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THE LOVER TURNED INTO A SAILOR;
THE ROMANTIC ADVENTURES OF MACHIN, AN ENGLISHMAN,
IN THE YEAR 1344.
He bright deeds of chivalry have long shed a brilliancy over the reign of Edward III.,
and enriched with many a gorgeous description the annals of
those times. The story of Machin belongs not to the high places of middle-age history; it rather falls within the range of family biography, and ballad history or narrative. But, as some small event may ultimately lead to results which affect the condition of a whole country, and thus acquire importance in the memories of men, so it happened in the case of Machin. The story of his shipwreck might have passed away amongst the thousand lost tales of the past; but his adventures having led to the discovery of Madeira, history has inserted his name in her roll.
About the year 1344, an English youth, apparently of gentle blood, named Machin, or Macham, loved Anna D'Arfet. The lady returned his love. Their love ran together, but its course was not smooth. Anna's friends decided against Machin, and procured, by some means unknown, his imprisonment; nor was he released until Anna D'Arfet was married to another. The tragedy now begins.
The lady had given her hand to one whom she abhorred, and thus perjured herself at the altar. With her spirit agonized by this reflection, and half maddened by the terrors of her position, she again met Machin, who had discovered her abode near Bristol. They agreed to escape together fron England to Spain, hoping, perhaps, to have the marriage pronounced a nullity by the head of the church, could a hearing be obtained at Rome. Whatever might be the plea by whi they justified the deed, they resolved to elope at once. Machin hired and manned a ship, on board of which he conducted the lady, and set sail without detection. But long and dangerous was the route round the southern coast of England : ere the ship could reach a Spanish port a tempest arose, and Machin, with the trembling Anna, was driven from the desired track. To her heart this raging storm appeared the sign of divine anger ; nor were her fears lessened by the continuance of the gale for about thirteen days. During all this time the vessel had been driving before the wind farther and farther from Spain, and plunging each day into the unknown western ocean.
At last land was seen a strange region, but beautiful to the eye, and offering a refuge from the ceaseless agitation of the tempest. Machin quickly brought the enfeebled and heart-stricken Anna to a quiet and lovely spot near the shore, and beneath the shade of a gigantic tree, erected huts for himself and part of the crew. A stream of transparent water meandered by Machin's new abode : the hills were crowded with noble forests, offering the most delightful prospects, whilst the mild air of the climate aided the general sense of enjoyment. The island upon 'which Machin was cast is that now called Madeira,* where many an invalid from Europe seeks to restore his decayed health. But to these early wanderers, far from all civilized homes and the land they had sought, it presented no permanent charms. Whilst reflecting upon the best time for leaving the island, and the most suitable means for the recovery
of the route to Spain, an accident happened which has given to this
voyage its fulness of romantic interest. The ship was riding in the bay, with a part of her crew on board, when a sudden tempest drove her away, and Machin never saw his vessel again. Every heart amongst the lonely band on the
* The word Madeira signifies timber, in the Portuguese, and was given to this island as a fit name for a country covered by forests. So numerous were the woods here, that the Portuguese burned them for seven years to clear the land.
island felt the shock, and the spirit of Anna D'Arfet yielded to this unexpected blow : the blighting of her once-bright hopes, the sufferings she had recently undergone, and the harassing feelings which followed her elopement, had crushed her spirit, and in three days after the loss of the ship, the once-betrothed bride of Machin died. Under the tall tree where her hut had stood, and near the rippling stream to which she had often listened, they buried her. And what became of Machin? Was not his life's dream now over ? They say he thought no more of England--no more of a home on Spanish ground, but silently sat in his bitter agony by the grave of the lost one. He found a melancholy solace in raising a small building over her grave, which he called “ Jesus Chapel ;” and this being done, her name, with his own, was cut on a stone of her tomb. Then he died, and was buried in the same grave with her whose life had so strangely mingled with his own in suffering. The crew now constructed a boat, and, going out to sea, were taken by the moors, but at last reached Castille, where they told their strange tale.
About fifty years after, Henry III., king of Castille, sent a fleet to search for the island of which Machin's crew had spoken. It was soon discovered ; the bay in which Machin had landed was visited, and called Machico, * a word derived from the English adventurer's name. The tomb of Machin and the lady, with the memorial chapel, was also found, and the whole circumstance is narrated by Galvano,t in his Portuguese history of ancient discoveries.
Thus the history of Madeira must ever be connected with the romantic and melancholy adventures of Machin and Anna D’Arfet. The general details of this narrative are doubtless correct, as they are supported by evidence which has every appearance of trustworthiness. Some accounts vary a little from that just given, as they represent Machin departing from the island after the death of Anna D'Arfet, and his falling into the hands of the moors, who, astonished at his adventures, sent him to Castille, where he narrated his discovery and sufferings. It does not appear that Machin did leave Madeira, but rather that he ended his life there shortly after the decease of Anna. It must be confessed that few places can connect with their first discovery events more touching than the melancholy tale of Machin and the lady D'Arfet. We must regard the sufferings of both as manifestations of retributive justice ; but this view will not diminish the interest of the narrative, nor destroy the fascination of its mysterious termination.
* Madeira is now divided into two governments, Funchal being one, and Machico the other.
† Galvano wrote a history of discoveries, in the Portuguese language, from the earliest times to the year 1556. This was translated into English by Hakluyt.
THE DISCOVERER DESERTED ;
THE LAST VOYAGE OF HUDSON.
ET us examine for a few minutes the map of North
America, and contemplate those vast expansions of water which, un the names of lakes, rivers,
straits, and bays, arrest the eye of the geographer as he surveys those wide regions, where once the extinct Indian nations held their homes. What most fixes the eye as it follows the undulations of that vast coast ? An immense inland sea lies before us, separating East Maine from the two large districts of North and South Wales, upon the mapped surface of which we read the words “ Hudson's Bay. Not unknown to English ears is this ocean inlet ; every winter do obliging shops remind us of its existence, by gigantic advertisements soliciting our notice to those warm comfortable-looking furs brought by the “Hudson's Bay Company" from the distant hunting grounds of the north. Often may we have seen in the London Docks some rough stout-timbered ship, armed with strong sheeting, and having altogether the appearance of a vessel destined to battle with the ice-fields of arctic seas, and stand the shock of northern tempests. That is a Hudson-Bay ship, which conveys at fixed periods to England the furs procured in those desolate and savage regions extending from the bay across the Rocky Mountains into Oregon. But what of him whose name is borne by this bay, and by that river of New York where first the steam vessel began its daily course ? Captain Henry Hudson must be numbered amongst the boldest of that heroic