« VorigeDoorgaan »
The vessel, under its Who is not here ?" asked old Hen
tained the situation for the first mate. sight they remained in awed and solemn Old Hendrik and the other sailors re silence. At last the boatswain exclaimed, mained in the ship, but the cabin-boy, Jan, in a hoarse and choked sort of voice, suddenly disappeared, and no tidings could “ There is that mermaid again!" be heard of him. This time, however, no “It is no mermaid,” said the captain, mermaid was blamed, but, as it was known shuddering; "it is the spirit of the unthat he had gone ashore, it was supposed quiet dead ! But why did she come ? that he was tired of a sea-faring life, and He is not here!" had run away. new commander, made two or three voy- drik; "and of what unquiet spirit are you ages to the North Seas, during which not speaking ?” a single mermaid had presented herself, “No matter," replied the captain, though the shores of Denmark, Norway, quickly. “Let bygones be bygones! It and Sweden are known to be favorite re would do no good to the dead or to the sorts of the “maidens of the ocean," who living to rip up old stories now." have been frequently celebrated in song He went down stairs without explaining by the bards of those countries. At himself further ; but old Hendrik began length the Regenboog's head was again to reflect; and by some process of reasonturned toward the distant West; again it ing in his own mind, he ended by connectwas going to Curaçoa and the free port | ing the specter visitor of that night with of St. Thomas; again it was to cross the the mysterious disappearance of the former wide Atlantic.
captain's melancholy - looking wife, the It had had a glorious voyage, and every unfortunate Madeleine. sail set to catch the favoring breeze ; it On its return to Holland from the West was scudding on swiftly, but gently, over Indies, the new captain, old Hendrik, and the moonlit sea. There was not a cloud all the sailors left the Regenboog ; and it in the soft blue sky above, not a sail on was manned by an entirely new crew, as the wide expanse of ocean around, but the well as having a new commander. But moonbeams glittered and danced upon the the white ocean-spirit still chose to haunt slightly foaming waves, and melted into the unlucky ship; the passengers, officers, silver-like paths upon their heaving sur and seamen were scared almost out of face. The new captain and the old boat- their senses; and strange appearances swain were both on deck, for the night continuing to be visible on each succeedwas warm, and there was not much in- ing voyage across the Atlantic, the vessel ducement to go below; eight bells struck, acquired so bad a name that no one would and “How late it is !" the captain had take passage by it; and still worse, no just exclaimed, as he turned toward the crew would join it, no mate or master companion-way, when a white female form take charge of it. was seen slowly to emerge from it. She Under these circumstances the Regentook the other side of the deck, and glid- hoog was sold to a mercantile house at ing along with noiseless footfall, she Hamburg ; but “the white lady" who walked leisurely toward the stern of the haunted it was inexorable ; again and vessel, then, retracing her steps, she passed again she appeared, though more faintly, along until she reached the top of the and in a form less defined.
The imagcabin stairs, where, with the abstracted inative Germans were still more frightair of a sleep-walker, she quietly descended ened than the phlegmatic Dutch had been. to the cabin below. Presently the ap- No amount of thalers could persuade any palled spectators on deck beheld appar- seafaring man to embark in the unlucky ently the same white form borne on the vessel, and it was sold to a Danish shipwaves, and treading the deep blue waters owner at Copenhagen. The poor Rainas if they had been firm as a marble pave- bow was repaired, refitted, repainted, and ment! On-on she came; then wildly rechristened. It was thenceforth called, tossing her arms and clasping her hands in Danish, Det Gode Haab, 6. The Good in supplication, the unearthly form grad- Hope.” And hopefully it went forth on ually sank, until it disappeared totally be- its first voyage, under its new name and neath a bright ray of the silver moon. new colors; for the “ blood-red flag" of 'No one on deck had spoken; and for a Denmark, with its white cross, symbolical few moinents after the figure was lost to l of peace, waved from the mast-head.
The Cattegat, the Skager Rack, and “But, heavens! what is yon ?" exclaimed the German Ocean, the British Channel the captain of the Gode Haab, interruptand the Bay of Biscay, were all happily ing his tale, and staring as if his eyes were and peacefully passed, and neither venge- about to start out of his head. ful ghost nor cruel mermaid had disturbed “What-what?" cried his excited audthe equanimity of the crew and passen- itors, turning quickly to look in the digers, the latter of whom ate and drank, rection of his gaze. Pale and petrified and made merry, and played whist in the with terror, they beheld a female figure, cabin in the evening, or paced the deck clad in white, and with a sort of misty veil as inclination prompted. One evening, over her face, slowly pass along the deck. three of the passengers (there were no As she came near the man at the wheel, ladies on board) with the captain sat on he dropped it suddenly and fainted on the deck rather late, enjoying the refreshing spot; but she heeded him not; she walked breeze, and in the intervals of their con to the stern of the vessel, then quietly versation gazing on the blue sea, which turning, she passed back and seemed to seemed here and there to glance like glide down the cabin stairs. heaps of diamonds beneath the sparkling “Let us follow !" cried the captain, and rays of the clear bright moon. After he and one of the gentlemen rushed down chatting on a variety of cheerful subjects, to the cabin, which they entered just in the deep stillness around unbroken, save time to see the spectral visitant standing by the unvarying and endless plash of the for a moment close to the cabin window, waters over which they were calmly sail. while her alınost transparent robe seemed ing, perhaps rendered them more grave, to flutter in the breeze of night, and then and by degrees they began to speak of she gently descended into the deep ocean superstitions and supernatural appear- beneath! Presently those who had re
mained on deck saw the apparition floating One gentleman, an enthusiastic youth, for a few moments like a sea-bird on the recited the Danish author Ingemann's white-crested wave, then gradually disbeautiful poem.
The captain then told appear beneath the dancing waters. the story of the “ Bloody Head ;" how, It was the Regenboog's, alias the Gode whenever it became the turn of one
Haab's last voyage.
Her evil fame had particular sailor on board a ship, which he become too widely disseminated; there named, to keep the watch between twelve was scarcely a port in the north of Europe and four o'clock during the night, the few where the Haunted Ship was not known who were on deck with him were often by reputation, and no one would go to sea scared out of their wits by seeing a bloody in her. The owners, hoping to disprove head fall from the top of the mainmast the reports against the vessel, wrote to and roll on the deck before the man, who Amsterdam to institute inquiries respectgenerally went into strong convulsions. | ing its original history. But the answer It was at length whispered that he had, on they received was by no means such as they some previous voyage, committed a mur had hoped to obtain, or such as was calder on board that very ship, and that it culated to remove the vessel's evil renown. was the decapitated head of his victim In addition to what has already been rewhich thus pursued him. The officers of lated, they heard that Captain Zwart, who the ship determined at length to remain had, as he wished, married the rich Antall on deck one night when it was the werp widow, had not long after been seized duty of the accused sailor to keep the with fits of aberration of mind, which had middle watch. The wretched man was increased until he had become a raving most unwilling to come up; he volunteered lunatic, and that he had been placed in an to undergo any amount of punishment asylum for the insane at Ghent. rather than keep that watch ; but his sup It had also been proved that he had plications and alarm were of no avail; he drowned his first wife, by forcing her over was compelled to go up, and he had not the cabin window of the Regenboog, after been long there when, to the amazement having tied a handkerchief tightly over and horror of his superior officers, a bloody her face to deaden the sound of her cries. head did seem to fall from some part of The only witness to this frightful scene the shrouds, and to roll at his feet without had been Jan, the cabin-boy, who, having leaving the slightest stain upon the deck. I been attracted to the cabin door by the
strange noise within, had found it fastened of a secret which had so long weighed on the inside, but had seen what was go-heavily on it. ing on through a chink in the door. He • But the avenging hand of Providence had no idea that his master was going to had already punished the murderer through force the poor lady over the cabin win the medium of his own evil conscience. dow, until he saw her pushed out, and The recollection of his guilt haunted him heard the splash in the sea below. He night and day; he lived in constant fear was just going to rush on deck and en of its being discovered; and the secret treat the mate and the sailors to try to misery that he endured at length preyed save her, when his master, hearing him so deeply on his mind that his intellect move, came quickly to the cabin door, gave way; habits of intemperance, into and, finding it impossible to make his which he had fallen, increased the evil, escape up the cabin stairs, and being in and he died at length a wretched, raving mortal fear lest his master should pitch maniac. him into the sea also, he crept softly to The haunted ship was sold for a mere a mat near, and pretended to be fast trifle, after the lapse of some time, to a asleep. As he often slept on the outside Flensburg merchant; but he could not of the cabin door, at the foot of the com- get her manned; she was consequently panion stairs, the captain, after examining dismantled, and some years afterward she his face by the light of a lantern, and be was seen lying, a useless hulk, in one of stowing three or four kicks on him, left the harbors of Sleswick; and there she him lying there.
may still be lying, a fatal monument of It was evident to the boy, however, the crimes and superstitions of the eightthat Captain Zwart suspected he knew eenth century. more than he wished him to know, for he had threatened to take his life if he ever breathed a syllable of anything he had THE SILK-MOTH-ITS LIFE AND seen or heard, or fancied he had seen or
LABORS. heard, in the cabin at any time. And he kept so strict a watch upon him for the HE Silk-Moth, though occupying an rest of the voyage out and home, never humble rank in the zoological scale, once allowing him to go on shore at Cu- has ever elicited much attention, from the racoa, that he had no opportunity of com fact of its ministering in an important demunicating the terrible secret to any one. gree to the wants of man. He had ventured once to make a few sig- no other claims to our notice than those nificant signs to the mate, and whisper a which are founded upon its external characword or two, when his master, coming teristics, it would forever remain obscure suddenly upon him, had accused him of and undistinguished among the members some imaginary fault, and beaten him of the large class to which it belongs. At severely. He fully intended to disclose first, a minute egg; then, a whitish caterthe facts when he should return to Hol- pillar; next, a plain chrysalis, inclosed in land, and be safe from Captain Zwart's a yellow cocoon; and ultimately, a buffvengeance. But the captain had taken colored moth—its exterior appearance is him on shore with himself, and sent him not remarkably prepossessing. It is faoff immediately with a letter to the master mous, however, as a manufacturer of that of a foreign ship in the harbor, which was useful article, silk, which, woven by huon the eve of sailing. Against his will man art into a delicate and beautiful texthe was detained on board that ship; and ure, is supposed to heighten the personal when, on its touching at a port in Eng- attractions of our fair dames. land, he ran away from it, he was forced The eggs of the silk-moth are of a pale to go on board an English merchantman, slate color, and lenticular in shape, with a to avoid starvation, as he had neither slight depression upon each side. They ar money nor friends. War broke out; he laid in autumn and hatched in the followwas seized by the press-gang, and com- ing May, when the growth of the mulberry pelled to serve in a man-of-war. When is usually so far advanced as to afford susat length he obtained his discharge, he tenance to the young larva. The escape took the earliest opportunity of returning of the caterpillar from the egg may be reto Holland, and of unburdening his mind | tarded by keeping the latter under the in
Did it possess
Auence of cold, and hastened by exposing commence spinning. After attaching a it to an elevated temperature. Those few loose threads to the sides of the cell, who rear the animal for pecuniary advant- the larva begins to form an oval ball of age frequently avail themselves of this silk, which is suspended in the center of principle. The number of eggs laid by the cell. In the interior of this ball it one female is estimated at four hundred. continues working about five days. In Our insect is prolific enough, one would five days more the cocoon is complete, and think, yet it does not compare, in this re fit for reeling. spect, with many butterflies, whose eggs The cocoon, having been removed from are reckoned by thousands.
the cell, is divested of the waste silk upon The new-born larva is one tenth of an its exterior, until a single thread is found, inch in length, and of a dark color. Under which runs by itself. This operation is favorable circumstances, it grows rapidly, much assisted by dipping the cocoon in and puts on a lighter hue. When arti- warm water from time to time. The ficially reared, it is fed four times daily single threads of half a dozen cocoons upon the young and tender leaves of the being thus found, they may be guided with mulberry. It devours its meal in an hour one hand on a small reel, which may be and a half. On the fourth or fifth day it turned with the other hand. While this undergoes its first moulting. In four or process is going on, the cocoons should be five days more it changes again. As the floated on the surface of warm water, conanimal increases in size its allowance of tained in an appropriate vessel. The silk food should be more liberal, although little can be wound off with surprising rapidity need be given at the period of the moult- | by a person to whom considerable practice ings.
has given the requisite dexterity. When The silk-worm sheds its skin four or so much of the silk has been reeled, that five times. The intervals between the the remainder appears thin, pale, and inseveral moults are nearly equal, and each ferior in quality, the thread should be change occupies from two to four days. broken, and the remaining portion of the When about to cast its skin, the caterpillar cocoon put aside, so as not to become presents certain phenomena which indi- mingled with the others. Previously to cate to the practiced eye that the event is the reeling of the silk, the cocoons are approaching. It loses its appetite, holds sometimes baked in order to kill the chrysaits head stiffly erect, and appears sick; | lis. But, as a general rule, this is probthe new head is visible through the trans-ably unnecessary. parent skin, behind the old one; and final In a fortnight or three weeks subsely, by dint of much twisting and wrig- quently to the winding of the silk, one of gling, the animal makes good its escape the extremities of the cocoon is seen to be from the old skin, through a longitudinal wet. This moist condition is produced opening along the back.
by a liquid which is disgorged by the moth Within eight or ten days after its last within, and is the signal that the perfect moult, the larva attains its maturity. It animal is about to make its exit. An is now three inches long. It becomes aperture is soon effected, and the moth shining and golden yellow. The body emerges. It presents itself as a sluggish feels soft, like dough, and assumes the creature, of a pale buff color. It lives translucency of a ripe plum. The animal only ten or twelve days. The female soon seems dissatisfied with its situation, and lays its eggs—the only event of any imcrawls slowly along the edges of the re portance which diversifies its transitory ceptacle in which it has been confined, as existence. if seeking a change of place. It is now The leaves of the white mulberry, as ready to spin its cocoon.
already remarked, constitute the appropriLittle cells, made of writing paper, about ate nutriment of the silk-worm. Attempts as large as the thumb, open at one end have frequently been made to make it suband closed at the other, are prepared, and sist upon other vegetables, but without pinned to lines crossing the apartment, the success. Dogwood, lettuce, and currant cells being so arranged as to touch each leaves have been ineffectually tried. The other, by which means an economy of perfect moth can eat nothing, even if it space is secured. The worms are placed would, for it has no feeding organs. in these cells, in the order in which they Silk, which, in Europe and the United
States, is an article of luxury, has been
THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE. from time immemorial an article of ordinary apparel in Asia. The lowest ranks THE SONS OF NOAH-THE TOWER OF BABEL of the population of China are said to have
E left Noah and his family in the ark, be clad in “silkeen sheen," centuries before the Christian era. Du Halde says abyss of waters. Let us continue his histhat the Chinese writers attribute the in- tory, with that of his immediate descendvention of silk to Silung, one of the women
ants, down to that memorable era in the of the Emperor Hoang Fi. The article world's history—the building of the tower was highly valued in Rome, where the first of Babel. silken garment is said to have been worn
The overwhelming cataract from above, by the Emperor Heliogabalus.
and the rushing torrents from below, the The eggs of the silk-moth are supposed waters from above the firmament, and the to have been introduced into Europe, waters from the broken fountains of the through the efforts of a couple of monks, great deep, continued rushing wildly toA. D. 550. They were brought, concealed gether for forty successive days and nights, in hollow canes, to Constantinople, and until the whole earth was one vast sea. thence to Italy, which soon became the Fifteen cubits, or twenty-two and a half grand European emporium for silk. The feet, was the top of the highest mountain manufacture was subsequently introduced submerged beneath the waters. From the into France by Henri Quatre, and it is end of these forty days, that is, from the now carried on to some extent in Spain, 17th of the following January, the flood and other parts of Southern Europe, and continued at its height for one hundred and
even as far north as England. Something ten days, or, including the first forty, for , is done, in this line, in our own country
one hundred and fifty days, until the 6th also, but our climate is scarcely genial of May following. At the end of this peenough to render large investments in the riod God made, says the sacred writer, a business consistent with prudence.
wind to pass over the earth, and the waters Can we not gather a useful moral lesson assuaged; the fountains also of the deep, from the history of the silk-moth? Does and the windows of heaven, were stopped, it not illustrate the important as well as and the rain from heaven was restrained. consoling truth, that an individual, however And the ark rested upon one of the mounthumble in social position, wealth, talents, ains of Ararat. or learning, may nevertheless be greatly,
The situation of this mountain has given widely, and permanently useful to his race? rise to much difference of opinion, and Solomon directed the sluggard to con
many fabulous stories have been related template the habits of the ant, and to learn concerning it. The learned Faber, by a from that laborious insect the beauty and logical chain of argument, founded mainly value of untiring industry. So would we
on incidental geographical allusions in the fix upon the silk-moth the attention of Old Testament, reaches the conclusion those who repine at what they call their that the Ararat alluded to is a mountain ignoble lot, and complain that their oppor- still bearing that name, situated near the tunities of usefulness are restricted by the River Araxes, about the center of Armenia humbleness of their position or endow-in Asia. It was visited by Sir Robert ments. The distinction of being eminently Ker Porter, who gives a description of it virtuous and useful is beneficently placed in his Travels, and says: within the reach of all, even the meanest
“ It seemed to stand a stupendous link in occupants of the social system. And there
the history of man, uniting the two races of are not a few, who, by the conscientious men before and after the flood. From the spot discharge of all the duties appertaining to on which I stood, it appeared as if the hugest their lowly sphere, and by discreet and un
mountains of the world had been piled upoa wearied exertions in behalf of those who
each other, to form this one sublime immensity
of earth, and rock, and snow. The icy peaks of surround them, are diffusing a hallowed
its double heads rose majestically into the clear influence among their fellow-men, and are and cloudless heavens; the sun blazed bright preparing for themselves, not only a fra- upon them; and the reflection sent forth a daz
But the grant memory upon earth, but, what is zling radiance equal to other suns. more than all, a felicitous immortality in mountain, are hardly to be described. My eye,
feelings I experienced, while looking on the heaven.
not able to rest for any length of time upon the