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[Illustration: Front Cover]
ENTERPRISE & ADVENTURE;
EXCITEMENT TO READING.
A NEW AND CONDENSED EDITION.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY ABSALON.
The object of this Volume is that of inducing young people to read, to cultivate in them a habit of reading and reflection, and to excite the imagination, the feelings, and the better emotions of their nature in a pleasurable and judicious manner.
The pieces selected are such as will be likely to exert a beneficial influence upon the reader, to inspire him with heroic enthusiasm, and to lead him to despise danger.
In our perpetually migrating population, no one can tell who will not be called upon to brave the vicissitudes of “flood and field;” and to show how perils may be surmounted, and privations endured with energy and patience, is to teach no unimportant lesson.
Nothing whatever has been introduced into this Volume, but such subjects as will teach a dependence upon Divine Providence, in aid of self-reliance and self-sacrifice, while details of war and bloodshed have been studiously avoided.
ARABIAN HOSPITALITY, ETC.
HOSPITALITY OF THE ARAB
HORRORS OF AFRICAN WARFARE
REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF COURAGE IN A LADY
INDIAN FIELD SPORTS–
METHOD OF CATCHING BIRDS
SAGACITY OF THE ELEPHANT
ANECDOTES OF THE TIGER
DEATH OF SIR JOHN MOORE
SKETCHES IN VIRGINIA–
THE CHRISTIAN SLAVE
VIOLENT EARTHQUAKE IN CALABRIA
ESCAPE FROM A SHIP ON FIRE
VISIT TO A PENGUIN ROOKERY
THE SEA ELEPHANT
VISIT FROM THE NATIVES AT TERRA DEL FUEGO CHILIAN MODE OF CAPTURING WILD HORSES
FIGHT BETWEEN A WHALE AND A KILLER WAR DANCES OF THE NEW ZEALANDERS
HISTORY OF PADDY CONNEL
EXTRAORDINARY ESCAPE FROM DROWNING
ADVENTURE IN THE DESERT, AND MURDER OF A SHEIKH
BOOK OF ENTERPRISE & ADVENTURE.
~Arabian Hospitality–African Warfare, &c.~
The following three extracts are from a work of considerable merit, intitled “The Crescent and the Cross.” It contains, not only much valuable matter relative to Egypt and Abyssinia, but many interesting anecdotes, of which we give a specimen.
HOSPITALITY OF THE ARAB.
In 1804, Osman Bardissy was the most influential of the Mameluke Beys, and virtually governed Egypt. Mehemet Ali, then rising into power, succeeded in embroiling this powerful old chief with Elfy Bey, another of the Mamelukes. The latter escaped to England, where he was favourably received, and promised assistance by our government against Osman, who was in the French interests. At this time a Sheikh of Bedouin stood high in Osman’s confidence, and brought him intelligence that Elfy had landed at Alexandria. “Go, then,” said the old Bey, “surprise his boat, and slay him on his way up the river; his spoil shall be your reward.” The Sheikh lay in wait upon the banks of the Delta, and slew all the companions of the rival Bey: Elfy himself escaped in the darkness, and made his way to an Arab encampment before sunrise. Going straight to the Sheikh’s tent, which is known by a spear standing in front of it, he entered, and hastily devoured some bread that he found there. The Sheikh was absent; but his wife exclaimed, on seeing the fugitive, “I know you, Elfy Bey, and my husband’s life, perhaps at his moment, depends upon his taking yours. Rest now and refresh yourself, then take the best horse you can find, and fly. The moment you are out of our horizon, the tribe will be in pursuit of you.” The Bey escaped to the Thebaid, and the disappointed Sheikh presented himself to his employer. Osman passionately demanded of him if it was true that his wife had saved the life of his deadliest enemy, when in her power. “Most true, praised be Allah!” replied the Sheikh, drawing himself proudly up, and presenting a jewel-hilted dagger to the old Bey; “this weapon,” he continued, “was your gift to me in the hour of your favour; had I met Elfy Bey, it should have freed you from your enemy. Had my wife betrayed the hospitality of the tent, it should have drank her blood; and now, you may use it against myself,” he added, as he flung it at the Mameluke’s feet. This reverence for hospitality is one of the wild virtues that has survived from the days of the patriarchs, and it is singularly contrasted, yet interwoven with other and apparently opposite tendencies. The Arab will rob you, if he is able; he will even murder you, if it suits his purpose; but, once under the shelter of his tribe’s black tents, or having eaten of his salt by the wayside, you have as much safety in his company as his heart’s blood can purchase for you. The Bedouins are extortionate to strangers, dishonest to each other, and reckless of human life. On the other hand, they are faithful to their trust, brave after their fashion, temperate, and patient of hardship and privation beyond belief. Their sense of right and wrong is not founded on the Decalogue, as may be well imagined, yet, from such principles as they profess they rarely swerve. Though they will freely risk their lives to steal, they will not contravene the wild rule of the desert. If a wayfarer’s camel sinks and dies beneath its burden, the owner draws a circle round the animal in the sand, and follows the caravan. No Arab will presume to touch that lading, however tempting. Dr. Robinson mentions that he saw a tent hanging from a tree near Mount Sinai, which his Arabs said had then been there a twelvemonth, and never would be touched until its owner returned in search of it.
HORRORS OF AFRICAN WARFARE.
There appears to be a wild caprice amongst the institutions; if such they may be called, of all these tropical nations. In a neighbouring state to that of Abyssinia, the king, when appointed to the regal dignity, retires into an island, and is never again visible to the eyes of men but once–when his ministers come to strangle him; for it may not be that the proud monarch of Behr should die a natural death. No men, with this fatal exception, are ever allowed even to set foot upon the island, which is guarded by a band of Amazons. In another border country, called Habeesh, the monarch is dignified with the title of Tiger. He was formerly Malek of Shendy, when it was invaded by Ismael Pasha, and was even then designated by this fierce cognomen. Ismael, Mehemet Ali’s second son, advanced through Nubia claiming tribute and submission from all the tribes Nemmir (which signifies Tiger), the king of Shendy, received him hospitably, as Mahmoud, our dragoman, informed us, and, when he was seated in his tent, waited on him to learn his pleasure. “My pleasure is,” replied the invader, “that you forthwith furnish me with slaves, cattle, and money, to the value of 100,000 dollars.”–“Pooh!” said Nemmir, “you jest; all my country could not produce what you require in one hundred moons.”–“Ha! Wallah!” was the young Pasha’s reply, and he struck the Tiger across the face with his pipe. If he had done so to his namesake of the jungle, the insult could not have roused fiercer feelings of revenge, but the human animal did not shew his wrath at once. “It is well,” he replied; “let the Pasha rest; _to-morrow he shall have nothing more to ask_.” The Egyptian, and the few Mameluke officers of his staff, were tranquilly smoking towards evening, entertained by some dancing-girls, whom the Tiger had sent to amuse them; when they observed that a huge pile of dried stalks of Indian corn was rising rapidly round the tent. “What means this?” inquired Ismael angrily; “am not I Pasha?”–“It is but forage for your highness’s horses,” replied the Nubian; “for, were your troops once arrived, the people would fear to approach the camp.” Suddenly the space is filled with smoke, the tent-curtains shrivel up in flames, and the Pasha and his comrades find themselves encircled in what they well know is their funeral pyre. Vainly the invader implores mercy, and assures the Tiger of his warm regard for him and all his family; vainly he endeavours to break through the fiery fence that girds him round; a thousand spears bore him back into the flames, and the Tiger’s triumphant yell and bitter mockery mingle with his dying screams. The Egyptians perished to a man. Nemmir escaped up the country, crowned with savage glory, and married the daughter of a king, who soon left him his successor, and the Tiger still defies the old Pasha’s power. The latter, however, took a terrible revenge upon his people: he burnt all the inhabitants of the village nearest to the scene of his son’s slaughter, and cut off the right hands of five hundred men besides. So much for African warfare.
The first time a man fires at a crocodile is an epoch in his life. We had only now arrived in the waters where they abound; for it is a curious fact that none are ever seen below Mineych, though Herodotus speaks of them as fighting with the dolphins, at the mouths of the Nile. A prize had been offered for the first man who detected a crocodile, and the crew had now been two days on the alert in search of them. Buoyed up with the expectation of such game, we had latterly reserved our fire for them exclusively; and the wild-duck and turtle, nay, even the vulture and the eagle, had swept past, or soared above, in security. At length the cry of “Timseach, timseach!” was heard from half-a-dozen claimants of the proffered prize, and half-a-dozen black fingers were eagerly pointed to a spit of sand, on which were strewn apparently some logs of trees. It was a covey of crocodiles! Hastily and silently the boat was run in shore. R. was ill, so I had the enterprise to myself, and clambered up the steep bank with a quicker pulse than when I first levelled a rifle at a Highland deer. My intended victims might have prided themselves on their superior nonchalance; and, indeed, as I approached them, there seemed to be a sneer on their ghastly mouths and winking eyes. Slowly they rose, one after the other, and waddled to the water, all but one, the most gallant or most gorged of the party. He lay still until I was within a hundred yards of him; then slowly rising on his fin-like legs, he lumbered towards the river, looking askance at me, with an expression of countenance that seemed to say, “He can do me no harm; however, I may as well have a swim.” I took aim at the throat of this supercilious brute, and, as soon as my hand steadied, the very pulsation of my finger pulled the trigger. Bang! went the gun! whizz! flew the bullet; and my excited ear could catch the _thud_ with which it plunged into the scaly leather of his neck. His waddle became a plunge, the waves closed over him, and the sun shone on the calm water, as I reached the brink of the shore, that was still indented by the waving of his gigantic tail. But there is blood upon the water, and he rises for a moment to the surface. “A hundred piasters for the timseach,” I exclaimed, and half-a-dozen Arabs plunged into the stream. There! he rises again, and the blacks dash at him as if he hadn’t a tooth in his head. Now he is gone, the waters close over him, and I never saw him since. From that time we saw hundreds of crocodiles of all sizes, and fired shots,–enough of them for a Spanish revolution; but we never could get possession of any, even if we hit them, which to this day remains doubtful.
~Remarkable Instance of Courage in a Lady.~
In the Life of Thomas Day, Esq., an anecdote is related of Miss B—-, afterwards Mrs. Day, shewing with what remarkable effect presence of mind and courage can tame the ferocity of the brute creation.
Miss B. was, on one occasion, walking in company with another young lady through a field, when a bull came running up to them with all the marks of malevolence. Her friend began to run towards the stile, but was prevented by Miss B., who told her, that as she could not reach the stile soon enough to save herself, and as it is the nature of these animals to attack persons in flight, her life would be in great danger if she attempted to run, and would be inevitably lost if she chanced to fall; but that, if she would steal gently to the stile, she herself would take off the bull’s attention from her, by standing between them. Accordingly, turning her face towards the animal with the firmest aspect she could assume, she fixed her eyes steadily upon his. It is said by travellers, that a lion itself may be controlled by the steady looks of a human being; but that, no sooner a man turns his back, than the beast springs upon him as his prey. Miss B., to whom this property of animals seems to have been known, had the presence of mind to apply it to the safety of her friend and of herself. By her steady aspect she checked the bull’s career; but he shewed the strongest marks of indignation at being so controlled, by roaring and tearing the ground with his feet and horns. While he was thus engaged in venting his rage on the turf, she cautiously retreated a few steps, without removing her eyes from him. When he observed that she had retreated, he advanced till she stopped, and then he also stopped, and again renewed his frantic play. Thus by repeated degrees she at length arrived at the stile, where she accomplished her safety; and thus, by a presence of mind rarely seen in a person of her youth and sex, she not only saved herself, but also, at the hazard of her own life, protected her friend. Some days afterwards, this bull gored its master.
~Indian Field Sports.~
We give a few anecdotes illustrative of the above, from a work intitled “Sketches of Field Sports, as followed by the Natives of India,” from the reading of which we have derived much pleasure. The authority is Dr. Johnson, East India Company’s Service.
He begins by informing his readers, that the “Shecarries” (or professed hunters) are generally Hindoos of a low caste, who gain their livelihood entirely by catching birds, hares, and all sorts of animals; some of them confine themselves to catching birds and hares, whilst others practise the art of catching birds and various animals; another description of them live by destroying tigers.
METHOD OF CATCHING BIRDS.
Those who catch birds equip themselves with a framework of split bamboos, resembling the frame of a paper kite, the shape of the top of a coffin, and the height of a man, to which green bushes are fastened, leaving two loop-holes to see through, and one lower down for their rod to be inserted through. This framework, which is very light, they fasten before them when they are in the act of catching birds, by which means they have both hands at liberty, and are completely concealed from the view of the birds. The rod which they use is about twenty-four feet long, resembling a fishing-rod, the parts of which are inserted within one another, and the whole contained in a walking-stick.
They also carry with them horse-hair nooses of different sizes and strength, which they fasten to the rod: likewise bird-lime, and a variety of calls for the different kinds of birds, with which they imitate them to the greatest nicety. They take with them likewise two lines to which horse-hair nooses are attached for catching larger birds, and a bag or net to carry their game.
Thus equipped, they sally forth, and as they proceed through the different covers, they use calls for such birds as generally resort there, which from constant practice is well known to them, and if any birds answer their call they prepare accordingly for catching them; supposing it to be a bevy of quail, they continue calling them, until they get quite close; they then arm the top of their rod with a feather smeared with bird-lime, and pass it through the loop-hole in their frame of ambush, and to which they continue adding other parts, until they have five or six out, which they use with great dexterity, and touch one of the quail with the feather, which adheres to them; they then withdraw the rod, arm it again, and touch three or four more in the same manner before they attempt to secure any of them.
In this way they catch all sorts of small birds not much larger than quail, on the ground and in trees. If a brown or black partridge answers their call, instead of bird-lime, they fasten a horse-hair noose to the top of their rod, and when they are close to the birds, they keep dipping the top of their rod with considerable skill until they fasten the noose on one of their necks; they then draw him in, and go on catching others in the same way. It is surprising to see with what cool perseverance they proceed. In a similar manner they catch all kinds of birds, nearly the size of partridges.
A servant of Mr. William Hunter’s, by name Thomas Jones, who lived at _Chittrah_, had a full grown hyena which ran loose about his house like a dog, and I have seen him play with it with as much familiarity. They feed on small animals and carrion, and I believe often come in for the prey left by tigers and leopards after their appetites have been satiated. They are great enemies of dogs, and kill numbers of them.
The natives of India affirm that tigers, panthers, and leopards, have a great aversion to hyenas, on account of their destroying their young, which I believe they have an opportunity of doing, as the parents leave them during the greatest part of the day. The inhabitants, therefore, feel no apprehension in taking away the young whenever they find them, knowing the dam is seldom near…. Hyenas are slow in their pace, and altogether inactive; I have often seen a few terriers keep them at bay, and bite them severely by the hind quarter; their jaws, however, are exceedingly strong, and a single bite, without holding on more than a few seconds, is sufficient to kill a large dog. They stink horribly, make no earths of their own, lie under rocks, or resort to the earths of wolves, as foxes do to those of badgers; and it is not uncommon to find wolves and hyenas in the same bed of earths.
I was informed by several gentlemen, of whose veracity I could not doubt, that Captain Richards, of the Bengal Native Infantry, had a servant of the tribe of _Shecarries_, who was in the habit of going into the earths of wolves, fastening strings on them, and on the legs of hyenas, and then drawing them out; he constantly supplied his master and the gentlemen at the station with them, who let them loose on a plain, and rode after them with spears, for practice and amusement. This man possessed such an acute and exquisite sense of smelling, that he could always tell by it if there were any animals in the earths, and could distinguish whether they were hyenas or wolves.
Bears will often continue on the road in front of the palanquin for a mile or two, tumbling and playing all sorts of antics, as if they were taught to do so. I believe it is their natural disposition; for they certainly are the most amusing creatures imaginable in their wild state. It is no wonder that with monkeys they are led about to amuse mankind. It is astonishing, as well as ludicrous, to see them climb rocks, and tumble or rather roll down precipices. If they are attacked by any person on horseback, they stand erect on their hind legs, shewing a fine set of white teeth, and making a cackling kind of noise. If the horse comes near them, they try to catch him by the legs, and if they miss him, they tumble over and over several times. They are easily speared by a person mounted on a horse that is bold enough to go near them.
SAGACITY OF THE ELEPHANT.
An elephant belonging to Mr. Boddam, of the Bengal Civil Service, at _Gyah_, used every day to pass over a small bridge leading from his master’s house into the town of _Gyah_. He one day refused to go over it, and it was with great difficulty, by goring him most cruelly with the _Hunkuss_ [iron instrument], that the _Mahout_ [driver] could get him to venture on the bridge, the strength of which he first tried with his trunk, shewing clearly that he suspected that it was not sufficiently strong. At last he went on, and before he could get over, the bridge gave way, and they were precipitated into the ditch, which killed the driver, and considerably injured the elephant. It is reasonable to suppose that the elephant must have perceived its feeble state when he last passed over it. It is a well known fact, that elephants will seldom or ever go over strange bridges, without first trying with their trunks if they be sufficiently strong to bear their weight,–nor will they ever go into a boat without doing the same.
I had a remarkably quiet and docile elephant, which one day came home loaded with branches of trees for provender, followed by a number of villagers, calling for mercy (their usual cry when ill used); complaining that the _Mahout_ had stolen a kid from them, and that it was then on the elephant, under the branches of the trees. The _Mahout_ took an opportunity of decamping into the village and hiding himself. I ordered the elephant to be unloaded, and was surprised to see that he would not allow any person to come near to him, when at all other times he was perfectly tractable and obedient. Combining all the circumstances, I was convinced that the _Mahout_ was guilty, and to get rid of the noise, I recompensed the people for the loss of their kid. As soon as they were gone away, the elephant allowed himself to be unloaded, and the kid was found under the branches, as described by the people. I learnt from my _Sarcar_, that similar complaints had been made to him before, and that the rascal of a _Mahout_ made it a practice to ride the elephant into the midst of a herd of goats, and had taught him to pick up any of the young ones he directed; he had also accustomed him to steal their pumpions and other vegetables, that grew against the inside of their fences like French beans, which could only be reached by an elephant. He was the best _Mahout_ I ever knew, and so great a rogue that I was obliged to discharge him.
The very day that he left my service, the elephant’s eyes were closed, which he did not open again in less than a fortnight, when it was discovered that he was blind. Two small eschars, one in each eye, were visible, which indicated pretty strongly that he had been made blind by some sharp instrument, most probably by a heated needle. The suspicion was very strong against the former keeper, of whom I never heard anything after. The elephant I frequently rode on, shooting, for many years after this, through heavy covers, intersected with ravines, rivers, and over hollow and uneven ground, and he scarcely ever made a false step with me, and never once tumbled. He used to touch the ground with his trunk on every spot where his feet were to be placed, and in so light and quick a manner as scarcely to be perceived. The _Mahout_ would often make him remove large stones, lumps of earth, or timber, out of his way, frequently climb up and down banks that no horse could get over. He would also occasionally break off branches of trees that were in the way of the _Howdah_, to enable me to pass.
Although perfectly blind, he was considered one of the best sporting elephants of his small size in the country, and he travelled at a tolerably good rate, and was remarkably easy in his paces.
ANECDOTES OF THE TIGER.
An occurrence nearly similar happened to me soon after, which put an end to my shooting on foot. From that time to the period of my leaving _Chittrah_, which was many years after, I always went out to shoot on an elephant. The circumstance I allude to was as follows:–Fifty or sixty people were beating a thick cover. I was on the outside of it, with a man holding my horse, and another servant with a hog’s spear; when those who were driving the cover called _Suer! Suer!_ which is the _Hindoostanee_ name for hog. Seeing something move the bushes about twenty yards from me, and supposing it to be a hog, I fired at the spot, with ten or a dozen small balls. Instantly on the explosion of my gun, a tiger roared out, and came galloping straight towards us. I dipped under the horse’s belly, and got on the opposite side from him. He came within a few yards of us, and then turned off growling into the cover.
When the people came out, they brought with them a dead hog, partly devoured. These two cases, I think, shew clearly that tigers are naturally cowardly. They generally take their prey by surprise, and whenever they attack openly, it is reasonable to conclude that they must be extremely hungry; which I believe is often the case, as their killing animals of the forest must be very precarious. It is the general opinion of the inhabitants, that when a tiger has tasted human blood he prefers it to all other food. A year or two sometimes elapses without any one being killed by a tiger for several miles round, although they are often seen in that space, and are known to destroy cattle; but as soon as one man is killed, others shortly after share the same fate. This, I imagine, is the reason why the natives entertain an idea that they prefer men to all other food. I account for it otherwise. Tigers are naturally afraid of men, and, in the first instance, seldom attack them, unless compelled by extreme hunger. When once they have ventured an attack, they find them much easier prey than most animals of the forest, and always to be met with near villages, and on public roads, without the trouble of hunting about for them through the covers.
A tigress with two cubs lurked about the _Kutkumsandy_ pass, and during two months killed a man almost every day, and on some days two. Ten or twelve of the people belonging to government (carriers of the post-bags) were of the number. In fact, the communication between the Presidency and the upper provinces was almost entirely cut off. The government, therefore, was induced to offer a large reward to any person who killed the tigress.
She was fired at, and, adds Mr. J., never … “heard of after;” from which it may be presumed she was wounded. It is fortunate for the inhabitants of that country, that tigers seldom survive any wound; their blood being always in a state predisposing to putrefaction, consequence of the extreme heat, and their living entirely on animal food….
Two _Biparies_ were driving a string of loaded bullocks to _Chittrah_ from _Palamow_. When they were come within a few miles of the former place, a tiger seized on the man in the rear, which was seen by a _Guallah_ [herdsman], as he was watching his buffaloes grazing. He boldly ran to the man’s assistance, and cut the tiger severely with his sword; upon which he dropped the _Biparie_ and seized the herdsman: the buffaloes observing it, attacked the tiger, and rescued the poor man; they tossed him about from one to the other, and, to the best of my recollection, killed him; but of that I am not quite positive. Both of the wounded men were brought to me. The _Biparie_ recovered, and the herdsman died.
[Footnote 1: _Bipar_ signifies merchandise, and _Biparies_ are people who buy grain, and other articles, which they transport from one part of the country to another on bullocks.]
An elderly man and his wife (of the lowest caste of _Hindoos_, called _dooms_, who live chiefly by making mats and baskets) were each carrying home a bundle of wood, and as they were resting their burdens on the ground, the old man hearing a strange noise, looked about, and saw a tiger running off with his wife in his mouth. He ran after them, and struck the tiger on the back with a small axe: the tiger dropt the wife, who was soon after brought to me. One of her breasts was almost entirely taken away, and the other much lacerated: she had also several deep wounds in the back of her neck, by which I imagine the tiger struck at her with his two fore paws; one on the neck, and the other on the breast. This, if I may judge from the number I have seen wounded, is their usual way of attacking men. The old woman was six months under my care, and at last recovered.
As an old Mahometan priest was travelling at mid-day on horseback, within a few miles of _Chittrah_, with his son, an athletic young man, walking by his side, they heard a tiger roaring near them. The son urged his father to hasten on; the old man continued at a slow pace, observing that there was no danger, the tiger would not molest them. He then began counting his beads, and offering his prayers to the Almighty; in the act of which he was knocked off his horse, and carried away by the tiger; the son ran after them, and cut the tiger with his sword; he dropped the father, seized the son, and carried him off. The father was brought to _Chittrah_, and died the same day; the son was never heard of afterwards. In this instance, I think, the tiger must have been ravenously hungry, or he would not have roared when near his prey; it is what they seldom or ever do, except in the very act of seizing….
Some idea may be formed how numerous the tigers must have been at one period in Bengal, from the circumstance, that one gentleman is reported to have killed upwards of three hundred and sixty.
~Death of Sir John Moore.~
From Mr. Southey’s History of the Peninsular War, a work of sterling merit.
Marshal Soult’s intention was to force the right of the British, and thus to interpose between Corunna and the army, and cut it off from the place of embarkation. Failing in this attempt, he was now endeavouring to outflank it. Half of the 4th regiment was therefore ordered to fall back, forming an obtuse angle with the other half. This manoeuvre was excellently performed, and they commenced a heavy flanking fire: Sir John Moore called out to them, that this was exactly what he wanted to be done, and rode on to the 50th, commanded by Majors Napier and Stanhope. They got over an inclosure in their front, charged the enemy most gallantly, and drove them out of the village of Elvina; but Major Napier, advancing too far in the pursuit, received several wounds, and was made prisoner, and Major Stanhope was killed.
The General now proceeded to the 42nd. “Highlanders,” said he, “remember Egypt!” They rushed on, and drove the French before them, till they were stopped by a wall. Sir John accompanied them in this charge. He now sent Captain Hardinge to order up a battalion of Guards to the left flank of the 42nd. The officer commanding the light infantry conceived at this that they were to be relieved by the Guards, because their ammunition was nearly expended, and he began to fall back. The General, discovering the mistake, said to them, “My brave 42nd, join your comrades: ammunition is coming, and you have your bayonets!” Upon this, they instantly moved forward. Captain Hardinge returned, and pointed out to the General where the Guards were advancing. The enemy kept up a hot fire, and their artillery played incessantly on the spot where they were standing. A cannon-shot struck Sir John, and carried away his left shoulder, and part of the collar-bone, leaving the arm hanging by the flesh. He fell from his horse on his back; his countenance did not change, neither did he betray the least sensation of pain. Captain Hardinge, who dismounted, and took him by the hand, observed him anxiously watching the 42nd, which was warmly engaged, and told him they were advancing; and upon that intelligence his countenance brightened. Colonel Graham, who now came up to assist him, seeing the composure of his features, began to hope that he was not wounded, till he perceived the dreadful laceration. From the size of the wound, it was in vain to make any attempt at stopping the blood; and Sir John consented to be removed in a blanket to the rear. In raising him up, his sword, hanging on the wounded side, touched his arm, and became entangled between his legs. Captain Hardinge began to unbuckle it; but the General said, in his usual tone and manner, and in a distinct voice, “It is as well as it is; I had rather it should go out of the field with me.” Six soldiers of the 42nd and the Guards bore him. Hardinge, observing his composure, began to hope that the wound might not be mortal, and said to him, he trusted he might be spared to the army, and recover. Moore turned his head, and looking stedfastly at the wound for a few seconds, replied, “No, Hardinge, I feel that to be impossible.”
As the soldiers were carrying him slowly along, he made them frequently turn round, that he might see the field of battle, and listen to the firing; and he was well pleased when the sound grew fainter. A spring-wagon came up, bearing Colonel Wynch, who was wounded: the Colonel asked who was in the blanket, and being told it was Sir John Moore, wished him to be placed in the wagon. Sir John asked one of the Highlanders whether he thought the wagon or the blanket was best? and the man said the blanket would not shake him so much, as he and the other soldiers would keep the step, and carry him easy. So they proceeded with him to his quarters at Corunna, weeping as they went….
The General lived to hear that the battle was won. “Are the French beaten?” was the question which he repeated to every one who came into his apartment; and he expressed how great a satisfaction it was to him to know that they were defeated. “I hope,” he said, “the people of England will be satisfied! I hope my country will do me justice,” Then, addressing Colonel Anderson, who had been his friend and companion in arms for one-and-twenty years, he said to him, “Anderson, you know that I have always wished to die this way–You will see my friends as soon as you can:–tell them everything–Say to my mother”–But here his voice failed, he became excessively agitated, and did not again venture to name her. Sometimes he asked to be placed in an easier posture. “I feel myself so strong,” he said, “I fear I shall be long dying. It is great uneasiness–it is great pain.” But, after a while, he pressed Anderson’s hand close to his body, and, in a few minutes, died without a struggle. He fell, as it had ever been his wish to do, in battle and in victory. No man was more beloved in private life, nor was there any general in the British army so universally respected. All men had thought him worthy of the chief command. Had he been less circumspect,–had he looked more ardently forward, and less anxiously around him, and on all sides, and behind,–had he been more confident in himself and in his army, and impressed with less respect for the French Generals, he would have been more equal to the difficulties of his situation. Despondency was the radical weakness of his mind. Personally he was as brave a man as ever met death in the field; but he wanted faith in British courage: and it is faith by which miracles are wrought in war as well as in religion. But let it ever be remembered with gratitude, that, when some of his general officers advised him to conclude the retreat by a capitulation, Sir John Moore preserved the honour of England.
He had often said that, if he were killed in battle, he wished to be buried where he fell. The body was removed at midnight to the citadel of Corunna. A grave was dug for him on the rampart there, by a party of the 9th regiment, the aides-du-camp attending by turns. No coffin could be procured; and the officers of his staff wrapped the body, dressed as it was, in a military cloak and blankets. The interment was hastened; for, about eight in the morning, some firing was heard, and they feared that, if a serious attack were made, they should be ordered away, and not suffered to pay him their last duty. The officers of his staff bore him to the grave; the funeral service was read by the chaplain; and the corpse was covered with earth.
Thus, with a solemn splendour and a sad glory, closed the career of a gallant but unfortunate commander.
We subjoin the beautiful Ode on the Death of Sir John, written by the Rev. Mr. Wolfe:–
THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral-note, As his corse to the ramparts we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell-shot O’er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night, The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the straggling moonbeam’s misty light, And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin inclosed his breast, Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him, But he lay like a warrior taking his rest, With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said, And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we stedfastly gazed on the face that was dead, And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hallowed his narrow bed, And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o’er his head, And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they’ll talk of the spirit that’s gone, And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him,– But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done, When the clock struck the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory; We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone– But we left him alone with his glory.
Sir R.K. Porter, in his travels in Persia, met with the sufferer from despotic tyranny and cruelty whose story is here related. He informs us, that the benignity of this person’s countenance, united with the crippled state of his venerable frame, from the effects of his precipitation from the terrible height of execution, excited his curiosity to inquire into the particulars of so amazing a preservation.
Entering into conversation on the amiable characters of the reigning royal family of Persia, and comparing the present happiness of his country under their rule, with its misery during the sanguinary usurpation of the tyrant Nackee Khan, the good old man, who had himself been so signal an example of that misery, was easily led to describe the extraordinary circumstances of his own case. Being connected with the last horrible acts, and consequent fall of the usurper, a double interest accompanied his recital, the substance of which was nearly as follows:–
Having by intrigues and assassinations made himself master of the regal power at Shiraz, this monster of human kind found that the governor of Ispahan, instead of adhering to him, had proclaimed the accession of the lawful heir. No sooner was the intelligence brought to Nackee Khan than he put himself at the head of his troops, and set forward to revenge his contemned authority. When he arrived as far as Yezdikast, he encamped his army for a short halt, near the tomb on the north side. Being as insatiable of money as blood, he sent to the inhabitants of Yezdikast, and demanded an immense sum in gold, which he insisted should instantly be paid to his messengers. Unable to comply, the fact was respectfully pleaded in excuse; namely, “that all the money the city had possessed was already taken away by his own officers, and those of the opposite party; and that, at present, there was scarce a tomaun in the place.” Enraged at this answer, he repaired, full of wrath, to the town, and, ordering eighteen of the principal inhabitants to be brought before him, again demanded the money, but with threats and imprecations which made the hearers tremble. Still, however, they could only return the same answer–“their utter inability to pay;” and the tyrant, without a moment’s preparation, commanded the men to be seized, and hurled from the top of the precipice in his sight. Most of them were instantly killed on the spot; others, cruelly maimed, died in terrible agonies where they fell; and the describer of the dreadful scene was the only one who survived. He could form no idea of how long he lay after precipitation, utterly senseless; “but,” added he, “by the will of God I breathed again; and, on opening my eyes, found myself among the dead and mangled bodies of my former neighbours and friends. Some yet groaned.” He then related, that, in the midst of his horror at the sight, he heard sounds of yet more terrible acts, from the top of the cliff; and, momentarily strengthened by fear of he knew not what, for he believed that death had already grasped his own poor shattered frame, he managed to crawl away, unperceived, into one of the numerous caverned holes which perforate the foot of the steep. He lay there in an expiring state the whole night, but in the morning was providentially discovered by some of the town’s people, who came to seek the bodies of their murdered relatives, to mourn over and take them away for burial. The poor man, feeble as he was, called to these weeping groups; who, to their astonishment and joy, drew out one survivor from the dreadful heap of slain. No time was lost in conveying him home, and administering every kind of assistance; but many months elapsed before he was able to move from his house, so deep had been the injuries inflicted in his fall.
In the course of his awful narrative, he told us, that the noise which had so appalled him, as he lay among the blood-stained rocks, was indeed the acting of a new cruelty of the usurper. After having witnessed the execution of his sentence on the eighteen citizens, whose asseverations he had determined not to believe, Nackee Khan immediately sent for a devout man, called Saied Hassan, who was considered the sage of the place, and, for his charities, greatly beloved by the people. “This man,” said the Khan, “being a descendant of the Prophet, must know the truth, and will tell it me. He shall find me those who can and will pay the money.” But the answer given by the honest Saied being precisely the same with that of the innocent victims who had already perished, the tyrant’s fury knew no bounds, and, rising from his seat, he ordered the holy man to be rent asunder in his presence, and then thrown over the rock, to increase the monument of his vengeance below.
It was the tumult of this most dreadful execution, which occasioned the noise that drove the affrighted narrator to the shelter of any hole from the eye of merciless man. But the cruel scene did not end here. Even in the yet sensible ear of the Saied, expiring in agonies, his execrable murderer ordered that his wife and daughters should be given up to the soldiers; and that, in punishment of such universal rebellion in the town, the whole place should be razed to the ground. But this last act of blood on a son of the Prophet cost the perpetrator his life. For the soldiers themselves, and the nobles who had been partisans of the usurper, were so struck with horror at the sacrilegious murder, and appalled with the threatened guilt of violating women of the sacred family, that they believed a curse must follow the abettors of such a man. The next step, in their minds, was to appease Heaven by the immolation of the offender; and, in the course of that very night, a band of his servants cut the cords of his tent, which, instantly falling in upon him, afforded them a secure opportunity of burying their poniards in his body. The first strokes were followed by thousands. So detested was the wretch, that in a few minutes his remains were hewn and torn to pieces. It does not become men to lift the veil which lies over the whole doom of a ruthless murderer; but there is something in the last mortal yell of a tyrant, whether it be a Robespierre or a Nackee Khan, which sounds as if mingled with a dreadful echo from the eternal shore.
~Sketches in Virginia.~
The Rock Bridge is described by Mr. Jefferson, late President of the United States, as one of the most sublime of the productions of Nature. It is on the ascent of a hill which seems to have been cloven through its length by some great convulsion of Nature.
Although the sides of the bridge are provided in some parts with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet few persons have resolution to walk to them, and look over into the abyss. The passenger involuntarily falls on his hands, creeps to the parapet, and peeps over it. Looking down from this height for the space of a minute, occasions a violent headache; and the view from beneath is delightful in the extreme, as much as that from above is exquisitely painful.
The following beautiful sketch is from the pen of the Rev. John Todd, of Philadelphia, author of the Student’s Manual, Simple Sketches, and other admired works.
On a lovely morning towards the close of spring, I found myself in a very beautiful part of the great valley of Virginia. Spurred on by impatience, I beheld the sun rising in splendour, and changing the blue tints on the tops of the lofty Alleghany mountains into streaks of purest gold; and nature seemed to smile in the freshness of beauty. A ride of about fifteen miles, and a pleasant woodland ramble of about two, brought myself and my companion to the great NATURAL BRIDGE.
Although I had been anxiously looking forward to this time, and my mind had been considerably excited by expectation, yet I was not altogether prepared for this visit. This great work of nature is considered by many as the second great curiosity in our country, Niagara Falls being the first. I do not expect to convey a very correct idea of this bridge; for no description can do this.
The Natural Bridge is entirely the work of God. It is of solid limestone, and connects two huge mountains together, by a most beautiful arch over which there is a great wagon road. Its length from one mountain to the other is nearly eighty feet, its width about thirty-five, its thickness forty-five, and its perpendicular height above the water is not far from two hundred and twenty feet. A few bushes grow on its top, by which the traveller may hold himself as he looks over. On each side of the stream, and near the bridge, are rocks projecting ten or fifteen feet over the water, and from two hundred to three hundred feet from its surface, all of limestone. The visitor cannot give so good a description of the bridge as he can of his feelings at the time. He softly creeps out on a shaggy projecting rock, and, looking down a chasm from forty to sixty feet wide, he sees, nearly three hundred feet below, a wild stream foaming and dashing against the rocks beneath, as if terrified at the rocks above. This stream is called Cedar Creek. He sees under the arch, trees whose height is seventy feet; and yet, as he looks down upon them, they appear like small bushes of perhaps two or three feet in height. I saw several birds fly under the arch, and they looked like insects. I threw down a stone, and counted thirty-four before it reached the water. All hear of heights and of depths, but they here _see_ what is high, and they tremble, and _feel_ it to be deep. The awful rocks present their everlasting butments, the water murmurs and foams far below, and the two mountains rear their proud heads on each side, separated by a channel of sublimity. Those who view the sun, the moon, and the stars, and allow that none but God could make them, will here be impressed that none but an _Almighty_ God could build a bridge like this.
The view of the bridge from below is as pleasing as the top view is awful. The arch from beneath would seem to be about two feet in thickness. Some idea of the distance from the top to the bottom may be formed, from the fact, that as I stood on the bridge and my companion beneath, neither of us could speak sufficiently loud to be heard by the other. A man, from either view, does not appear more than four or five inches in height.
As we stood under this beautiful arch, we saw the place where visitors have often taken the pains to engrave their names upon the rock. Here Washington climbed up twenty-five feet, and carved his own name, where it still remains. Some, wishing to immortalise their names, have engraven them deep and large, while others have tried to climb up and insert them high in this book of fame.
A few years since, a young man, being ambitious to place his name above all others, was very near losing his life in the attempt. After much fatigue he climbed up as high as possible, but found that the person who had before occupied his place was taller than himself, and consequently had placed his name above his reach. But he was not thus to be discouraged. He opened a large jack-knife, and, in the soft limestone, began to cut places for his hands and feet. With much patience and industry he worked his way upwards, and succeeded in carving his name higher than the most ambitious had done before him. He could now triumph, but his triumph was short; for he was placed in such a situation that it was impossible to descend, unless he fell upon the ragged rocks beneath him. There was no house near, from whence his companions could get assistance. He could not long remain in that condition, and, what was worse, his friends were too much frightened to do anything for his relief. They looked upon him as already dead, expecting every moment to see him precipitated upon the rocks below and dashed to pieces. Not so with himself. He determined to ascend. Accordingly he plies the rock with his knife, cutting places for his hands and feet, and gradually ascended with incredible labour. He exerts every muscle. His life was at stake, and all the terrors of death rose before him. He dared not look downwards, lest his head should become dizzy; and perhaps on this circumstance his life depended. His companions stood at the top of the rock, exhorting and encouraging him. His strength was almost exhausted; but a bare possibility of saving his life still remained; and hope, the last friend of the distressed, had not yet forsaken him. His course upwards was rather oblique than perpendicular. His most critical moment had now arrived. He had ascended considerably more than two hundred feet, and had still further to rise, when he felt himself fast growing weak. He thought of his friends, and all his earthly joys, and he could not leave them. He thought of the grave, and dared not meet it. He now made his last effort and succeeded. He had cut his way not far from two hundred and fifty feet from the water, in a course almost perpendicular; and in a little less than two hours, his anxious companions reached him a pole from the top, and drew him up. They received him with shouts of joy, but he himself was completely exhausted. He immediately fainted on reaching the top, and it was some time before he could be recovered!
It was interesting to see the path up these awful rocks, and to follow in imagination this bold youth as he thus saved his life. His name stands far above all the rest, a monument of hardihood, of rashness, and of folly.
We lingered around this seat of grandeur about four hours; but, from my own feelings, I should not have supposed it over half an hour. There is a little cottage near, lately built; here we were desired to write our names, as visitors of the bridge, in a large book kept for this purpose. Two large volumes were nearly filled in this manner already. Having immortalised our names by enrolling them in this book, we slowly and silently returned to our horses, wondering at this great work of nature; and we could not but be filled with astonishment at the amazing power of Him who can clothe Himself in wonder and terror, or throw around His works a mantle of sublimity.
About three days’ ride from the Natural Bridge brought Mr. Todd and his companions to a place called Port Republic, about twenty miles from the town of Staunton. Here they prepared themselves to visit this other natural curiosity.
The shower was now over, which had wet us to the skin–the sun was pouring down his most scorching rays–the heavy thunder had gone by; we threw around our delighted eyes, and beheld near us the lofty Alleghany rearing his shaggy head. The south branch of the Shenandoah river, with its banks covered with beautiful trees, was murmuring at our feet–a lovely plain stretched below us, as far as the eye could reach; and we, with our guide, were now standing about half way up a hill nearly two hundred feet high, and so steep that a biscuit may be thrown from its top into the river at its foot–we were standing at the mouth of WIER’S CAVE. This cavern derives its name from _Barnet Wier_, who discovered it in the year 1804. It is situated near Madison’s Cave, so celebrated; though the latter cannot be compared with the former.
There were three of us, besides our guide, with lighted torches, and our loins girded, now ready to descend into the cave. We took our torches in our left hands and entered. The mouth was so small that we could descend only by creeping, one after another. A descent of almost twenty yards brought us into the first room. The cave was exceedingly cold, dark, and silent, like the chambers of death. In this manner we proceeded, now descending thirty or forty feet–now ascending as high–now creeping on our hands and knees, and now walking in large rooms–the habitations of solitude. The mountain seems to be composed almost wholly of limestone, and by this means the cave is lined throughout with the most beautiful incrustations and stalactites of carbonated lime, which are formed by the continual dripping of the water through the roof. These stalactites are of various and elegant shapes and colours, often bearing a striking resemblance to animated nature. At one place we saw over our heads what appeared to be a _waterfall_ of the most beautiful kind. Nor could the imagination be easily persuaded that it was not a reality. You could see the water boiling and dashing down,–see its white spray and foam–but it was all solid limestone.
Thus we passed onward in this world of solitude–now stopping to admire the beauties of a single stalactite–now wondering at the magnificence of a large room–now creeping through narrow passages, hardly wide enough to admit the body of a man,–and now walking in superb galleries, until we came to the largest room, called WASHINGTON HALL. This is certainly the most elegant room I ever saw. It is about two hundred and seventy feet in length, about thirty-five in width, and between thirty and forty feet high. The roof and sides are very beautifully adorned by the tinsels which Nature has bestowed in the greatest profusion, and which sparkle like the diamond, while surveyed by the light of torches. The floor is flat, and smooth, and solid. I was foremost of our little party in entering the room, and was not a little startled as I approached the centre, to see a figure, as it were, rising up before me out of the solid rock. It was not far from seven feet high, and corresponded in every respect to the common idea of a ghost. It was very white, and resembled a tall man clothed in a shroud. I went up to it sideways, though I could not really expect to meet a ghost in a place like this. On examination I found it was a very beautiful piece of the carbonate of lime, very transparent, and very much in the shape of a man. This is called WASHINGTON’S STATUE–as if Nature would do for this hero what his delivered country has not done–rear a statue to his memory.
Here an accident happened which might have been serious. One of our party had purposely extinguished his light, lest we should not have enough to last. My companion accidentally put out his light, and in sport came and blew out mine. We were now about sixteen hundred feet from daylight, with but one feeble light, which the falling water might in a moment have extinguished. Add to this, that the person who held this light was at some distance viewing some falling water.
“Conticuere omnes, intentique ora tenebant.”
We, however, once more lighted our torches; but, had we not been able to do so, we might, at our leisure, have contemplated the gloominess of the cavern, for no one would have come to us till the next day. In one room we found an excellent spring of water, which boiled up as if to slake our thirst, then sunk into the mountain, and was seen no more. In another room was a noble pillar, called the TOWER OF BABEL. It is composed entirely of stalactites of lime, or, as the appearance would seem to suggest, of petrified water. It is about thirty feet in diameter, and a little more than ninety feet in circumference, and not far from thirty feet high. There are probably millions of stalactites in this one pillar.
Thus we wandered on in this world within a world, till we had visited twelve very beautiful rooms, and as many creeping places, and had now arrived at the end,–a distance from our entrance of between twenty-four and twenty-five hundred feet; or, what is about its equal, half a mile from the mouth. We here found ourselves exceedingly fatigued; but our torches forbade us to tarry, and we once more turned our lingering steps towards the common world. When we arrived again at Washington Hall, one of our company three times discharged a pistol, whose report was truly deafening; and as the sound reverberated and echoed through one room after another till it died away in distance, it seemed like the moanings of spirits. We continued our wandering steps till we arrived once more at daylight, having been nearly three hours in the cavern. We were much fatigued, covered with dirt, and in a cold sweat; yet we regretted to leave it. From the farther end of the cave I gathered some handsome stalactites, which I put into my portmanteau, and preserved as mementos of that day’s visit.
To compare the Natural Bridge and Cave together as objects of curiosity, is exceedingly difficult. Many consider the _Bridge_ as the greatest curiosity; but I think the _Cavern_ is. In looking at the Bridge we are filled with awe; at the Cavern with delight. At the Bridge we have several views that are awful; at the Cave hundreds that are pleasing. At the Bridge you stand and gaze in astonishment; at the Cave awfulness is lost in beauty, and grandeur is dressed in a thousand captivating forms. At the Bridge you feel yourself to be _looking_ into another world; at the Cave you find yourself already _arrived_ there. The one presents to us a God who is very “wonderful in working;” the other exhibits the same power, but with it is blended loveliness in a thousand forms. In each is vastness. Greatness constitutes the whole of one; but the other is elegant, as well as great. Of each we must retain lively impressions; and to witness such displays of the Creator’s power, must ever be considered as happy events in our lives. While viewing scenes like these, we must ever exalt the energy of creating power, and sink under the thoughts of our own insignificance. The works of nature are admirably well calculated to impress us deeply with a sense of the mighty power of God, who can separate two mountains by a channel of awfulness, or fill the bowels of a huge mountain with beauties, that man, with all the aid of art, can only admire, but never imitate.
~The Christian Slave.~
We venture to extract another of Mr. Todd’s Simple Sketches, so charmingly are they described.
The sun had set, and I began to be anxious to find a place of rest for the night, after a day’s ride under a sultry sun. I was travelling in South Carolina, and was now not far from a branch of the Cooper river. The country here is a dead level, and its surface is covered with thinly scattered pines. I came to an old church–it stood solitary; not a house in sight: it was built of wood, and much decayed. The breezes of evening were gently sighing through the tops of the long-leaved pines which stood near; while still nearer stood several large live-oaks, which spread out their aged arms, as if to shelter what was sacred. On their limbs hung, in graceful folds, the long grey moss, as if a mantle of mourning, waving over a few decayed tombs at the east side of the church. These oaks give the place a very sombre and awful appearance; they seemed to stand as silent mourners over the dust of generations that had sunk into the grave, and waiting in solemn expectation that others would soon come and lie beneath their shade in the long sleep of death. The time of day, and the sacredness of the spot, were so congenial to my own feelings, that I involuntarily stopped my horse.
My curiosity was now excited by seeing a very aged negro standing and gazing steadily on a small decaying tomb. He seemed to be intent, and did not observe me; his woolly locks were whitened by age; his countenance was manly, though it bore the marks of sorrow; he was leaning on his smooth-worn staff, the companion of many years. I was somewhat surprised on seeing this aged African silently meditating among the vestiges of the dead, and accordingly roused him from his reverie. He started at first, but his confidence was soon gained. There is a spring in the bosom of every Christian, which throws a joy into his heart whenever he meets a fellow-christian during his pilgrimage here below. I found the old negro to be an eminent Christian, and we were soon acquainted. I inquired what motive induced him, at that hour of the day, to visit these tombs. Instead of answering my question directly he gave me the following account of himself, in broken language:–
About sixty years ago, this negro was living under his paternal roof in Africa. He was the son of a chief of a small tribe, the pride of his parents, and the delight of his countrymen; none could more dexterously throw the dart; none more skilfully guide the fragile canoe over the bosom of the deep. He was not far from twenty years of age, when, on a fair summer’s morn, he went in his little canoe to spend the day in fishing. About noon he paddled his bark to the shore, and, under the shade of a beautiful palmetto-tree, he reclined till the heat of noon-day should be passed. He was young, healthy, and active; he knew none whom he dreaded; he was a stranger to fear, and he dreamed only of security, as he slept under the shade of his own native tree. Thus, while our sky is encircled with the bow of happiness, we forget that it may soon be overspread with darkness. When this African awoke, he found his hands bound behind him, his feet fettered, and himself surrounded by several white men, who were conveying him on board of their ship;–it was a slave-ship. The vessel had her cargo completed, and was ready to sail. As they were unfurling the sails, the son of Africa, with many others of his countrymen, for the last time cast his eyes upon his native shores. Futurity was dark,–was uncertain,–was despair. His bosom thrilled with anguish, as he threw his last farewell look over the plains of his native country. There was his native spot where his had lived, there the home of his infancy and childhood, there the place where he had inhaled his earliest breath–and to tear him from these, seemed like breaking the very strings of his heart.
After a melancholy passage, during which the African was forced to wear double the irons to receive double the number of lashes, that any of his companions received, on account of his refractory spirit, he was at length landed and sold to a planter in the place where he now resides. There is nothing new, nothing novel or interesting, that ever takes place in the life of a slave–describe one day, and you write the history of a slave. The sun, indeed, continues to roll over him; but it sheds upon him no new joys, no new prospects, no new hopes. So it was with the subject of this narrative. His master was naturally a man of a very humane disposition; but his overseers were often little else than compounds of vice and cruelty. In this situation the negro lost all his natural independence and bravery. He often attempted to run away, but was as often taken and punished. Having no cultivated mind to which he could look for consolation–knowing of no change that was ever to take place in his situation,–he settled down in gloominess. Often would he send a silent sigh for the home of his youth; but his path shewed but few marks of happiness, and few rays of hope for futurity were drawn by fancy’s hand. Sunk in despondency and vice, he was little above the brutes around him.
In this situation he was accidentally met by the good minister of the parish, who addressed him as a rational and immortal being, and pressed upon him the first principles of religion. This was a new subject; for he had never before looked beyond the narrow bounds before him, nor had he ever dreamed of a world beyond this. After a long conversation on this subject, the minister made him promise that he would now “_attend to his soul_.”
The clergyman could not, for many months after this, obtain an interview with his new pupil, who most carefully shunned him. But though afraid to meet his minister, he still felt an arrow of conviction in his heart. Wherever he went, whether asleep or awake, to use his own words, his promise, “me take care of soul, stick close to him,” He now began in earnest to seek “the one thing needful”. By the kindness of his master he learned to read his Testament, and to inquire more about Jesus. He was now very desirous to see his minister; and before a convenient opportunity occurred, he was in such distress of mind as actually to attempt two several times to kill himself. His minister visited him, conversed and prayed with him.
“_Oh_,” he would say, “God never think such poor negro, he no love so much sinner, he no before ever see such bad heart!” The mercy of Christ, and his compassion towards sinners, were explained to him, and his soul was filled with “joy and peace in believing,” He now rejoiced and thanked God that he was brought from his native shores, as he had a fairer country, and purer enjoyments presented to his view, after the scenes of this transitory world shall be over. He now became more industrious and more faithful. By uncommon industry he raised money sufficient to purchase his own freedom. He next bought the liberty of his wife, and had nearly completed paying for that of his only daughter, when she was liberated by the hand of death. His wife soon followed her, and left this world a perfect void to the husband and father. His every tie that bound him to earth was now broken. Having no earthly enjoyment, he now placed his affections on heaven above. It is easy for the Christian to make rapid progress in holiness when not fettered by worldly cares.
It was now dark, and I must leave my new acquaintance. I left him with his face wet with tears, still standing beside the tomb–the tomb of his old minister! This good man had been his faithful and constant guide, and though his ashes had been slumbering for years, the negro had not yet forgotten how to weep at their urn. I could not but admire the wonderful dealings of God, in order to bring men to himself. Happy minister! who hast been the instrument of covering a multitude of sins! Happy negro! his is not this world. Though no sculptured marble may tell the traveller where he may shortly lie–though he never trod the thorny road of ambition or power–though the trumpet of fame never blew the echo of his name through a gaping world–still those eyes, which will soon be closed in death, may hereafter awake, to behold, undaunted, a world in flames, and these heavens fleeing away.
~Violent Earthquake in Calabria.~
In nature there is nothing which can inspire us with so much awe as those violent outbreakings which occasionally convulse the earth, creating fearful devastation, overthrowing cities, and destroying much life and property. The following is a description of one which occurred in Calabria and Sicily in the year 1783; and which, from its violence, overthrew many cities, creating an universal consternation in the minds of the inhabitants of the two kingdoms.
On Wednesday, the fifth of February, about one in the afternoon, the earth was convulsed in that part of Calabria which is bounded by the rivers of Gallico and Metramo, by the mountains Jeio, Sagra, and Caulone, and the coast between these rivers and the Tuscan Sea. This district is called the _Piana_, because the country extends itself from the roots of the Appenines, in a plain, for twenty Italian miles in length by eighteen in breadth. The earthquake lasted about a hundred seconds. It was felt as far as Otranto, Palermo, Lipari, and the other AEolian isles; a little also in Apuglia, and the _Terra di Cavoro_; in Naples and the Abruzzi not at all. There stood in this plain a hundred and nine cities and villages, the habitations of a hundred and sixty-six thousand human beings; and in less than two minutes all these edifices were destroyed, with nearly thirty-two thousand individuals of every age, sex, and station,–the rich equally with the poor; for there existed no power of escaping from so sudden a destruction. The soil of the _Piana_ was granite at the base of the Apennines, but in the plain the _debris_ of every sort of earth, brought down from the mountains by the rains, constituted a mass of unequal solidity, resistance, weight, and form. On this account, whatever might have been the cause of the earthquake, whether volcanic or electrical, the movement assumed every possible direction–vertical, horizontal, oscillatory, vorticose, and pulsatory; producing every variety of destruction. In one place, a city or house was thrown down, in another it was immersed. Here, trees were buried to their topmost branches, beside others stripped and overturned. Some mountains opened in the middle, and dispersed their mass to the right and left, their summits disappearing, or being lost in the newly-formed valleys; others slipped from their foundations along with all their edifices, which sometimes were overthrown, but more rarely remained uninjured, and the inhabitants not even disturbed in their sleep. The earth opened in many places, forming frightful abysses; while, at a small distance, it rose into hills. The waters, too, changed their course; rivers uniting to form lakes, or spreading into marshes; disappearing, to rise again in new streams, through other banks, or running at large, to lay bare and desolate the most fertile fields. Nothing retained its ancient form, cities, roads, and boundaries vanished,–so that the inhabitants were bewildered as if in an unknown land. The works of art and of nature, the elaborations of centuries, together with many a stream and rock, coeval perhaps with the world itself, were in a single instant destroyed and overthrown…. Whirlwinds, tempests, the flames of volcanoes, and of burning edifices, rain, wind, and thunder, accompanied the movements of the earth: all the forces of nature were in activity, and it seemed as if all its laws were suspended, and the last hour of created things at hand. In the meantime, the sea between Scylla, Charybdis, and the coasts of Reggio and Messina, was raised many fathoms above its usual level; overflowing its banks, and then, in its return to its channel, carrying away men and beasts. By these means, two thousand persons lost their lives on Scylla alone, who were either congregated on the sands, or had escaped in boats, from the dangers of the dry land. Etna and Stromboli were in more than usual activity: but this hardly excited attention, amidst greater and graver disasters. A worse fire than that of the volcanoes resulted from the incidents of the earthquake; for the beams of the falling houses being ignited by the burning heaths, the flames, fanned by the winds, were so vast and fierce, that they seemed to issue from the bosom of the earth. The heavens, alternately cloudy or serene, had given no previous sign of the approaching calamity; but a new source of suffering followed it, in a thick fog, which obscured the light of the day, and added to the darkness of night. Irritating to the eyes, injurious to the respiration, fetid, and immoveable, it hung over the two Calabrias for more than twenty days,–an occasion of melancholy, disease, and annoyance, both to man and to animals….
At the first shock, no token, in heaven or on earth, had excited attention; but at the sudden movement, and at the aspect of destruction, an overwhelming terror seized on the general mind, insomuch, that the instinct of self-preservation was suspended, and men remained thunderstricken and immoveable. On the return of reason, the first sentiment was a sort of joy at the partial escape; but they soon gave place to grief for the loss of family, and the overthrow of the domestic habitation. Amidst so many aspects of death, and the apprehension even of approaching judgment, the suspicion that friends were yet alive under the ruins was the most excruciating affliction, since the impossibility of assisting them rendered their death–(miserable and terrible consolation)–a matter of preference and of hope. Fathers and husbands were seen wandering amidst the ruins that covered the objects of their affections, and, wanting the power to move the superincumbent masses, were calling in vain for the assistance of the bystanders; or haply they lay groaning, night and day, in their despair, upon the ruinous fragments. But the most horrid fate–(a fate too dreadful to conceive or to relate)–was theirs, who, buried alive beneath the fallen edifices, awaited, with an anxious and doubtful hope, the chances of relief–accusing, at first, the slowness, and then the avarice, of their dearest relations and friends; and when they sank under hunger and grief–with their senses and memory beginning to fail them–their last sentiment was that of indignation against their kindred, and hatred of humanity. Many were disinterred alive by their friends, and some by the earthquake itself; which, overthrowing the very ruins it had made, restored them to light. It was ultimately found, that about a fourth of those whose bodies were recovered, might have been saved, had timely assistance been at hand. The men were chiefly found in attitudes indicating an effort at escape, the women with their hands covering their face, or desperately plunged in their hair. Mothers were discovered dead who had striven to protect their infants with their own bodies, or lay with their arms stretched towards these objects of affection, when separated from them by intervening masses of ruin.
~Escape from a Ship on Fire.~
From the “Missionary Annual” for 1833.
Many of the party, having retired to their hammocks soon after the commencement of the storm, were only partially clothed, when they made their escape; but the seamen on the watch, in consequence of the heavy rain, having cased themselves in double or treble dresses, supplied their supernumerary articles of clothing to those who had none. We happily succeeded in bringing away two compasses from the binnacle, and a few candles from the cuddy-table, one of them lighted; one bottle of wine, and another of porter, were handed to us, with the tablecloth and a knife, which proved very useful; but the fire raged so fiercely in the body of the vessel, that neither bread nor water could be obtained. The rain still poured in torrents; the lightning, followed by loud bursting of thunder, continued to stream from one side of the heavens to the other,–one moment dazzling us by its glare, and the next moment leaving us in darkness, relieved only by the red flames of the conflagration from which we were endeavouring to escape. Our first object was to proceed to a distance from the vessel, lest she should explode and overwhelm us; but, to our inexpressible distress, we discovered that the yawl had no rudder, and that for the two boats we had only three oars. All exertions to obtain more from the ship proved unsuccessful. The gig had a rudder; from this they threw out a rope to take us in tow; and, by means of a few paddles, made by tearing up the lining of the boat, we assisted in moving ourselves slowly through the water, providentially the sea was comparatively smooth, or our overloaded boats would have swamped, and we should only have escaped the flames to have perished in the deep. The wind was light, but variable, and, acting on the sails, which, being drenched with the rain, did not soon take fire, drove the burning mass, in terrific grandeur, over the surface of the ocean, the darkness of which was only illuminated by the quick glancing of the lightning or the glare of the conflagration. Our situation was for some time extremely perilous. The vessel neared us more than once, and apparently threatened to involve us in one common destruction. The cargo, consisting of dry provisions, spirits, cotton goods, and other articles equally combustible, burned with great violence, while the fury of the destroying element, the amazing height of the flames, the continued storm, amidst the thick darkness of the night, rendered the scene appalling and terrible. About ten o’clock, the masts, after swaying from side to side, fell with a dreadful crash into the sea, and the hull of the vessel continued to burn amidst the shattered fragments of the wreck, till the sides were consumed to the water’s edge. The spectacle was truly magnificent, could it even have been contemplated by us without a recollection of our own circumstances. The torments endured by the dogs, sheep, and other animals on board, at any other time would have excited our deepest commiseration; but at present, the object before us, our stately ship, that had for the last four months been our social home, the scene of our enjoyments, our labours, and our rest, now a prey to the destroying element; the suddenness with which we had been hurried from circumstances of comfort and comparative security, to those of destitution and peril, and with which the most exhilarating hopes had been exchanged for disappointment as unexpected as it was afflictive; the sudden death of the two seamen, our own narrow escape, and lonely situation on the face of the deep, and the great probability even yet, although we had succeeded in removing to a greater distance from the vessel, that we ourselves should never again see the light of day, or set foot on solid ground, absorbed every feeling. For some time the silence was scarcely broken, and the thoughts of many, I doubt not, were engaged on subjects most suitable to immortal beings on the brink of eternity. The number of persons in the two boats was forty-eight; and all, with the exception of the two ladies, who bore this severe visitation with uncommon fortitude, worked by turns at the oars and paddles. After some time, to our great relief, the rain ceased; the labour of baling water from the boats was then considerably diminished. We were frequently hailed during the night by our companions in the small boat, and returned the call, while the brave and generous-hearted seamen occasionally enlivened the solitude of the deep by a simultaneous “Hurra!” to cheer each others’ labours, and to animate their spirits. The Tanjore rose in the water as its contents were gradually consumed. We saw it burning the whole night, and at day-break could distinguish a column of smoke, which, however, soon ceased, and every sign of our favourite vessel disappeared. When the sun rose, our anxiety and uncertainty as to our situation were greatly relieved by discovering land ahead; the sight of it filled us with grateful joy, and nerved us with fresh vigour for the exertion required in managing the boats. With the advance of the day we discerned more clearly the nature of the country. It was wild and covered with jungle, without any appearance of population: could we have got ashore, therefore, many of us might have perished before assistance could have been procured; but the breakers, dashing upon the rocks, convinced us that landing was impracticable. In the course of the morning we discovered a native vessel, or dhoney, lying at anchor, at some distance: the wind at that time beginning to favour us, every means was devised to render it available. In the yawl we extended the tablecloth as a sail, and in the other boat a blanket served the same purpose. This additional help was the more seasonable, as the rays of the sun had become almost intolerable to our partially covered bodies. Some of the seamen attempted to quench their thirst by salt water: but the passengers encouraged each other to abstain. About noon we reached the dhoney. The natives on board were astonished and alarmed at our appearance, and expressed some unwillingness to receive us; but our circumstances would admit of no denial; and we scarcely waited till our Singalese fellow-passenger could interpret to them our situation and our wants, before we ascended the sides of their vessel, assuring them that every expense and loss sustained on our account should be amply repaid.
~Anecdotes of the Albatross, &c.~
The author of the following extracts is Mr. Augustus Earle, whose life has been one of wandering and peril, traversing every quarter of the globe. The account of his residence for nine months among the New Zealanders is very interesting; but a description of their cannibal habits will not suit the taste of many of our young readers. We shall therefore accompany him to the Island of Tristan d’Acunha, upon which, by accident, he was left, where he amused himself hunting goats, sea elephants, albatrosses, and penguins; while, like another Crusoe, he occasionally watched for the ship that should release him from his island prison. His work is intitled “Nine Months’ Residence in New Zealand,” &c.
Being a fine morning, I determined to ascend the mountain. As several parties had before gone up, they had formed a kind of path: at least we endeavoured to trace the same way; but it requires a great deal of nerve to attempt it. The sides of the mountain are nearly perpendicular; but, after ascending about two hundred feet, it is there entirely covered with wood, which renders the footing much more safe; but in order to get to the wood, the road is so dangerous, that it made me almost tremble to think of it,–slippery grey rocks, and many of them unfortunately loose, so that when we took hold, they separated from the mass, and fell with a horrid rumbling noise. Here and there were a few patches of grass, the only thing we could depend upon to assist us in climbing, which must be done with extreme caution, for the least slip or false step would dash one to atoms on the rocks below. By keeping our eyes constantly looking upwards, and continuing to haul ourselves up, by catching firm hold on this grass, after an hour’s painful toil we gained the summit, where we found ourselves on an extended plain, of several miles expanse, which terminates in the peak, composed of dark grey lava, bare and frightful to behold. We proceeded towards it, the plain gradually rising, but the walking was most fatiguing, over strong rank grass and fern several feet high, with holes concealed under the roots in such a way, that no possible caution could prevent our occasionally falling down into one or other of them, and entirely disappearing, which caused a boisterous laugh amongst the rest; but it frequently happened, while one was making merry at the expense of another, down sunk the laugher himself. A death-like stillness prevailed in these high regions, and, to my ear, our voices had a strange, unnatural echo, and I fancied our forms appeared gigantic, whilst the air was piercing cold. The prospect was altogether very sublime, and filled the mind with awe! On the one side, the boundless horizon, heaped up with clouds of silvery brightness, contrasted with some of darker hue, enveloping us in their vapour, and, passing rapidly away, gave us only casual glances of the landscape; and, on the other hand, the sterile and cindery peak, with its venerable head, partly capped with clouds, partly revealing great patches of red cinders, or lava, intermingled with the black rock, produced a most extraordinary and dismal effect. It seemed as though it were still actually burning, to heighten the sublimity of the scene. The huge albatross appeared here to dread no interloper or enemy; for their young were on the ground completely uncovered, and the old ones were stalking around them. This bird is the largest of the aquatic tribe; and its plumage is of a most delicate white, excepting the back and the tops of its wings, which are grey: they lay but one egg, on the ground, where they form a kind of nest, by scraping the earth round it. After the young one is hatched, it has to remain a year before it can fly; it is entirely white, and covered with a woolly down, which is very beautiful. As we approached them, they clapped their beaks, with a very quick motion, which made a great noise. This, and throwing up the contents of the stomach, are the only means of offence and defence they seem to possess. The old ones, which are valuable on account of their feathers, my companions made dreadful havoc amongst, knocking on the head all they could come up with. These birds are very helpless on the land, the great length of their wings precluding them from rising up into the air, unless they can get to a steep declivity. On the level ground they were completely at our mercy, but very little was shewn them; and in a very short space of time the plain was strewn with their bodies, one blow on the head generally killing them instantly. Five months after, many of the young birds were still sitting on their nests, and had never moved away from them; they remain there for a year before they can fly, and during that long period are fed by the mother. They had greatly increased in size and beauty since my first visit to them. The semblance of the young bird, as it sits on the nest, is stately and beautiful. The white down, which is its first covering, giving place gradually to its natural grey plumage, leaves half the creature covered with down; the other half is a fine compact coat of feathers, composed of white and grey; while the head is of a dazzling, silvery white. Their size is prodigious, one of them proving a tolerable load. Upon skinning them, on our return, we found they were covered with a fine white fat, which I was told was excellent for frying, and other culinary purposes; and the flesh was quite as delicate, and could scarcely be distinguished in flavour from lamb. Besides our albatross, the dogs caught some small birds, about the size of our partridge, but their gait was something like that of the penguin. The male is of a glossy black, with a bright red hard crest on the top of the head. The hen is brown. They stand erect, and have long yellow legs, with which they run very fast; their wings are small and useless for flying, but they are armed with sharp spurs for defence, and also, I imagine, for assisting them in climbing, as they are found generally among the rocks. The name they give this bird here is simply “cock,” its only note being a noise very much resembling the repetition of that word. Its flesh is plump, fat, and excellent eating.
VISIT TO A PENGUIN ROOKERY.
The spot of ground occupied by our settlers is bounded on each side by high _bluffs_, which extend far into the sea, leaving a space in front, where all their hogs run nearly wild, as they are prevented going beyond those limits by those natural barriers; and the creatures who, at stated periods, come up from the sea, remain in undisturbed possession of the beaches beyond our immediate vicinity. The weather being favourable, we launched our boat early in the morning, for the purpose of procuring a supply of eggs for the consumption of the family. We heard the chattering of the penguins from the rookery long before we landed, which was noisy in the extreme, and groups of them were scattered all over the beach; but the high thick grass on the declivity of the hill seemed their grand establishment, and they were hidden by it from our view. As we could not find any place where we could possibly land our boat in safety, I and two more swam on shore with bags tied round our necks to hold the eggs in, and the boat with one of the men lay off, out of the surf. I should think the ground occupied by these _birds_ (if I may be allowed so to call them) was at least a mile in circumference, covered in every part with grasses and reeds, which grew considerably higher than my head; and on every gentle ascent, beginning from the beach, on all the large grey rocks, which occasionally appeared above this grass, sat perched groups of these strange and uncouth-looking creatures; but the noise which rose up from beneath baffles all description! As our business lay with the noisy part of this community, we quietly crept under the grass, and commenced our plundering search, though there needed none, so profuse was the quantity. The scene altogether well merits a better description than I can give–thousands, and hundreds of thousands, of these little two-legged erect monsters hopping around us, with voices very much resembling in tone that of the human; all opened their throats together: so thickly clustered in groups that it was almost impossible to place the foot without dispatching one of them. The shape of the animal, their curious motions, and their most extraordinary voices, made me fancy myself in a kingdom of pigmies. The regularity of their manners, their all sitting in exact rows, resembling more the order of a camp than a rookery of noisy birds, delighted me. These creatures did not move away on our approach, but only increased their noise, so we were obliged to displace them forcibly from their nests; and this ejectment was not produced without a considerable struggle on their parts; and, being armed with a formidable beak, it soon became a scene of desperate warfare. We had to take particular care to protect our hands and legs from their attacks: and for this purpose each one had provided himself with a short stout club. The noise they continued to make during our ramble through their territories the sailors said was, “Cover ’em up, cover ’em up.” And, however incredible it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that I heard those words so distinctly repeated, and by such various tones of voices, that several times I started, and expected to see one of the men at my elbow. Even these little creatures, as well as the monstrous sea elephant, appear to keep up a continued warfare with each other. As the penguins sit in rows, forming regular lanes leading down to the beach, whenever one of them feels an inclination to refresh herself by a plunge into the sea, she has to run the gauntlet through the whole _street_, every one pecking at her as she passes without mercy; and though all are occupied in the same employment, not the smallest degree of friendship seems to exist; and whenever we turned one off her nest, she was sure to be thrown amongst foes; and, besides the loss of her eggs, was invariably doomed to receive a severe beating and pecking from her companions. Each one lays three eggs, and after a time, when the young are strong enough to undertake the journey, they go to sea, and are not again seen till the ensuing spring. Their city is deserted of its numerous inhabitants, and quietness reigns till nature prompts their return the following year, when the same noisy scene is repeated, as the same flock of birds returns to the spot where they were hatched. After raising a tremendous tumult in this numerous colony, and sustaining continued combat, we came off victorious, making capture of about a thousand eggs, resembling in size, colour, and transparency of shell, those of a duck; and the taking possession of this immense quantity did not occupy more than one hour, which may serve to prove the incalculable number of birds collected together. We did not allow them sufficient time, after landing, to lay all their eggs; for, had the season been further advanced, and we had found three eggs in each nest, the whole of them might probably have proved addled, the young partly formed, and the eggs of no use to us; but the whole of those we took turned out good, and had a particularly fine and delicate flavour. It was a work of considerable difficulty to get our booty safe into the boat–so frail a cargo–with so tremendous a surf running against us. However, we finally succeeded, though not without smashing a considerable number of the eggs.
THE SEA ELEPHANT.
I saw, for the first time, what the settlers call a _pod_ of sea elephants. At this particular season these animals lay strewed about the beach, and, unless you disturb them, the sight of a man will not frighten them away. I was determined to get a good portrait of some of them, and accordingly took my sketch-book and pencil, and seated myself very near to one of them, and began my operations, feeling sure I had now got a most patient sitter, for they will lie for weeks together without stirring; but I had to keep throwing small pebbles at him, in order to make him open his eyes, and prevent his going to sleep. The flies appear to torment these unwieldy monsters most cruelly, their eyes and nostrils being stuffed full of them. I got a good sketch of the group. They appeared to stare at me occasionally with some little astonishment, stretching up their immense heads and looking around; but finding all still (I suppose they considered me a mere rock), they composed themselves to sleep again. They are the most shapeless creatures about the body. I could not help comparing them to an over-grown maggot, and their motion is similar to that insect. The face bears some rude resemblance to the human countenance; the eye is large, black, and expressive; excepting two very small flippers or paws at the shoulder, the whole body tapers down to a fish’s tail; they are of a delicate mouse colour, the fur is very fine, but too oily for any other purpose than to make mocassins for the islanders. The bull is of an enormous size, and would weigh as heavily as his namesake of the land; and in that one thing consists their only resemblance, for no two animals can possibly be more unlike each other. It is a very curious phenomenon, how they can possibly exist on shore; for, from the first of their landing, they never go out to sea, and they lie on a stormy beach for months together without tasting any food, except consuming their own fat, for they gradually waste away; and as this fat or blubber is the great object of value, for which they are attacked and slaughtered, the settlers contrive to commence operations against them upon their first arrival, for it is well ascertained that they take no sustenance whatever on shore. I examined the contents of the stomach of one they had just killed, but could not make out the nature of what it contained. The matter was of a remarkably bright green colour. They have many enemies, even in the water; one called the killer, a species of grampus, which makes terrible havoc amongst them, and will attack and take away the carcass of one from alongside a boat. But man is their greatest enemy, and causes the most destruction to their race: he pursues them to all quarters of the globe.
VISIT FROM THE NATIVES AT TERRA DEL FUEGO.
During our stay, we had, at various times, visits from the natives. They were all at first very shy, but after they found our friendly disposition towards them, they became more sociable and confiding.
On the 11th of March three bark canoes arrived, containing four men, four women, and a girl about sixteen years old, four little boys and four infants, one of the latter about a week old, and quite naked. They had rude weapons, viz. slings to throw stones, three rude spears, pointed at the end with bone, and notched on one side with barbed teeth. With this they catch their fish, which are in great quantities among the kelp. Two of the natives were induced to come on board, after they had been alongside for upwards of an hour, and received many presents, for which they gave their spears, a dog, and some of their rude native trinkets. They did not shew or express surprise at anything on board, except when seeing one of the carpenters engaged in boring a hole with a screw-auger through a plank, which would have been a long task for them. They were very talkative, smiling when spoken to, and often bursting into loud laughter, but instantly settling into their natural serious and sober cast.
They were found to be great mimics, both in gesture and sound, and would repeat any word of our language, with great correctness of pronunciation. Their imitations of sounds were truly astonishing.
Their mimicry became at length annoying, and precluded our getting at any of their words or ideas. It not only extended to words or sounds, but actions also, and was at times truly ridiculous. The usual manner of interrogating for names was quite unsuccessful. On pointing to the nose, for instance, they did the same. Anything they saw done they would mimic, and with an extraordinary degree of accuracy. On these canoes approaching the ship, the principal one of the family, or chief, standing up in his canoe, made a harangue. Although they have been heard to shout quite loud, yet they cannot endure a noise; and when the drum beat, or a gun was fired, they invariably stopped their ears. They always speak to each other in a whisper.
The women were never suffered to come on board. They appeared modest in the presence of strangers. They never move from a sitting posture, or rather a squat, with their knees close together, reaching to their chin, their feet in contact, and touching the lower part of the body. They are extremely ugly. Their hands and feet were small and well shaped; and, from appearance, they are not accustomed to do any hard work. They appear very fond and seem careful of their young children, though on several occasions they offered them for sale for a trifle. They have their faces smutted all over, and it was thought, from the hideous appearance of the females, produced in part by their being painted and smutted, that they had been disfigured by the men previous to coming alongside. It was remarked, that when one of them saw herself in a looking-glass, she burst into tears, as Jack thought, from pure mortification.
Before they left the ship, the greater part of them were dressed in old clothes, that had been given to them by the officers and men, who all shewed themselves extremely anxious “to make them comfortable,” This gave rise to much merriment, as Jack was not disposed to allow any difficulties to interfere in the fitting. If the jackets proved too tight across the shoulders, which they invariably were, a slit down the back effectually remedied the defect. If a pair of trousers was found too small around the waist, the knife was again resorted to; and in some cases a fit was made by severing the legs. The most difficult fit, and the one which produced the most merriment, was that of a woman, to whom an old coat was given. This, she concluded belonged to her nether limbs, and no signs, hints, or shouts, could correct her mistake. Her feet were thrust through the sleeves, and, after hard squeezing, she succeeded in drawing them on. With the skirts brought up in front, she took her seat in the canoe with great satisfaction, amid a roar of laughter from all who saw her.
CHILIAN MODE OF CAPTURING WILD HORSES.
A party of four or five horsemen, with about twenty dogs, were seen formed in an extended crescent, driving the wild horses towards the river with shouts. All were armed with the lasso, which was swinging over their heads, to be in readiness to entrap the first that attempted to break through the gradually contracting segment; the dogs serving with the riders to head the horses in. They continued to advance, when suddenly a horse with furious speed broke the line, passing near one of the horsemen, and for a moment it was thought he had escaped; the next he was jerked round with a force that seemed sufficient to have broken his neck, the horseman having, the moment the lasso was thrown, turned round and braced himself for the shock. The captured horse now began to rear and plunge furiously to effect his escape. After becoming somewhat worn out, he was suffered to run, and again suddenly checked. This was repeated several times, when another plan was adopted. The dogs were set on him, and off he went at full run, in the direction of another horseman, who threw his lasso to entangle his legs and precipitate him to the ground. The dogs again roused him, when he again started, and was in like manner brought to a stand. After several trials he became completely exhausted and subdued, when he stood perfectly still, and allowed his captors to lay hands upon him. The shouts of the men, the barking of the dogs, and the scampering of the horses, made the whole scene extremely exciting.
FIGHT BETWEEN A WHALE AND A KILLER.
This day, on board the Peacock, they witnessed a sea-fight between a whale and one of its many enemies. The sea was quite smooth, and offered the best possible view of the whole combat. First, at a distance from the ship, a whale was seen floundering in a most extraordinary way, lashing the smooth sea into a perfect foam, and endeavouring apparently to extricate himself from some annoyance. As he approached the ship, the struggle continuing and becoming more violent, it was perceived that a fish, apparently about twenty feet long, held him by the jaw, his contortions, spouting, and throes, all betokening the agony of the huge monster. The whale now threw himself at full length from the water with open mouth, his pursuer still hanging to the jaw, the blood issuing from the wound and dyeing the sea to a distance around; but all his flounderings were of no avail; his pertinacious enemy still maintained his hold, and was evidently getting the advantage of him. Much alarm seemed to be felt by the many other whales around. These “killers,” as they are called, are of a brownish colour on the back, and white on the belly, with a long dorsal fin. Such was the turbulence with which they passed, that a good view could not be had of them to make out more nearly the description. These fish attack a whale in the same way as dogs bait a bull, and worry him to death. They are armed with strong sharp teeth, and generally seize the whale by the lower jaw. It is said that the only part of them they eat is the tongue. The whalers give some marvellous accounts of these killers, and of their immense strength; among them, that they have been known to drag a whale away from several boats which were towing it to the ship.
WAR DANCES OF THE NEW ZEALANDERS.
Wishing to see their war-dances, I requested the chief Pomare to gratify us with an exhibition, which he consented to do. The ground chosen was the hillside of Mr. Clendon, our consul’s place, where between three and four hundred natives, with their wives and children, assembled. Pomare divided the men into three parties or squads, and stationed these at some distance from each other. Shortly after this was done, I received a message from him, to say that they were all hungry, and wanted me to treat them to something to eat. This was refused until they had finished their dance, and much delay took place in consequence. Pomare and his warriors were at first immoveable; but they, in a short time, determined they would unite on the hill-top, which was accordingly ordered, although I was told they were too hungry to dance well. Here they arranged themselves in a solid column, and began stamping, shouting, jumping, and shaking their guns, clubs, and paddles in the air, with violent gesticulations, to a sort of savage time. A more grotesque group cannot well be imagined; dressed, half-dressed, or entirely naked. After much preliminary action, they all set off, with a frantic shout, at full speed in a war-charge, which not only put to flight all the animals that were feeding in the neighbourhood, but startled the spectators. After running about two hundred and fifty yards, they fired their guns and halted, with another shout. They then returned in the same manner, and stopped before us, a truly savage multitude, wrought up to apparent frenzy, and exhibiting all the modes practised of maiming and killing their enemies, until they became exhausted, and lay down on the ground like tired dogs, panting for breath. One of the chiefs then took an old broken dragoon-sword, and began running to and fro before us, flourishing it, and, at the same time, delivering a speech at the top of his voice. The speech, as interpreted to me, ran thus: “You are welcome, you are our friends, and we are glad to see you,” frequently repeated. After three or four had shewn off in this way, they determined they must have something to eat, saying that I had promised them rice and sugar, and they ought to have it. Mr. Clendon, however, persuaded them to give one of their feast-dances. The performers consisted of about fifteen old, and as many young persons, whom they arranged in close order. The young girls laid aside a part of their dress to exhibit their forms to more advantage, and they commenced a kind of recitative, accompanied by all manner of gesticulations, with a sort of guttural husk for a chorus. It was not necessary to understand their language to comprehend their meaning; and it is unnecessary to add, that their tastes did not appear very refined, but were similar to what we have constantly observed among the heathen nations of Polynesia. Their impatience now became ungovernable; and hearing that the rice and sugar were being served out, they retreated precipitately down the hill, where they all set to most heartily, with their wives and children, to devour the food. This, to me, was the most entertaining part of the exhibition. They did not appear selfish towards each other; the children were taken care of, and all seemed to enjoy themselves. I received many thanks in passing among them, and their countenances betokened contentment. Although they were clothed for the occasion in their best, they exhibited but a squalid and dirty appearance, both in their dress and persons.
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We now end our extracts from this very entertaining Work,–upon the resources of which we have so largely drawn,–by the history of Paddy Connel, as described by himself, and who had been a resident among the Feejeean savages for nearly forty years.
HISTORY OF PADDY CONNEL.
One day, while at the Observatory, I was greatly surprised at seeing one whom I took to be a Feejeeman, enter my tent, a circumstance so inconsistent with the respect to our prescribed limit, of which I have spoken. His colour, however, struck me as lighter than that of any native I had yet seen. He was a short wrinkled old man, but appeared to possess great vigour and activity. He had a beard that reached to his middle, and but little hair, of a reddish-grey colour, on his head. He gave me no time for inquiry, but at once addressed me in broad Irish, with a rich Milesian brogue. In a few minutes he made me acquainted with his story, which, by his own account, was as follows:–
His name was Paddy Connel, but the natives called him Berry; he was born in the county of Clare, in Ireland; had run away from school when he was a little fellow, and after wandering about as a vagabond, was pressed into the army in the first Irish rebellion. At the time the French landed in Ireland, the regiment to which he was attached marched at once against the enemy, and soon arrived on the field of battle, where they were brought to the charge. The first thing he knew or heard, the drums struck up a White Boy’s tune, and his whole regiment went over and joined the French, with the exception of the officers, who had to flee. They were then marched against the British, and were soon defeated by Lord Cornwallis; it was a hard fight, and Paddy found himself among the slain. When he thought the battle was over, and night came on, he crawled off and reached home. He was then taken up and tried for his life, but was acquitted; he was, however, remanded to prison, and busied himself in effecting the escape of some of his comrades. On this being discovered, he was confined in the black hole, and soon after sent to Cork, to be put on board a convict-ship bound to New South Wales. When he arrived there, his name was not found on the books of the prisoners; consequently he had been transported by mistake, and was, therefore, set at liberty. He then worked about for several years, and collected a small sum of money, but unfortunately fell into bad company, got drunk, and lost it all. Just about this time Captain Sartori, of the ship General Wellesley, arrived at Sydney. Having lost a great part of his crew by sickness and desertion, he desired to procure hands for his ship, which was still at Sandalwood Bay, and obtained thirty-five men, one of whom was Paddy Connel. At the time they were ready to depart, a French privateer, Le Gloriant, Captain Dubardieu, put into Sydney, when Captain Sartori engaged a passage for himself and his men to the Feejees. On their way they touched at Norfolk Island, where the ship struck, and damaged her keel so much that they were obliged to put into the Bay of Islands for repairs. Paddy asserts that a difficulty had occurred here between Captain Sartori and his men about their provisions, which was amicably settled. The Gloriant finally sailed from New Zealand for Tongataboo, where they arrived just after the capture of a vessel, which he supposed to have been the Port au Prince, as they had obtained many articles from the natives, which had evidently belonged to some large vessel. Here they remained some months, and then sailed for Sandalwood Bay, where the men, on account of their former quarrel with Captain Sartori, refused to go on board the General Wellesley: some of them shipped on board the Gloriant, and others, with Paddy, determined to remain on shore with the natives. He added, that Captain Sartori was kind to him, and at parting had given him a pistol, cutlass, and an old good-for-nothing musket; these, with his sea-chest and a few clothes, were all that he possessed. He had now lived forty years among these savages. After hearing his whole story, I told him I did not believe a word of it; to which he answered, that the main part of it was true, but he might have made some mistakes, as he had been so much in the habit of lying to the Feejeeans, that he hardly now knew when he told the truth, adding, that he had no desire to tell anything but the truth.
Paddy turned out to be a very amusing fellow, and possessed an accurate knowledge of the Feejee character. Some of the whites told me that he was more than half Feejee; indeed he seemed to delight in shewing how nearly he was allied to them in feeling and propensities; and, like them, seemed to fix his attention upon trifles. He gave me a droll account of his daily employments, which it would be inappropriate to give here, and finished by telling me the only wish he had then, was to get for his little boy, on whom he doated, a small hatchet; and the only articles he had to offer for it were a few old hens. On my asking him if he did not cultivate the ground, he said at once no; he found it much easier to get his living by telling the Feejeeans stories, which he could always make good enough for them;–these, and the care of his two little boys, and his hens, and his pigs, when he had any, gave him ample employment and plenty of food. He had lived much at Rewa, and, until lately, had been a resident at Levuka, but had, in consequence of his intrigues, been expelled by the white residents, to the island of Ambatiki. It appeared that they had unanimously come to the conclusion, that if he did not remove, they would be obliged to put him to death for their own safety. I could not induce Whippy or Tom to give me the circumstances that occasioned this determination; and Paddy would not communicate more than that his residence on Ambatiki was a forced one, and that it was as though he was living out of the world, rearing pigs, fowls, and children. Of the last description of live stock he had forty-eight, and hoped that he might live to see fifty born to him. He had had one hundred wives.
~Extraordinary Escape from Drowning.~
The following Narrative of an extraordinary escape from drowning, after being wrecked among the Rapids of the St. Lawrence, first appeared in the _Liverpool Mercury_, the Editors of which state that they have published it by permission of the writer, who is a well-known merchant of great respectability in that city. We have extracted it from the pages of the _Edinburgh Magazine_, the Editor of which remarks,–“We have been induced to transfer it into our Miscellany, not merely from the uncommon interest of the detail, but because we happen to be able to vouch for its authenticity.”
On the 22nd day of April, 1810, our party set sail in a large schooner from Fort-George, or Niagara Town, and in two days crossed Lake Ontario to Kingston, at the head of the river St. Lawrence, distant from Niagara about 200 miles. Here we hired an American barge (a large flat-bottomed boat) to carry us to Montreal, a further distance of 200 miles; then set out from Kingston on the 28th of April, and arrived the same evening at Ogdensburgh, a distance of 75 miles. The following evening we arrived at Cornwall, and the succeeding night at Pointe du Lac, on Lake St. Francis. Here our bargemen obtained our permission to return up the river; and we embarked in another barge, deeply laden with potashes, passengers, and luggage. Above Montreal, for nearly 100 miles, the river St. Lawrence is interrupted in its course by rapids, which are occasioned by the river being confined in comparatively narrow, shallow, rocky channels;–through these it rushes with great force and noise, and is agitated like the ocean in a storm. Many people prefer these rapids, for grandeur of appearance, to the Falls of Niagara. They are from half a mile to nine miles long each, and require regular pilots. On the 30th of April we arrived at the village of the Cedars, immediately below which are three sets of very dangerous rapids (the Cedars, the Split-rock, and the Cascades), distant from each other about one mile. On the morning of the 1st of May we set out from the Cedars, the barge very deep and very leaky. The captain, a daring rash man, refused to take a pilot. After we passed the Cedar rapid, not without danger, the captain called for some rum, swearing, at the same time, that —- could not steer the barge better than he did! Soon after this we entered the Split-rock rapids by a wrong channel, and found ourselves advancing rapidly towards a dreadful watery precipice, down which we went. The barge slightly grazed her bottom against the rock, and the fall was so great as to nearly take away the breath. We here took in a great deal of water, which was mostly baled out again before we were hurried on to what the Canadians call the “grand bouillon,” or great boiling. In approaching this place the captain let go the helm, saying, “Here we fill!” The barge was almost immediately overwhelmed in the midst of immense foaming breakers, which rushed over the bows, carrying away planks, oars, &c. About half a minute elapsed between the filling and going down of the barge, during which I had sufficient presence of mind to rip off my three coats, and was loosening my suspenders, when the barge sunk, and I found myself floating in the midst of people, baggage, &c. Each man caught hold of something; one of the crew caught hold of me, and kept me down under water, but, contrary to my expectation, let me go again. On rising to the surface, I got hold of a trunk, on which two other men were then holding. Just at this spot, where the Split-rock rapids terminate, the bank of the river is well inhabited; and we could see women on shore running about much agitated. A canoe put off, and picked up three of our number, who had gained the bottom of the barge, which had upset and got rid of its cargo; these they landed on an island. The canoe put off again, and was approaching near to where I was, with two others, holding on by the trunk, when, terrified with the vicinity of the Cascades, to which we were approaching, it put back, notwithstanding my exhortations, in French and English, to induce the two men on board to advance. The bad hold which one man had of the trunk, to which we were adhering, subjected him to constant immersion; and, in order to escape his seizing hold of me, I let go the trunk, and, in conjunction with another man, got hold of the boom, (which, with the gaff, sails, &c., had been detached from the mast, to make room for the cargo,) and floated off. I had just time to grasp this boom, when we were hurried into the Cascades; in these I was instantly buried, and nearly suffocated. On rising to the surface, I found one of my hands still on the boom, and my companion also adhering to the gaff. Shortly after descending the Cascades, I perceived the barge, bottom upwards, floating near me. I succeeded in getting to it, and held by a crack in one end of it; the violence of the water, and the falling out of the casks of ashes, had quite wrecked it. For a long time I contented myself with this hold, not daring to endeavour to get upon the bottom, which I at length effected; and from this, my new situation, I called out to my companion, who still preserved his hold of the gaff. He shook his head; and, when the waves suffered me to look up again, he was gone. He made no attempt to come near me, being unable or unwilling to let go his hold, and trust himself to the waves, which were then rolling over his head.
The Cascades are a kind of fall, or rapid descent, in the river, over a rocky channel below: going down is called, by the French, “Sauter,” to leap or shove the cascades. For two miles below, the channel continues in uproar, just like a storm at sea; and I was frequently nearly washed off the barge by the waves which rolled over. I now entertained no hope whatever of escaping; and although I continued to exert myself to hold on, such was the state to which I was reduced by cold, that I wished only for speedy death, and frequently thought of giving up the contest as useless. I felt as if compressed into the size of a monkey; my hands appeared diminished in size one-half; and I certainly should (after I became cold and much exhausted) have fallen asleep, but for the waves that were passing over me, and obliged me to attend to my situation. I had never descended the St. Lawrence before, but I knew there were more rapids a-head, perhaps another set of the Cascades, but at all events the La Chine rapids, whose situation I did not exactly know. I was in hourly expectation of these putting an end to me, and often fancied some points of ice extending from the shore to be the head of foaming rapids. At one of the moments in which the succession of waves permitted me to look up, I saw at a distance a canoe with four men coming towards me, and waited in confidence to hear the sound of their paddles; but in this I was disappointed; the men, as I afterwards learnt, were Indians (genuine descendants of the Tartars) who, happening to fall in with one of the passenger’s trunks, picked it up, and returned to shore for the purpose of pillaging it, leaving, as they since acknowledged, the man on the boat to his fate. Indeed, I am certain I should have had more to fear from their avarice, than to hope from their humanity; and it is more than probable, that my life would have been taken to secure them in the possession of my watch and several half-eagles, which I had about me.
The accident happened at eight o’clock in the morning. In the course of some hours, as the day advanced, the sun grew warmer, the wind blew from the south, and the water became calmer. I got upon my knees, and found myself in the small lake St. Louis, about from three to five miles wide; with some difficulty I got upon my feet, but was soon convinced, by cramps and spasms in all my sinews, that I was quite incapable of swimming any distance, and I was then two miles from shore. I was now going, with wind and current, to destruction; and cold, hungry, and fatigued, was obliged again to sit down in the water to rest, when an extraordinary circumstance greatly relieved me. On examining the wreck, to see if it was possible to detach any part of it to steer by, I perceived something loose, entangled in a fork of the wreck, and so carried along. This I found to be a small trunk, bottom upwards, which, with some difficulty, I dragged up upon the barge. After near an hour’s work, in which I broke my pen-knife, trying to cut out the lock, I made a hole in the top, and, to my great satisfaction, drew out a bottle of rum, a cold tongue, some cheese, and a bag full of bread, cakes, &c., all wet. Of these I made a very seasonable, though very moderate use, and the trunk answered the purpose of a chair to sit upon, elevated above the surface of the water.
After in vain endeavouring to steer the wreck, or direct its course to the shore, and having made every signal (with my waistcoat, &c.) in my power, to the several headlands which I had passed, I fancied I was driving into a bay, which, however, soon proved to be the termination of the lake, and the opening of the river, the current of which was carrying me rapidly along. I passed several small uninhabited islands; but the banks of the river appearing to be covered with houses, I again renewed my signals with my waistcoat and a shirt, which I took out of the trunk, hoping, as the river narrowed, they might be perceived; the distance was too great. The velocity with which I was going convinced me of my near approach to the dreadful rapids of La Chine. Night was drawing on; my destruction appeared certain, but did not disturb me very much: the idea of death had lost its novelty, and become quite familiar. Finding signals in vain, I now set up a cry or howl, such as I thought best calculated to carry to a distance, and, being favoured by the wind, it did, although at above a mile distance, reach the ears of some people on shore. At last I perceived a boat rowing towards me, which, being very small and white-bottomed, I had some time taken for a fowl with a white breast; and I was taken off the barge by Captain Johnstone, after being ten hours on the water. I found myself at the village of La Chine, 21 miles below where the accident happened, and having been driven by the winding of the current a much greater distance. I received no other injury than bruised knees and breast, with a slight cold. The accident took some hold of my imagination, and, for seven or eight succeeding nights, in my dreams, I was engaged in the dangers of the Cascades, and surrounded by drowning men.
My escape was owing to a concurrence of fortunate circumstances, which appear almost providential. I happened to catch hold of various articles of support, and to exchange each article for another just at the right time. Nothing but the boom could have carried me down the Cascades without injury; and nothing but the barge could have saved me below them. I was also fortunate in having the whole day. Had the accident happened one hour later, I should have arrived opposite the village of La Chine after dark, and, of course, would have been destroyed in the rapids below, to which I was rapidly advancing. The trunk which furnished me with provisions and a resting-place above the water, I have every reason to think, was necessary to save my life; without it I must have passed the whole time in the water, and been exhausted with cold and hunger. When the people on shore saw our boat take the wrong channel, they predicted our destruction: the floating luggage, by supporting us for a time, enabled them to make an exertion to save us; but as it was not supposed possible to survive the passage of the Cascades, no further exertions were thought of, nor indeed could they well have been made.
It was at this very place that General Ambert’s brigade of 300 men, coming to attack Canada, was lost; the French at Montreal received the first intelligence of the invasion, by the dead bodies floating past the town. The pilot who conducted the first batteaux, committing the same error that we did, ran for the wrong channel, and the other batteaux following close, all were involved in the same destruction. The whole party with which I was escaped; four left the barge at the Cedar village, above the rapids, and went to Montreal by land; two more were saved by the canoe; the barge’s crew, all accustomed to labour, were lost. Of the eight men who passed down the Cascades, none but myself escaped, or were seen again; nor indeed was it possible for any one, without my extraordinary luck, and the aid of the barge, to which they must have been very close, to have escaped; the other men must have been drowned immediately on entering the Cascades. The trunks, &c., to which they adhered, and the heavy great-coats which they had on, very probably helped to overwhelm them; but they must have gone at all events; swimming in such a current of broken stormy waves was impossible. Still I think my knowing how to swim kept me more collected, and rendered me more willing to part with one article of support to gain a better. Those who could not swim would naturally cling to whatever hold they first got, and, of course, many had very bad ones. The Captain passed me above the Cascades, on a sack of woollen clothes, which were doubtless soon saturated and sunk.
The trunk which I picked up belonged to a young man from Upper Canada, who was one of those drowned; it contained clothes, and about L70 in gold, which was restored to his friends. My own trunk contained, besides clothes, about L200 in gold and bank notes. On my arrival at La Chine, I offered a reward of 100 dollars, which induced a Canadian to go in search of it. He found it, some days after, on the shore of an island on which it had been driven, and brought it to La Chine, where I happened to be at the time. I paid him his reward, and understood that above one-third of it was to be immediately applied to the purchase of a certain number of masses which he had vowed, in the event of success, previous to his setting out on the search.
* * * * *
~Adventure in the Desert, and Murder of a Sheikh.~
I was awakened for a few minutes, as early as three o’clock on the following morning, by the sound of many voices in loud and earnest conversation, amongst which I recognised that of Sheikh Suleiman; but as noisy conversations at such early hours are by no means uncommon with these restless spirits of the wilderness, I gave no heed to it, and composed myself for sleep again, intending to rise by about half after four, in order to get a dip in the Red Sea, before resuming the march; and this intention I fulfilled; but just while throwing on the few clothes I had taken with me, I heard suddenly a loud strife of many tongues bursting forth, not in our encampment, but in a small copse or grove of palm trees, about two hundred yards distant. At once the thought rushed upon my mind, that the Mezzeni had overtaken us, and were meditating an attack, now that we were so near the place of their main encampment. This was directly confirmed by the sound of a gun-shot in the palm-grove, which was soon followed up by a second. I ran up towards the encampment as rapidly as possible; and just as I reached it, another shot rang awfully upon my ear. I found our party in a state of the greatest consternation, and gathered closely together, gazing wildly towards the grove. The first thing I learnt, was the harrowing fact, that poor Suleiman had just been murdered by the Mezzeni! It was an astounding announcement. To what would this desperate blow lead–here, in the Desert? The prospect of further bloodshed was terrible. It would have been insupportable, but for the influence of that inward calmness which is the privilege of the children of God. We were braced up for the worst, and stood gazing upon the scene, in full expectation that out of a deep and deadly spirit of revenge, we should be immediately overpowered by the enemy, and held entirely at their mercy–as any shew of defence against so many as had now come down upon us, would have been utterly futile, and might have led to the destruction of us all. How wild and desolate this awful theatre of death appeared, while, with the sound of gun-shots still vibrating in our ears, we thought of Suleiman writhing in his death-throes, and anxiously watched the movements of the murderers. We were motionless–almost breathless. Each man among us gazed silently upon his fellow. Our suspense was not of great duration, but long enough to get the heart secretly lifted up in communion with a God of mercy. And there was sweet peacefulness in that brief exercise…. My worst fears were groundless. The hearts of all men are in God’s hands. Our helplessness must have been a powerful matter of temptation to the blood-stained men, over whom the departed soul of Suleiman was hovering. But God restrained them….
Having slaughtered their victim, the Mezzeni (of whom above forty were counted), quietly marched back towards Nuweibia, without exchanging even a word with us; leaving behind them the corpse of poor Suleiman–a sad memorial of their malignant vengeance; while several others of their tribe, who had been lying in ambush beyond the scene of terror, came forth from their hiding-places, and joined their retreating comrades.
My heart almost sickens at the recollection of this dreadful transaction, while referring to the notes made on the spot, and compiling from them the particulars of this sad page.
As soon as the enemy had fairly departed, I took Hassenein with me, and advanced carefully towards the copse of palm trees, where I found the mangled body of poor Suleiman quite dead, but with the agony of the death-pang still visible on his sunburnt and swarthy features. It was a terrible sight, thus to behold the leader and confidential companion of our wild route, lying as the clods of the valley, and saturated with his own life-blood. And how, in a Christian’s heart, was the sense of the sad reality heightened, by knowing that the poor sufferer was a follower of the false prophet–a Mahommedan–ignorant of Him who was “delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” I have seen death in many forms; but I never beheld it with so dread an aspect as it here assumed.
I was more than half inclined to withhold the minute particulars of the dark tragedy, when arriving at this part of my narrative; but they now fasten themselves upon my mind, and I feel constrained to leave them on record.
Suleiman had received three balls through his body, and four sabre-gashes on his head, which was also nearly severed from the trunk; and his right arm, which had been evidently raised in an attempt at warding off a blow, was all but divided near the wrist. We returned to the encampment, where our Arabs were sitting together, still terrified. At length a few of them who volunteered their aid, went and washed the body–wrapped it in an unfolded turban, and prepared it for immediate interment. They hastily formed a resting-place, about a mile upwards, towards the hills which skirted the plain in which we were encamped, by raising four walls of large loose stones. Having made all ready, they brought up the remains of their leader, laid across the back of his camel, and, with deep emotion, deposited them in their final abode, arching it over with large masses of stone, and quitting it with what appeared to me like deep expressions of vengeance against the tribe, on which lay the guilt of his murder.
I turned away from the tomb with a heavy heart…. Was my way to the Holy City of my God to be tracked with blood?
On making a careful inquiry into the particulars immediately connected with this sad catastrophe, I collected the following:–It appeared, that while we were resting on the previous day at Wadey el Ayun, the Mezzeni came down in order to make a final effort at supporting, without bloodshed, their claim to conduct travellers through their territory to Akabah. Sheikh Furriqh was of the number, as I have already stated. When he was about to retire, after an unsuccessful attempt, an Arab of his tribe came and secretly informed him that his (Furriqh’s) nephew had been shot on the previous day by one of Suleiman’s tribe, in reference to the very question then pending. On receiving this information, Furriqh at once broke off all negotiation, and quitted the encampment. It is believed that Suleiman never knew the fact which had been communicated to Furriqh; but news was brought to him that the Mezzeni intended to pursue us with an increased force; and this quite accounts for all the anxiety and timidity which he evinced during the afternoon and evening preceding his death. It appears that the Mezzeni, bent on accomplishing their purpose, gathered together their force, and, following us at dromedary speed, arrived at the encampment as early as two o’clock in the morning–that a deputation from them came to Suleiman, while some of the rest remained in the palm-grove, and others went in advance, and formed ambuscades–that Sheikh Furriqh was one of the deputation–that Suleiman shewed them the usual hospitality of breaking bread with them–that the conference ended without any adjustment of the matter in dispute–that after the deputation had retired to the copse, two Arabs of a neutral tribe, who had come with us from Mount Sinai, went to the Mezzeni in order to mediate, but were unsuccessful–that while they remained Suleiman was sent for, and that having broken bread with the Mezzeni, he had a right to expect that his life would be held sacred–that Suleiman had scarcely reached the adverse party, when Sheikh Furriqh said–“We do not care about the money, but there is blood between us;”–that instantly one of the Mezzeni shot him through the body, and that Furriqh cut him down with his sabre, while two other shots which were fired took effect upon him. My recollection of Furriqh, from the first moment that he appeared in our caravan, is such as to convince me that he would readily commit such an act as this–so subtle–so cruel–so cowardly–without one feeling of remorse or misgiving.
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A SERIES OF SHILLING VOLUMES FOR THE YOUNG, BY APPROVED AUTHORS.
No. 1. MARY LEESON, by MARY HOWITT. Illustrated by JOHN ABSOLON.
No. 2. TAKE CARE OF No. 1, or Good to Me includes Good to Thee, by S.E. GOODRICH, Esq., (the Original Peter Parley). Illustrated by GILBERT.
No. 3. HOW TO SPEND A WEEK HAPPILY, by Mrs. BURBURY. With Illustrations.
No. 4. POEMS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN, by “ADELAIDE,” one of the amiable Authoresses of “Original Poems.” With Illustrations.
No. 5. THE YOUNG LORD, by CAMILLA TOULMIN; and VICTORINE DUROCHER, by Mrs. SHERWOOD. With Illustrations.
No. 6. PAULINE, a Tale from the German. With Illustrations.
No. 7. HOUSEHOLD STORIES. With Illustrations.
Nos. 8 & 9. IN-DOOR AND OUT-DOOR SPORTS.
No. 10. STORIES OF ENTERPRISE AND ADVENTURE; or AN EXCITEMENT TO READING. Illustrated with Wood Engravings from Designs by ABSOLON.
No. 11. THE BOOK OF RIDDLES, ETC.
“The Volumes of DARTON’S HOLIDAY LIBRARY which have reached us, comprise a most interesting Series of Books for Young People, written by some of our most Popular Authors, and all having a tendency towards the formation of correct principles and habits in the minds of the Young. They blend amusement with instruction in the most delightful manner. We cordially recommend them as by far the best books of their class.”
[Illustration: Back Cover]