Изображения страниц

down into the lower harbor we found the wind ahead in the bay, and were obliged to come to anchor in the roads. We remained there through the day and a part of the night.

3. About midnight the wind became fair, and having called the captain I was ordered to call all hands. How I accomplished this I do not know; but I am quite sure that I did not give the true, hoarse, boatswain call of “ A-a-ll ha-a-a-nds ! up anchor, a-ho-oy!” In a short time every one was in motion, the sails loosed, the yards braced, and we began to heave up the anchor, which was our last hold upon Yankee-land.

4. I could take but little part in these preparations. My little knowledge of a vessel was all at fault. Unintelligible orders were so rapidly given, and so immediately executed, there was such a hurrying about, and such an intermingling of strange cries and stranger actions, that I was completely bewildered. There is not so helpless and pitiable an object in the world as a landsman beginning a sailor's life.

5. At length those peculiar, long-drawn sounds, which denote that the crew are heaving at the windlass, began; and in a few minutes we were under way. The noise of the water thrown from the bows began to be heard, the vessel leaned over from the damp night breeze, and rolled with the heavy ground-swell, and we had actually begun our long, long journey. This was literally bidding “good-night” to my native land.

6. The first day we passed at sea was the Sabbath. As we were just from port, and there was a great deal

to be done on board, we were kept at work all day; and at night the watches were set, and everything put into sea order. I had now a fine time for reflection. I felt for the first time the perfect silence of the sea. The officer was walking the quarter-deck, where I had no right to go; one or two men were talking on the forecastle, whom I had little inclination to join; so that I was left open to the full impression of everything about me.

7. However much I was affected by the beauty of the

sea, the bright stars, and the clouds driven swiftly over them, I could not but remember that I was separating myself from all the social and intellectual enjoyments of life. Yet, strange as it may seem, I did then and afterwards take pleasure in these reflections, hoping by them to prevent my becoming insensible to the value of what I was leaving.

8. But all my dreams were soon put to flight by an order from the officer to trim the yards, as the wind was getting ahead; and I could plainly see, by the looks the sailors occasionally cast to windward, and by the dark clouds that were fast coming up, that we had bad weather to prepare for, and had heard the captain say that he expected to be in the Gulf Stream by twelve o'clock. In a few minutes eight bells was struck, the watch called, and we went below.

9. I now began to feel the first discomforts of a sailor's life. The steerage in which I lived was filled with coils of rigging, spare sails, old junk, and ship stores, which had not been stowed away. Moreover,

there had been no berths built for us to sleep in, and we were not allowed to drive nails to hang our clothes upon.

10. The sea, too, had risen, the vessel was rolling heavily, and everything was pitched about in grand confusion. I shortly heard the rain-drops falling on deck, thick and fast; and the watch evidently had their hands full of work, for I could hear the loud and repeated orders of the mate, the trampling of feet, the creaking of blocks, and all the indications of a coming storm.

11. When I got upon deck, a new scene and a new experience were before me. The little brig was close hauled upon the wind, and lying over, as it then seemed to me, nearly upon her beam-ends. The heavy head sea was beating against her bows with the noise and force almost of a sledge-hammer, and flying over the deck, drenching us completely through. The topsail halyards had been let go, and the great sails were filling out and backing against the masts with a noise like thunder. The wind was whistling through the rigging, loose ropes flying about; loud, and to me unintelligible, orders constantly given, and rapidly executed; and the sailors “singing out” at the ropes in their hoarse and peculiar strains.

12. In addition to all this, I had not got my “sealegs on,” was dreadfuly sick, with hardly strength enough to hold on to anything; and it was pitch dark. This was my state when I was ordered aloft, for the first time, to reef topsails.

13. How I got along I cannot now remember. I “ laid out” on the yards, and held on with all my strength. I could not have been of much service, for I remember having been sick several times before I left the topsail yard. Soon, however, all was snug aloft, and we were again allowed to go below.

14. This I did not consider much of a favor, for the confusion of everything below, and that inexpressible sickening smell caused by the shaking up of the bilgewater in the hold, made the steerage but an indifferent refuge from the cold, wet decks. I had often read of the nautical experiences of others, but I felt as though there could be none worse than mine; for, in addition to every other evil, I could not but remember that this was only the first night of a two years' voyage.



Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the west!
Through all the wide border his steed was the best;
And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none;
He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young


He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone;
He swam the Esk River, where ford there was none;
But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented — the gallant came late;

For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby hall, Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all. Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word), “Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young lord Lochinvar?”


“I long wooed your daughter--my suit you denied ;
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide;
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”

The bride kissed the goblet, the knight took it up;
He quaffed off the wine and he threw down the cup;
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar —
“Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and

plume; And the bridemaidens whispered, “ 'Twere better by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »