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[Illustration: THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS.]
HURRAH FOR NEW ENGLAND!
THE VIRGINIA BOY'S VACATION.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"THE BOY OF SPIRIT" "WHEN ARE WE HAPPIEST?" ETC.
LETTER I. THE DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION II. FITTING OUT FOR THE CRUISE III.
OUR MESSMATES IV. TALK ABOUT GREAT MEN V. OLD JACK VI. VISIT TO THE
CUNARD STEAMER VII. MOODY DICK'S SISTER LOUISA VIII. DAVID'S GLIMPSE OF
NOBILITY IX. BOSTON LIONS
HURRAH FOR NEW ENGLAND!
THE DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION.
FROM PIDGIE TO HIS COUSIN BENNIE.
Marblehead, July 1st, 1846.
Do you remember, my dear cousin, how scornfully we used to look at
"little crooked Massachusetts," as we called it, on the map, while
comparing the other States with good old Virginia? I don't believe that
we ever even noticed such a town in it as Marblehead; and yet here I am,
in that very place; and though I love our noble State as well as ever, I
am beginning to think that there are some other places in the world fit
to live in. I don't mean, though, that I have the smallest inclination
to take up my abode in this town, but I should like to have you see it,
for it is the funniest place you can imagine. The old, queer-looking
houses seem to be placed cornerwise on the most crooked of streets, all
up hill and down, and winding around so that I begin to think they have
lost themselves and will come to a stop, when out they start, from
behind some red or green house which they had run around just for fun.
Then there are _heaps_, as we Southerners say, of droll little children
running about, some of them quite nicely dressed, with no servant to
take care of them; and yesterday, on the rocks that look out upon the
ocean, I met a little boy who could scarcely walk tottling along beside
one but little older, as independent and happy as if he might not at any
time fall and hit his little white head against one of the sharp stones.
They say that some of our most distinguished Congressmen, and even our
United States Senators, have been brought up in this way, and though I
don't see how these boys can ever learn to be polished gentlemen when
they mix with all sorts of children, yet some of them are as
intelligent as if they had done nothing but read all their lives, and as
brave as their sailor fathers.
Yesterday a fishing-vessel came in, which had been out for several
months, and I spied a little fellow clambering down a ladder, placed up
to one of the tall chimneys, as fast as he could go, and then, starting
out the door like lightning, he was by the water-side before the boat
touched the shore, and his mother was not far behind him.
But how I am carried away by what is around me! I forget that you don't
even know how I came to be here, and while I am writing are perhaps
wondering all the time if I am not playing a trick upon you, after all,
and dating from some place where I never expect to be. But I am in real
earnest, Bennie, and will try and tell you, as soberly as I can, how I
happen to be here.
You remember, the day that Uncle Bob brought the horse home for me to
ride to Benevenue, he said something about Master Clarendon's not being
able to ride Charlie much of late, so that I would find him rather gay.
When I got to the place, I found every thing in confusion, and Dr.
Medway talking very earnestly with brother Clarendon, who was looking
quite thin, and not at all pleased.
"I should think a voyage to Europe would be quite as beneficial," he
said, turning to the Doctor, with his proudest air, as soon as he had
"No," replied Dr. Medway, smiling at his displeased manner; "you must
have work, Sir,--hard work, and hard fare. It would do you no more good
to take a luxurious trip in a steamer, than to remain quietly in your
fashionable lodgings at Baltimore. Your dyspepsia, Sir, can be best
cured by your taking a cruise in a Yankee fishing-smack, bound for the
Banks of Newfoundland."
"Then I shall die," said Clarendon; "and I had almost as lief, as to be
cooped up in a dirty fishing-smack with vulgar sailors, half-starved
with their miserable fare."
"It will do you good in more ways than one," observed Dr. Medway; and
he gave mother a significant look. "We poor Virginians think it
impossible to exist except in a certain way; but you are a young man of
sense, in spite of your prejudices, and will be very much benefited by a
little more familiar intercourse with your fellow-men."
As I stood by, listening to this conversation, I was not surprised at
Clarendon's reluctance to follow Dr. Medway's advice, but much more
astonished when, after arguing the point half an hour longer, he called
for Sukey,--his old mammy, you know,--and told her to have every thing
in readiness for him to leave the next day.
As soon as the Doctor was gone, Clarendon began to see more plainly than
ever the disagreeabilities of the scheme to which he had consented; but
he was too proud to give it up after his word had been pledged.
"I wish I could find somebody to accompany me on this horrid excursion,"
he exclaimed. "Miss Sukey! there's no use putting in my guitar-music. A
pretty figure I should cut, strumming away on that, upon the dirty deck
of a Down East schooner! I can't have the face to ask any friend to
accompany me. O ho! it's a desperate case!"
All at once, as if a sudden idea had struck him, while pacing the room
impatiently, he turned to me:--"What say you, Pidgie, to spending the
holidays on this fishing excursion?"
You may be sure that I was ready enough to accept the proposal, for you
know I have always been crazy to go on the water, and like seeing new
places above every thing.
"Indeed, and double indeed, brother, I would rather go to the Banks with
you, than to see Queen Victoria herself. I'll run and ask 'ma directly
if she can spare me, and if she will, I won't even unpack my valise, but
shall be all ready to start in the morning."
So saying, I darted into 'ma's chamber, and she declares that my eyes
were almost dancing out of my head for joy, when I told her of the
proposal. At first she hesitated, for it was a trial to her to part with
me so soon again; but you know Clarendon is the pride of her heart, and
for his sake she at last gave her consent. Sister Nannie was grieved at
having both her brothers taken from her, but she is a little woman, and
always ready to make sacrifices for others; so she sat down very quietly
to looking over some of Clarendon's clothes, and though a tear now and
then rolled down her cheek, she would look up from her work with quite a
Before I had time to realize what had taken place, I was perched up in
the carriage with Clarendon, and in five minutes more had taken leave of
every thing at home but Uncle Jack, who was driving us to the cars, in
which we were to start for Baltimore.
You have heard so much of New York and Boston, that I cannot, probably,
tell you any thing new about them, though, to be sure, when there, I
felt as if the half had not been told me. All the streets and houses
look so nice and comfortable in the New England towns, that I cannot
imagine where the poor people live. At the hotel in New York, when I
rang the bell, such a nice-looking young gentleman came to our door,
that I thought he was a fellow-boarder who had made a mistake in the
room. I asked him, very politely, if he would have the kindness to tell
me where any servants were to be found, as they did not answer the bell.
He stared at this request, and then answered, quite proudly,--"I wait on
gentlemen, my young friend; but we are all free men here."
I cannot get used to this new state of affairs, and should be quite out
of patience, having to do so many things for myself, if brother
Clarendon did not keep me laughing all the while with his perfect fits
of despair. But he is calling to me to stop writing, for, since here in
Marblehead they won't let him have any peace in sleeping till eleven
o'clock, he insists on going to bed with the chickens, or he shall die
for want of rest.
Love to all, men, women, and children, horses and dogs, from your
FITTING OUT FOR THE CRUISE.
TO BENNIE ALLERTON AT BELLISLE.
Marblehead, July 3d, 1846.
DEAR BENNIE,--Just now I heard a rolling of small wheels, and then the
barking of a dog. Forgetting where I was, I thought of you and Watch,
and walked to the window actually expecting to see you, with Watch in
his new harness, drawing the little wagon. I only saw a strange boy,
rolling a wheelbarrow along, with a great Newfoundland dog at his side,
which I should have bought for you if I could have sent it back to
Virginia. But, after all, you would not have liked it as well as Watch,
and I am sure that I don't know of a fault he has, but chasing chickens
and every thing else on the road, besides barking all night when the
I always liked moonlight nights, but never knew half how glorious they
were till now. Last evening, Clarendon said, it was too ridiculous for
him to be going to bed when it was so beautiful; so he called to me to
take a stroll with him on a cliff, not far from the house, which
commands a magnificent prospect of the sea. I snatched up my cap in a
moment, delighted at the proposition, and ran along at his side, as I
always have to do, to keep up with his long, fast strides.
Even brother's melancholy countenance grew animated as he gazed on the
scene before us. A bright sheet of water separated the peak on which we
were standing from another rocky ledge, connected with the main land by
a narrow strip, called Marblehead Neck, that looked like a wall
inclosing the quiet bay. Behind us lay the town, with its strange, wild
confusion of roofs and spires, and to the south we could descry Nahant
and Boston, with Cape Cod stretching out beyond them, along the
horizon. My eyes, however, did not rest on the land, but turned to the
broad ocean, which lay beyond the light-house, that stood up like a
spectre in the moonlight, and I thought I could spy here and there a
sail among the many which I had seen that afternoon scattered over the
Clarendon sat down on one of the rocks, and his love of the beautiful
overcame, at that moment, his dislike to praising any thing in which he
has no personal interest. "This is magnificent," he said, and commenced
repeating with enthusiasm Byron's address to the ocean,--
"Roll on, thou dark blue ocean! roll," &c.
At the sound of his fine, manly voice, a boy about my age started up
from a rock near him, and listened to the lines with the most profound
attention. When they were concluded, he remarked with a modest yet
independent air,--"That certainly is very fine, Sir; but we have poets
of our own that can match it."
Clarendon at first frowned at what he deemed the height of
impertinence; but as he looked on the boy's broad, open forehead, and
frank, sweet mouth, in which the white teeth glittered as he spoke, his
haughty manner vanished, and he replied quite civilly,--"So you know
something about poetry, my little lad."
"To be sure, Sir," replied David Cobb, for such I afterwards found to be
his name. "How could a boy be two years at the Boston High School and
not know something about it? But I knew Drake's Address to the Flag, and
Pierpont's Pilgrim Fathers, and Percival's New England, when I was not
more than ten years old."
"Percival's New England!" said Clarendon, quite contemptuously. "Pray,
what could a poet say about such a puny subject as this Yankee land of
"Do you not know that poem?" asked David; and we could see, by the
moonlight, that there was something very like indignation at such
ignorance in his fine dark eyes.
"Hear it, then, and see if you do not call it poetry."
If you could only have seen him, Bennie, as he stood on the cliff, with
his rough, sailor-like hat in hand, and the breeze lifting his dark hair
from his broad forehead, while, looking with absolute fondness on the
scene around him, he repeated,--
"Hail to the land whereon we tread,
Our fondest boast!
The sepulchre of mighty dead,
The truest hearts that ever bled,
Who sleep on glory's brightest bed,
A fearless host;
No slave is here;--our unchained feet
Walk freely, as the waves that beat
"Our fathers crossed the ocean's wave
To seek this shore;
They left behind the coward slave
To welter in his living grave;
With hearts unbent, and spirits brave,
They sternly bore
Such toils as meaner souls had quelled;
But souls like these such toils impelled
"Hail to the morn when first they stood
On Bunker's height,
And, fearless, stemmed the invading flood,
And wrote our dearest rights in blood,
And mowed in ranks the hireling brood,
In desperate fight!
O, 'twas a proud, exulting day,
For e'en our fallen fortunes lay
"There is no other land like thee,
No dearer shore;
Thou art the shelter of the free;
The home, the port, of liberty
Thou hast been, and shall for ever be,
Till time is o'er.
Ere I forget to think upon
My land, shall mother curse the son
"Thou art the firm, unshaken rock
On which we rest;
And, rising from thy hardy stock,
Thy sons the tyrant's power shall mock,
And slavery's galling chains unlock,
And free the oppressed;
All who the wreath of freedom twine
Beneath the shadow of their vine
"We love thy rude and rocky shore,
And here we stand.
Let foreign navies hasten o'er,
And on our heads their fury pour,
And peal their cannon's loudest roar,
And storm our land;
They still shall find our lives are given
To die for home,--and leant on heaven
Did you think that a real Yankee could be so proud of living out of
Virginia? I am sure those we have seen appear to be half ashamed of
their country,--and to be sure it is not as good as ours; but I could
not help liking this boy's warm, honest love of his native soil. Even
Clarendon admired it, and, when he had done repeating his favorite
lines, handed him a silver dollar, saying,--"There! buy yourself a book
of just such poetry, if you choose, and if you can find any in praise of
the Old Dominion, read it for my sake."
I knew that brother meant to do a gracious thing; but still there was
something about David's appearance which would have made me afraid to
give him money, and I was not surprised at the indignant flush which
rose to his cheek, or the scornful way in which he threw the poor dollar
over the rock into the sea.
"I am Captain Cobb's son, Sir," he said very proudly, "and must tell
you, that, though a New England boy is not ashamed of earning money in
any honest way, he never takes it as a gift from strangers. I should
have pocketed your silver with great pleasure if I had sold you its
worth in fish, or taken you out in the skiff for a day's excursion; but
my mother would scorn me if I had taken alms like a beggar-boy."
I never saw Clarendon more confused than he was at this speech; yet he
has so much pride himself, that he could not help liking the boy's
honest love of independence. His curiosity was so much excited, that he
prolonged the conversation, and discovered that David was the son of the
captain of the Go-Ahead, the very schooner in which we are to sail
to-morrow for Newfoundland. It will he the fourth of July, and the
sailors were at first averse to going out upon that day, but concluded
to celebrate it on shore in the morning, and depart in the afternoon.
David is going to accompany his father on the trip, having studied a
little too hard at school, and it being the custom here to intersperse
study with seasons of labor.
"You see," he said, "that I am rigged already sailor-fashion"; and he
pointed to his wide trousers, round jacket, and tarpaulin.
"O brother! can't I have just such clothes?" I asked. "They would be so
comfortable, and I should have no fears of hurting them, as I should
these I have on."
"You got yours for economy, did you not, boy?" said brother to David.
"Not altogether, Sir. They are the only ones proper for fishing. Of
course, if you are going to work, you will get some of the same kind;
for that finery of yours would be very much out of place."
Finery! Could you have heard David's tone of contempt, and seen his
glance at brother's last Paris suit, you would have laughed as I did.
I think Clarendon is getting more patient already; for a few weeks since
nothing could have saved a boy from a flogging that had dared to give
him such a glance; but his good-sense is getting uppermost. "Well,
Master David," he said, good-humoredly, "since you don't like our
clothes, you must come to-morrow to our lodgings, and show Pidgie and
myself where to get such beautiful ones as yours."
This morning, before we had half done breakfast, I heard a bright,
pleasant voice asking of our host, in a free and easy way,--"Captain
Peck, is there considerable of a pretending chap here who's going out
fishing in our craft to-day? When the salt water has washed some of his
airs out of him he'll be good for something; and his brother ain't so
You should have seen Clarendon taking as much of a glance at himself in
the little wooden-framed looking-glass, opposite the breakfast-table, as
the size of it would allow, when he heard this qualified compliment.
"A pretty way, that, of speaking of Clarendon Beverley!" he exclaimed,
almost fiercely. "These Yankees have no respect for any thing on earth,
but their own boorish selves."
"But he is only a little boy, about thirteen or fourteen, brother," I
said, coaxingly; "and that's his way of praising." For I did not want to
lose our new acquaintance. "He can show us where to get our clothes,
just as well as if he had better manners."
The scene at the little shop where we went for our new clothes was
comical, even to me, though I am used to brother's ways; so I could not
wonder that some sailors at the door laughed out.
"I would like some coarse jackets and trousers for this lad and myself,"
he said. "Of course, we do not need any different under-clothes."
"That shirt of yours," said the shopman, pointing to the ribbon binding
of a fine silk shirt, which had slipped below brother's beautiful linen
wristband, "would be terribly uncomfortable when it was wringing wet,
and soon spoiled by sailor's washing. Nobody of any sense would think of
going to sea in such things as those."
Poor Clarendon! the thought of those red-flannel shirts was near killing
him; for they were just like those our negroes wear, and so were the
duck trousers. When, at last, he was persuaded to have them sent home,
and put them on for trial, they did seem most ludicrously unsuitable. I
never saw him, however, look so handsome in my life; for his tarpaulin
is mighty becoming to his pale, dark face, and those jet moustaches of
his, when he has not time to tend them and keep every hair in place,
will be quite fierce. He looked as solemn when he got his sea-rig on, as
if he was about preaching a sermon.
O, that reminds me that I have not told you of our visit to old Father
Taylor's church in Boston! His text was,--"He that cometh unto me shall
never thirst." And every word of the sermon was just suited to the plain
tars whom he was addressing. He baptized some children more touchingly
than any one I ever saw. Their mother was the widow of a sailor, who had
been lost on a late cruise, and sat beside the altar alone with two
little boys, the youngest an infant in her arms. As the old father took
it from her and kissed it, a tear of sympathy with the bereaved parent
actually fell from his kind eye, on the little, round cheek; and I shall
never forget the manner in which, after the rite was performed, he
replaced it in her arms, saying,--"Go back to your mother's bosom, and
may you never be a thorn there."
Captain Peck, our host,--and a worthy man he is, who was himself a
sailor till he was washed overboard and lost his health,--has just come
in to say that it is time for "our chest," as he calls brother's
portmanteau, to be on board; so I must say good by. My next will
probably be sent from some port, into which we may run for a few hours.
FROM PIDGIE TO HIS COUSIN BENNIE.
Bay of Fundy, July 9th, 1846.
O Bennie, how I wish you were here! You used to enjoy so much skulling
around that little pond of Mr. Mason's in his flat boat, what would you
do to be bounding over the water as we are now? I am sitting
Turk-fashion on the deck-floor, leaning against the mast, and, as you
see, writing with a pencil, being afraid to use my inkstand, lest some
stray wave should give it a capsize. There comes one now, that has
washed our floor for us, and it needed it badly enough; nor do I mind
the wetting, for I am bare-footed and my duck trousers always expect it.
We have been five days now upon the water, and since we have thrown
overboard the good things that Clarendon laid in for the voyage, and
taken to sailor's fare, we have no more of that horrid sea-sickness.
Hard biscuit and water are just as good as any thing else, if you only
get used to it, and the fish which we caught this morning are delicious.
We came upon a fine shoal of them, and for several hours had nothing to
do but pull them in, one after another, as fast as we could put our
hooks down. I got hold of a very big fellow, myself, but he was nearer
drawing me out of the schooner than I him into it, till David Cobb came
to the rescue, and gave such a tug at the line, that he was soon
floundering about on the deck. I never knew what an apt comparison "like
a fish out of water" is, till I saw him flapping round.
If you only knew David I am sure you would like him. He is as different
as can be from our Virginia boys, and yet we are excellent friends. I
thought at first that he did not know any thing, when I found out that
he had never even heard the names of some of our most distinguished
families, and I suspect he despised me in his heart because I was so
ignorant about the old Pilgrim Fathers.
We have many an argument about New England and the Old Dominion, but
keep our tempers pretty well, and each of us finds a great deal to boast
of. There is one thing I can say which really troubles him, for he can't
deny that it is a great honor to the State, and that is, that General
Washington was born and brought up and died in Virginia. O, how he
glories even that Washington was an American, and what would he not give
if he could claim him for his dear Massachusetts! I used to think that
the Yankees were all cold-hearted and never got excited about any thing;
but David looks as if his soul was all on fire when he speaks of the
Father of his Country, and he drinks in every word I can tell him of
Mount Vernon. He has made me tell him over as much as three times all
the stories grandfather told us of the time when he belonged to
Washington's military family, and what he said to grandmother when they
were both children.
There goes Clarendon, staggering up and down the deck from sea-sickness.
He will not take enough of the sailor's fare to do him any good, and the
wry faces which he makes over a few mouthfuls are pitiful. Before he
could get the sails shifted, I am sure the wind would change, and though
the crew try to be polite, they can't help laughing to see what an
awkward hand he is at doing any thing. There goes the "Heave ho!" which
sounds so delightfully to me.
There is one man who has just come up from below that interests me so
much that I can't help watching him all the time he's in sight. The
first time I saw him was the day we came on board. The schooner had
dropped down a mile or two, and Captain Peck, our worthy host at
Marblehead, came out in a little boat to bring some of Clarendon's
clothes, which had been left by accident. He is a clever fellow, for
though Clarendon was not half civil to him, he was always polite in his
way, and his frank, well-meaning civility so won upon brother, that when
they parted he apologized for his rudeness, and told the Captain that he
had shown himself the most of a gentleman of the two.
Beside brother's extra trappings, Captain Peck brought a package of
books, which Captain Cobb looked at with surprise, and asked, with an
oath, who they were for. O Bennie! I should enjoy myself a great deal
more if two or three of the sailors did not swear so dreadfully; but I
hope when they have read those books they will stop using such wicked
words; for what should they be but Bibles, sent on board by the Seamen's
"Let us throw them overboard," said "Brown Tom," a coarse, red-featured
man, who is more fond of grog than reading.
"Pshaw! Tom, don't talk of treating a lady's present in that way,"
exclaimed Captain Peck, who, after his fashion, has a great respect both
for religion and womankind, and his own wife in particular.
"O, if that's the case," remarked a melancholy looking man, who had not
before spoken, "let us stow them away somewhere; for women always mean
well, and perhaps it would be better for us if we followed their
I thought he sighed as he said this, and I wondered what made him so
"Well done for Moody Dick! he's sailing under new colors. Who would have
thought of his hoisting a petticoat for a flag?" said Blunt Harry, an
old, fat seaman, who is esteemed the wit of the crew.
"Not I," replied Brown Tom; "but if the giver of these books has a
pretty face of her own, they are worth keeping; if not, I don't care for
any of her lumber."
"Well, that she has," said Captain Peck, warmly; "you'll have to go
round the world again before you find a sweeter face than Miss Louisa
Colman's. She begged me to bring them on board, and ask each sailor to
accept a copy for his own use."
"I'll take one for myself, and thank ye, too, for mine was left by
mistake at the tavern, there," observed Old Jack, a quiet man, who had
just come on deck. So saying, he took up the largest of the Bibles with
an air of reverence, quite in contrast with his usual bold, careless
manner, adding, as he saw the name of the donors on the
fly-leaf,--"Bless the Seamen's Friend Society and Miss Colman, too, if
she's like the rest of the dear ladies who take such an interest in us
poor wanderers of the deep."
As the name of Miss Colman was mentioned, the face of Moody Dick met my
eye, and never did I see such powerful emotion as his toil-worn features
betrayed. His eyes, which are of that pale blue peculiar to mariners,
were filled with tears, and, unable to control his feelings, he turned
suddenly round towards the water; but his distress was evident from the
agonized writhing of every limb and muscle.
The sailors, rough and coarse as they are, had too much real feeling to
remark upon this surprising change, and in a few moments it seemed
forgotten in the excitement of finally setting sail. When I next saw
him, Dick's features were hard and stony as ever; but last night, when
almost every one was asleep, I saw him bring out the Bible of which he
had quietly taken possession, and I noticed that he had sewed a coarse
covering over it, and held it as if it were made of gold.
When you and I, Bennie, used to kneel down so regularly, and say our
prayers every night, I did not think that the same act would ever
require a stronger effort of moral courage than any thing I have ever
done. The first night we were out, after reading a chapter, as we always
do at home, before getting into my little berth, I knelt down, without
even thinking that there was any body on board who would not do the
same thing. I was so taken up with the duty I was performing, that I did
not notice if others were looking at me; for if ever I felt the need of
the protection of God, it is now. The land is so full of things that men
have made, and they are so busy all around you, that it does not seem
half so much as if it were God's own world as the ocean, where every
object, except the little vessel you are in, is of his creation. As I
looked up and saw all the universe he had made, and round on the broad
waters, and thought how soon, with one wave, they could sweep us out of
existence, I felt the need of prayer more than ever before, and I cannot
now imagine how those men could sleep, without first asking God to take
care of them. I am afraid, though, that some of the sailors don't even
believe that there is such a being, and they say his awful name without
any fear, and ask him to curse each other every few moments, as if they
had never heard what a dreadful thing it is to be under the displeasure
of the Almighty.
When I got up from my knees, I heard a loud laugh from "Blunt Harry,"
who called out to Clarendon,--"Why don't you rock that baby to sleep,
now he has said his prayers, and then say your own and turn in?"
Clarendon would have made some angry reply, but he has found out that
there is no use in getting in a passion, for the men consider him on a
perfect level with themselves, and will say what they choose to him.
"Let the boy alone," interposed Moody Dick. "I only wish I could say my
prayers this night with the same childlike confidence."
"No, don't mind them, my fine fellow," said Old Jack, the same man who
had spoken so warmly of the Seamen's Friend Society, and he gave me a
rough tap on the shoulder, which even my coarse shirt did not prevent
from stinging. "They all envy you, for I used to talk just as they do,
and when at the worst I would have changed places with any body who had
a fair chance of landing in heaven."
While this conversation was going on, Clarendon bit his lips with
displeasure, and the next day he told me that I might as well say my
prayers after I got into my berth. I was surprised that my proud
brother, who scorns the idea of being influenced by the opinion of any
one, should want to have me ashamed of worshipping God before those whom
he pretends to despise. Though I love him dearly, I did not follow his
advice, and when the second night I did the same thing, no one laughed
The next day, David Cobb shook hands heartily with me, and said I ought
to have been a Yankee boy; for though he had not been brought up to say
his prayers himself, if he had, there was not that man living who should
laugh him out of it. I shall try and persuade David to do right himself,
as well as to approve it in others, for I remember mother's
saying,--"Even a boy has his share of influence, and it is a talent for
which he must account."
I will tell you more about Old Jack and Moody Dick when I next feel
like writing. I do not know when I shall have a chance to send a letter,
but I shall try and have one ready all the while. Give my love to all
the children, and don't forget to remember me to the servants,
especially old Aunt Molly.
Your absent but loving cousin,
TALK ABOUT GREAT MEN.
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Banks of Newfoundland, July 15th, 1846.
I begin to feel, dear Bennie, very much as if I should like to hear from
you, and sometimes I am a little homesick, when I think how pleasantly
Bellisle is looking, and how happy you all must be. Then what would I
not give for your pet bookcase with its treasures, the nice Rollo books
and Marco Paul's adventures, and dear old Robinson Crusoe! I am tired,
too, of looking at men, and fairly long to see some one who will remind
me of mother, or my sweet sister Nannie, or of the "Queen of
Flowers,"--you know who I mean.
I suspect that brother Clarendon has something of the same feeling, for
yesterday I saw him take a miniature out of what I had always thought
before was a watch-case, and it was such a pretty face that I don't
wonder that he sighed when he looked at it.
But in spite of sighing and groaning, and hard fare and hard work,
Clarendon is getting better very fast, and some of the sailors, who at
first laughed at his affectation, are beginning to have a profound
respect for him, and he in his turn seems to look much more benevolently
upon mankind in general, and to be able to interest himself in the rough
characters around him. I think he cut the greatest figure washing out
his red-flannel shirt yesterday, and he laughed himself at the idea of
some of his fashionable friends catching a glimpse of him while thus
I do not like Captain Cobb much, though he is very shrewd, and sometimes
tells David and me such funny stories; but he seems to have no
principle, and has brought up David to think that if he can ever be a
great man it is no matter whether he is a good one.
Yesterday, David and I were having one of our long talks, for we pass a
great deal of time in chatting when the weather is not favorable for
fishing, and I think we shall soon know pretty well the history of each
other's lives. He was telling me about the Latin High School in Boston,
and, from what he says of it, I am sure if a boy don't learn there it
must be his own fault.
One day we were discussing our favorite characters in history, just as
you and I used to do at Bellisle, and David was very much amused when I
told him that those I most admired were Aristides, St. Paul, and General
Washington. His favorites are Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte,
and Washington. So we agree about one of them, but differ widely as to
the other two. David absolutely laughed when I mentioned St. Paul with
Aristides, and seemed to think that I only named him because I had been
taught that it was right to do so. I asked if he had ever read the life
of Paul with attention, and this question appeared to amuse him still
more; and then he told me he had been through the Book of Acts in Sunday
school, and had learned several chapters in it by heart; but for all
that he had never thought of St. Paul as a hero.
I asked him what made a hero,--if it was not courage in the time of
"Yes," he said, "but it must be in action, not in words."
I reminded him then of some of the Grecian orators, who made themselves
immortal by their speeches, when their country was in danger, and asked
if their words were not considered heroic.
This question puzzled him a little, and he was not willing to own that
it was a similar case, but I defied him to find a Greek or Roman who had
hazarded his life more freely for the good of others than St. Paul. Then
I turned to the chapter containing Paul's speech before Agrippa, and
asked him where he could match its eloquence. Then I read over the
account of the sufferings of this brave Apostle, and demanded of David
whether any other man could give a catalogue of so many and great evils
so manfully borne. Finally, we reviewed the story of Paul's shipwreck at
Melita, and David was forced to avow that my hero showed a calmness and
self-possession in that hour of danger which few mariners display.
If I only had had you to help me argue the point, I should have made him
own that Paul was very far superior to Alexander the Great.
You must not think, from what I say of David, that New England boys are
not as piously brought up as the Virginians; for I believe the
generality of them are much better instructed; but you know we have had
peculiar advantages, and David has been but little at home with his
mother, and his father cannot teach him what he does not himself know.
David will be a good man one of these days, and would be better now if
he had not the idea that there was something manly in being wicked. I am
so glad that I was not brought up to think the same, for I begin to see
how true it is, that, the older we grow, the more difficult it is for us
to change our course.
There is poor Moody Dick! I really believe he would like to be a better
man. They say that he is not more than twenty-five, but I thought that
he was over thirty, for his face is wrinkled already, and there are gray
hairs around his temples.
Yesterday, David and I were talking about our sisters. I told him all
about Nannie, and that I thought she was the prettiest girl in the whole
State of Virginia, and that was saying a great deal for her.
He allowed that this might be true, but he had a sister of his own who
was a match for her, and began describing her quite like a poet, and
then quoted some pretty lines from a piece addressed to a sister, by
Mr. Everett, I believe.
The words seemed to touch Moody Dick, who was pacing the deck near us,
for he stopped and listened to them with that same distressed expression
of countenance which I had noticed before, and when they were finished
he said, half unconsciously,--"A sister! I have a sister. There is none
"Have you seen her lately?" I asked. "It must be hard to be so much away
"I have not seen her for many years; but what is that to you?" he
replied, almost angrily.
My question might have been injudicious, and I immediately made an
apology for it, which appeased Dick. He walked up and down the deck two
or three times, as if debating some point in his own mind, and then,
returning, said, in a very sad tone,--"My life has been a useless one,
but I wish to make what is left of some service to others. You two boys
are still young, and may be saved from the errors into which I have
fallen. Come with me to the end of the vessel, where there are no
listeners, and I will tell you the story of my life, and you will then
know better how to appreciate a sister's love than you have ever done
You may imagine that we accepted this invitation very readily, but just
as I was seated Clarendon called to me to come quickly to him, for he
was very ill; so I had to jump up and run away.
I found that brother had only an attack of pain in his chest, which
proceeds from his dyspepsia; but it alarmed him very much, and when it
was over, I saw that Dick was reading his Bible by the dim light of the
only lantern on board, and as I knew it would do him good, I did not
disturb him again that night. I am really anxious to know more about his
sister, and why he staid away from her so long.
I don't think that it would be pleasant to go to sea for a business, on
the whole. I used to imagine that a sailor's life must be one of the
happiest in the world; but now I see it has very great trials. I am so
glad that the people on land are beginning to feel an interest in those
on the water; for they sacrifice much to procure for them the comforts
and luxuries of foreign lands.
I expect, Bennie, that you will be half asleep before you have done
reading this letter, for I was a little homesick when I began it, and
that makes any one stupid. Brown Tom saw that I looked, as he said,
"rather watery," and, by way of cheering me, he told me, if that black
cloud in the northeast was coming over us, I would have something worse
than home-sickness before night.
It does look rather like a squall, and I am not ashamed to own that I
should very much prefer to be in my little snug chamber at Bellisle, out
of the reach of harm.
Tell Corty that I have taken a sketch of a schooner, that has kept near
us for the last twenty-four hours, which is just like the one I am in;
and when she sees it I hope, with a little explanation, that she will
know as much about one as I do, though she has never seen any kind of
craft but a canal-boat, and I don't think they are worthy to be named
with any thing but Noah's ark. O, how I want to see you all! I never
will leave home again. Remember me to every thing I love, as your
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Banks of Newfoundland, July 16th, 1846.
Little did you think, dear Bennie, while sleeping last night quietly at
Bellisle, that your poor cousin Pidgie was in danger of being drowned.
But so it was. The storm, of which Brown Tom had warned me, came on with
tremendous force, and our poor little schooner was tossed about like a
feather on the angry waves. I was so sick, however, from the roughness
of the sea, that I feared little, and realized less, of our critical
Clarendon says that Captain Cobb showed himself a brave man, and David
was more active than the oldest of the sailors. As for brother himself,
he did wonders. Old Jack told me this morning, that, when we came on
hoard, he thought Clarendon was such a good-for-nothing that his life
was scarcely worth saving; but there was not a man on board who showed
more presence of mind and energetic courage. He really looks better this
morning for his exertions.
Sick as I felt last night, there was one thing struck me forcibly, and
that was, that those who had sworn the loudest, and appeared the boldest
in wickedness since we started, were most frightened, and prayed most
heartily to that Being whose existence they were before hardly willing
to acknowledge. I can give you no better description of the scene than
is found in the Psalm, which is so often quoted by those who are at sea;
for the ship did indeed "reel to and fro like a drunken man."
Old Jack was perfectly composed. And well he may be; for he says that he
always thinks in a storm that he may arrive shortly at a better port
than he otherwise could reach in many years. He has been telling us this
morning how he came at this happy state of mind, and several of the
sailors were made serious enough, by the perils of last night, to listen
patiently to his story, and perhaps you may do the same.
Before it was considered possible for a sea-faring man to be perfectly
temperate, Jack took more than his share of grog; and, when on shore,
spent all his time in dissipation. Luckily, he had no wife to be made
miserable by his errors, though perhaps a good woman might have had an
excellent influence on him. As he had no home of his own, his time when
in port was spent at some miserable tavern by the water-side, where he
could meet the crews of vessels from all quarters of the world, and join
with them in folly and vice.
Two years ago, he had returned from a long voyage to the East Indies,
and landed at New York. One Sunday evening, when staggering along by the
docks and looking at the different ships, trying to meet with some of
his old messmates, he noticed what seemed to him a most curious-looking
vessel, and called out to a sailor near him,--"What in the name of sense
is that odd-looking craft, without sail or steam, good for?"
"Have you never before seen the floating chapel?" asked the trim-looking
tar whom he accosted. "Come aboard, and you will be never the worse.
It's a church, man! Don't stare your eyes out, but walk inside and hear
good plain doctrine."
"No, no," replied Jack; "I can't be pressed into that service. I am in
no rig either for going into such a concern; and, besides, it's ten long
years since I have been inside a church, and I should act so strangely
that they would throw me overboard. There's never a word in the gabbling
one hears at such places that I can understand."
"But this preaching is meant for sailors," continued Jack's new
acquaintance, "and there is nobody else there; so you will be rigged as
well as any of the congregation. Come along! let's board her right off."
Jack had a great deal of curiosity, and, after a little more parley,
consented to go into the floating chapel. I wish I could repeat to you
the sermon which he heard there, with the simple eloquence with which he
delivered it to us. The text was,--"The sea shall give up its dead." The
clergyman imagined the millions who should rise, on this momentous
occasion, from the recesses of the vast ocean, and as he pictured the
probable characters of many who should then come forth to judgment, and
their unfitness to stand before that holy tribunal, Jack felt as if he
were describing some of his own friends whom he had seen ingulfed by the
waters. When thus summoned, as they must be, before long, to appear,
with the same tempers and dispositions which they had displayed in life,
would they be found prepared for a heaven of purity? Then came a vivid
picture of the perils of a sailor's life, and the probability that its
termination might be equally sudden. The sermon closed with an earnest
exhortation to each one then present to live every moment in such a
state, that, if death should surprise them, they might rise again to
life eternal; and Jack, as he listened to the concluding words, felt as
if the warning were the last which would ever fall on his ears. He might
have soon banished the seriousness occasioned by this visit to the
chapel, among his jovial companions, had he not met with a loss, which
he now considers a most providential occurrence.
On returning to his boarding-house, Jack went to his room, and, on going
to his chest, found to his dismay that it had been opened during his
absence, and all that remained of his wages for the last cruise stolen.
He rushed down to the landlord in great distress, but obtained little
satisfaction; and there was something in his manner which made the poor
sailor think that he had known of the theft. Jack left the house in
despair, not knowing which way to turn, when he met the same sailor who
had induced him to go to church, and who now offered to show him a more
"Don't talk to me of lodging!" Jack exclaimed. "I have not a penny in
the world, and must ship myself in the first vessel that goes."
Jack's companion, with seaman-like generosity, offered him half of all
he owned in the world, and was certain, that, if he would go to the
Sailor's Home, he would find friends who would assist him in recovering
his stolen treasure. Jack allowed himself to be led by his companion,
and soon reached the comfortable building which had been erected by one
of those benevolent associations which are an honor to the Northern
The poor wanderer felt a greater sense of comfort than he had
experienced for years, as he entered a pleasant little chamber in this
truly homelike abode. When he had made the acquaintance of the
kind-hearted landlady, he found her willing to let him remain, even
after he had told her of his destitute condition; and she promised that
every effort should be made to restore to him his hard earnings.
On going back to his snug quarters, after this conversation, there was
something like thankfulness to the Giver of all good in Jack's heart. By
his bedside he found a Bible, a volume which he had not seen since the
one his mother gave him was lost, five years before, when he was wrecked
upon the coast of Africa. He thought of the sermon which he had heard
that afternoon, and took up the book to look for the text,--"The sea
shall give up its dead." The first words upon which his eye fell
were,--"For this my son was lost and is found." The beautiful story of
the Prodigal Son, as he had heard it in childhood, came full into his
mind, and he remembered how often he had read it at his mother's knee.
The tears rolled down his cheek, as, sitting down beside the little pine
table, he read again that touching picture of God's love for his
wandering children; and when he came to the confession of the penitent
son, it burst forth from his own heart.
From that hour Jack has been a changed man. Some of the benevolent
persons in the city of New York, who have the welfare of mariners so
much at heart, procured him a new situation, favorable to his
improvement in character; and the next ship in which he sailed was
commanded by a pious captain, who was a good friend to every man on
board. When he returned from this cruise, he felt too old for another
long voyage, and for the future was going to try and content himself
with being out for two or three months on expeditions like that in which
he is at present engaged.
Perhaps, dear Bennie, I have tired you by repeating this long story,
which cannot be as interesting to you as it was to me from Jack's own
lips, in the morning after a night of such excitement, with the sailors
standing around, listening attentively to every word of it. Even brother
Clarendon was touched by the earnest exhortations to them with which the
narrative closed; and it seems as if being out of society had made him
more serious than he ever was before. He laughs at me now very often,
and says I was cut out for a Methodist preacher; but on Sunday he did
not read any of the novels he brought with him, and though that does not
seem a proof of much goodness, yet in him it shows improvement. If he
should get his health, and become a pious man, what a comfort he would
be to 'ma; for she thinks he is almost perfect now.
We have just "come to" in a fine shoal of mackerel, so I must quit
writing and go to fishing; for David and I have a great strife which
will catch the most on the voyage.
Love, as usual, to every body, from yours,
VISIT TO THE CUNARD STEAMER.
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Nowhere in particular, July 22d.
I was almost in despair, dear Bennie, of ever getting a chance to send
you the nice long letters I had written. Though we had been nearly three
weeks from home, we had not stopped at any port, or spoken a single
vessel. Yesterday evening, Clarendon was amusing himself with a
spy-glass which he brought with him, and David and I were wondering
whether it could make something out of nothing,--for there was no land
in sight, or any thing else to spy at, that we could perceive. Brother's
eyes, however, were better than ours; for he saw a speck in the
distance, which he found to be a vessel of large size, and he called
the captain to take a look at it. Captain Cobb pronounced it forthwith,
from its peculiar form and the day of the month, to be one of the
British steamers, which had got a little to the north, on its way to
Halifax. He soon found that his conjectures were right; and as she
appeared to be at rest, and the wind was fair, we made towards her with
all possible speed.
It is a marvel to me how such a great, unwieldy thing can float on the
water, especially as there is so much iron about it. After all, I like
our old fishing-smack better than being within continual hearing of that
monstrous engine; and then the smell of smoke and steam would, I am
sure, take away my appetite, so that I could not even enjoy one of their
But you have no idea, Bennie, what elegant style every thing is in on
board these steamers. Two or three turns on the long, shining deck would
be quite a morning walk, and the immense dining-room appears larger
still, from the mirrors on every side. I had heard so much of the
state-rooms, that I expected more than was reasonable; and when I saw
them, the idea of passing night after night in such little closets was
not agreeable. The pantry presented a beautiful assortment of glass and
china; but every tumbler and cup had to be fastened to the wall by
hooks, or, in case of rough weather, there would be fatal smashing. The
castors, too, looked so droll, suspended over the table like hanging
The ladies appeared quite as much at home in their delightful saloons as
in the most luxurious apartments in the city, and few Virginian
drawing-rooms could make such a display of Wilton carpets, velvet
lounges, and splendid mirrors.
These steamers must be nice things for women and children, for it cannot
seem at all as if they were at sea when the weather is pleasant, and
they are so used to spending their time in reading and working that it
does not much matter where they are, if they keep on with these
occupations. I suppose these ladies would have been miserable on such an
old schooner as ours,--and some of the men, too, who looked almost as
effeminate. I think Clarendon himself would very much prefer one of
these nice little state-rooms, where he could make his toilet so
comfortably, to his straw-bed in the old Go-Ahead. I am sure a dinner on
board the steamer would be much more to his taste than biscuit and
water, even with such nice fish as we caught this morning for a relish.
He pulled up a whole barrel full of them himself, and that gave him a
most excellent appetite.
At first, Clarendon declared that he could not go on board the steamer
in his sailor rigging; but he had no other with him, and at length the
desire to see what he called "civilized people" once more carried him
over. You should have seen some pretty ladies, who were sitting in the
dining-room, stare at him.
"That is a remarkably genteel-looking man for one in his condition,"
remarked the oldest of the group. "What kind of a vessel did he come
"I heard one of the gentlemen say, as it approached us, that it was a
Yankee fishing-smack," observed her daughter.
"He walks about as if he had been quite used to elegance," observed a
third, "and does not stare around like that plump little fellow beside
him, who is too fair to have been long on the water."
You may be sure that "the plump little fellow who stared about" was your
cousin Pidgie, for David never looks astonished at any thing, and has so
often visited all kinds of vessels that he is quite at home in any of
them. He was able to explain all the machinery to brother and myself,
pointing out the improvements which have been recently made in steam
navigation with a clearness that I never could equal. I don't believe,
though, that Clarendon heard a word of this explanation; for the remarks
of the ladies in the dining-room had reached his ear, and he was
terribly discomfited at being taken for a Down East fisherman.
David really seems to have more independence than my proud brother, for
he don't care what people take him for, so there is nothing disgraceful
about it, and verily believes that there is not a situation in the world
which he could not do honor to, or make honorable.
Captain Cobb did not go on board himself, but deputed David to deliver a
message to the captain about some fish, and no man could have discharged
his commission with more quiet indifference. You could see at a glance
that the son of the owner of the fishing-smack Go-Ahead considered
himself quite equal to the captain of the royal steamer.
"Have you had good luck in fishing this season, my fine fellow?" said an
English gentleman to Clarendon, who was standing with his back towards
I would have liked to have seen brother's face at being thus addressed;
for I knew that there was a pint, at least, of the best old Virginia
blood in his cheeks and forehead. The moment that he turned round, there
was something in his air which showed the man of the world his mistake.
"I beg your pardon, Sir," he said quickly. "Your dress made me mistake
you for one of the sailors; but I see from your complexion that you have
not been long on the sea."
Clarendon received the apology very graciously, and now became
interested in conversing with the stranger. Before parting with the
acquaintance made thus unceremoniously, they had exchanged names,--for
cards they had none at hand,--and the English gentleman partly promised
to visit Clarendon Beverley at his own plantation of Altamac, which
brother is to superintend on his return home.
There was a young Italian girl on board, as nurse to one of the ladies,
who reminded me of a poor little fellow that recently died at Boston.
David told me about him, and said that his face was the saddest that he
ever saw. He earned a scanty support in a strange land by exhibiting
two little white mice, which he carried in a small wooden cage hung
around his neck. He offered to show them without asking for money, and
when they ran up and down his arms, and over his hands, he would look
upon them with the most mournful affection, as if they were the only
friends he had on earth. Every one who saw him longed to know his
history; but he could speak but little English, and shrank from the
notice of strangers. He was taken sick and carried to the Massachusetts
Hospital, where his gentleness won him many friends. But they could not
stop the progress of his disease, or comfort his poor, lonely heart. The
night before he died, no one near him could sleep for his piteous
moaning and sad cries,--"I am afraid to die; I want my mother."
O Bennie! if we had seen this poor little fellow, so unprotected and
sorrowful, with no means of support but exhibiting those poor little
white mice, we should, I am sure, have felt that we could not be too
thankful for all the comforts of our dear home. Yet, when I heard this
story, the contrast with my own favored lot did not at first make me
happier; for I began to realize how many miserable beings there are in
the world, whose suffering we cannot relieve, and may never know. I
could not eat a mouthful that day, for thinking of the melancholy little
Italian boy. I wonder if that was his sister on board the steamer! How
could his mother let him go so far away from her? Perhaps, though, she
was starving at home, and had heard of America as a land of plenty.
I don't think that I shall ever want to go abroad myself; for they say
that in foreign countries one sees so many poor, miserable children; and
that would make me so unhappy that I should not enjoy any thing. I said
so to David; but he talks like a young philosopher. He seems to have a
way of keeping himself from feeling badly about others, though he has a
very good heart, and, if he gave way to it, could make himself as
unhappy about others as I sometimes do. He says he could enjoy looking
at St. Peter's quite as much if there were a few beggars around it. I
was sure, for my part, that I could take no pleasure in looking at the
most beautiful building, if I saw any one who was suffering at the same
Clarendon laughed when he heard me make this remark, and said that I was
too chicken-hearted for a boy, and ought to have been a girl. He need
not smile at me, for he feels himself more quickly than the
New-Englanders, though, after they have weighed any case of suffering in
their own minds, they would do quite as much to relieve it. I can never
think them cold-hearted, after visiting Boston and seeing their
hospitals and schools. While I was there, there was a tremendous fire in
the neighbourhood, by which a great many poor people lost their all. But
the intelligence was hardly received before thousands of dollars were
subscribed for their relief. They certainly have a great deal of real
feeling and generosity, and if they would only express a little more of
it in manner and words, every body would allow them to be, what I know
they are, the kindest people in the world, always excepting the dear old
Virginians. They speak, act, think, and feel just as they ought to do.
You will perceive, from this last remark, that I am not turning traitor
to the Old Dominion. We have been so successful in our fishing that I
hope ere long to see it once more; and, till then, shall remain
MOODY DICK'S SISTER LOUISA.
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Schooner Go-Ahead, August 1st, 1846.
You will think from my last letters, dear Bennie, that I have lost all
interest in Moody Dick; and to be sure I did forget his story in the
excitement of our visit to the Cunard steamer.
The evening after that great event was so pleasant, that David and I,
who in general are great sleepy-heads, had no desire to rest; perhaps
from having seen so much that was new during the day. The sailors are
too used to such visits to think any thing about them; and, besides,
they are a mighty independent set of men, and care as little for the
world as the world for them. Clarendon sat on one end of the schooner
reading some English papers by the moonlight, which was intensely
bright, while at the other end Brown Tom and some of his friends were
regaling themselves with a smoke and a long yarn. I had not seen Dick
since morning to notice him, but could not help observing him now, as he
walked about with the air of a man who is trying to free himself from
some melancholy thought. I did not interrupt him, when he passed the
place where I was sitting with David, but two or three times he halted
as he came by us. My Yankee friend was giving me a lively description of
a clam-bake at Swampscot, in return for a picture I had drawn of life on
a plantation in Virginia; but though it was most amusing, I could not
help pitying Dick. By and by he stopped near us, and stood looking
earnestly at something which he had taken from his bosom. A sudden wave
struck the vessel, which gave it a tilt, and in preserving his footing
Dick dropped a small locket on the edge of the deck, which David caught
fast as it was slipping into the water.
As he handed the trinket to its owner, I could not help seeing that it
held the miniature of a lovely child, not more than four years old. The
hair was very light, and curled so sweetly, that the eyes were like Lily
Carrol's, only a little sadder; but the mouth seemed as ready to smile
as hers always is. The face was not at all like Dick's, but yet it
reminded me of what his might have been when a child.
"O, how beautiful!" I exclaimed involuntarily, as David placed it in
"Do you think so?" he asked, earnestly. "Look again at this merry face,
and tell me if it ever ought to have been saddened by sorrow."
"But, you know, 'by the sorrow of the countenance the heart is made
better,'" I replied, wishing to soothe the grief which he evidently
felt, as he held the miniature for me to look at it again.
"Better!" repeated Dick, sternly. "There could not be a better heart
than my sweet sister Louisa always had. That picture gives only a faint
idea of her lovely face, for it represents its least pleasing
expression, and she had not then reached the height of her beauty. Yet
it is very like," he added, gazing sadly upon it. "Even now I seem to
hear those rosy lips utter their first sweet lisp,--'Dear brother.'"
"No wonder that you loved her, if she was even prettier than this!" I
exclaimed; "for I could lay down my life for such a sister."
"I did not love her," he answered, to our great surprise. "You are
astonished at the confession; but I am not sure that, affectionate as
you boys both seem, you either of you know what true love is. I was
proud of Louisa. When she was an infant I liked to hear her praises; and
as she grew more and more beautiful, and began to pour out the first
woman feelings of her guileless heart upon me, I received them with
gratitude, and really believed she was, what I called her, 'my heart's
"Then why do you say that you did not love her?" I inquired,
"Because years have convinced me," he replied, "that I was even then,
what I have ever since been, one mass of selfishness. I never gave up a
single wish for her pleasure, or made one effort to add to her
happiness. Never say, my boys, that you love any one, till you find your
own will giving way to the desire to please them, and that you can
cheerfully renounce your most cherished plans for their sake."
As he said this, Bennie, I asked myself whether it could be true that I
did not even love my mother, and tried to think whether I had ever made
the least sacrifice of my will to her comfort. O, how many acts recurred
to my mind of selfish imposition upon her yielding gentleness! I am
afraid that we boys all take the kindness of our parents too much as a
matter of course, and do not often enough question ourselves whether we
are making any return for their love.
But I am getting to scribble away my own thoughts quite too freely. Yet
it is only a year since I could think of no other commencement to a
letter than "As this is composition day, I thought that I would write to
As Dick thus spake of his own want of consideration for the feelings of
his little sister, he became exceedingly agitated and was unable to
proceed. Clarendon, who had finished reading his papers, came to the
side of the boat where we were sitting, and told me that he was going to
turn in, and that it was quite time for me to be asleep too. I was very
reluctant to go, but when brother was out of hearing, Dick said,--"It is
as well. I find I have not self-command enough to go over the sad story
of my own folly. If you will give me a pencil and some paper, to-morrow
I will write such portions of it as I think may interest or be of
service to you. Do not criticize the expressions, for it is many years
since I have done any thing of the kind, and the life I have led has
about destroyed all traces of my early education."
Of course, David and I were obliged to accept this promise in lieu of
the evening's entertainment which we had expected, and marched off to
The next day we came upon a fine shoal of mackerel; so every one was
busy, and it was not till nearly a week afterwards that Dick handed us
two closely-written sheets of paper, with a caution not to show them to
any one else. David and I read them with much interest, and I copied
them to send to you. Here they are, and you must take care that I have
them safe on my return.
CONTINUATION OF DICK'S STORY.
"It was not from pride that I was unable to go on with the history of my
own early years; but I find that I had not the fortitude to bear the sad
recollection of my own selfishness and ingratitude. My little sister's
image rose before me with such sweetness and purity that I could not
utter another word.
"I will pass over the years of my infantine tyranny till, when at the
age of fourteen, I became possessed with a strong desire to be sent to a
public school. My father was sitting in his large arm-chair, in the
porch, after tea, when I made this request, which, at first, he refused
"'I shall never be any thing but a baby,' I exclaimed angrily, 'brought
up with nobody but a mere child, and that a girl, too, for my playmate.
Do send me where I can make a man, and be a match for other boys of my
"My old father looked very sadly at this outbreak of passion, but did
not reprove my disrespectful tone. 'Where do you wish to go?' he asked,
soothingly. 'Can you find any one who will love you better than your
sweet little sister and I do? She would be very unhappy if I were to
send her dear brother away.'
"'And so,' I said, 'I must be tied to Miss Louisa's apron-string all my
life, for fear the little baby will cry for me! If my interest is always
to lend to her pleasure, I might as well give up all hope of ever being
any thing now.'
"At this moment, Louisa, who sat swinging on the garden gate, fanning
her fair cheek with the little round hat which she had just been
trimming with roses, caught the sound of my angry voice; and never did a
cloud more quickly obscure the sweet star of evening than the shadow
fell on her young face. She dropped her hat beside her on the grass, and
the ever-ready tear rose to her dark hazel eye; but she dashed it away,
knowing that I was always angry with her instead of myself when I made
her weep. She left her seat, and, coming up the walk with a timid air,
stole to my father's side and whispered,--'O, don't cross Richard,
father! If he wants to go away from us, let him. He will be happier
where there are boys of his own age.'
"'And what will you do, my sweet pet?' asked my father, fondly, as he
drew her to his knee. 'Will you stay alone with your old father, and try
and comfort him.'
"'O, yes indeed!' she answered earnestly, as she threw her arms around
his neck and kissed him. 'We shall get along so nicely together, and be
so happy when we have pleasant letters from Dick, telling us how he is
improving in every thing.'
"Hers was love; for she cared nothing for her own loneliness in
comparison with the gratification of my wishes.
"So I left our quiet country home, with all its holy influences, for the
turmoil and heartlessness of a large school, where I soon became the
ringleader in all sorts of mischief. Before long, accounts of my evil
doing reached my father; but Louisa, incredulous of evil, as the pure
ever are, persuaded him that her brother had been misunderstood, and not
treated with sufficient gentleness. 'His spirit has been imprudently
roused,' she said, 'and that makes him perverse and forgetful of his
better self. But all will soon be well again.'
"By being more cunning in my wicked exploits, I contrived to hide them
from my teacher, and consequently was allowed to remain at school for
several years, till considered ready to enter college. During this time
I had made very short visits at home, and almost dreaded the long
vacation before entering the Sophomore class at Harvard University.
"It is possible that in some respects I might have improved in
appearance during my residence at school; but evil tempers and evil
habits will leave their traces on the countenance, and my excellent
parent sighed as he looked upon the hardened face of his only son.
Louisa, also, found something unpleasant in the change, but said that no
alteration would have pleased her which made me differ from the dear
little brother with whom she had passed so many happy hours. I could not
say the same of her; for, though my baby sister had seemed perfect, the
tall girl of fifteen, who stood at the garden gate to welcome me, was
lovelier still. The responsibility of presiding over her father's
household and her anxiety for me had infused a shade of thoughtfulness
into her otherwise lively countenance, which might have made it seem too
full of care for one so young, had not the sweeter Christian principle
changed it to an expression of quiet peacefulness.
"When I told of my school follies at home, Louisa would sometimes sigh;
and then I would be angry at what I named her 'daring to dictate to me.'
But I never could frighten her into approving what was wrong. I was not
happy in her society, for much of my time of late years had been spent
in a manner of which she could not fail to disapprove, and her whole
life was at variance with mine. I do believe, now, in spite of her
unwearied affection, that it was a relief to her when the vacation was
over, and she had no longer the annoying presence of her wicked, wayward
"Sometimes Louisa would allude to the way in which we had been
educated, entirely unconscious that I not only had given up all
religious observances, but even dared to make them a matter of sport. I
was half ashamed, and quite as much provoked, when at parting she handed
me a book of 'Private Devotions,' with a mark, worked in her own hair,
at a prayer for absent friends.
"'You had better keep this book for yourself, little Methodist,' I
exclaimed, trying to laugh off my vexation. 'Students have no need of
such text-books, I can tell you.'
"'But students need the protection of an Almighty Creator,' she replied,
seriously, 'and their absent friends, also, are only safe under his
keeping. I always pray for you, my dear brother, as our mother taught me
to do; and I had hoped that you had not given up the petition for your
sister which you also used to say at her knee.'
"This remark brought before me the image of our departed mother, as she
looked the last time I remembered to have seen her, seated in an easy
chair which she rivalled in whiteness, so mild and calm, with the little
curly head of my baby-sister in her lap, while she dictated to her the
simple form of prayer,--'God bless my dear brother!'
"As the stage-coach rolled away from my father's door, I could not
banish the vision called up by Louisa's parting words, and I then
resolved to try and become what my mother would have wished. Vain
resolution! Six weeks saw me immersed in all the dissipation that the
city afforded, and in three months I had an empty purse, enfeebled
health, and a hardness of heart which would have taken some men years to
"To pay my 'honorable debts,' as I called my gambling ones, I wrote to
Louisa, requesting her to ask my father to send me a fresh supply of
money. She sent me a moderate sum in a purse of her own knitting, which
she playfully observed, 'would not part with its treasures unless they
were to be worthily employed.'
"The funds so easily obtained were soon scattered to the winds, and I
sent a repetition of my former request to Louisa, couched in the most
affectionate language, adding many words of endearment, without once
thinking of the meanness of thus employing her affection to pander to my
own selfish gratification.
"But I was mistaken in Louisa! While she thought that she could benefit
me, there was no limit to her kindness; but her principles were too firm
for weak indulgence. She replied to my demand kindly, but decidedly. Her
conscience would not allow her to impose on the generosity of our
excellent parent, and to take from him that which was necessary for the
comfort of his old age, for the sake of indulging me in my vicious
pursuits. She begged me to give him an honest statement of my affairs,
and to assure him of my resolution to renounce the follies in which I
had become thus entangled, cautioning me against endeavouring to warp
his judgment by expressions of affection, while my whole conduct showed
such utter disregard of his happiness.
"These were the first words of severity which I had ever heard from
Louisa, and only her devotion to our father could have called them
forth. I was in a perfect rage at the receipt of her letter, and
determined to do something which should make my sister repent of her
"That night my effects were all packed up, excepting a few valuables, of
which I disposed at any price, to pay off my debts to my reckless
companions, and the next day saw me on my way to New York.
"When I arrived at that city, I wrote a few lines to Louisa, but not a
word to my father. I remember them as plainly as if they were now before
me, for they haunted me for years. These were the cruel words with which
I took leave of the sweetest of human beings:--'Since you think, Miss
Louisa, that my father is too poor to support me, I will no longer tax
his kindness. I can take care of myself, and be free from your
reproaches. I am going to sea in the first vessel that sails from this
port. I care not where it is bound, so that it bears me away from those
that once loved me, but who have now cast me off from them for ever.'
"The first ship which I could find was just starting for a long whaling
voyage; and, careless of consequences, I entered it as a common sailor,
little aware of the trials I was about to endure. A fit of sea-sickness
made me soon repent of the rash step that I had taken; but it was too
late to return; the vessel kept mercilessly on its course, carrying me
away from my only true friends. The tyranny of the coarse captain
brought painfully to my remembrance the indulgence I had always received
from my kind parent, whose only weakness was the readiness with which he
yielded to my wishes.
"At first I refused to have any thing to say to my messmates, many of
whom were morally better than myself; but I was naturally social, and,
soon forgetting my refined education, began to enjoy their conversation.
I became quite a hero among them, and led them into mischief in every
port at which we stopped. Many of our pranks would have brought us
before the civil authority, had we not sailed away before their
authorship was ascertained.
"After an absence of three years I returned to New York, with nothing in
the world which I could call my own but my sailor's clothes and my last
month's wages. As soon as we were discharged I repaired to a low tavern
near the dock, with some of the most unworthy of the crew, determined
that my family should never hear of my arrival in the country. On taking
up a paper one day, I saw, to my surprise, among the advertised letters
one to myself, which was speedily procured for me by a messmate, as I
was anxious not to be seen in the more frequented part of the city.
"The letter was from Louisa. I have it still, but it is too sacred to
meet any eyes but my own. It contained all that Christian principle and
sisterly affection could dictate to recall a wanderer home, and it went
to my heart. Inclosed was a large sum of money, the fruit of her own
labor during my absence; and she informed me that another letter
containing a similar inclosure was in the post-office at Boston. After
much inquiry, my father had discovered the name of the ship in which I
had sailed, and the probable length of its cruise, and therefore Louisa
had expected my return to one of these ports during the summer, if I was
still alive. Our dear parent, she informed me, was ready to receive me
with open arms; and, for herself, her affection had undergone no change.
"You will of course conclude that I did not delay one moment, after the
receipt of this letter, returning to a home where such an angelic being
waited to receive me. It seems impossible to me, now, that I could have
done otherwise. Yet so it was. Pride, my besetting sin, made me inflict
still deeper wounds on that gentle heart.
"I had determined, as soon as I could procure suitable clothing, to go
directly to Charlottesville, for that was the name of our village; and
for this purpose I walked for the first time toward the business quarter
of the city. As I was going up Broadway, in my ragged sailor's dress,
keeping close to the inside of the walk to escape observation, I saw a
pale, slender girl coming towards me, accompanied by two gentlemen, one
of whom was a fine-looking officer, in a naval uniform. The lady was
engaged in animated discourse, and, by the pleasant countenance of the
gentlemen, very agreeable, for one laughed aloud, apparently at some
remark which had dropped from her lips.
"In an instant I recognized my sister, and was ready to fall on my knees
before her; but then I remembered my own shabby appearance, and deferred
our meeting till I could execute my present design, and make myself more
"As I passed I saw her face grow sad, for she caught a glimpse of my
dress, and though the glance was too hasty for her to recognize me, yet
I doubt not that it brought her poor brother to her mind, for I heard
her sigh deeply.
"As I went on my way, my mind was full of bitterness. Whenever I had
done wrong myself, I always began to imagine that others had injured me;
and now I tried to persuade myself that Louisa was indifferent to my
welfare, and had only sent me money for fear that I should disgrace her
by appearing again at home. 'Proud girl!' I exclaimed, 'you need not
fear that such a miserable wretch will claim your relationship, or
disturb your enjoyment of congenial society.'
"When Satan can find entrance into the soul for such wicked thoughts,
they soon drive out all better ones; and, before I had reached the
tailor's shop to which I was going, I had determined never to return
"Without taking any notice of the letter I had received from Louisa, I
secured a berth immediately in a vessel bound for the Pacific, and for
three years again deserted my native land.
"About eighteen months after this ship sailed, we fell in with a
man-of-war, and I went on board. The moment that I saw the captain I
recognized in him the officer whom I had seen with my sister in New
York. For once the love of home was stronger than my pride, and I asked
anxiously if he could tell me any thing of Miss Louisa Colman.
"The instant that I made this inquiry, the captain gave me a keen,
scrutinizing glance, and then replied quickly,--'You are the brother
Richard, I presume, of whose fate Miss Colman has been so long
"I was taken too much by surprise to deny this fact, and Captain Hall
continued,--'I had the pleasure of becoming intimate in Dr. Colman's
family, and my wife is devotedly attached to your sweet sister. Through
her I heard of your absence from home, and the grief it had given to all
who loved you. My belonging to the navy seemed to give me an interest
in Miss Louisa's eyes, and shortly before I sailed, she implored me to
make inquiry of every ship which came in my way, to discover, if
possible, whether you were still among the living.'
"'I saw her in New York,' I remarked very coldly, as the scene in
Broadway recurred to my mind; 'and though it was only for a moment, I
perceived that she was in excellent spirits.'
"'Miss Louisa Colman can never be long unhappy,' he replied, sternly,
'while she leans on Heaven and employs her whole time in doing good to
others. Misery is their lot alone, who, to gratify their own selfish
whims, will trample on the happiness even of their dearest friends.'
"I felt the reproof contained in these words, but was too proud to show
any emotion, even when Captain Hall gave me a description of the scene
at home, after my first departure became known. In her grief, Louisa
never forgot what was due to her father, and the cheerfulness which she
managed to maintain, notwithstanding her affliction, was all that
supported his broken spirit. Captain Hall then informed me that the old
man's health was failing, and his last letters from America had spoken
of his increased weakness.
"This information was a dreadful blow, but it did not make me a better
man. I tried to drown sorrow in intoxication, and almost obliterated the
remembrance of home, excepting when, in the silence of night, it would
come over me with irresistible power.
"When, after the lapse of three years, I once more approached my native
land, I was much more unworthy of being recognized by my friends than in
returning from my previous voyage. Still I proceeded directly to
Charlottesville, and stopped at the old mansion, which I had not seen
for six long years. Alas! it was tenanted by strangers. A new tombstone
was in the village grave-yard, and on one side of it the name of my
father, and the other bore my own. I asked the sexton, who was just
opening the church for an evening lecture, when Richard Colman died. He
replied very readily,--'O, about a year since. The old gentleman heard
of the loss of the vessel in which he sailed, and dropped away himself
"I dared not inquire after Louisa, for I felt that she must look upon me
as the destroyer of our father. I hastened to Boston, and had determined
on leaving the country for ever, when, by accident, I had tidings of my
"After the melancholy information I obtained at Charlottesville, I had
become a temperance man, and took up my abode at the Sailor's Home.
While there, a poor man, who had been ill for months, and finally was
obliged to have his leg amputated, spoke often of the goodness of a
young lady who had been often to see him, and whom he considered almost
an angel. My curiosity was excited, and I inquired of the excellent
landlady the name of his friend, and was answered by a warm tribute of
praise to my own sister. I found that she was living in the family of an
aunt, and was devoted to benevolent objects of all kinds, but chiefly
interested in schemes for improving the temporal and spiritual condition
of seamen. O, my poor Louisa! I knew, at that moment, that love for her
miserable brother's memory had dictated these exertions.
"Yet even then I did not seek to see her. 'I will leave her in peace,' I
said to myself, 'for she thinks I am dead, and it would be better for
her if I really were.' Still, now that she was alone, I could not bear
to go so far from her again, and therefore made up my mind to enter the
fishing-service, that I might not long be absent from the city.
"You may remember the day that Captain Peck brought the Bibles on board,
which had been left for distribution by a lady of Boston. That lady was
my sister, and I trust that the bread which she thus cast upon the
waters may indeed be returned to her before many days. I have read that
Bible daily, first, because it was her gift, and then because I found
that it could give me more peace than I had ever known before in my
whole life. I shall go to my sister as soon as we return, and I feel
that she will not cast me away. I have so impaired my constitution, that
only a few years may remain to me; but whatever time I am spared shall
be spent in repaying as far as possible her unwearied affection.
"I have written this story with great reluctance, but my heart was
almost breaking from so long repressing its emotions. You are still
boys. Try, then, while it is in your power, to make those who love you
happy, instead of laying up years of remorse and misery by selfish
indulgence of your own wishes, at the expense of their comfort and
peace. Read now the book which I have so lately learned to prize, and
you will not have to look back upon the grave of a father whom you never
honored, and the counsels of a mother so long despised."
Poor Dick! Although he was so unkind, do you not feel very sorry for
him, Bennie? I long so to hear of his meeting with his sister, that I am
really impatient to return. David did not say much after reading this
story, but I know he thinks a great deal about it. Yesterday he said to
me,--"Did you ever know, Pidgie, that girls were so tender-hearted? I
think I must often have hurt my little sister's feelings. She is a good
little thing, and, though not quite so pretty as that picture of Louisa
Colman, yet a very fair-looking girl in her way."
I suppose this long letter will not go till I have a chance of writing
another, all about myself; but if it does, you ca imagine that I am
spending my time pretty much as I have described before; and believe me
still your affectionate cousin,
DAVID'S GLIMPSE OF NOBILITY.
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Schooner Go-Ahead, August 16th, 1846.
You will see by the date, dear Bennie, that more than two weeks have
passed since I last wrote to you. In the mean time your poor cousin
Pidgie has been lying on his straw-bed, sick with a fever. It has been
rather gloomy, to be sure; but now that I am better I can think of
nothing but the kindness of the sailors. It must be the salt water which
keeps their hearts so good and warm, for when any one is in real trouble
they are as tender as little children. There were two or three of them,
whom I had not even thought worth mentioning, that spent every moment,
when they were not busy, in trying to amuse me. One had been to China,
and you don't know how many curious things he had seen there. He tells
me that there is a Chinese museum in Boston, and when I go back there I
shall visit it, and I will try and remember every thing worthy of notice
to tell you on my return. How many pleasant evenings we shall spend
together, in the old school-room at Bellisle, with all the girls sitting
by the long window, or near us out on the porch!
I love the sea, and yet I long to take a stroll down the lawn before
your door on the sweet green grass. It is a blessed thing that
travelling of any kind has so much to interest, or else how would any
one ever be able to make up his mind to leave home?
Since I have heard poor Dick's story I don't much wish to go to a public
school; but Clarendon says that's a silly prejudice, for it was the same
disposition which made him unhappy at home, that prevented the school
from being of service to him. Yet I am afraid that I have not principle
enough to go among so many boys and do what is right. It is harder to be
laughed at by those of our own age than by older people. I have learned
this lately, for I find that I don't feel half as much ashamed when
brother makes fun of what he calls my Methodistical habits, as I do of
David's ridicule. He has a way of putting aside all the reasons I give
him for doing right, as if they were so utterly unworthy of a boy's
consideration, that I hardly dare to try and argue with him.
A few nights since, one of the old sailors took out a pack of greasy
cards, and, calling to one of his companions, said that he would teach
David and I to play a two-handed game, which we should find very
amusing. David was all eagerness to learn; but I told him that I had
rather not touch them.
"Nonsense, man!" said David; "I thought that you had too much sense to
be afraid of little pieces of pasteboard, with red and black spots on
them. They are not going to poison you."
"But I have promised my mother that I would never play cards," I
replied; "and, besides, it would give me no pleasure, for I have heard
of so much evil from the use of them that I cannot see them without
The old sailor, who had only wished to please me, was very angry at what
I said, and began swearing dreadfully. David tried to pacify him, and
proposed that they should take a game together, and he'd be bound that I
would want to play before they had done with it.
"Would you wish," I asked, "that I should be tempted to break a promise
to a widowed mother, who never in my life denied me any thing that was
"No!" said David, after a moment's thought; "give me your hand! You are
perfectly right, and I honor you for it."
Before he had time to say any more, Brown Tom came in to look for a gun,
which had been brought on board; for the water was covered with ducks,
and he was anxious to have a shot at them. I should like to try my hand
in the same way; for when fish and birds are used for food, my
conscience don't hurt me about killing them. That's the reason that I
like mackerel-fishing, though I have no fondness for mackerels
themselves, for they are cannibals. We use a piece of one for bait for
the rest, and don't have lines more than three or four yards long. This
is a very different thing from catching cod, where they pull them up
through many fathoms of water. Clary says that next year he means to go
out to the Banks for cod, if he can get some of his friends to make up a
party for the purpose. You never saw any one so changed as he is.
Last week there came up a storm, when we were near the land, and they
hauled into port. Clarendon walked off on shore in his fishing-clothes,
without appearing in the least ashamed of them, and went to make a call
on a gentleman in the place, whom he had seen in Virginia a year or two
since. I wish I had been well enough to have gone with him, for he saw a
great many things which were new to him, and he says that British
America is as different from the United States as if it were not a part
of the same continent. None of the crew minded walking about on shore in
the rain, and while they were gone I was alone, excepting Dick, and he
was on deck writing a letter to his sister, to send across the country
and prepare her for his return; for you know she thinks that he is dead.
When David came back, though, I had fun enough; for he gave me the most
amusing description of every thing he had seen.
"Hurrah for New England!" he exclaimed, as soon as he got on board.
"John Bull don't beat Brother Jonathan yet. Let them talk of their lords
and their ladies; there is not a gentleman in Boston that is not quite
as noble-looking as the one that I saw, and a great deal more knowing, I
can tell you. We saw a splendid carriage and four, with a troop of
soldiers in red tramping after it, and a passably pretty flag flying
over them. I asked a little boy whom we met what they were about, and he
replied, that they were escorting a great British general, who had just
come over to the Provinces. I ran forward to get a peep at the wonder,
and had a good stare at the old fellow; and such another fright you
never saw. I wished I had a temperance tract to give him, for his face
was redder than the sun last night, when it went down in a cloud, and
his eyes looked like stoppers to a whiskey-bottle, which had got soaked
through. He'd better not have much to do with fire-arms, for he'd blow
up to a certainty. They say he lies in bed till twelve o'clock every
day, and then does nothing but just drink and eat, and drink and smoke,
till midnight. I am glad that our government has no such loafers to
"But did not the place itself look flourishing?" I asked, amused at his
"No, indeed!" he replied; "every body had a constrained air, as if they
were in bondage, and it made my blood boil to see two fine-appearing
men waiting so obsequiously on a good-for-nothing young scamp, just
because he had a title to his name. I hope that I shall never live to
see the day when there is any such nonsense tagging to my label as they
string on to theirs. How much better George Washington sounds than the
Honorable Alexis Fiddle Faddle, &c."
"That's a nobleman I never heard of," said old Jack, laughing at David's
vexation; "but Nelson is a very fine-sounding name, for all it's an
"And the Duke of Wellington, too," said I, "is not an ugly title, and I
would give a great deal to see the man who bears it."
"Ah! ah!" said David, shaking his head; "you Virginians will never get
over some of those Tory notions you got from the old Cavaliers, that had
to clear out of England when Cromwell made it too hot for them."
"And you Yankees," I replied, with equal warmth, "will always have the
blind obstinacy of the Barebones Parliament, and think that there is no
morality or religion in the world but your own, and that calling a man
an ugly name will make him a better Christian."
We might have gone on disputing thus till we had made each other very
angry, had not Old Jack stopped us by saying,--"Come, come, boys, be
done quarrelling! Don't you both belong to the same country? When you
have sailed round the world as I have, Old Virginny and Boston Bay will
seem all the same thing, and you will love every inch of ground over
which the stripes and the stars wave. I love all Yankees, from Maine to
Texas; and if we would only keep tight together, we could whip all the
"That's sound sense," said Clarendon, who had just come in. "We Yankees
should stick to our motto,--'United we stand, divided we fall.' In our
days, we think too much of our being 'pluribus,' and too little that we
are 'in unum.'"
Don't Clarendon deserve three cheers for that speech? To think of his
calling himself a Yankee! Why! I have seen the time when he would have
knocked any one down who had dared to say the same thing of him. And
when Jack, sung out, in a tremendous voice,--
"Hail Columbia, happy land!"
Clary joined in with all his might, and so did the rest of the sailors,
and such a singing of Yankee songs as they kept up for a full hour, you
never heard. If brother practises that kind of music, he'll find hard
work in fetching his guitar to match it.
Captain Cobb has just told us, that, when we have caught a few barrels
more of mackerel, the schooner can carry no more, and then right about
for Boston Harbour. O, how my heart jumps with delight! Home, home,
sweet home! Your happy cousin,
FROM PIDGIE TO BENNIE.
Tremont House, Boston, August 27th, 1846.
You will see, dear Bennie, that I am once more on dry land, and a very
nice place it is that I have anchored in. Shortly after I last wrote to
you, the Go-Ahead had her full complement of mackerel, and, with hearty
rejoicing, we set sail for home. Fortunately, the wind was fair, and in
a few days we came in sight of Marblehead, which had lost none of its
peculiarities during our absence.
David and I were right sorry that the time of our parting was so near;
but Clarendon gave him a warm invitation to visit us in Virginia.
Captain Cobb did not think it at all unlikely that we might have a visit
from his son one of these days, for New England boys think nothing of
being a few hundred miles from home.
I did not, however, bid David good by at Marblehead, for he promised to
come up to Boston and show me the lions. On Saturday, he appeared at the
Tremont, and I scarcely knew him, for he looked so nice in a suit of new
clothes. Clarendon was glad to give me into his hands, for he is
enjoying himself in his own way with some very pleasant young gentlemen,
to whom he brought letters of introduction.
There is no use in saying that New-Englanders are not hospitable, for
brother has been invited out every day, and he says that the dinners are
quite equal to any that he has seen at home, and that the conversation
is the most intelligent to which he ever listened. David actually began
dancing for joy at this remark; for he thinks Boston men of the present
day are superior to all the rest of the human race.
You will wonder why we stay here; but the truth is, that we have no
money to get home, as brother has not yet received the drafts from
Virginia that he expected to meet him on his return from the Banks.
While waiting for them to come on, I am determined to see all that I
can, and we cruise off every morning and evening on a voyage of
Yesterday I visited the Chinese Museum, and there will be no use now in
my going to China itself, for I can tell how every thing looks almost as
well as if I had been there. Then I saw the Institution for the Blind at
South Boston, and another for the Insane at Charlestown. David and I
just jump into the omnibus, and away we go to any of the surrounding
towns. I think I like Cambridge best of all of them, and, if 'ma sees
fit, I should prefer to go to Harvard University, for they have a
beautiful library full of nice books, and it is so near to Mount Auburn,
and I could spend a day there every week with pleasure. I don't see why
we can't have such beautiful burial-places in Virginia, for some of our
land is quite as fine. I know of a spot now which could be made such a
sweet one with a little pains. Why can't we have just such a lovely
cemetery? I will tell you more about it, and some of the pretty
monuments, when I return.
You should have seen David and I dining together at the Tremont to-day,
quite like two young gentlemen; for brother was invited out, and he
begged David to take his place. I must own that my friend's house at
Marblehead was rather a shabby old affair, and he has been brought up in
the plainest way; yet he does not show the least awkwardness at our
elegant table, but has the air of one quite accustomed to luxury. He
handles a silver fork with the greatest freedom, takes the name of every
dish readily from the bill of fare, and orders the waiters round as if
they were his own particular servants, only in such a conciliatory way,
that they seem delighted to do any thing for him.
On Sunday morning we went to a Swedenborgian church, which is one of the
most beautiful buildings in the city. It has a large window of stained
glass at one end, of such a color that it makes every thing look as if
the light of the setting sun was falling upon it. There was a curious
sort of tower opposite this window, with a kind of niche in it for a
large Bible, which the minister took out with the greatest reverence,
and he read from it all the prayers and psalms which were used. I liked
the service very well, but, of course, I prefer our own.
In the afternoon, David took me to Trinity Church, and I was perfectly
delighted to hear our dear liturgy again, after being so long deprived
of it. Some of the people did not kneel down, but I could not help doing
it, for my heart was so full.
Just as we were coming out of church, I observed one of the sweetest
young ladies that I ever saw, who looked as if she had been crying,
and yet there was a happy smile on her face. I was wondering why she
looked so familiar to me, when she said, in a perfectly musical voice,
to some one near her,--"Is it not delightful to worship God with his own
chosen people once more?"
I turned to see who she thus addressed, and, notwithstanding the change
in his dress, at once recognized Richard Colman. I cannot describe to
you the joy I felt at finding him thus restored to his sister. Before I
thought that I was among strangers, I flew to his side, and
exclaimed,--"O, I am so glad that you have got your sister! I hope you
will never leave her again."
"He never will," Miss Louisa replied; for poor Dick was too much
overcome by the suddenness of my greeting to answer me. "You," she said,
looking at David and myself, "are, I doubt not, the little friends that
my brother has been telling me about. Come tomorrow and see us in
Chestnut Street, for I am anxious to make your acquaintance."
Dick then joined in this invitation, and David accepted it for both of
We called upon Miss Colman the next day, and received a warm welcome;
but, of course, she did not allude to her brother's long absence, only
now and then as she looked at him her beautiful dark eyes would fill
with tears. O, Bennie, if you could only see her! for she is the most
lovely being that I ever met; but I hope that you may some day, for Dick
half promised Clarendon to pay us a visit, and I am going to get mamma
to write and beg his sister to come on with him.
I am so impatient now for Clarendon's letters to come! After we are once
started, we shall not stop till we reach Virginia. Yet I shall be sorry
to leave this same Yankee land, with its morality, its intelligence, and
its kindness. If for nothing else, I shall bless this fishing excursion
for having opened my eyes to the virtues of the excellent people whom I
really used to despise. Though a Virginian still in heart, I can join
David heartily in crying,--"Hurrah for New England now and for ever!"
Till we meet, which will, I trust, be soon, your affectionate cousin,