo- portance, bore the appellation of Spiers, man was in the act of filling up a glass- and was a thread-maker, according to ful, when an unexpected rolling of the his own account. He professed to be vessel made her and her daughter slide a man of education and knowledge of suddenly over to the opposite side of the world, and often hinted that nişthe cabin. Next moment we swung fortunes alone had induced him to tremendously in contrary direction, abandon his native country and become and the two females were again hurled a steerage passenger. He held, as it to leeward, along with a table, several were, the situation of master of cerechairs, and a large trunk. The noise monies on board, and adjusted all was now distracting, and they increa« points connected with conduct and he

[ocr errors]

pardy

, tak

Elling

Tas ore fine wenza irans

andmed:

Tanged its de ntle breta!

-eight of an old man; “I warrant ye the best Lloyd's List. The wind was direct a

He prubs of nautical affairs, but yesterday's tem-
Sien hintal 3" We're no accustomed to such adven- cast anchor."-" I have my doubts if
e countetants,
111 of meste "he weather-there was a greater stock
ger. He mihem. The Captain took little head of had not hitherto spoken." It is asto-
with comes Vol. X.

Ecks, but haviour. A cooper bore the third rank all us passengers put together."--"Say
Eicles in among the emigrants; however, he did nothing about the Captain !" cried à
other f not enjoy this elevation because he woman; his behaviour made my
brandt z possessed any personal or intellectual blood curdle cold,-instead of saying
wing is superiority, but merely in consequence his prayers, or thinking about the pre-
at lista of his broad humour, want of percep- servation of the Christian people on

mih tion, and undisguised vulgarity of cha- board his ship, he passed his time in Et her at tacter. Several other males of the party turning round that bit wheel there,” some distinguished themselves in various (pointing to the apparatus for moving rate on t ways, among whom was an individual the tiller.).--" You speak without

who had a smattering of navigation and knowledge,” returned Mrs Burrel, “ if of chaint astronomy, and who usually made his it was'nt for that wheel it would be e her. I appearance upon deck about mid-day, impossible to manage the ship.”—“Ay, abin

, er with a quadrant in his hand. When ay," answered the first,“ I fancy the 1 so hirever he saw the Captain preparing to captain told you só; but I'm rather

take an observation, he set about doing unfond of believing every thing I hear.” leased to so likewise, and afterwards committed "Keep your tongue in order," cried

the results to paper, and remained ab- Mrs Burrel; “ have you the impus

solved in the contemplation of them dence to tell me that I speak an unprie during some hours. He then strutted truth? Well, well, I thank my stars

consequentially along the deck, and the ship's no under your command.” scarcely deigned to reply to his fellow “ If it was,” replied her enraged op

passengers, when they ventured to in- ponent, “ I would give you a hot quire in what latitude we were, or how birth."-"I daresay that,” interrupted many miles we had sailed within a Mrs Burrel ; "and I half deserve such

certain space of time. The old woman already, for demeaning myself by ta3 soon and her daughter, who were named king a place in the steerage—I'll be a

Burrel, took the lead among the females cabin passenger the next voyage I

on board. Having resided in a small make---my rich friends will never for.

village, and been of some importance give me for disconveniencing myself in elow dee there, they seemed resolved to maintain this fashion.” we form the dignity they had once enjoyed, and

- We have at least one comfortable nder the to exact a proportionable degree of reflection," said Spiers, stepping foroderate "deference from their fellow-passen- ward, and raising his voice, none of gers. They usually sat near the com

us shewed the least want of courage nd their panion, and entered into conversation during the hour of danger.” -“There nd began with the captain and mate as often as

was a fine shew of pale faces, though,” haracter opportunity offered. When they did observed MʻArthur.-“ Yes, because Inerto das address any other person, it was with we were all sea-sick.” replied a young

an air of condescension and reserve, man." Sea-sick !” exclaimed Mrs an namall and they affected to despise, and un Burrel; “I don't know what you a distila dervalue all those things that astonish- mean. I wasn't sea-sick. I never was , and belsed, amused, or interested, the other sea-sick in my life, and I've made voythe expreemigrants.

ages before this.'

I wish I could in his way. The gale of wind we had experien- say as you do, mistress," observed the

the deaced formed a subject of conversation old man who had spoken first; “howI his parison board for several days, and almost ever ill I was at the heart, I noticed sed , and severy one expressed his opinion con some things that made me doubt our

• The hand of Providence Captain's skill. I never was on the sea ited bis alone preserved us from the deep,” said before, indeed, but then I've read

sailor in this ship never saw such wea- head, but still he kept up the sails.

ther before. I've been in the way of Now, what could be the purpose of Leker , Beeing Lloyd's list, and getting a notion that? just to drive us back to the place

we came from. In mynotion, he should and harpest beats all I've yet

read about.” have taken down all his canvass, and ed indien tures," returned' another of the emi- he could have found botton to do

" and so we think more of that,” said a sedate-looking man, who

canquili

aving i

nost inde

those 2 cerning it.

de personas appellatie

on

1

nishing what mistakes prevail about courage in his little finger than in the depth of the sea. It has bottom ,

3 M

d, and 2:30p

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

everywhere," cried Spiers.—“Ay, ay, dealt in a species of eloquence that your right," returned M'Arthur; was well suited to the peculiarity of « but the longest thread you ever the scene, and the novelty of his situwound off a pirn, wouldn't reach it ation. Indeed, the objects around him where we are now."-"What are you could hardly fail to have an inspiring stike all speaking about ?” said Mrs Burrel; effect. On every side a silent and un“ we've been made acquainted with ruffled expanse of ocean stretched to the the the depth of the water every two hours the horizon, which was skirted by long sletion since we set sail. Haven't you seen ranges of pyramidal-shaped clouds. the mate throw a cord with a bit wood These floated, as it were, upon the at the end of it, over the ship's side, verge of the sea, and received the full and let it run off a reel till it sinks to radiance of an unobscured and almost the bottom ? He then draws it in and vertical sun, while their serene and looks at it, and so finds out how much unchanging masses had an aspect of water we have below us. The last time mute attention that harmonized comhe did this I asked what the depth pletely with the religious impressions was, and he said, eight miles.”—“You produced by the sermon which our are under an egregious mistake,” cried orator was then delivering. The ship d the man with the quadrant ; " the in- sometimes rolled gently from side to strument you mention is used for the side, and made the sails flap against purpose of ascertaining the rate of the the masts, but the noise of this did ship’s progress, and is denominated the not at all overpower his voice, which log-line. It was invented about the

was strong, impressive, and melodiyear “Oh,” interrupted Mrs ous. His audience, consisting of men, Burrel, “ it's a fine thing to have a women, and children, sat or stood greater share of lear than one's neigh- around in various groups; and several bours, or maybe impudence. I sus ardent hearers had climbed up the pect the mate's wiser than you, not- rigging, that they might have a full withstanding the whirligigs you carry view of him. After some time he about the deck.”—“My grandfather brought forward, and endeavoured to had great skill of the sea,” said an old support, a doctrine so new and extrawoman;

“ he used to tell me that it vagant, that many of the emigrants was fifty miles deep in some places, began to express their disapprobation and had mountains of salt in the bot- by significant looks and gestures

. tom.' -“ There's nae use of speaking However, he paid no regard to their here,” exclaimed Mrs Burrel, angrily; implied censures, but continued to de“ the less some folks know, the less fend his opinions with additional vethey wish to learn.”

hemence and fluency of language, till On the first Sunday that occurred a slight heaving of the ship made him after we had set sail, the weather was lose his equilibrium, and he fell down calm, sunny, and delightful. The the main hatch, and was followed in emigrants strolled about the deck in his descent by the cask upon which he groups, or sat in different parts of had stood. Its head unfortunately the vessel reading their Bibles; and the came out, and a large quantity of flour seamen, having no duty to perform, dropped upon the ill-fated preacher

, participated in the general inactivity. and whitened every part of his body so About mid-day, a man who had often completely, that his audience started before attracted my attention, came back, and scarcely knew him when be up from the steerage, and began to appeared upon deck again. The Caplook around him, as if desirous

of as- tain, who had sat near the companion certaining if all the passengers were during the whole sermon, immedipresent; he then mounted a large ately rose up, and swore he would cask, and gave out a text from the throw him overboard if he did not Scriptures, and proceeded to expound pay for the flour he had been the it. A general commotion took place means of destroying, “ Can ye expect among the emigrants, most of whom good without evil, when human creaseemed too much astonished to think tures are the agents ?” said the preachof interrupting him ; however, they er. “ I am unable to pay for what is it soon became quiet again, and listen- lost, but will gladly have it taken off ed with undivided attention. The my allowances during the voyage. enthusiasm of the preacher became This proposal was received with great greater the longer he spoke, and he applause by the emigrants, many

of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

17), ander roll; their terror was then so great, that and the helmsman and five of his comKuis audio scoffings of their fellow-passengers.

par as they soon reached, amidst the derisiye undistinguishable at the other end of Dear the bows of the vessel, and on a level with to see, and as our conversation turned 18. "C* cept through the main hatch. About said he, is in the capacity of a common : uring is they took place in that part of the ship charge of a large ship that had been

of each whom, notwithstanding their aversion asserted, that one dark morning, while the rest to the tenets he had inculcated, offer- at the helin, he had seen a white figure movie ed to share their provisions with him ; standing upon the bowsprit, and that ubjects however, the mate succeeded in ap- he called to the people of the watch, hared' peasing the Captain, and all further al- who were lying about the deck half ale ask tercation ceased.

asleep, but before he could rouse them, After this was adjusted, those who the spectre had vanished. Another was dit had stationed themselves in the rig- said, he sometimes heard voices whisinducit ging began to descend to the deck, but pering beneath him when he lay in his If wet i on getting a certain way down the birth, but could neither tell what they od rade shrouds, they were astonished to find uttered, nor from whom they proceedburns their farther progress impeded by three ed, though he believed that the thing e their seamen who stood in a line, and occu- that made such noises was at least a s bad pied all the foot-ropes. On request. fatkom below the steerage floor. Et barni ing permission to pass, they were in The superstitious alarm produced ligius formed that it would not be granted, among the seamen by these circumserca i unless they agreed to pay the forfeit of stances, was speedily communicated to elivering a bottle of rum, which it was usual to the passengers, and the subject undergendy a exact from each person when he went went so much discussion, that it soon e saib aloft the first time. They all declared reached the Captain's ears. He affect

they had no rum, but the seamen in- ed to treat the matter lightly, saying, er his te formed them that the Captain would there was no room for ghosts in a ship saire, a sell as much as they chose. Being un so crowded as ours, and at the same

willing to part with their money, they time remarked, that if the stories told Iren, sii were puzzled how to act, and began to by the sailors had any foundation, groups

: i exclaim against the justness of the de- they were to be accounted for by sup, d einde mand that was made upon them; how- posing that some of the emigrants had might is ever, their fellow-passengers, instead of been playing tricks upon their creduter at attending to these complaints, laughed lity. The mate, however, did not seem and ends at their embarrassment, and encouraged to be satisfied with this explanation,

the sailors to persist in requiring the and he took me aside, and stated, that y of ths customary tribute. Those who had ig- as a strange figure had been seen near bei dar norantly exposed themselves to its ex- the bows of the vessel the preceding wks zu action, would not consent to pay it, and night, he intended to watch for its re

remained on the shrouds, exposed to appearance, and hoped I would second
but cnix the jeers and taunts of the spectators his purpose.
with e below, for nearly half an hour. At About twelve o'clock we took our
carolins length a breeze sprung up, the sea be- station near the companion; all the
The sts came agitated, and the ship began to emigrants had retired to their births,
and was they seemed willing to agree to any rades alone remained upon deck. The

terins rather than be forced to remain latter had laid themselves down ap-
aloft, and therefore promised the sailors parently half asleep, and every thing
all they wanted. They were then per- was silent except the waves, which
mitted to descend to the deck, which made noise enough to render our voices

the vessel. We therefore talked with-
The place in which the seamen slept out fear of being overheard by the
and took their meals, was close to the mysterious visitor whom we expected
the steerage, from which it was sepa- chiefly upon sailors' superstitions, my
rated by a wooden partition. The hold companion related a story in illustra-
lay under all, but neither the crew nor: tion of the subject.

After making
emigrants had any access to it ex- three voyages to the West Indies,
a week after we left port, the former seamau, I was discharged, the vessel
began to complain that they were often having changed its owners. I could
disturbed during the night by noises find no employment for some time, but
wbich they could not account for, as

myself
where the cargo was stowed, and where laid up and dismantled during several
no person could possibly be. A sailor years. My duty consisted in washing

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cask upp

head

[ocr errors]

knew his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SHUT oard if he had the

[ocr errors]

when ls

e to per

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

her decks, keeping her clean, and re- upon the spokes, and remained mopairing any thing that went wrong tionless, notwithstanding the violent about her works. She lay in a retired and sudden labourings of the ressel. part of the harbour, and far from the He had a pale and dejected counterest of the shipping, and no one lived nance, and kept his eyes fixed upon on board of her but myself. For the the topmasts, like a careful and expefirst few days, things went quietly rienced steersman; and though I call. enough, though I must confess I felt ed out several times, he neither chanrather lonesome at night, particularly ged his position nor appeared to notice when the weather was bad, and often me. I took my station within a few wished that some of the boats which I yards of him, not daring to approach heard passing and repassing at a dis- any nearer, and became, as it were, tance, would come alongside and leave entranced by fear and curiosity. I me a companion. One morning, when gradually thought we were in the midin the hold, I observed an old rudder dle of a wide ocean, and scudding along wheel lying among some rubbish. I before a gale of wind so tremendous, took it up, and was shocked and asto- that the dismantled masts rung under nished to find the skeleton of a man's its violence. The most terrible seas arm, as far as the shoulder, bound to seemed to swell and burst around us, it with a rope. The fesh had com- but the mysterious helmsman brought pletely decayed, but the sinews and the ship safely through them all; and bones remained entire, and the hand when I looked astern, I saw every still grasped one of the spokes of the thing bright, sunny, and tranquil

, wheel, as it in the act of steering. A though black clouds, lightnings, and a cold shivering came over me, and I hurricane frowned, flashed, and rathrew the whole into a dark corner, ged before us. On regaining my reand went about my usual occupations; collection, I found myself standing in however, my mind felt unsettled and the very place where I had first lost it, uneasy, and I was continually thinking but the spectre had vanished, and no of the human remains I had seen, and trace of him remained. wondering how they could have come “ I spent the next day in dreary exthere. The night that succeeded all pectation of again encountering my this was a very tempestuous one, and supernatural visitor; however, I was the ship being crank and indifferently agreeably disappointed, and a week moored, laboured dreadfully. I lay passed away without my having once down in my birth soon after dark, but seen him, though I regularly watched the inore I tried to sleep, the less did for his appearance. At length a gale of I feel inclined to do so; the wind made wind again occurred, and when mida wild and dreary sound among the night arrived, I observed him take bis old shrouds and dismantled masts, station at the helm in the same way as that was far more terrifying than its before, though I could not discover fiercer roarings round a ship in full from whence

he came, or how he got trim would have been. At length I on board. I soon bad a vision similar got tired of lying awake, and went to the one already described, and on upon deck to see how the weather awaking from it, found myself alone. looked. The moon was in the top of All this took place every night while the heavens, but gave almost no light, the storm lasted. You may be sure I in consequence of the immense layers rejoiced in the return of fine weather, of broken black clouds that sweptalong and subsequently dreaded a wild how before her ; however, they sometimes rizon as much as if I had been at set. opened for a few moments, and then “After this, the fear of the apperishe suddenly blazed forth like a flash tion made me so miserable, that I roof lightning, and shewed every object solved to look out for another birth. around. The second time this hap. One morning, while full of such pened I thought I saw a man standing thoughts, I saw a boat coming towards at the helm; I shouted with terror, the ship, and soon recognized my old but no one replied, and I began to sus- friend, Bill Waters, tugging an oar, pect that fancy had deceived me; how- in company with several other seamen. ever, on looking again, I was convin-. They soon got alongside, and asked ced of the reality of the appearance. how I did, and were just pushing off He was dressed like a sailor, and stood again, when I requested Bill to come close to the wheel, having his hands on board, and spend the day with me,

« VorigeDoorgaan »