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  • 1852
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Whose courage well was tried,
Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.

“‘A land breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,
With all her crew complete.

“‘Toll for the brave!
Brave Kempenfeldt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought:
His work of glory done.

“‘It was not in the battle;
No tempest gave the shock;
She sprang no fatal leak;
She ran upon no rock.

“‘His sword was in its sheath
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfeldt went down,
With twice four hundred men!

“‘Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes!
And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes.

“‘Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again,
Full charged with England’s thunder, And plough the distant main.

“‘But Kempenfeldt is gone,
His victories are o’er;
And he and his eight hundred
Shall plough the main no more!”

MRS. WILTON. “I fear we are prolonging this evening’s discussion beyond the customary bounds; but I should not be satisfied to quit the Channel without a peep at rocky Eddystone.”

GEORGE. “Mamma is very anxious to see the Lighthouse, and so am I. It appears to me a most wonderful building, standing as it does, surrounded by foaming waves, and in constant danger from winds and storms. Who knows anything about it?”

EMMA. “I do! the Eddystone Lighthouse is built on a rock in the Channel, about fifteen miles south-south-west from the citadel of Plymouth. It is, as George remarked, exposed to winds and waves, for the heavy swells from the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean send the waves breaking over the rock with prodigious fury. The first Lighthouse erected on these rocks was the work of a gentleman named Winstanley; it stood four years, when he was so confident of its stability that he determined to encounter a storm in the building himself. He paid for his temerity with his life, and found how vain it was to build houses of brick and stone to resist the mighty waters, which can only be controlled by the power of the most high God. Three years afterwards another Lighthouse was built which sustained the attacks of the sea for the space of forty-six years, but, strangely enough, was destroyed by fire in August, 1755. The fire broke out in the lantern, and burning downwards, drove the men, who in vain attempted to extinguish it, from chamber to chamber; until at last, to avoid the falling of the timber, and the red hot bolts, they took refuge in a cave on the east side of the rock, where they were found at low water in a state little short of stupefaction, and conveyed to Plymouth. The present Lighthouse was erected by Mr. Smeaton on an improved plan: no expense was spared to render it durable and ornamental; the last stone was placed on the 25th of August, 1759, and the first night the light was exhibited a very great storm happened, which actually shook the building; but it stood,–and it still stands,–a glorious monument of human enterprise, perseverance, and skill.”

GRANDY. “We have done so much to-night, and have been so much interested, that I may venture to offer an apology for not having prepared _my_ portion. It is now time for supper; and I think you have heard as much to-night as you can well remember. Shall I ring the bell, my dear?” Mrs. Wilton replied in the affirmative, and John quickly appeared with the tray. Some nice baked apples soon smoked on the table, with cakes of Grandy’s own making, intended expressly for the children, and which gave universal satisfaction. The meeting dispersed about half-past ten, and all felt the wiser for their evening’s amusement.


There lives and works
A soul in all things,–and that soul is God!

For a few minutes we will quit the “Research,” and take a peep into Mr. Wilton’s drawing-room. There is a bright, blazing fire; the crimson curtains are closely drawn; pussy is curled up in a circle on the soft rug; and Grandy, with her perpetual knitting, is still in the old leather chair.

“But where are all the others?” I fancy I hear my readers’ inquiries. Look again. Who sits at the table writing so busily, and every instant turning over the leaves of a large book? It is George. Emma has gone with her papa and mamma to the Colosseum; but George was obliged to remain a prisoner at home, having been much inconvenienced by a severe cold. He is now working diligently to create a surprise for his sister on her return; and anxiety to please her gives such impetus to his exertions, that he accomplishes more than he even ventured to anticipate.

Grandy perseveres in her knitting: she silently commends her darling for his thoughtful affection, and occasionally pauses to cast a glance of deep earnest love, not unmixed with a degree of pride, on the beaming countenance of her favorite grandchild.

George completes his task, and causes his working apparatus to vanish before ten o’clock; then, twining his arms around the beloved grandmother’s neck, he quietly whispers all the secret in her ear, and awaits her approval.

She suggests that he preserve it until the next evening, and then astonish the assembly by reading his extensive notes, the result of the last two hours’ labor.

George is delighted, and amuses himself with imagining Emma’s astonishment when he makes his grand display; and, with his mind vigorously engaged in picturing the pleasures of the surprise, he retires to rest.

Our young friends, Emma and George, were too sensible of the value of time to waste it in idleness or trifling pursuits; consequently, whenever you called at Mr. Wilton’s, you might be sure to find them occupied with some work, profitable either to themselves or their fellow-creatures; and Mrs. Wilton in her daily instructions had so combined practice with theory, that her pupils almost unconsciously imitated her in the paths of industry and perseverance, no longer feeling (as heretofore) the sad effects of procrastination; but “whatsoever their hands found to do, they did it with their might.”

Continually engaged, with no cares to harass, no troubles to distress them, their hours and days flew on the wings of hope,–laden only with fond recollections of the past, glowing with the bright realities of the present, and wafting the perfume of a glorious future crowned with the everlasting garlands of love, joy, and peace.

There was not much time lost in arranging their books and papers on the evening of this meeting; but they were obliged to commence without waiting Mr. Barraud’s arrival, for the clock had struck seven, and their business admitted of no delay.

They were soon seated. “Which way are we to get out of the British Channel?” was the first question.

MR. WILTON. “There are two convenient ways for us to sail out of the Channel: the one through the Straits of Dover into the German Ocean; the other past Land’s End, Cornwall, into the wide waters of the North Atlantic. We will take the former direction, and anchor off Yarmouth while we examine into the wonders connected with this division of the mighty sea.”

CHARLES. “The German Ocean is the eastern boundary of England, and many of our most beautiful streams fall into its waters. I am not aware of the existence of any islands in this ocean; and the only fact I have to state concerning it is, that _here_ the French first tried their strength with the English by sea. This happened in the reign of King John, in the year 1213, and the account is as follows:–‘The French had previously obtained possession of Normandy, and thereby become a maritime power, which qualified them, as they thought, to contend with the English: they intended, therefore, to seize the first opportunity of trying their skill; but the English were too sharp for them, and came upon them when they were least expected. Five hundred sail were despatched by John to the relief of the Earl of Flanders; and on approaching the port of Daunne, in Flanders, they saw it crowded with an immense forest of masts; upon which they sent out some light shallops to reconnoitre, and bring tidings of the enemy’s condition. The report was, that the ships had not hands to defend them, both soldiers and sailors having gone on shore for plunder. Upon this the English pressed forward and captured the large ships without difficulty, while the smaller ones they burnt after the crews had escaped. Having thus mastered the ships outside the harbor, the English advanced to attack those within it; and here the full rage of battle commenced. The port was so narrow, that numbers and skill were unavailing, while the dispersed French, perceiving the tokens of conflict, came running from every quarter to assist their party. The English upon this, after grappling with the nearest ships, threw a number of their forces on land; these arranging themselves on both sides of the harbor, a furious battle commenced on land and water at the same instant. In this desperate _melee_ the English were victorious: three hundred prizes, laden with corn, wine, oil and other provisions were sent to England: one hundred other ships, that could not be carried off, were destroyed; and the French king, Philip II. (surnamed Augustus), during the temporary retreat of the English, perceiving the impossibility of saving the rest of his fleet in the event of a fresh attack, set it on fire, that it might not fall into the enemy’s hands. Thus the _first_ great naval victory of the English destroyed the _first_ fleet that had been possessed by France.”

GRANDY. “My opinions are no doubt at variance with the world; but it does seem to me, that many of these warfares by sea and land are the most unjust, wanton sacrifice of life and property, recorded in the annals of history. I know that there are times and occasions when it is necessary to do battle with foreign powers in self-defence, or to relieve the oppressed and defenceless of other nations; such was the glorious object of the battle of the Nile: but many, many battles are fought with ambition for their guiding star, and high hopes of honor and reward in this life to urge on the combatants, while their zeal in the performance of the work of destruction is dignified with the title of ‘Patriotism.’

“We read continually of _great victories_; that, related by Charles, is designated a ‘_great naval victory_,’ and throughout, it breathes nothing but cruelty and unwarranted oppression. It does not appear that the stratagems used to win a battle are ever taken into consideration: it is evidently of no consequence _how_ it is won, so long as it _is_ won; and battles are more frequently decided by resorting to means which are dishonorable, to say the least of them, than by fair and open trials of strength. The discomfiture of the French, in this instance, was most assuredly owing to the _cunning_ exercised by their enemies, and not, as stated, to their superiority of skill or power: they were not permitted to try either, but were attacked when unprepared, mercilessly robbed, and slaughtered. And this was _a victory_. A victory over people who were not allowed the chance of defending themselves. ‘Tis true the French had been tyrannizing over the people of Normandy; but a bad example ought to be avoided, not imitated, as in this case. Retaliation is no part of a Christian’s duty, and was not required at the hands of the English. What right has any nation, deliberately, and for no other purpose than gain, to invade the territories of another, to burn their houses, to destroy their inhabitants, and to plunder them of all their possessions? Is this a fulfilling of the law? Is this our duty to our neighbor? Surely not; and yet such are the principal features in a _great victory_, from which the conquerors return to be honored of all men–for which bonfires blaze, guns are fired, cities are illuminated, and every voice is raised to shout victory! victory! Such victories, my dear children, are abominations in the sight of God. He bid us live in love and charity with all men. His Son says, ‘By this I know that ye are my disciples, because ye have love one toward another;’ and St. Paul further desires us to ‘love one another with pure hearts, fervently;’ adding, ‘for love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Much more might be said on this subject; but I will detain the meeting no longer than merely to repeat a few verses from a poem of Southey’s, written on the battle of Blenheim; which, as they coincide with my opinions, afford me much satisfaction, because they testify that I do not differ in sentiment from all mankind:–

“‘With fire and sword the country round Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childling mother then,
And new-born infant died.
But things like these, you know, must be At every _famous victory!_

“‘They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won,
For many thousand bodies here,
Lay rotting in the sun.
But things like that, you know, must be At _every famous victory!_’

“‘Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won, And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay, nay, my little girl,” quoth he, “It was a _famous victory!_”

“‘And everybody praised the Duke,
Who such a fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?” Quoth Little Wilhelmine.
“Why that I cannot tell,” said he, “But ’twas a _famous victory!_” ‘”

GEORGE. “If I were an admiral, I would never fight for gain, and I would not allow any of the men under my command to be cruel to the poor people in their power.”

“If you had the opportunity, my son,” said Mr. Wilton, “I fear that, like many others, you would be unable to resist the temptation to show your authority over the vanquished; for great and wise men have often found themselves unequal to the task of schooling their hearts, to listen to the dictates of humanity, when surrounded by the turmoil and excitement of a battle. But now, Charles. I must set you right with respect to the islands, and inform you that there are two well known islands in the German Ocean,–the Isle of Thanet and Sheppey Isle. I refer you to Mrs. Wilton for their description.”

MRS. WILTON. “The Isle of Thanet forms the north-east angle of the county of Kent: from north to south it is five miles, and rather more than ten from east to west. It contains many beautiful watering places,–Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs on the sea; St. Lawrence, Birchington, and St. Peter’s, inland. The whole of the district is in a very high state of cultivation, and remarkable for its fertility; the first market-garden in England was planted in the Isle of Thanet There is a little place called Fishness, not far from Broadstairs, which derived its name from the following circumstance:–On the 9th of July, 1574, a monstrous fish shot himself on shore, where, for want of water, he died the next day; before which time, his roaring was heard above a mile: his length was twenty-two yards, the nether jaw opening twelve feet; one of his eyes was more than a cart and six horses could draw; a man stood upright in the place from whence his eye was taken; his tongue was fifteen feet long; his liver two cart-loads; and a man might creep into his nostrils.’ All this, and a great deal more, is asserted by Kilburne, in his ‘Survey of Kent;’ and Stowe, in his Annals, under the same date, in addition to the above, informs us, that this ‘whale of the sea’ came on shore under the cliff, at six o’clock at night, ‘where, for want of water beating himself on the sands, it died about the same hour next morning.'”

CHARLES. “The size and other particulars seem probable enough, with the exception of the eye, which certainly must be an exaggeration; _one_ such an eye would be large enough for any animal, were he as monstrous as the wonderful Mammoth of antediluvian days. Do not you think, madam, that the account is a little preposterous?”

MRS. WILTON. “I think it is very likely, my dear, because there were so few persons to write descriptions of these wonderful creatures, that those who undertook the task were seldom content with the bare truth, no matter how extraordinary, but generally increased the astonishment of their readers by almost incredible accounts, which they were quite aware would never be contradicted. We live in a more inquiring age, and do not so readily give credence to all we hear, without ascertaining the probabilities of such descriptions; and exaggerated accounts are now merely regarded as ‘travellers’ wonders,’ and only partially believed.

“About seven miles south of the Isle of Thanet lies Deal, and immediately opposite Deal is that part of the sea called the ‘Downs,’ which has long been a place of rendezvous for shipping, where as many as 400 sail have been anchored at one time. The southern boundary of the Downs is formed by the Goodwin Sands, so often fatal to mariners. They were, originally, an island belonging to Earl Goodwin, when a sudden and mighty inundation of the sea overwhelmed with light sand, ‘where-with,’ as an old writer hath it, ‘it not only remayneth covered ever since, but is become withall a most dreadful gulfe and shippe swallower.’

“We will now bestow a little consideration on Sheppey Isle.”

GRANDY. “I should like you to be aware, before quitting this luxuriant Isle of Thanet, that it was here the precious truths of the Gospel were first set forth in England: it is supposed, on very just grounds too, that the apostle Paul was the preacher, who, in the middle of the first century, spread the doctrines of Christianity far and wide; and, from Rome, travelled to the isles of the far west, in which is included this lovely little spot, where he was received by the noble of the land. Instead of being persecuted as at Rome, he was eagerly followed, and the peaceful precepts he endeavored to inculcate were willingly obeyed.

“After St. Paul, came Augustine, who, in 597, landed in the Isle of Thanet, was welcomed by the king of Kent, Ethelbert, then holding his court at Canterbury. He, the second apostle, came to convert the people who were again sunk into barbarism and idolatry; he came in the name of the Most High, and his mission was successful. Ethelbert at once appointed St. Augustine a suitable residence at Canterbury, and gave him every facility of effecting his object, by permitting him to hold free converse with his subjects. Thus you see Canterbury thence became the ‘nursing mother’ of religion throughout the land. The greatest ornament in the Isle of Thanet is its church at Minster, built on the site of a convent founded by the princess Domneva, granddaughter of Ethelbald, king of Kent. Now we will travel on to Sheppey.”

MRS. WILTON. “We shall not be detained there long with my description. It is a little island lying north of Chatham, and separated from the Isle of Grain by the river Medway. Both these isles may be considered as situated at the mouth of the Thames. The principal place in Sheppey is Sheerness.”

GEORGE. “Now, dear mamma, I suppose we have done with the German Ocean?”

MRS. WILTON. “So far as I am concerned, my dear; but I have a notion that you are in possession of some wonderful story which will astonish us all. Is it so, my boy? Those sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks betray your secret. I am not deceived. Permit me then to request, in the name of the assembled members, that you will favor us with the contents of the paper in your hand.”

“Nay, dear mamma,” said George; “your expectations are raised too high. My paper only contains an account of a Yarmouth boatman; but it interested me: and Yarmouth being a seaport on the shores of the German Ocean, I thought it would be an agreeable termination to this part of our voyage, and I took the trouble to put it into a moderate compass for the occasion.” George then unfolded two or three sheets of closely written paper, while he enjoyed the amazed looks of his sister; and so pleased was he at her expressions of astonishment, that he was unable to resist the impulse of throwing his arms around her neck, and kissing her affectionately. “You are surprised, dear Emma,” said he; “I only cared to please _you_ when I wrote it, but now I will try to please _all_” He then, in a clear distinct tone of voice read the following:–

#Narrative of Brock the Swimmer and Yarmouth Boatman.#

“Amongst the sons of labor, there are none more deserving of their hard earnings than that class of persons, denominated Beachmen, on the shores of this kingdom. To those unacquainted with maritime affairs, it may be as well to observe, that these men are bred to the sea from their earliest infancy, are employed in the summer months very frequently as regular sailors or fishermen, and during the autumn, winter, and spring, when gales are most frequent on our coast, in going off in boats to vessels in distress in all weathers, to the imminent risk of their lives; fishing up lost anchors and cables, and looking out for waifs (i.e. anything abandoned or wrecked), which the winds and waves may have cast in their way. In our seaports these persons are usually divided into companies, between whom the greatest rivalry exists in regard to the beauty and swiftness of their boats, and their dexterity in managing them: this too often leads to feats of the greatest daring, which the widow and the orphan have long to deplore. To one of these companies, known by the name of ‘Laytons,’ whose rendezvous and ‘look-out’ were close to Yarmouth jetty, Brock belonged; and in pursuit of his calling, the following event is recorded by an acquaintance of Brock’s.

“About 1 P.M. on the 6th of October, 1835, a vessel was observed at sea from this station with a signal flying for a pilot, bearing east distant about twelve miles: in a space of time incredible to those who have not witnessed the launching of a large boat on a like occasion, the yawl, ‘Increase,’ eighteen tons burden, belonging to Laytons’ gang, with ten men and a London Branch pilot, was under weigh, steering for the object of their enterprise. About 4 o’clock she came up with the vessel, which proved to be a Spanish brig, Paquette de Bilboa, laden with a general cargo, and bound from Hamburg to Cadiz, leaky, and both pumps at work. After a great deal of chaffering in regard to the amount of salvage, and some little altercation with part of the boat’s crew as to which of them should stay with the vessel, J. Layton, J. Woolsey, and George Darling, boatmen, were finally chosen to assist in pumping and piloting her into Yarmouth harbor: the remainder of the crew of the yawl were then sent away. The brig at this time was about five miles to the eastward of the Newarp Floating Light, off Winterton on the Norfolk coast, the weather looking squally. On passing the light in their homeward course, a signal was made for them to go alongside, and they were requested to take on shore a sick man; and the poor fellow being comfortably placed upon some jackets and spare coats, they again shoved off, and set all sail: they had a fresh breeze from the W.S.W. ‘There was little better,’ said Brock, ‘than a pint of liquor in the boat, which the Spaniard had given us, and the bottle had passed once round, each man taking a mouthful, till about half of it was consumed: we all had a bit of biscuit each, and while we were making our light meal, we talked of our earnings, and calculated that by 10 o’clock we should be at Yarmouth.

“‘Without the slightest notice of its approach a terrific squall from the northward took the yawl’s sails flat aback, and the ballast which we had trained to windward, being thus suddenly changed to leeward, she was upset in an instant.

“‘Our crew and passenger were nine men–’twas terrible to listen to the cries of the poor fellows, some of whom could swim, and others who could not. Mixed with the hissing of the water and the howlings of the storm, I heard shrieks for mercy, and some that had no meaning but what arose from fear. I struck out to get clear of the crowd, and in a few minutes there was no noise, for most of the men had sunk; and, on turning round, I saw the boat still kept from going down by the wind having got under the sails. I then swam back to her, and assisted an old man to get hold of one of her spars. The boat’s side was about three feet under water, and for a few minutes I stood upon her, but I found she was gradually settling down, and when up to my chest I again left her and swam away; and now, for the first time, began to think of my own awful condition. My companions were all drowned, at least I supposed so. How long it was up to this period from the boat’s capsizing I cannot exactly say; in such cases, there is _no time_; but now I reflected that it was half-past six P.M. just before the accident occurred; that the nearest land at the time was six miles distant; and that it was dead low water, and the flood tide _setting off the shore_, making to the southward; therefore, should I ever reach the land, it would take me at least fifteen miles setting up with the flood, before the ebb would assist me.’

“While Brock was making these calculations, a rush horse collar covered with old netting floated close to him; he laid hold of it, and getting his knife out, he stripped off the net-work, and putting his left arm through, was supported until he had cut the waist band of his _petticoat_ trousers which then fell off: his striped frock, waistcoat and neckcloth, were also similarly got rid of, but he dared not try to free himself of his oiled trousers, drawers, or shirt, fearing that his legs might become entangled in the attempt; he therefore returned his knife into the pocket of his trousers, and put the collar over his head, which, although it assisted in keeping him above water, retarded his swimming; and after a few moments’ thinking what was best to be done, he determined to abandon it. He now, to his great surprise, perceived one of his messmates swimming ahead of him; but he did not hail him. The roaring of the hurricane was past; the cries of drowning men were no longer heard; the moonbeams were casting their silvery light over the smooth surface of the deep, calm and silent as the grave over which he floated, and into which he saw this last of his companions descend without a struggle or a cry, as he approached within twenty yards of him. Yes, he beheld the last of his brave crew die beside him; and now he was alone in the cold silence of night, more awful than the strife of the elements which had preceded. Perhaps at this time something might warn him that he too would soon be mingled with the dead; but if such thoughts did intrude, they were but for a moment; and again his mental energies, joined with his lion heart and bodily prowess, cast away all fear, and he reckoned the remotest possible chances of deliverance, applying the means,

“‘Courage and Hope both teaching him the practice.’

“Up to this time, Winterton Light had served instead of a land-mark to direct his course; but the tide had now carried him out of sight of it, and in its stead ‘a bright star stood over where’ his hopes of safety rested. With his eyes steadfastly fixed upon it, he continued swimming on, calculating the time when the tide would turn. But his trials were not yet past. As if to prove the strength of human fortitude, the sky became suddenly overclouded, and ‘darkness was upon the face of the deep.’ He no longer knew his course, and he confessed, that for a moment he was afraid; yet he felt, that ‘fear is but the betraying of the succors which reason offereth,’ and that which roused _him_ to further exertion, would have sealed the fate of almost any other human being. A sudden short cracking peal of thunder burst in stunning loudness just over his head, and the forked and flashing lightning at brief intervals threw its vivid fires around him. This, too, in its turn passed away, and left the sea once more calm and unruffled: the moon (nearly full) again threw a more brilliant light upon the waters, which the storm had gone over without waking from their slumbers. His next effort was to free himself from his heavy laced boots, which greatly encumbered him, and in which he succeeded by the aid of his knife. He now saw Lowestoft’s high Lighthouse, and could occasionally discern the tops of the cliffs beyond Garlestone on the Suffolk coast. The swell of the sea drove him over the Cross Sand Ridge, and he then got sight of a buoy, which, although it told him his exact position, ‘took him rather aback,’ as he had hoped he was nearer the shore. It proved to be the chequered buoy, St. Nicholas’ Gate, off Yarmouth, and _opposite his own door_, but distant from the land _four miles_. And now again he held counsel with himself, and the energies of his mind seem almost superhuman; he had been five hours in the water, and here was something to hold on by; he could have even got upon the buoy, and some vessel _might come near_ to pick him up, and the question was, could he yet hold out four miles? ‘But,’ said he, ‘I knew the night air would soon finish me, and had I stayed but a few minutes upon it, and then _altered_ my mind, how did I know that my limbs would again resume their office?’ He found the tide was broke; it did not run so strong; so he abandoned the buoy, and steered for the land, towards which, with the wind from the eastward, he found he was now fast approaching. The last trial of his fortitude was now at hand, for which he was totally unprepared, and which he considered (having the superstition of a sailor) the most difficult of any he had to combat. Soon after he left the buoy, he heard just above his head a sort of whiffing sound, which his imagination conjured into the prelude to the ‘rushing of a mighty wind,’ and close to his ear there followed a smart splash in the water, and a sudden shriek that went through him,–such as is heard

“‘When the lone sea-bird wakes its wildest cry.’

“The fact was, a large gray gull, mistaking him for a corpse, had made a dash at him, and its loud discordant scream in a moment brought a countless number of these formidable birds together, all prepared to contest for a share of the spoil. These large and powerful foes he had now to scare from their intended prey, and, by shouting and splashing with his hands and feet, in a few minutes they disappeared.

“He now caught sight of a vessel at anchor, but a great way off, and to get within hail of her he must swim over Carton Sands (the grave of thousands), the breakers at this time showing their angry white crests. As he approached, the wind suddenly changed; the consequence of which was that the swell of the sea met him. Here is his own description:–‘I got a great deal of water down my throat, which greatly weakened me, and I felt certain, that, should this continue, it would soon be all over, and I prayed that the wind might change, or that God would take away my senses before I felt what it was to drown. In less time than I am telling you, I had driven over the sands into smooth water; the _wind and swell came again from the eastward_, and my strength returned to me as fresh as in the beginning.’

“He now felt certain that he could reach the shore; but he considered it would be better to get within hail of the brig, some distance to the southward of him, and the most difficult task of the two, as the ebb tide was now running, which, although it carried him towards the land, set to the northward; and to gain the object of his choice would require much greater exertion. Here, again, are Brock’s reflections:–‘If I gained the shore, could I get out of the surf, which at this time was heavy on the beach? And, supposing I succeeded in this point, should I be able to walk, climb the cliffs, and get to a house? if not, there was little chance of life remaining long in me: but if I could make myself heard on board the brig, then I should secure immediate assistance. I got within two hundred yards of her, the nearest possible approach, and, summoning all my strength, I sung out as bravely as if I had been on shore.’

“‘The seaman’s cry was heard along the deep.’

“He was answered from the deck; a boat was instantly lowered; and at half-past 1 A.M., having swam _seven hours_ in an October night, he was safe on board the brig Betsey of Sunderland, coal laden, at anchor in Corton Roads, fourteen miles from the spot where the boat was capsized. The captain’s name was CHRISTIAN!

“Once safe on board, ‘nature cried enough:’ he fainted, and continued insensible for some time. All that humanity could suggest was done for him by Christian and his crew: they had no spirits on board, but they had bottled ale, which they made warm, and by placing Brock before a good fire, rubbing him dry, and putting him in hot blankets, he was at length, with great difficulty, enabled to get a little of the ale down his throat; but it caused excruciating pain, as his throat was in a state of high inflammation from breathing (as a swimmer does) so long the saline particles of sea and air, and it was now swollen very much, and, as he says, he feared he should be suffocated. He, however, after a little time, fell into a sleep, which refreshed and strengthened him, but he awoke to intense bodily suffering. Round his neck and chest he was perfectly flayed; the soles of his feet, hands, and other parts were also equally excoriated. In this state, at about 9 A.M., the brig getting under weigh with the tide, he was put on shore at Lowestoft in Suffolk, and immediately despatched a messenger to Yarmouth, with the sad tidings of the fate of the yawl and the rest of her crew. Being safely housed under the roof of a relative, with good nursing and medical assistance, in five days from the time of the accident, with a firm step he walked back to Yarmouth, to confirm the wonderful rumors circulated respecting him, and to receive the congratulations of his friends. The knife, which he considers as the great means of his being saved, is preserved with great care, and in all probability will be shown a century hence by the descendants of this man. It is a common horn-handle knife, having one blade about five inches long. A piece of silver is now riveted on, and covers one side, on which is the following inscription:–

“‘ BROWN, EMERSON, SMITH, BRAY, BUDDS, FENN, RUSHMERE, BOULT:–BROCK, aided by this knife, was saved after being 7-1/2 hours in the sea. _October_ 6. 1835.’

“‘It was a curious thing,’ observed Brock when relating his story, ‘that I had been without a knife for some time, and only purchased this two days before it became so useful to me; and having had to make some boat’s tholes, it was as sharp as a razor. I ought to be a good-living chap,’ continued he, ‘for three times I have been saved by swimming. What I did on this night, I know I could not have done of myself, but God strengthened me. I never asked for anything but it was given me.’

“This man had great faith, and he had also other good traits in his character. A large subscription was made for the widows and children of Brock’s unfortunate companions; and a fund being established for their relief, the surplus was offered to him. This was his answer: ‘I am much obliged to you, gentlemen, but, thank God! I can still get my own living as well as ever, and I could not spend the money that was given to the fatherless and widow.’ In contemplating the feat of this extraordinary man, it must appear to every one, that his bodily prowess, gigantic as it is, appears as dust in the balance compared with the powers of his mind. To think and to judge rightly under some of the most appalling circumstances that ever surrounded mortal man, to reject the delusive for the arduous, to resolve and to execute, form such a combination of the best and rarest attributes of our nature, that where are we to look for them in the same man? Brock at the time of this disastrous affair was thirty-one years of age, a fine, stout, athletic man, and as upright in his life and conversation as he was in his very handsome person.”

George read all this so clearly and distinctly, that he really merited the praise bestowed upon him: even Grandy, generally too partial, did not award him more than he deserved, for it was a great work for a boy of his age.

“My dear boy.” said Mr. Wilton, “I am quite delighted to find you have been so industrious, as it proves most satisfactorily that you are resolved to overcome all obstacles of weariness or difficulty in order to accomplish the great end–the attainment of useful knowledge. I am much, _very much_, pleased with you, my dear boy.”

The color mounted to the cheeks of the happy child, and in those few moments of heartfelt joy he was amply repaid for the previous evening’s toil.

“Where sail we next?” inquired Mrs. Wilton.

EMMA. “The North Sea is the track, dear mamma. I am sorry Mr. Barraud has not come, as he, having been to Scotland, might have helped us considerably. However, Dora is prepared with some particulars, and we need not be idling because of the absence of one member.”

“No, indeed!” exclaimed Mr. Wilton, “for I have a few words to say on that subject; so sail on, Dora, and ‘I’ll give thee a wind.'”

“And I another,” added Charles; “for I have actually been along the coasts that are washed by the blue waves of the North Sea, and can say a _few words_ after our honored member in the chair.”

DORA. “The North Sea washes the shores of Scotland, Denmark, and Norway. There are a great many islands in this sea, many more than I can enumerate. Near Scotland there are several little unimportant places of trifling interest, of which I should be glad to gain some information, as at present I know nothing more than that they are there, are inhabited, and tolerably fertile.”

CHARLES. “I believe I can enlighten you to a certain extent, Dora, at least so far that you may acknowledge that there are interesting places in the North Sea near Scotland. Ten leagues, or thirty geographical miles, north of the ancient castle of Dunglass (once the head-quarters of Oliver Cromwell) lies the Bell Rock: you can see it in the map, just off the mouth of the Tay, and close to the northern side of the great estuary called the Firth of Forth. Up to the commencement of the present century, this rock was justly considered one of the most formidable dangers that the navigators of the North Sea had to encounter. Its head, merged under the surface during greater part of the tide, at no time made much show above the water. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to keep well clear of the mischief, or, as seamen express themselves, to give the rock a wide berth. Ships, accordingly, bound for the Forth, in their constant terror of this ugly reef, not content with giving it ten or even twenty miles of elbow room, must needs edge off a little more to the south, so as to hug the shore in such a way, that when the wind chopped round to the northward, as it often did, these over-cautious navigators became embayed in a deep bight to the westward of Fast Castle. If the breeze freshened before they had time to work out, they paid dearly for their apprehensions of the Bell Rock, by driving upon ledges fully as sharp and far more extensive and inevitable. The consequence was that from three to four vessels, or sometimes half a dozen, used to be wrecked each winter. Captain Basil Hall in speaking of this place says, ‘Perhaps there are few more exciting spectacles than a vessel stranded on a lee-shore, and especially such a shore, which is fringed with reefs extending far out and offering no spot for shelter. The hapless ship lies dismasted, bilged, and beat about by the waves, with the despairing crew clinging to the wreck, or to the shrouds, and uttering cries totally inaudible in the roar of the sea; while at each successive dash of the breakers the number of the survivors is thinned, till at length they all disappear. The gallant bark then goes to pieces, and the coast for a league on either side is strewed with broken planks, masts, boxes, and ruined portions of the goodly cargo, with which, a few hours before, she was securely freighted, and dancing merrily over the waters.’ I am happy to add, in conclusion, that this fatal Bell Rock, the direct and indirect cause of so many losses, has been converted into one of the greatest sources of security that navigation is capable of receiving. By means of scientific skill, aided by well-managed perseverance, with the example of the Eddystone to copy from, a lighthouse, one hundred and twenty feet high, has been raised upon this formidable reef, by Mr. Robert Stevenson, the skilful engineer of the ‘Northern Lights;’ so that the mariner, instead of doing all he can to avoid the spot once so much dreaded, now eagerly runs for it, and counts himself happy when he gets sight of the revolving star on the top, which, from its being variously colored he can distinguish from any other light in that quarter. He is then enabled to steer directly for his port in perfect security, though the night be never so dark.”

Mr. Wilton remarked how much one man, by the right use of the talents he possessed, might benefit his fellow-creatures, when he was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Barraud.

A welcome rose to every lip, and Mr. Barraud apologized for being so late, adding that he had been detained by a friend who was about to start for Scotland, and wished to have an hour’s conversation with him before his departure.

“How singular!” exclaimed Mr. Wilton; “we have been regretting your absence particularly this evening, because we are navigating the North Sea, where you have been so often tossed to and fro, and we thought it quite possible you might have met with some amusing or instructive incidents in your travels along the coast, which would agreeably relieve the tedium of our voyage. Now I see no reason why you should not accompany your friend to Scotland, and charm us with a soul-stirring narrative of real life.”

“Oh! I perceive the state of affairs clearly,” said Mr. Barraud; “the young folks are getting weary of the monotony of a sea voyage, and desire to step ashore again.”

“No! no! we are not tired,” anxiously exclaimed the little group.

“But,” said Charles, “it makes a voyage so much more pleasant when we drop anchor now and then, to look around on the beauties of other lands; and more profitable also, if we learn something of the customs, laws, and peculiarities of the inhabitants of those lands.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Very true, Charles; and to gratify you I will relate a story written by Colonel Maxwell, the well-known author of many pleasing and instructive works, which will serve the purpose better than any other I can think of just now–besides, to heighten its interest, it is all true.”


“During a tedious passage to the North, I remarked among the steerage passengers a man who seemed to keep himself apart from the rest. He wore the uniform of the foot artillery, and sported a corporal’s stripes. In the course of the afternoon, I stepped before the funnel, and entered into conversation with him; learned that he had been invalided and sent home from Canada, had passed the Board in London, obtained a pension of a shilling a-day, and was returning to a border village, where he had been born, to ascertain whether any of his family were living, from whom he had been separated nineteen years. He casually admitted, that during this long interval he had held no communication with his relations; and I set him down accordingly as some wild scapegrace, who had stolen from a home whose happiness his follies had compromised too often. He showed me his discharge–the character was excellent,–but it only went to prove how much men’s conduct will depend upon the circumstances under which they act. He had been nineteen years a soldier–a man ‘under authority,’–one obedient to another’s will, subservient to strict discipline, with scarcely a free agency himself, and yet, during that long probation, he had been a useful member of the body politic, sustained a fair reputation, and as he admitted himself, been a contented and happy man. He returned home his own master, and older by twenty years. Alas! it was a fatal free agency for him, for time had not brought wisdom. The steward told me that he had ran riot while his means allowed it, had missed his passage twice, and had on the preceding evening come on board, when not a shilling remained to waste in drunken dissipation. I desired that the poor man should be supplied with some little comforts during the voyage; and when we landed at Berwick, I gave him a trifling sum to assist him to reach his native village, where he had obtained vague intelligence that some aged members of his family might still be found.

“A few evenings afterwards, I was sitting in the parlor of one of the many little inns I visited while rambling on the banks of the Tweed, when the waitress informed me that ‘a sodger is speerin’ after the colonel.’ He was directed to attend the presence, and my fellow-voyager, the artilleryman, entered the chamber, and made his military salaam.

“‘I thought you were now at Jedburgh,’ I observed.

“‘I went there, sir,’ he replied, ‘but there has not been any of my family for many a year residing in the place. I met an old packman on the road, and he tells me there are some persons in this village of my name. I came here to make inquiries, and hearing that your honor was in the house I made bold enough to ask for you.’

“‘Have you walked over?’ I inquired.

“‘Yes, sir,’ he replied.

“”Tis a long walk,’ said I; ‘go down and get some supper before you commence inquiries.’

“The soldier bowed and left the room, and presently the host entered to give me directions for a route among the Cheviots, which I contemplated taking the following day. I mentioned the soldier’s errand.

“‘Sure enough,’ returned the host, ‘there are an auld decent couple of the name here. What is the soldier called?’

“‘William,’ I replied, for by that name his discharge and pension bill were filled up.

“‘I’ll slip across the street to the auld folk,’ said Boniface, ‘and ask them a few questions.’

“The episode of humble life that followed was afterwards thus described to me by mine host.

“He found the ancient couple seated at the fire; the old man reading a chapter in the Bible, as was his custom always before he and his aged partner retired for the night to rest. The landlord explained the object of the soldier’s visit, and inquired if any of their children answered the description of the wanderer.

“‘It is our Jock!’ exclaimed the old woman passionately, ‘and the puir neer-do-weel has cam hame at last to close his mither’s eyes.’

“‘Na,’ said the landlord; ‘the man’s name is Wolly.’

“‘Then he’s nae our bairn,’ returned the old man with a heavy sigh.

“‘Weel, weel–His will be done!’ said his help-mate, turning her blue and faded eyes to heaven; ‘I thought the prayer I sae often made wad yet be granted, and Jock wad come hame and get my blessin’ ere I died.’

“‘He has! he has!’ exclaimed a broken voice; and the soldier, who had followed the landlord unperceived, and listened at the cottage door, rushed into the room, and dropped kneeling at his mother’s feet. For a moment she turned her eyes with a fixed and glassy stare upon the returned wanderer. Her hand was laid upon his head–her lips parted as if about to pronounce the promised blessing–but no sounds issued, and she slowly leaned forward on the bosom of the long-lost prodigal, who clasped her in his arms.

“‘Mither! mither! speak and bless me!’ cried he in agony.

“Alas! the power of speech was gone forever. Joy, like grief, is often fatal to a worn-out frame. The spirit had calmly passed; the parent had lived to see and bless her lost one; and expire in the arms of him, who, with all his faults, appeared to have been her earthly favorite.”

DORA. “What an affecting story! How sorry Jock must have felt that he came so suddenly into his mother’s presence; but his father was yet alive for him to comfort and cheer in his declining age. I hope he was kind and affectionate to him all his days, to compensate for the loss of the poor old woman?”

MR. BARRAUD. “I trust he was, but our historian saith no more.”

MR. WILTON. “There is a little cluster of islands between Alnwick and Berwick called the Farne islands, on one of which was situated the lighthouse where the heroine Grace Darling spent her dreary days. These rocky islands have for centuries been respected as holy ground, because St. Cuthbert built an oratory on one of them, and died there. At one time there were two chapels on these rocks; one dedicated to St. Cuthbert, the other to the Virgin Mary: they are now ruins; and a square building, erected for the religieux stationed on these isles, has been put to better use, and converted into a lighthouse. Off these islands occurred that dreadful calamity, the wreck of the Forfarshire steamer, of which I will give you a brief account:–

#Wreck of the Forfarshire.#

“It appears, that shortly after she left the Humber her boilers began to leak, but not to such an extent as to excite any apprehensions; and she continued on her voyage. The weather, however, became very tempestuous; and on the morning of the fatal day, she passed the Fames on her way northwards, in a very high sea, which rendered it necessary for the crew to keep the pumps constantly at work. At this time they became aware that the boilers were becoming more and more leaky as they proceeded. At length, when she had advanced as far as St. Abb’s Head, the wind having increased to a hurricane from N.N.E., the engineer reported the appalling fact that the machinery would work no longer. Dismay seized all on board; nothing now remained but to set the sails fore and aft, and let her drift before the wind. Under these circumstances, she was carried southwards, till about a quarter to four o’clock on Friday morning, when the foam became distinctly visible breaking upon the fearful rock ahead. Captain Humble vainly attempted to avert the appalling catastrophe, by running her between the islands and the mainland; she would not answer her helm, and was impelled to and fro by a furious sea. In a few minutes more, she struck with her bows foremost on the rock. The scene on board became heart-rending. A moment after the first shock, another tremendous wave struck her on the quarter, by which she was buoyed for a moment high off the rock. Falling as this wave receded, she came down upon the sharp edge with a force so tremendous as to break her fairly in two pieces, about ‘midships; when, dreadful to relate, the whole of the after part of the ship, containing the principal cabin, filled with passengers, sinking backwards, was swept into the deep sea, and thus was every soul on that part of the vessel instantaneously engulfed in one vast and terrible grave of waters. Happily the portion of the wreck which had settled on the rock remained firmly fixed, and afforded a place of refuge to the unfortunate survivors. At daylight they were discovered from the Longstone; and Grace Darling and her father launched a boat, and succeeded, amidst the dash of waters and fearful cries of the perishing people, in removing the few remaining sufferers from their perilous position to the lighthouse. The heroism of this brave girl, who unhesitatingly risked her own life to save others, was justly appreciated and rewarded. A large sum of money was collected for her, and many valuable presents were despatched to the ‘lonely isle;’ among others, a gold watch and chain, which she always after wore, although homely in her general attire. Poor Grace Darling! she did not long enjoy the praises and rewards which she so richly merited for her courage and humanity: a rapid consumption brought her to the grave; and her remains rest in a churchyard upon the mainland, in sight of that wild rock, on which she earned so great celebrity. A beautiful and elegant monument is erected to her memory, which will trumpet forth her praises to many yet unborn.”

GRANDY. “A curious circumstance occurred on these shores some years ago, and was related to my dear husband by an old man at Aberdeen, on whose veracity he could rely:–

“Three or four boys, one of them the son of a goldsmith in Dundee, went out in a boat towards the mouth of the Tay, but rowing farther than was prudent, they were carried out to sea. Their friends finding they did not return, made every search for them, and were at length compelled with sorrowful hearts to conclude that they had perished.

“One night a farmer (father of the old man who related the story) was very much disturbed by a dream; he awoke his wife, and told her he had dreamed that a boat with some boys had landed in a little cove a few miles from his house, and the poor boys were in a state of extreme exhaustion. His wife said it was but a dream, and advised him to go asleep; he did so, but again awoke, having had the same dream. He could rest no longer, but resolved to go down to the shore. His wife now began to think there was a Providence in it. The farmer dressed himself, went down to the cove, and there, true enough, to his horror and amazement, he found the boat with four boys in it; two were dead already, and the others so exhausted that they could not move. The farmer got some assistance, and had them conveyed to his own home, when he nourished the survivors until they were quite recovered. From them he learned that they had been carried out to sea, and, notwithstanding their utmost exertions, the contrary winds had prevented them returning, and they were drifted along the coast, until the boat grounded at the place where they were found. They had been out four days, without provisions of any kind, except some sugar-candy which one boy had in his pocket; this they shared amongst them while it had lasted; but two sank on the third day, and probably a few hours might have terminated the existence of the remaining two, had they not been providentially discovered by the farmer. As soon as they were in a condition to be removed they were taken to Dundee, about fifty miles from the place where they were found; and the grateful parents earnestly besought the generous farmer to accept a reward, but he magnanimously refused. The goldsmith, however, whose son was saved had a silver boat made, with the names of the parties and a Latin inscription engraved thereon recording the event. This was presented to the farmer, and is still in the possession of his descendants, and no doubt will be long preserved as an heir-loom in the family of the kind-hearted Scotchman.”

DORA. “I had no idea there were so many interesting stories concerning the shores of Scotland, and in my ignorance I should have travelled to the colder regions of Norway for information and amusement.

“Ay,” said Charles; “but we have said nothing of Denmark yet, and, to get into the Baltic Sea, we must sail for many miles along the shores of that curious country. It consists of the peninsula of Jutland, formerly called Cimbria, and several islands in the Baltic. The boundaries of Denmark are, the Skagerac Sea on the North; the kingdom of Hanover on the South; the Baltic, with part of Sweden, to the East, and the North Sea on the West. I here wish to know if the North Sea and the German Ocean are names used to designate all that portion of the ocean which lies to the east of the British Isles, for I have seen the different names placed in different maps to signify the same waters, and have been a little puzzled to ascertain their boundaries?”

“I am glad you have asked that question, Charles,” said Mr. Wilton; “because I now remember that for the convenience of our illustrations we made a division, but in reality the North Sea and the German Ocean are the same, and ought perhaps to have been mentioned thus–German Ocean _or_ North Sea.”

CHARLES. “Jutland, including Holstein, is about 280 miles long and 80 miles broad; the islands, of various dimensions, are Zealand, Funen, Langland, Laland, Falster, Mona, Femeren, Alsen, &c. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a large, rich, and well-fortified town, situated on the island of Zealand; the population about 100,000.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Near Copenhagen stands the little isle of Hawen, now belonging to Sweden, where Tycho Brahe took most of his astronomical observations. There are many academies and public schools in Denmark, which reflect great honor on the Danish government. There are fine woods and forests in Denmark; indeed the whole country may be regarded as a forest, which supplies England with masts and other large timber. It is for the most part a flat country.”

MR. WILTON. “The islands west of Jutland which you observe, viz.: Nordstrand, Fera, Sylt, Rom, Fanoe, and others, suffer greatly from the fury of the ocean. Towards the north of Jutland is an extensive creek of the sea, Lymfiord, which penetrates from the Cattegat, within two or three miles of the German Ocean; it is navigable, full of fish, and contains many islands.”

MRS. WILTON. “To get into the Baltic, we must go through the Sleeve or Skagerac; through the Cattegat, passing on our way the little isles of Hertzholm, Lassoe, Anholt, and Haselov; then, taking care to keep Kullen’s Lighthouse in view, enter the sound near Elsinore, sail on past Rugen Isle, and anchor at Carlscrona, in the Baltic.”

GEORGE. “The Baltic! the Baltic! I am so anxious to hear all about that sea. All _I_ know is that there are three very large gulfs connected with it, the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, and the Gulf of Riga.”

MR. WILTON. “The two latter wash the shores of a part of Russia, not generally much noticed in geographical works; I mean the two divisions of the Russian territories, known by the names of Revel and Livonia. The waters of the Gulf of Finland also extend to the greatest town in this country of ice and snow, St. Petersburgh, founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and seated on an island in the middle of the river Neva, near the bottom of the gulf, and which, from the singularity in its buildings, streets, people, and customs, is well worth a visit. The inconveniences caused by travelling in such an extreme climate doubtless prevent this part of Europe from being better known to other nations.”

GEORGE. “Is it so very, very cold, then, papa?”

MR. WILTON. “When our thermometer stands at 20 deg. we all exclaim, how bitterly cold! everything around is frozen hard, and unless we take violent exercise, and are well wrapped up, we feel extremely uncomfortable. Now in this part of Russia, the thermometer is often _below_ zero many degrees; and travellers, be they never so well clothed, are frequently found frozen in their carriages.”

GEORGE. “Their dresses are rather clumsy-looking garments, are they not, and principally made of fur?”

MRS. WILTON. “I have an amusing description of the preparation for a journey in the immediate neighborhood of the Gulf of Finland, which will satisfy your inquiring mind, and afford us all pleasing information. ‘On the evening of the 20th of February, all the juvenile portion of the family were consigned to rest at an earlier hour than usual; and by six o’clock the next morning, little eyes were wide awake, and little limbs in full motion, by the flickering candle’s light; in everybody’s way as long as they were not wanted, and nowhere to be found when they were. At length the little flock were all assembled; and having been well lined inside by a migratory kind of breakfast, the outer process began. This is conducted somewhat on the same principle as the building of a house, the foundation being filled with rather rubbishy materials, over which a firm structure is reared. First came a large cotton handkerchief, then a pelisse three years too short, then a faded comfortable of papa’s, and then an old cashmere of mamma’s, which latter was with difficulty forced under the vanishing arms, and tied firmly behind. Now each tiny hand was carefully sealed with as many pairs of gloves as could be gathered together for the occasion; one hand (for the nursemaids are not very particular) being not seldom more richly endowed in this respect than its fellow. The same process is applied to the little feet, which swell to misshapen stumps beneath an accumulation of under-socks and over-socks, under-shoes and over-shoes, and are finally swallowed up in huge worsted stockings, which embrace all the drawers, short petticoats, ends of handkerchiefs, comfortables, and shawls they can reach, and are generally gartered in some incomprehensible fashion round the waist. But mark! this is only the _foundation_. Now comes the thickly-wadded winter pelisse of silk or merino, with bands or ligatures, which instantly bury themselves in the depths of the surrounding hillocks, till within the case of clothes before you, which stands like a roll-pudding tied up ready for the boiler, no one would suspect the slender skipping sprite that your little finger can lift. Lastly, all this is enveloped in the little jaunty silk cloak, which fastens readily enough round the neck on ordinary occasions, but now refuses to meet by the breadth of a hand, and is made secure by a worsted boa of every bright color. Is this all? No,–wait,–I have forgotten the pretty clustering locked head and rosy dimpled face; and, in truth, they were so lost in the mountains of wool and wadding around as to be fairly overlooked. Here a handkerchief is bound round the forehead, and another down each cheek, just skirting the nose, and allowing a small triangular space for sight and respiration; talking had better not be attempted; while the head is roofed in by a wadded hat, a misshapen machine with soft crown and bangled peak, which cannot be hurt, and never looks in order, over which is suspended as many veils, green, white, and black, as mamma’s cast-off stores can furnish, through which the brightest little pair of eyes in the world faintly twinkle like stars through a mist. And now one touch upsets the whole mass, and a man servant coolly lifts it up in his arms like a bale of goods, and carries it off to the sledge.

“‘These are the preparations. Now for the journey.–It was a lovely morning as we started with our little monstrosities; ourselves in a commodious covered sledge, various satellites of the family in a second, followed up by rougher vehicles covered with bright worsted rugs, and driven by the different grades of servants, wherein sat the muffled and closely-draped lady’s maids and housemaids of the establishment; not to forget the seigneur himself, who, wrapped to the ears, sat in solitude, driving a high-mettled animal upon a sledge so small as to be entirely concealed by his person, so that, to all appearance, he seemed to be gliding away only attached to the horse by the reins in his well-guarded hands. The way led through noble woods of Scotch and Spruce fir, sometimes catching sight of a lofty mansion of stone, or passing a low thatched building of wood with numberless little sash windows, where some of the nobles still reside, and which are the remnants of more simple times. And now “the sun rose clear o’er trackless fields of snow,” and our solitary procession jingled merrily on, while, yielding to the lulling sounds of the bells, our little breathing bundles sank motionless and warm into our laps and retrieved in happy slumbers the early _escapades_ of the day. There is no such a warming-pan on a cold winter’s journey as a lovely soft child. After driving thirty wersts, we stopped at the half-way house of an acquaintance, for here the willing hospitality of some brother-noble is often substituted for the miserable road-side accommodations. This was one of the wooden houses so common in this part of Russia, and infinitely more pleasing within than without; divided with partitions like the tray of a work-box, fitted up with every accommodation on a small scale; a retreat which some unambitious pair might prefer to the palace we had quitted. After a few hours’ rest we started again with the same horses, which here perform journeys of sixty wersts in the day with the utmost ease; and when evening was far advanced, our little travellers pushed aside their many-colored veils, and peeped at the lamps with astonished eyes, as we clattered up the steep hill which led to our residence in the town of Reval.'”

EMMA. “Well, George, what think you of that? You are so partial to cold weather, and are so desirous to travel in a sledge, do not you think you would like to dwell in Russia, and go about always like a roll-pudding?”

GEORGE. “To travel in a sledge I should certainly like, but I would prefer my sledge in Lapland, where the beautiful reindeer, fleet as the wind, scamper over snow and ice, and convey you to your friends almost as expeditiously as a railroad; but the wrapping up would not suit me at all, for I like to have the free use of my limbs, more particularly in cold weather; and for these various reasons I do not wish to dwell in Russia, but should be delighted to visit it, and should not even object to remain there a season. How much is a werst, papa?”

MR. WILTON. “A Russian werst is nearly two thirds of an English mile.”

MR. BARRAUD. “There are people of almost every nation living in the government of Reval, the chief town of which is a port on the Gulf of Finland, of the same name. Within the last few years, the inhabitants of this place have been making a growing acquaintance with the Finlanders on the opposite shores, at a place called Helsingforst, which is only approachable between a number of rocky islands. The town of Helsingforst is clean and handsome, with good shops, containing cheap commodities, which are a source of great attraction to the Esthonians (or natives of Reval) and others who reside in Reval; consequently, in the fine weather, parties are made about once a fortnight for a trip to Helsingforst: these trips are both pleasurable and profitable. The voyage occupies six hours in a little steamboat; and, when landed, the voyagers procure every requisite at a magnificent hotel in the town for moderate charges. They then go shopping, buying umbrellas, India-rubber galoshes, and all descriptions of wearing apparel, which they contrive to smuggle over, notwithstanding the vigilance of the custom-house officers at Reval.”

GRANDY. “I have read that the fishermen on the shores of the Baltic are remarkably superstitious, and careful not to desecrate any of their saints’ days. They never use their nets between All Saints’ and St. Martin’s, as they would be certain not to take any fish throughout the year. On Ash Wednesday the women neither sew nor knit, for fear of bringing misfortune upon the cattle. They contrive so as not to use fire on St. Lawrence’s day: by taking this precaution, they think themselves secure against fire for the rest of the year. The Esthonians do not hunt on St. Mark’s or St. Catherine’s day, on penalty of being unsuccessful all the rest of the year. It is reckoned a good sign to sneeze on Christmas day. Most of them are so prejudiced against Friday, that they never settle any important business or conclude a bargain on this day; in some places they do not even dress their children. They object to visit on Thursdays, for it is a sign they will have troublesome guests all the week. Thus they are slaves to superstition, and must, consequently, be a complaining, unhappy people. Now Dora, my dear, proceed.”

DORA. “In the Baltic, north of the Gulf of Riga, lies the Isle of Dagen, belonging to Russia, and containing some fine estates of the Esthonian nobility. The dress of the female peasantry in this island is so remarkable that they deserve a passing notice. The head-dress is a circular plait of hair, braided with a red cloth roll, which fastens behind, and hangs down in long ends tipped with fringe. The dress is merely a linen shift, high to the throat, half-way down the leg, crimped from top to bottom, the linen being soaked in water with as much strong starch as it can hold, crimped with long laths of wood, and then put into the oven to dry, whence it issues stiff and hard as a board. The belt is the chief curiosity, being made of broad black leather, studded with massive brass heads, with a fringe of brass chains. High-heeled shoes and red stockings complete the attire, and altogether make a fanciful picture of a pretty maiden bandit.”

EMMA. “But such garments must surely be very cold?”

DORA. “The dress I have described is worn in the summer, for they have a warm season for a short period during the year; of course, when the cold sets in, they hide their faces and figures in furs, in the same fashion as their neighbors.”

GEORGE. “How very uncomfortable to be dressed so stiffly in warm weather; and then they can surely never sit in such garments, for to rumple them would spoil them, I suppose?”

MRS. WILTON. “It is _the fashion_ in Dagen, my dear; and there, as elsewhere, many inconveniences are submitted to, from an anxiety to vie with other folks in the style of dress, and from a fear of being considered _old-fashioned_. I am sure _we_ English must not find fault with the dress of other countries, for some of _our_ fashions are truly ridiculous.”

“Yes, mamma,” said Emma; “but they do not strike us as being ridiculous, because we are accustomed to them; and this must be the case with other nations: they are used to their peculiar dresses, and have no idea of the astonishment of strangers when viewing the novel attire, which to the wearers possesses nothing remarkable to astonish or attract.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Near Dagen the navigation of the Baltic is very dangerous; and many years ago the island was principally occupied by men who wickedly subsisted on the misfortunes of others. A slight sketch of one will sufficiently inform you of the general character of these men. ‘Baron Ungern Sternberg, whose house was situated on a high part of the island, became notorious for his long course of iniquity. He lived in undisputed authority, never missing an opportunity of displaying his false lights to mislead the poor mariners. No notice was taken of these cruel practices for some time, for Sternberg was powerful in wealth and influence; until the disappearance of a ship’s captain, who was found dead in his room, the existence of an immense quantity of goods under his house, and other concurring circumstances, led to his apprehension. He was tried, condemned to Siberia, and his name struck off the roll of the nobility. His family, however, stands as high now as it ever did; for his descendants were not disgraced; and they still possess all the daring, courage, enterprise, and sparkling wit of their pirate ancestor, although it is but just to say they have not inherited his crimes. The sensation caused by the dread of this man reached even to the shores of England, and the streets of London were placarded, “Beware of Ungern Sternberg, the Sea Robber!” as a warning to sailors. This of course was before his seizure, for when he was taken his accomplices could not longer continue their vile occupation.'”

CHARLES. “I am anxious to know if it is from the shores of the Baltic the Turks procure the golden-colored amber of which they make the mouth-pieces for their pipes?”

MR. WILTON. “Yes, Charles; the amber-gathering is carried on extensively there, and is the wealth of half the inhabitants. The amber is sent to Turkey and Greece, and there manufactured into those splendid mouth-pieces, which it is the pride of these smoke-loving people to possess. Some of these are excessively gorgeous and proportionably valuable. I have heard of _one_ being worth the enormous sum of 100_l_!”

GEORGE. “Parts of Sweden are entirely separated by the Gulf of Bothnia. What sort of ships have they, papa, to cross the water in that cold country?”

MR. WILTON. “They do not often cross the water in ships, but transact nearly all their business with the opposite shores, during the four months when the waters of this sea, which has no tides, is firmly frozen, and when they can travel across in sledges, comfortably defended from the inclemency of the weather. The Baltic being full of low coasts and shoals, galleys of a flat construction are found more serviceable than ships of war, and great attention is paid to their equipment by Sweden as well as Russia. We have neglected to mention the Islands of the Baltic. There is the isle of Oesal, remarkable for its quarries of beautiful marble; its inhabitants like those of Dagen Isle, are chiefly Esthonians: Gothland and Oeland are both fertile and productive. In the Gulf of Bothnia are the Aland Isles, which derive their names from the largest, forty miles in length and fifteen in breadth, containing about 9000 inhabitants, who speak the Swedish language. These isles form almost a barrier of real granite rocks stretching to the opposite shores. In the Gulf of Finland lies the Isle of Cronstadt, formerly called Retusavi; it has an excellent haven, strongly fortified, which is the chief station of the Russian fleet.”

CHARLES. “Is not the chief fleet of Russia that of the Baltic?”

MR. WILTON. “Yes; it consists of about thirty-six ships of the line; but the maritime power of Russia is trifling.”

MRS. WILTON. “As in leaving the Baltic we quit the shores of Sweden, we shall have no other opportunity to view Stockholm, the capital. It occupies a singular situation between a creek or inlet of the Baltic Sea and the Lake Maeler. It stands on seven small rocky islands, and the scenery is truly singular and romantic. This city was founded by Earl Birger, regent of the kingdom, about the middle of the thirteenth century; and in the seventeenth century the royal residence was transferred hither from Upsal. Sweden was formerly under the Danish yoke, but Gustavus Yasa delivered it when he introduced the reformed religion in 1527. His reign of thirty-seven years was great and glorious in the annals of Sweden. We will now proceed on our course: shall we go still further north, into the White Sea, or are you tired of the cold, and prefer journeying to the south, and embarking on the Black Sea?”

CHARLES. “Oh! the White Sea first, for the distance is much less, and we shall sooner get there; but it must be an overland journey.”

MR. WILTON. “Yes; for the Bielse More, or White Sea, is reckoned, with the Mediterranean and the Baltic, as one of Europe’s principal inland seas. The largest gulfs connected with this sea are the Gulf of Archangel and the Gulf of Candalax; the waters of the latter wash the shores of Lapland, and are filled with numerous small islands. Archangel is a port on the White Sea; and here the Russians build most of their men-of-war: before the reign of Peter the Great, it was the only port from which Russia communicated with other countries of Europe.”

MRS. WILTON. “With a few remarks on Lapland, we will quit this part of our quarter of the globe. Lapland can boast of but few towns. The people lead wandering lives, and reside greater part of the year in huts buried in the snow; occasionally they have warm weather, that is, for the space of three or four weeks in the year, when the sun has immense power; so that a clergyman residing at Enontekis informed Dr. Clarke that he was able to light his pipe at midnight with a common burning-glass, and that from his church the sun was visible above the horizon at midnight during the few weeks of summer. But the delights of this long day scarcely compensate for the almost uninterrupted night which overshadows them with its dark mantle for the remainder of the year; one continual winter, when scarcely for three hours during the day can the inhabitants dispense with the use of candles. The climate, although so extremely frigid, is nevertheless wholesome, and the people are a hardy race. In Lapland the Aurora Borealis is seen to perfection; the appearance it exhibits at times is beyond description magnificent: it serves to illuminate their dark skies in the long night of winter; and, although they cannot benefit by it so continually as the inhabitants of Greenland and Iceland, yet they never behold the arch of the glorious Northern Lights spread abroad in the starry heavens but they bless God for the phenomenon which they cannot comprehend, but know full well how to appreciate. Here in this wintry region George might enjoy himself agreeably to his wishes, for the Laplanders travel in sledges drawn by the swift reindeer; but I fear he would find it difficult to keep his seat, as the sledge is but of narrow dimensions and easily upset, while the animal requires a great deal of management to guide him properly. What think you, George? Would you not be like Frank Berkeley or Paul Preston, who fancied it must be so easy and delightful to ride in a pulk or sledge, and found instead, that, from inexperience, their journey was one continued chapter of accidents?”

GEORGE. “I dare say I should fare as badly at first, but I would not be discouraged by _one_ failure.”

MR. WILTON. “That is right, my boy! Perseverance and determination are an extra pair of legs to a traveller in his journey through life.”

CHARLES. “There appears to be no islands in the White Sea.”

MRS. WILTON. “There are islands, but they are mostly barren uninhabited rocks. Archangel, a port on this sea, is famous for the manufacture of linen sheeting. Now quit we these dreary regions for the bright and enlivening southern climes; and, if all parties are agreeable, we will cast our anchor where we may behold the heights of Caucasus, and picture to ourselves the situation of still more interesting elevations; viz. Ararat, Lebanon, and Hermon; mountains mentioned in the Sacred Writings, and certainly great points of attraction to Christian travellers in Asiatic Turkey.”

CHARLES. “There are several gulfs; but I do not know of any islands, in the Black Sea. There is a peninsula attached to Russia, which contains the towns of Kafa, Aknetchet, Sevastopol, and Eupatoria: it lies between the Sea of Asof and the Gulf of Perecop. The principal gulfs are the Gulf of Baba, the Gulf of Samson, the Gulf of Varna, and the Gulf of Foros.”

MR. BARRAUD. “The peninsula you mention, Charles, is the Crimea, which possesses a most delicious climate, although lying contiguous to the Putrid Sea, which bounds it on the north. There is an island in the Euxine,–the Island Leuce, or Isle of Achilles, also called the Isle of Serpents. It is asserted by the ancients to have been presented to Achilles by his mother Thetis. In the Gulf of Perecop there is also another island, called Taman, which contains springs of naphtha.”

MR. WILTON. “The principal port on the Black Sea is Odessa. It ranks next in Russia after the two capitals of the empire, but is not a desirable residence, being subject to hurricanes and other evils, of which _dust_ is undoubtedly the greatest. A learned French writer[6] says: ‘Dust here is a real calamity, a fiend-like persecutor that allows you not a moment’s rest. It spreads out in seas and billows that rise with the least breath of wind, and envelop you with increasing fury, until you are stifled and blinded, and incapable of a single movement.’ The same writer describes a curious phenomenon he witnessed in Odessa: ‘After a very hot day in 1840, the air gradually darkened about four in the afternoon, until it was impossible to see twenty paces before one. The oppressive feel of the atmosphere, the dead calm, and the portentous color of the sky, filled every one with deep consternation, and seemed to betoken some fearful catastrophe. The thermometer attained the height of 104 deg. Fahrenheit. The obscurity was then complete. Presently the most furious tempest imagination can conceive burst forth; and when the darkness cleared off, there was seen over the sea what looked like a waterspout of prodigious depth and breadth, suspended at a height of several feet above the water, and moving slowly away until it dispersed at last at a distance of many miles from the shore. The eclipse and the waterspout were nothing else than _dust_; and that day Odessa was swept cleaner than it will probably ever be again.'”

[Footnote 6: Xavier Hommaire de Hell.]

MRS. WILTON. “Such a description is quite sufficient to drive the weary traveller to seek shelter; and I think we have had enough of other places for to-night. Let us take our own at the supper-table, and refresh ourselves after the voyage, for we have reason to congratulate each other on the success of our plan; hitherto, there has been no halting for lack of a finger-post, and I hope we shall be as well prepared at future meetings, and be enabled to accomplish as much as we have this evening.”

GRANDY. “I have been silent for the last hour, principally because I do not feel very well this evening; but I cannot refrain from speaking a word or two before we disperse. A good and wise man says–

‘Full often, too,
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn Of nature, overlooks her Author more.’

My dear children, let not this be said of you; but look upward to the Source of light and life, and pray that all knowledge may lead you on to seek Him who is the author and giver of all good things; then will wisdom, heavenly wisdom, illumine your minds; then will peace, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, fill your hearts, and

‘Reveal truths undiscerned but by that holy light.'”


O’er the stormy, wide, and billowy deep, Where the whale, the shark, and the sword-fish sleep; And amidst the plashing and feathery foam, Where the stormy-petrel finds a home.

“George is to open this meeting, by reciting some lines written by Mrs. Howitt, which are very clever, and will most appropriately introduce our subject.” So saying, Mrs. Wilton proceeded to arrange the members in their various places; and, seating herself, she turned to her son, who by virtue of his office was allowed to remain near Grandy’s chair until the great work was accomplished. George was hesitating, but an encouraging smile from this kind mother inspired him with confidence, and he commenced without further ceremony:–

[Illustration: ICEBERGS]

“‘The earth is large,’ said one of twain; ‘The earth is large and wide;
But it is filled with misery
And death on every side!’
Said the other, ‘Deep as it is wide Is the sea within all climes,
And it is fuller of misery
And of death, a thousand times!
The land has peaceful flocks and herds, And sweet birds singing round;
But a myriad monstrous, hideous things Within the sea are found–
Things all misshapen, slimy, cold, Writhing, and strong, and thin,
And waterspouts, and whirlpools wild, That draw the fair ship in.
I’ve heard of the diver to the depths Of the ocean forced to go,
To bring up the pearl and the twisted shell From the fathomless caves below;
I’ve heard of the things in those dismal gulfs, Like fiends that hemm’d him round–
I would not lead a diver’s life
For every pearl that’s found.
And I’ve heard how the sea-snake, huge and dark, In the arctic flood doth roll;
He hath coil’d his tail, like a cable strong, All round and round the pole:
And they say, when he stirs in the sea below, The ice-rocks split asunder–
The mountains huge of the ribbed ice– With a deafening crack like thunder.
There’s many an isle man wots not of, Where the air is heavy with groans;
And the bottom o’ th’ sea, the wisest say, Is covered with dead men’s bones.
I’ll tell thee what: there’s many a ship In the wild North Ocean frore,
That has lain in the ice a thousand years, And will lie a thousand more;
And the men–each one is frozen there In the place where he did stand;
The oar he pull’d, the rope he threw, Is frozen in his hand.
The sun shines there, but it warms them not; Their bodies are wintry cold:
They are wrapp’d in ice that grows and grows, Solid, and white, and old!
And there’s many a haunted desert rock, Where seldom ship doth go–
Where unburied men, with fleshless limbs, Are moving to and fro:
They people the cliffs, they people the caves,– A ghastly company!–
never sail’d there in a ship myself, But I know that such there be.
And oh! the hot and horrid track
Of the Ocean of the Line!
There are millions of the negro men Under that burning brine.
The ocean sea doth moan and moan,
Like an uneasy sprite;
And the waves are white with a fiendish fire That burneth all the night.
‘Tis a frightful thing to sail along, Though a pleasant wind may blow,
When we think what a host of misery Lies down in the sea below!
Didst ever hear of a little boat,
And in her there were three;
They had nothing to eat, and nothing to drink, Adrift on the desert sea.
For seven days they bore their pain; Then two men on the other
Did fix their longing, hungry eyes,– And that one was their brother!
And him they killed, and ate, and drank– Oh me! ’twas a horrid thing!
For the dead should lie in a churchyard green, Where the pleasant flowers do spring.
And think’st thou but for mortal sin Such frightful things would be?
In the land of the New Jerusalem
There will be no more sea!'”

MR. WILTON. “Well done! George; very nicely repeated indeed: you are a most promising member of our little society; and we will drink your health in some of Grandy’s elder-wine to-night at supper, and not forget the honors to be added thereto. Now, is it determined how we are to proceed; whether we take the seas of Asia, or enter on the broad waves of the various oceans which wash many of the shores of Europe?”

CHARLES. “The seas first, sir. I have the list of those for consideration belonging to this most interesting division of the globe: the Caspian, between Turkey, Persia, and Tartary; the Whang-hai, or Yellow Sea, in China; the Sea of Japan; the Sea of Ochotsh or Lama; the Chinese Sea; the Bay of Bengal; the Persian Gulf; and the Arabian Gulf or Red Sea: these are the largest; but there are numbers of small seas, some of them so entirely inland that they should more properly be called lakes; of these, the largest is the Sea of Aral. The bays and gulfs around Asia are so numerous that you would be tired of hearing their names. North, are the Bays of Carskoe and Obskaia: south, Tonquin, Siam, Cambay, and Cutch; east, Macao and Petchelee; west, Balkan, Kindelnisk, and Krasnai Vodi; the latter in the Caspian.”

GEORGE. “Are those all, Charles? why, from your preface, I thought you would be at least ten minutes enumerating the Bays of Asia.”

CHARLES. “Were I to name _all_, I could do it in less time than ten minutes; but I should incur too great a liability for my trouble, as I should be expected to describe the situations of all, and that would be beyond my capability.”

DORA. “The Caspian falls to my share: it is usually called by the Persians, ‘Derrieh Hustakhan’ (Sea of Astrachan). It is likewise called the ‘Derrieh Khizzar.’ The absence of all shipping, save now and then a solitary Russian craft; the scarcity of sea-weed, and the want of the refreshing salt scent of the ocean, together with the general appearance of the coast, suggest the idea of an immense lake. Numbers of that large fish called ‘sturgeon’ are taken from the waters of the Caspian; and there is quite a colony of fishermen engaged in this occupation on the Persian coast; and during the season they catch thousands of these useful fish. No part of a sturgeon is wasted: the roe is taken out, salted, and stowed away in casks; this is known by the name of ‘caviare,’ and is esteemed a great luxury. From the sound or air-bladder isinglass is made, simply by being hung in the sun for a time; and the fish itself is dried, and exported to various parts of the world. Astracan is the chief seat of Caspian commerce.”

MR. WILTON. “And here the traveller finds collected into a focus all the picturesque items that have struck him elsewhere. Alongside of a Tartar dwelling stretches a great building blackened by time, and by its architecture and carvings carrying you back to the middle ages. A European shop displays its fashionable haberdashery opposite a caravanserai; the magnificent cathedral overshadows a pretty mosque with its fountain; a Moorish balcony contains a group of young European ladies, who set you thinking of Paris; whilst a graceful white shadow glides mysteriously under the gallery of an old palace. All contrasts are here met together; and so it happens, that in passing from one quarter to another you think you have made but a short promenade, and you have picked up a stock of observation and reminiscences belonging to all times and places. The Russians ought to be proud of this town; for, unlike others in this country, it is not of yesterday’s formation, and is the only place throughout the empire where the traveller is not plagued with the cold monotonous regularity which meets him at every other city in Russia. The Caspian Sea covers an extent of 120,000 square miles, and is the largest salt lake known.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Near a place called Semnoon, not many miles from Asterabad, there formerly stood a city of Guebres, named Dzedjin, with which a droll legend is connected:–

“‘When Semnoon was built, the water with which it was supplied flowed from the city of the Guebres, who one day turned the stream, and cut off the supplies. Sin and Lam (two prophets), seeing the town about to perish for want of water, repaired to Dzedjin, and entreated the chiefs of that place to allow the stream to return to its old channel. This they at first refused, but finally made an agreement, that on the payment of a sum equal to a thousand tomauns, or 500_l_., the water should be allowed to flow into the city as long as life remained in the head of a fly, which was to be cut off and thrown into a basin of water. This was done; but, to the great astonishment of the Guebres, the head retained life during thirteen days, which so exasperated them against Sin and Lam, whom they perceived to be men of God that they sent an armed party to Semnoon to make them prisoners.

“‘Meanwhile Sin and Lam had received intelligence of their designs, and fled. The first village they halted at was called Shadderron, where, having rested awhile, they continued their flight, strictly enjoining the inhabitants not to tell their pursuers the direction which they had taken. Shortly afterwards the Guebres arrived, and inquired where they had gone. The villagers did not mention the direction in words, but treacherously indicated it by turning their heads over their right shoulders, in which position they became immovably fixed; and since then all their descendants have been born with a twist in the neck towards the right shoulder.'”

Here the boys had some difficulty in repressing their laughter; for Charles placed his head in the position of the faithless Shadderrons, and looked so mischievously at George, that he was obliged to cover his eyes, or he would have stopped the story by a boisterous shout of merriment.

MR. BARRAUD continued: “‘The fugitives next arrived at a place called Giorvenon, on quitting which they left the same injunctions as before. On the arrival of the pursuers, however, the people pointed out the direction of their flight by stretching their chins straightforward. An awful peal of thunder marked the divine displeasure; and the inhabitants of Giorvenon now found themselves unable to bring their heads back to their proper position; and the curse likewise descended to their posterity, who have since been remarkable for long projecting chins. After a long chase, the Guebres overtook the prophets at the foot of a steep hill, up which they galloped into a small plain, where, to the astonishment and disappointment of their pursuers, the earth opened and closed over them. It was now evening; and the Guebres, placing a small heap of stones over the spot where Sin and Lam had disappeared, retired for the night. Early the next morning the Guebres repaired thither with the intention of digging out the prophets; but, to their confusion, they found the whole plain covered with similar heaps of stones, so that all their endeavors to find the original pile were completely baffled, and they returned to Dzedjin disappointed. There is now a small mosque, said to cover the exact spot where Sin and Lam sank into the ground, which is called Seracheh, to which people resort to pray, and make vows; and close by is an almost perpendicular rock, whence (the inhabitants aver) may be seen the marks of the feet of the horses ridden by the Guebres!'”

This story amused the children much, and they would gladly have listened to Mr. Barraud while he related some other extraordinary tradition, but his reply to their request silenced these wishes.

“Every place,” said he, “throughout this wild country has a legend: were I to tell you _all_, there would be no time for business. I merely selected this because it is concerning a town situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and gives you a tolerable idea of the superstition of its inhabitants.”

MR. WILTON. “The Caspian extends about 700 miles in length, and 200 in breadth. The northern shores of this sea are low and swampy, often overgrown with reeds; but in many other parts the coasts are precipitous, with such deep water that a line of 450 fathoms will not reach the bottom. The best haven in the Caspian is that of Baku; that of Derbent is rocky, and that of Sensili not commodious, though one of the chief ports of trade.”

DORA. “The Whang-hai, or Yellow Sea, on the coast of China, contains several islands,–Tebu-sou, Lowang, Tsougming, Vun-taichan, Fouma, and Stanton’s Island. By the Straits of Corea we can enter the Sea of Japan, sail along by the great Japan Islands, the principal of which are Niphon, Kinsin, and Sikokf, and, passing the Jesso Isles, go through the Channel of Tartary, and enter the Sea of Ochotsk or Lama.”

MRS. WILTON. “A very good route, Dora, but rather too expeditious to be advantageous. These islands and seas are connected with many interesting facts. And why pass the Island of Sagalien without a glance? I am sure, could you have seen one of the people, your attention would have been sufficiently arrested to stay your rapid flight o’er land and sea. The Sagaliens are similar in many respects to the Tartar tribes. Their dress is a loose robe of skins, or quilted nankeen, with a girdle. They tattoo their upper lip blue. Their huts or cabins of timber are thatched with grass, with a fire-place in the centre. The native name of this large island is Tehoka.

“Between Japan and Mantchooria is the great peninsula of Corea, remarkable for the coldness of its climate, although in the latitude of Italy. We are told that in the northern parts snow falls in so large quantities as to render it necessary to dig passages under it in order to go from one house to another. It is supposed that the surface of this country being so extremely mountainous is the cause of this curious climate. There are numbers of ponies here not more than three feet high!”

GEORGE. “Oh what sweet creatures! how very much I would like to have one; actually not larger than a dog: how very pretty they must be.”

EMMA. “Around the three great islands of Japan, I observe countless numbers of little ones,–are they in any way connected with Japan?”

MR. WILTON. “Yes, my dear; they all belong to the kingdom of Japan.”

EMMA. “And what sort of people are the Japanese?”

MR. WILTON. “Very similar in appearance to their neighbors, the Chinese, with a yellow complexion and small oblique eyes: there is this difference, however; their hair is thick and bushy, while the hair of the Chinese is cultivated in a long tail. A Japanese is certainly rather ludicrous, in both manners and appearance. His head half-shaved; the hair which is left accumulated on the crown of his head; his body wrapped (when travelling) in an enormous covering of oiled paper, and a large fan in his hand, he presents an extraordinary figure. These people are very particular concerning points of etiquette, and have many books written on the proper mode of taking a draught of water, how to give and receive presents, and all the other minutiae of behavior.”

GRANDY. “The Japanese have curious notions with regard to the life eternal. They believe that the souls of the virtuous have a place assigned to them immediately under heaven, while those of the wicked wander in the air until they expiate their offences.”

CHARLES. “I am very glad _that_ is not my creed, for I should not at all enjoy life with the continual idea of wicked spirits hovering in the air around me. They might as reasonably believe in ghosts.”

MRS. WILTON. “In the Indian and China Seas, and in many other parts of the great tropical belt, the periodical winds called ‘monsoons’ are found. The south-west monsoon prevails from April to October, between the equator and the tropic of Cancer: and it reaches from the east coast of Africa to the coasts of India, China, and the Philippine Islands. Its influence extends sometimes into the Pacific Ocean, as far as the Marcian Isles, or to longitude about 145 east; and it reaches as far north as the Japan Islands. The north-east monsoon prevails from October to May, throughout nearly the same space, that the south-west monsoon prevails in during the former season. But the monsoons are subject to great obstructions by land; and in contracted places, such as Malacca Straits, they are changed into variable winds. Their limits are not everywhere the same; nor do they always shift exactly at the same period, but they are generally calculated upon about the times I have mentioned.”

EMMA. “Mamma, are not trade-winds something like monsoons?”

MRS. WILTON. “So far similar that they are confined to a certain region, and are tolerably regular in their operations. The trade-winds blow, more or less, from the eastern half of the compass to the western. Their chief region lies between the tropics from 23-1/2 north to 23-1/2 south latitude, although in some parts of the world they extend farther; but it is only in the open parts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that the true trade-winds blow. These winds shift many degrees of latitude in the course of the year; but skilful navigators usually know where to catch them, and make them serviceable in helping to blow their richly laden vessels ‘o’er the glad waters of the bright blue sea.'”

GEORGE. “Do you know the cause of these regular winds, papa? You say learned men try to discover _why_ such things are so, and generally find out _causes_ from their effects.”

MR. WILTON. “Exactly so, my boy; and learned _women_ do the same: as an instance, I will quote the learned Mrs. Somerville on this very subject, and give you an excellent reply to your question.

“‘The heat of the sun occasions the trade-winds, by rarefying the air at the equator, which causes the cooler and more dense part of the atmosphere to rush along the surface of the earth to the equator, while that which is heated is carried along the higher strata to the poles, forming two currents in the direction of the meridian. But the rotatory velocity of the air corresponding to its geographical situation, decreases towards the poles; in approaching the equator it must therefore revolve more slowly than the corresponding parts of the earth, and the bodies of the surface of the earth must strike against it with the excess of their velocity, and by its reaction they will meet with a resistance contrary to their motion of rotation; so that the wind will appear, to a person supposing himself to be at rest, to blow in a contrary direction to the earth’s rotation, or from east to west, which is the direction of the trade-winds.'”

GEORGE. “May I read that to-morrow, papa? I do not quite understand it; and if you have the book, I could read it over and over until I found out the meaning.”

MR. WILTON. “You will find it in Mrs. Somerville’s ‘Mechanism of the Heavens.’ If you come to my study to-morrow morning before I leave home, I will assist you in the solution of the difficulties.”

MR. BARRAUD. “In an account of Cabul I have read a fine description of the commencement of a monsoon:–‘The approach is announced by vast masses of clouds that rise from the Indian Ocean, advancing towards the north-east, gathering and thickening as they approach the land. After some threatening days, the sky assumes a troubled appearance in the evening, and the monsoon sets in generally during the night. It is attended by such a violent thunder-storm as can scarcely be imagined by those who have only witnessed the phenomenon in a temperate climate. It generally begins with violent blasts of wind, which are succeeded by floods of rain. For some hours lightning is seen without intermission: sometimes it only illuminates the sky, and shows the clouds near the horizon; at others, it discovers the distant hills, and again leaves all in darkness; when, in an instant, it reappears in vivid and successive flashes, and exhibits the nearest objects in all the brightness of day. During all this time the distant thunder never ceases to roll, and is only silenced by some nearer peal, which bursts on the ear with such a sudden and tremendous crash, as can scarcely fail to strike the most insensible heart with awe. At length the thunder ceases, and nothing is heard but the continued pouring of the rain and the rushing of the rising streams.'”

CHARLES. “I would much rather live in our temperate climate than between the tropics; for everything connected with the elements is so outrageously violent, that I should be continually in a state of alarm, and in constant dread of a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or some such awful visitation.'”

GRANDY. “Why should you fear, my dear boy? Who, or what, can harm you if you follow that which is good? Is not the arm of the Lord mighty to save? and is it not stretched forth all the day long to defend his own children? Has he not promised to be a stronghold whereunto the faithful may always resort, and to be a house of defence for his people? Cast thy fear from thee, Charles; rely on God’s gracious promises, and pray for faith to believe in his omnipotence.”

DORA. “The Sea of Ochotsk. This sea is nearly land-locked, being in this respect, as well as in size and general situation, not unlike Hudson’s Bay. The waters are shallow, not exceeding (about fifty miles from land) fifty fathoms, and rarely giving, even in the centre, above four times the depth just mentioned. There are three gulfs belonging to this sea, the Gulf of Penjinsk, the Gulf of Gijiginsk, and the Gulf of Tanish; but not many islands of consideration.”

MR. WILTON. “Although Asia cannot vie with Europe in the advantages of inland seas, yet, in addition to a share of the Mediterranean, it possesses the Red Sea and Gulf of Persia, the Bays of Bengal and Nankin, and other gulfs already mentioned, which diversify the coasts much more than those of either Africa or America, and have doubtless contributed greatly to the early civilization of this celebrated division of the globe. I wish each of you young folks to describe the following seas as I mention their names. Dora, tell me all you have learnt respecting the Red Sea.”

DORA. “The Red Sea, or Arabian Gulf of antiquity, constitutes the grand natural division between Asia and Africa; but its advantages have been chiefly felt by the latter, which is entirely destitute of inland seas. Egypt and Abyssinia, two of the most civilized countries in that division, have derived great benefits from that celebrated sea, which, from the Straits of Babelmandel to Suez, extends about 21 deg., or 1470 British miles, terminating not in two equal branches, as delineated in old maps, but in an extensive western branch; while the eastern ascends little beyond the parallel of Mount Sinai.”

GRANDY. “The Gulf of Suez was the scene of the most stupendous miracle recorded in Exodus–the Passage of the Israelites,–when God clave in sunder the waters of the sea, and caused them to rise perpendicularly, so as to form a wall unto the Israelites, on their right hand, and on their left. This is not to be read _figuratively_, but _literally_; for in Exodus xv. 8, it is said they ‘_stood as an heap_,’ and were ‘_congealed_,’ or suspended, as though turned into ice:–‘And with the blast of thy nostrils, the waters were gathered together: the floods stood _upright as an heap_; the _depths_ were _congealed_ in the heart of the sea.'”

MR. WILTON. “Emma, I call upon _you_ for the account of the Persian Gulf; but you seem so intent on the book before you, that I feel a little curious to know the subject of your meditations.”

EMMA. “You shall hear, papa, although perhaps you may laugh at me afterwards. I was thinking that it seemed rather absurd for people who are constantly voyaging to the East Indies to go such an immense way round Africa, when by cutting a passage through the Isthmus of Suez they could arrive at the desired haven in half the time. What is the width of the isthmus, papa? Would such a thing be practicable, or am I very foolish?”

MR. WILTON. “Not at all, my dear, as I will readily prove. The width is about seventy-five miles; and there _has_ been a communication between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Strabo, the historian, asserts that a canal was built by Sesostris, king of Egypt; and in February, 1799, Napoleon, then General of the French Republic, accompanied by some gentlemen skilled in such matters, proceeded from Cairo to Suez with the view of discovering the vestiges of this ancient canal. They were successful: they found traces of it for several leagues, together with portions of the old great wall of Sesostris, which guarded the eastern frontiers of Egypt, and protected the canal from the sands of the desert. It was a short time since in contemplation to renew this communication by the same means as those used by Sesostris; viz., by forming a canal for the advantage of commerce, &c.; which advantage is well explained by Mr. Edward Clarkson, in an article on Steam Navigation, thus: ‘The distance from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea by the Suez navigable canal would be from eighty to ninety miles. The time consumed by a steamboat in this transit might be averaged at five hours. What is the time now consumed in the transit through Egypt by the voyager from England to Bombay? and what is the nature of the transit? Passengers, packages, and letters, after being landed at Alexandria, are now conveyed by the Mahmoudie Canal forty miles to Atfeh, on the Nile. This consumes twelve hours, and is performed by a track-boat, attended by numerous inconveniences. The passengers, goods, and letters are landed at Atfeh; they are there reshipped, and carried by steamboat from Atfeh up the Nile to Boulac, a distance of 120 miles. This water transit consumes eighteen hours. At Boulac, which is the port of Cairo, the passengers, goods, and letters are again unshipped, and have a land transit of two miles before they arrive at Cairo. At that capital a stoppage of twelve hours, which is considered indispensable to travellers, occurs. A fourth transit then takes place to Suez from Cairo, across the Desert. This is performed by vans with two and four horses, donkey-chairs (two donkeys carrying a species of litter between them for ladies and children,) and is often attended, owing to the scarcity of good horses, with great inconveniences. The distance of this land transit is eighty-four miles, and consumes thirty-six hours. The whole distance by the present line is thus 246 miles; by the projected line it is 80: the transit by the present line consumes _four days_; the transit by the proposed line would not consume more than _five