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  • 1852
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“‘Instead of a land, and river, and desert transit, with all the obstructions and inconveniences of track-boats, native steamers, donkey-chairs, and vans, shipping and unshipping, there will be no _land transit_, and the whole passage may be made by sea from London to Bombay without stoppage. Instead of four days being consumed in the Egyptian transit, five hours will only be requisite. Moreover, the 2_l_. 12s. expense caused by the present transit in Egypt, and charged to each person, will in future be saved by every passenger.'”

MR. BARRAUD. “I propose a vote of thanks to Emma for introducing the subject, as by so doing we have gained a great deal of information.”

MR. WILTON. “There you see, Emma, you are not laughed at, but we all thank you, for revealing your thoughts. Now to the Persian Gulf, if you have any particulars.”

EMMA. “The Persian Gulf is another noted inland sea, about half the length of the Red Sea, and is the grand receptacle of those celebrated rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris. The small bays within this gulf are Katiff Bay, Assilla Bay, Erzoog Bay. There are various islands and large pearl banks here; and on the Euphrates, not many miles from these shores, stands Chaldaea. The inhabitants are the Beni Khaled Arabs, descendants of the founders of the ‘Great Babylon.'”

GEORGE. “Oh, papa, I have a discovery: here is an island nobody has noticed–its name is Dahalac.”

MRS. WILTON. “That was certainly an omission, for Dahalac is a large island, sixty miles in circumference. It contains goats which have long silky hair, and furnishes gum-lac, the produce of a particular kind of shrub. To this island vessels repair for fresh water, which, however, is very bad, being kept in 370 dirty cisterns!”

MR. BARRAUD. “This district is especially interesting to Christians, for here are situated the mounts celebrated in Scripture. In the centre of Armenia you may observe Mount Ararat, a detached elevation with two summits; the highest covered with perpetual snow. On this mountain rested the Ark, when God sent his vengeance over all the earth, and destroyed every living thing. Mount Lebanon is in Syria; and not far distant stands Mount Sinai, an enormous mass of granite rocks, with a Greek convent at its base, called the convent of St. Catharine: here was the law delivered to Moses, inscribed on two tables of stone by the Most High God.”

MR. WILTON. “The whole coast of Oman, in South Arabia, which on the north is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf, and on the south by the Sea of Oman, abounds with fish; and, as the natives have but few canoes, they generally substitute a single inflated skin, or sometimes two, across which they place a flat board. On this contrivance the fisherman seats himself, and either casts his small hand-net, or plays his hook and line. Some capital sport must arise occasionally, when the sharks, which are here very numerous and large, gorge the bait; for, whenever this occurs, unless the angler cuts his line, (and that, as the shark is more valued by them than any other fish, he is often unwilling to do,) nothing can prevent his rude machine from following their track; and the fisherman is sometimes, in consequence, carried out a great distance to sea. It requires considerable dexterity to secure these monsters; for when they are hauled up near to the skins, they struggle a good deal, and if they happen to jerk the fisherman from his seat, the infuriate monster dashes at once at him. Many accidents arise in this manner; but if they succeed in getting him quickly alongside, they soon despatch him by a few blows on the snout.”[7]

[Footnote 7: Vide Lieutenant Wellsted’s Travels in Arabia.]

MRS. WILTON. “There are many little circumstances of interest connected with the Persian Gulf. In several parts fresh springs rise in the middle of the salt water, particularly near the Islands of Baharein. The whole shore of this gulf is lined with islands; and _on_ its shores are several independent Arabs, who almost all live in the same manner. They subsist by maritime trade, and by the peril and other fisheries. Their food consists of dates, fish, and dhoura bread. Their arms are muskets, with matchlocks, sabres, and bucklers. These tribes, among whom the Houles are the most powerful, all speak the Arabic language, and are enemies to the Persians, with whom they form no alliances. Their houses are so wretched, that an enemy would think it lost labor to destroy them. As they generally have but little to lose on land, if a Persian army approaches, all the inhabitants of the towns and villages go on board their little vessels, and take refuge in some island in the Persian Gulf until the enemy retires.”

EMMA. “Where are the Baharein Isles, mamma?”

MRS. WILTON. “Near the Arabian shore. They are remarkable for the pearl fishery, which is carried on in their neighborhood during the months of June, July, and August; a fishery which, in the sixteenth century, was estimated at 500,000 ducats.[8] The name Baharein signifies two seas.”

[Footnote 8: A ducat is of the value of nine shillings and threepence sterling.]

MR. WILTON. “Well, Charles; what can you tell us about the little Sea of Aral?”

CHARLES. “Not much I am afraid, sir. The Sea of Aral, or Eagles, is situated about 100 miles east of the Caspian, and is nearly 200 miles in length and 70 in breadth; it is surrounded with sandy deserts, and has been little explored; its waters are not so salt as the Caspian, but there are many small saline lakes in its vicinity. There is a remarkable detached sea in Siberia, or Asiatic Russia, which we have not noticed, called Baikal Sea; it extends from the 51 deg. to the 55 deg. of north latitude. This sea is 350 miles in length and only 50 in breadth. The water is fresh and transparent, yet of a green or sea tinge, commonly frozen in the latter end of December, and clear of ice in May. At particular periods it is subject to violent and unaccountable storms, whence, as terror is the parent of superstition, probably springs the Russian name of Svetoie More, or the Holy Sea. There are many seals here, and abundance of fish, particularly a kind of herring called omuli.”

MR. WILTON. “Very good, Charles. Now, my son, try your best memory on the Eastern Sea.”

GEORGE. “I am glad you have given me that sea to describe, for I have been much amused with the curious names of the islands printed on the map in these waters. A little group not far from ‘Tchusan’ is called ‘the Bear and Cubs;’ another ‘Lowang,’ or ‘Buffalo’s Nose;’ another ‘Chutta-than,’ or ‘Shovel-nosed Shark.’ Near the Japan Isles there is a little cluster called ‘Asses’ Ears.’ This sea is called by the Chinese Tong-hai; and in it are the large islands Formosa and Loo-choo; but I know nothing of them.”

MRS. WILTON. “I will aid you there, George, because you have done well to remember all those difficult names. Formosa is a fine fertile island, belonging to the Chinese, where oxen are used for equestrian purposes for want of horses or asses. The Loo-choo Islands constitute a little civilized kingdom, tributary to China. There are thirty-six of them. The capital is Kinching. These isles were discovered by the Chinese many hundred years ago. Their products are sulphur, copper, tin, shells, and mother-of-pearl. The inhabitants vie with the Japanese in the manufacture of lacquered ware. Loo-choo itself is one of the most delightful places in the world, with a temperate climate and great fertility. All animal creation here is of a diminutive size, but all excellent in their kind. The people are amiable and virtuous, though, unhappily, worshippers of Confucius.”

MR. WILTON. “The China Sea falls to Dora’s share: are you prepared, my dear?”

DORA. “I think so, sir. It lies south-west of China, and connected with it are the Gulfs of Siam and Tonquin. In the former are the Islands Hastings and Tantalem: the latter washes the coast of Cochin China; a coast that suffers more from the encroachment of the sea than any other known: in five years the sea gained 190 feet from east to west. The low country is exposed to an uncomfortable degree of heat during part of the year, and the rains are so plentiful, that boats are navigable over the fields and hedges, and the children go out in small barks to fish for the mice which cling to the branches of the trees.”

EMMA. “Poor little mice! I dare say they would rather be playthings for children than be drowned.”

CHARLES. “They need no fishing-tackle for their sport; I suppose they catch them in their hands. Do you know, Dora?”

DORA. “I believe they do.–Now what comes next? Oh! Hainan. It lies in the China Sea; its capital is Kiang-tchou. In the southern part this island is mountainous, but towards the north it is more level, and productive of rice; in the centre there are mines of gold; and on the shores are found small blue fish, which the Chinese value more than we do those known as gold and silver fish. The blue fish will not survive long after they are caught, and two days’ confinement to a glass bowl suffices to end their lives.”

MR. BARRAUD. “The Gulf of Tonquin and the adjacent seas are remarkable for dreadful whirlwinds, called ‘typhons.’ After calm weather they are announced by a small black cloud in the north-east part of the horizon, which gradually brightens until it becomes white and brilliant. This alarming appearance often precedes the hurricane twelve hours.”

CHARLES. “Pray what is the cause of this dreadful ‘typhon?'”

MR. BARRAUD. “They seem to arise from the mutual opposition of the north-wind coming down from the mountains of the continent and the south-wind proceeding from the ocean. Nothing can exceed their fury. They are accompanied by dreadful thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. After five or six hours a calm succeeds; but the hurricane soon returns in the opposite direction with additional fury, and continues for an equal interval.”

GEORGE. “Papa, there are seas of all colors, for I have actually found a Blue Sea. Here it is, between Loo-choo and China. What droll people the Chinese are! they have such odd names for their places.”

MR. WILTON. “Yes; they call China Tchou-Koo, or the ‘Centre of the World;’ for in their overweening pride, they consider other countries as mere strips surrounding their territory; and their names and titles are very grand. At a distance of six hundred paces from the shore of the ‘Yang-tse-Kiang’ is the wonderful Island of Chin-shan, or ‘Golden Mountain.’ This island is covered with gardens and pleasure-houses. Art and nature have united their efforts to give it the most enchanting aspect. It is in the fields of this isle that the shrub grows producing the cotton of which the article known by the name of Nankeen is made. The fibre is not white like other cotton, but of a delicate orange color, which it preserves after it is spun and woven.”

MR. BARRAUD. “There are many noble lakes in China, particularly in the province of Howquang, which name signifies ‘Country of Lakes;’ and I remember reading of a traveller who often observed on one near the Imperial Canal, thousands of small boats and rafts, constructed for a singular species of fishery. ‘On each boat or raft are ten or a dozen birds, which, at a signal from the owner, plunge into the water; and it is astonishing to see the enormous size of the fish with which they return grasped within their bills.’ They appeared to be so well trained, that it did not require either ring or cord about their throats to prevent them from swallowing any portion of their prey, except what the master was pleased to return to them for encouragement and food. The boat used by these fishermen is of a remarkably light make, and is often carried to the lake, together with the fishing-birds, by the fishermen themselves.”

CHARLES. “What preposterous things people do in other countries! How strange to train birds to catch fish!”

“Why, Charles, we have fishing-birds in England,” exclaimed George. “The only difference between them is, that _our_ birds fish for themselves, while the Chinese birds fish for their masters. I have often seen the kingfishers pounce upon their prey, and I have heard of herons and storks living on fish caught by themselves.”

MR. WILTON. “Quite true, George; and this proves that many ‘traveller’s wonders’ cease to be wonderful when we examine into the circumstances and particulars, or compare their relations with the commonplace occurrences of everyday life. Now for the Bay of Bengal, which contains the fine islands of Andaman, Nicobar, and Ceylon; for the particulars of these islands I beg to refer the members to Mrs. Wilton.”

MRS. WILTON. “We will describe them according to their merits; and by so doing, the last will be first. Ceylon is considered the finest and richest island in the world: we read that the stones are rubies and sapphires, that amonium scents the marshes, and cinnamon the forests, and that the most common plants furnish precious perfumes. Its length is about 250 miles, its breadth 150. Its principal productions are gold, silver, and other metals; excellent fruits of all kinds; delicious spices; ivory, cotton, silk, musk, and many varieties of precious stones. The chief town is Candy, situated on a mountain in the middle of the island. Trincomale and Columbo are its other great towns. I forgot to tell you that elephants of the most handsome and valuable kind run here in herds, as the wild boars do in the forests of Europe; while the brilliant peacock and bird of paradise occupy the places of our rooks and swallows.

“The Andainans–The inhabitants are probably cannibals; their antipathy to strangers is singularly strong. They possess all the characteristics of the negro, but scarcely know how to build a boat, or manage a rope; however, they have acquired a little more civilization since the foundation of an English establishment on the Great Andaman, for the reception of criminals sent from Bengal.

“The Nicobar Isles are inhabited by a harmless inoffensive race of people; and here, as also in Andaman, are found the edible bird’s-nests so much esteemed in China.”

MR. BARRAUD. “These nests form an extensive article of commerce: they are built by a little bird called the Jaimalani, black as jet, and very much like a martin, but considerably smaller. The nests are made of a slimy gelatinous substance found on the shore, of the sea-weed called _agal-agal_, and of a soft, greenish, sizy matter, often seen on rocks in the shade, when the water oozes from above. The best are found in damp caves, very difficult of access. They are sold at a high price, and considered a great luxury, consequently only consumed by the great people of China, chiefly by the emperor and his court.”

MR. WILTON. “George looks as if he did not relish the idea of feasting on bird’s-nests. I believe the Chinese monopolize these delicacies entirely, and they are quite welcome so to do, as they are not esteemed elsewhere: so do not look so scornful George; the inhabitants of the celestial empire would not offer _you_ a bird’s-nest for your supper if you paid them a visit. They cost, I have heard, their weight in silver! Emma, can you tell me in what sea to look for the Maldives?”

EMMA. “Yes, dear papa, Maldives and Laccadives are both in the Arabian Sea. The first are small islands, or rocks, just above the water. The Dutch trade with the natives for cowries, little shells used as money on some parts of the coasts of Africa and India. Ships from India sometimes resort thither to procure sharks’ fins for those epicures the Chinese, who consider them an excellent seasoning for soup.

“The Laccadives are about five degrees further north, and are in themselves larger islands, but not so numerous as the Maldives. Bombay, which is the central point of communication between India and Europe, is on the Arabian Sea. Have we not devoted sufficient time to Asia, mamma?”

MRS. WILTON. “I scarcely think so, my dear; we could find subjects for conversation which would profitably occupy the hours of many meetings in this delightful quarter of the world. Remember here were our first parents placed, when in innocence and happiness they were created by Almighty God; here in the Garden of Eden they dwelt enjoying the light of His countenance; here they fell in guilt and misery, and were banished from the presence of their offended God; here was the prophecy fulfilled, for here was born our Blessed Saviour. By Him was the great and wondrous work of redemption accomplished; He offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; He gave us the Everlasting Gospel, and He has become our mediator with God: by Him we gain access to the Father; by His blood only can we be cleansed; by His merits only can we hope for salvation; and only through His Grace assisting us can we perform that which is right and well-pleasing in the eyes of our Heavenly Father: then believing in Him, trusting in Him, rejoicing in Him, Christ will be our All in all _here_, and All in all _hereafter_. There are many lakes and small inland seas in Asia, memorable as having been the scene of our Blessed Saviour’s labors, trials, and triumphs. Not the most insignificant on the list is the lake of Genesareth, sometimes called the Sea of Galilee, or Sea of Tiberias; for near here is situated Nazareth, the great city of Jesus Christ. About six miles to the south stands the hill of Tabor, which a venerable tradition assigns as the scene of Christ’s transfiguration; and on the south-west side of the Gulf of St. Jean d’Acre is Mount Carmel, where, we are told, the prophet Elijah proved his divine mission by the performance of many miracles. Thousands of Christians once lived in caves of the rocks around this mountain, which then was covered with chapels and gardens: at the present day naught but scattered ruins remain to prove the truth of these statements.”

MR. WILTON. “A most extraordinary fact relating to this sea is, that its waters are 300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean: and this reminds me of the Dead Sea, situated in Palestine, which covers from 450 to 500 square miles; for its waters are no less than 1300 feet below the Mediterranean. We are told by many who have visited this sea, that neither fish nor shells are to be found in it, and that its shores, frightfully barren, are never cheered by the note of any bird. The inhabitants in its vicinity, however, are not sensible of any noxious quality in its vapor; and the accounts of birds falling down dead in attempting to fly over it are entirely fabulous. The water is exceedingly nauseous, and the effluvia arising from it unwholesome, but so buoyant, that gentlemen, who have made the attempt from curiosity, have found it impossible to sink. An Irishman, named Cortigan, some fifteen years ago, conveyed a boat to the waters of the Dead Sea, and, aided by an old Maltese sailor, rowed nearly all round. He was a week exploring, and imagined he had made great discoveries; but no one knew what they were, for on the eighth day he became seriously ill. He was carried to the shore by his companion, and expired soon after in the hut of a Bedouin Arab. We are led to believe that in this place stood the famous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by the wrath of God, and utterly buried beneath this bituminous lake.”

GRANDY. “We have gone through our toils this evening with no personal inconvenience; but that is owing to our travels being of the mind instead of the body: for what man journeying through Arabia but has felt the annoyances of heat, the pangs of thirst and unutterable anguish from the horrors of a lingering death? That we stay-at-home travellers may justly appreciate the blessings of home, I will give you an instance of the sufferings of those who are compelled to wander.

#The Slave Merchant.#

“The caravans which carry goods from Bagdat to Aleppo usually pass by Anah. They pay tribute to the Arabs, who reckon themselves Lords of the Desert, even to the east of Euphrates. They have to encounter the dangers of the suffocating winds, the swarms of locusts, and the failure of water, as soon as they depart from the line of the river. A French traveller[9] tells us he witnessed one of the most appalling scenes of this kind between Anah and Taibu. The locusts, having devoured everything, perished in countless heaps, poisoning with their dead bodies the ponds which usually afforded water when no springs were near.

[Footnote 9: Maltebrun.]

“This traveller saw a Turk running down from a hillock, with despair in his looks. ‘I am,’ cried he, ‘the most ill-fated man in the world. I have purchased, at an enormous rate, 200 young women, the finest of Greece and Georgia. I brought them up with great care, and now, when arrived at the age of marriage, I have come with them on my way to Bagdat, thinking to dispose of them to advantage. Alas! they are all now dying of thirst in this desert.’ The traveller, going round the hillock, beheld a sight of horror. In the midst of twelve eunuchs and about a hundred camels, he saw all these girls, from twelve to fifteen years old, stretched on the ground in the agonies of a burning thirst and inevitable death. Some had already been buried; a larger number had fallen down by the side of their keepers, who had not sufficient strength left to bury them. On every hand were heard the sobs of the dying; and the cries of those in whom enough of life still remained, begging for a drop of water. The traveller hastened to open his flask, in which a little water was left, and was now offering it to one of these poor victims. ‘You fool!’ exclaims his Arabian conductor, ‘would you have _us_ also to perish for want of water?’ and with his arrow he laid the girl dead at his feet; laid hold of the bottle, and threatened the life of any one who dared to touch it. He advised the Turkish merchant to go on to Taibu, where he would find water. ‘No,’ said the Turk, ‘at Taibu the robbers would carry off all my slaves.’ The Arab forced the traveller to accompany him. At the moment of their departure, these unfortunates, losing the last ray of hope, uttered a piercing shriek: the Arab was affected, he took one of the girls, poured some drops of water on her burning lips, and placed her on his camel, intending her as a present for his wife. The poor girl fainted repeatedly on passing the dead bodies of her companions. The small stock of water of the travellers was soon exhausted, when they discovered a well of fresh clear water. Here, disconcerted by the depth of the well, and the shortness of their rope, they tore their clothes into strips, which they tied together, and, with this frail cordage, contrived to take up the water in small quantities, dreading the loss of their bucket, and the disappointment of their hopes. Through such perils and anxieties, they at last found their way to Syria.”

MRS. WILTON. “With this we will conclude the evening’s business; and as we have been so much in the East, I have prepared a little present for each of you, in the form of a Chinese Puzzle; and whenever you exercise your patience on them (and I assure you they will require it, for they are most ingenious) you will think of our travels, and of the many little facts you learnt while visiting the lands of other nations. Also, I wish you to endeavor to gain knowledge, not merely for ornament and reputation, but because your mind is a rich storehouse, by means of which you may glorify God, and do much for the happiness of your fellow-creatures.”

Mrs. Wilton then produced a beautiful Japan box, and, opening it, displayed to the admiring gaze of the young party a number of curious contrivances to tease and tire impatient folks, exquisitely cut in ivory, and mother-of-pearl, and light woods. Each puzzle was ticketed; and, highly delighted, they all sat down to partake of the good things spread on the table, determined to vie with each other in trials of skill and perseverance on their curious little toys. We wish them success, and “Good night.”


There was an old and quiet man,
And by thy fire sat he:
“And now,” he said, “to you I’ll tell A dismal thing which once befel
To a ship upon the sea.”

“Oh, mamma, dear mamma,” exclaimed Emma, bursting into the parlor where Mrs. Wilton was sitting at work, “everything goes wrong to-day. Look here, the postman has brought a note from Dora Leslie: she has been to a party, caught a cold, and is obliged to remain in the house for I know not how long. What can we do without her? I am sure _my_ portion will not be ready; for, in the first place, I know not how to begin with America: the number of seas, gulfs, and bays quite puzzles me, and I have felt so miserable all day, because I have no notes prepared for the meeting.”

Mrs. Wilton continued her sewing while Emma thus gave vent to her feelings; then quietly taking her hand, “My dear little girl,” said she, “sit down by me and listen.

“Many years ago there dwelt in a little cot on a hill’s side an aged matron and her grandchild; they were alone, but not lonely, for they were happy in each other’s society; their wants were few, and their gratitude unbounded. There were no neighbors near them,–no gossips to drop in upon them, and fritter away the precious moments. They subsisted on the produce of their garden, and labored for their daily bread in gladness of heart.

“Every morn, almost with the sun, Eva arose, fed the chickens that fluttered around her, and went through her business merrily,–richly rewarded by the approving smile of her aged parent, when she blessed her darling before retiring to rest.

“But ‘man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward,’ and this happy pair were not exempt from the curse. One night, the wind blew, the rain fell in torrents, thunder and lightning rent the skies, and, in fear and trembling, the aged woman and her fair grandchild wept and prayed, until the glorious sun rose above the horizon, and proclaimed the advent of another day. Then Eva stepped to the cottage door, and gazed in speechless agony on the devastation wrought by the fury of the elements in one single night. The beautiful path, lately so trim and neat, which led to her garden, was blocked up with stones borne from the mountain’s side by the violence of the torrent. Her vines were crushed and drooping; and even the poor birds came not to her side, but remained crowded together in a corner under the shade of the cottage roof.

“‘Alas! alas!’ cried she, ‘where is the pretty path I used to tread,–where are my flowers, my shrubs,–where all my joys and happiness? Gone! gone! and left desolation and misery in their stead. I cannot repair this damage, I shall no longer have pleasure in my work, for _one_ storm has undone the toil of months; and now our cottage must stand in a wilderness, our garden must be overgrown with weeds, and my chickens must die of starvation!’ then, wringing her hands, she sank on the earth and wept.

“How long she wept I know not, but she was aroused by a gentle pressure on her shoulder; and, raising her eyes, she beheld a beautiful female, whose cheerful, good-natured countenance put to shame the tears of despair which bedewed the cheeks of the fair Eva.

“‘Why weepest thou?’ said she; ‘why not be up and doing? What _has_ been done, can in like manner be again effected. Arise, and follow me.’

“‘But I am alone,’ remonstrated the weeping girl; ‘and without assistance am unable to repair these ravages.’

“‘I will assist thee,’ replied her beauteous visitor; ‘fear not, together we will accomplish much.’ So saying, she led forth the gentle girl, and in a few hours their voices might be heard in one united stream of flowing harmony, filling the air with delicious sounds, and the heart of the aged woman with rapture.

“For many days, Eva worked in company with her angelic friend, until, at length, Desolation acknowledged her power, and disappeared. Her garden was restored to its pristine beauty,–the path was cleared.–her favorites flocked around her; and again kneeling in thankfulness at her grandmother’s feet, she read her evening lesson, and praised Almighty God, who in love and mercy sent ‘Peace on earth, Goodwill toward all men.’ Now, my child, who thinkest thou was Eva’s helpmate?”

“I know not, dear mamma, unless it were Perseverance.”

“No, my dear,” replied Mrs. Wilton; “Perseverance might have hindered instead of assisting her; she might have persevered in her resolution to await the total destruction of her little property. No, her heavenly companion was ‘Goodwill.’ Entreat her aid, Emma, set about your task with renewed energy, and certain I am that you will be successful.”

Emma Wilton appreciated her mamma’s kindness, and the result of her labors will be seen in the following pages.

“I see one of our number missing,” said Mr. Wilton, as he opened the large Atlas. “What has become of Dora Leslie?”

“She is slightly indisposed, my dear,” replied Mrs. Wilton; “but Emma will be her substitute.”

“What an industrious little girl!” exclaimed her papa; “and you are really going to supply the meeting with information sufficient to prevent us from feeling the loss of your friend. You are resolved we shall not be becalmed, eh?”

“Ah! papa, you know not what has happened. I have been nearly becalmed, but, in a lucky moment, mamma sent a gentle breeze which filled my sails, and carried me gaily on my course, or I fear I should have been ill prepared to supply the deficiencies to-night. If the members approve the following plan, we will act upon it. I propose, that we start from England, cross the North Atlantic Ocean, enter Baffin’s Bay by Davis’s Straits, and following the coast, work our way round to the other waters in America.”

MR. WILTON. “I see not the slightest objection to the plan; and we will call at all the islands which lie in our way, beginning with Madeira. This name is a corruption of Madera[10], so called by its first discoverers on account of the uncommon luxuriance of its foliage. It is an exquisitely beautiful island, with every variety of climate in various parts: the soil is volcanic, though there has been no eruption within the memory of man. Madeira belongs to the Portuguese, and lies north of the Canaries. Madeira is about sixty miles long, and forty broad: its chief town is Funchal.

[Footnote 10: Madera signifies wooded.]

“The Canary Isles, formerly called Fortunate Isles, belong to Spain. The three largest are Grand Canary, Teneriffe, and Ferro. These islands are famous for wine, and those pretty little singing birds called Canaries.

“Teneriffe, the second in size, is remarkable for a volcanic mountain, called the Peak.”

CHARLES. “Are we not going out of our way, sir, to look at these islands? Baffin’s Bay is much more to the north.”

MR. WILTON. “You are right, Charles; but on voyages of discovery we are permitted to wander hither and thither at will, so long as it be for the advantage of all parties.”

GEORGE. “But ships of war, papa, may not go out of the way: they are obliged to be very orderly, are they not?”

MR. WILTON. “So long as the winds will allow them, they keep on their course together, but adverse winds will send them far asunder at times, as in the case of the destruction of the Spanish Armada ‘He blew with His winds, and they were scattered,’ was the motto inscribed on the medal Queen Elizabeth caused to be struck in commemoration of that great victory.”

MR. BARRAUD. “England can never forget the destruction of the Spanish Armada, for it was the immediate cause of the acquisition of so many colonies to England. The signal success which attended Sir Francis Drake and others, induced them again to sally forth with sanguine hopes of extending the kingdom of their sovereign. This was providential; at least, that is my view of it: all this was wisely arranged that England might, by obtaining dependencies, strive to enlighten, moralize, and spiritualize the people who acknowledged the same temporal sovereign with herself, that in due time they might also acknowledge the same spiritual sovereign.”

GEORGE. “I should like to go on board a man-of-war, and see all the arrangements; because so many men on board one ship must need close packing, I should think.”

MR. WILTON. “You shall be gratified, my boy. Put on your coat and hat: we will go on board one of Her Majesty’s ships before the gentlemen have dined.”

EMMA. “Papa is only joking, George; you may sit still. I can guess what you are going to say, papa. ‘Is not our voyage imaginary, and should we not be consistent?’ Am I right?”

MR. WILTON. “Very nearly, my dear. You are very sharp to-night: the extra duty has quickened your discernment.”

CHARLES. “I enjoy this imaginary travelling very much; but I must confess, if everything connected with it is to be consistent, I shall not be at all satisfied with my supper.”

“No! no!” exclaimed the other children; “supper is to be real, because we get really hungry.”

“But, papa,” added George, “can you tell me any of the ways of a man-of-war?”

MR. WILTON. “Yes, my dear. I will fulfil my promise, and initiate you in some of the mysteries which are enacted at dinner-time on board of one of these wonderful vessels. As the hour of noon approaches, the cooks of the messes may be seen coming up the fore and main hatchways with their mess-kids in their hands, the hoops of which are kept as bright as silver, and the woodwork as neat and as clean as the pail of the most tidy dairymaid. The grog also is now mixed in a large tub, under the half-deck, by the quarter-masters of the watch below, assisted by other leading and responsible men among the ship’s company, closely superintended, of course, by the mate of the hold, to see that no liquor is abstracted, and also by the purser’s steward, who regulates the exact quantity of spirits and of water to be measured out. The seamen, whose next turn it is to take the wheel, or heave the lead, or who have to mount the mast-head to look out, as well as the marines who are to be planted as sentries at noon, are allowed to take both their dinner and their grog beforehand. These persons are called ‘seven-bell-men,’ from the hour at which they have their allowance served to them.

“Long before twelve o’clock all these and various other minor preparations have been so completely made, that there is generally a remarkable stillness over the whole ship just before the important moment of noon arrives. The boatswain stands near the break of the forecastle, with his bright silver call or whistle in his hand, which ever and anon he places just at the tip of his lips to blow out any crumbs which threaten to interfere with its melody, or to give a faint’ too-weet, too-weet,’ as a preparatory note to fix the attention of the boatswain’s mates, who being, like their chief, provided with calls, station themselves at intervals along the main-deck, ready to give due accompaniment to their leader’s tune.

“The boatswain keeps his eye on the group of observers, and well knows when the ‘sun is up’ by the stir which takes place amongst the astronomers; or by noticing the master working out his latitude with a pencil on the ebony bar of his quadrant or on the edge of the hammock railing,–though, if he be one of your modern, neat-handed navigators, he carries his look-book for this purpose. In one way or other the latitude is computed as soon as the master is satisfied the sun has reached his highest altitude in the heavens. He then walks aft to the officer of the watch, and reports twelve o’clock, communicating also the degrees and minutes of the latitude observed. The lieutenant proceeds to the captain wherever he may be, and reports that it is twelve and that so-and-so is the latitude. The same formal round of reports is gone through, even if the captain be on deck and has heard every word spoken by the master, or even if he have himself assisted in making the observation.

“The captain now says to the officer of the watch, ‘Make it twelve!’ The officer calls out to the mate of the watch, ‘Make it twelve!’ The mate, ready primed, sings out to the quarter-master, ‘Strike eight bells.’

“And lastly, the hard-a-weather old quarter-master, stepping down the ladder, grunts out to the sentry at the cabin door, ‘Turn the glass, and strike the bell!’

“By this time the boatswain’s call has been in his mouth for several minutes, his elbow in the air, and his finger on the stop, ready to send forth the glad tidings of a hearty meal. Not less ready, or less eager, are the groups of listeners seated at their snow-white deal tables below, or the crowd surrounding the coppers, with their mess-kids acting the part of drums to their impatient knuckles. At the first stroke of the bell, which, at this particular hour, is always sounded with peculiar vivacity, the officer of the watch exclaims to the boatswain, ‘Pipe to dinner!’

“These words, followed by a glorious burst of shrill sounds, ‘long drawn out,’ are hailed with a murmur of delight by many a hungry tar and many a jolly marine. The merry notes are nearly drowned the next instant in the rattle of tubs and kettles, the voices of the ship’s cook and his mates bawling out the numbers of the messes, as well as by the sound of feet tramping along the decks and down the ladders with the steaming ample store of provisions, such as set up and brace the seaman’s frame, and give it vigor for any amount of physical action.

“Then comes the ‘joyous grog!’ that nautical nectar, so dear to the lips of every true-hearted sailor, with which he washes down Her Majesty’s junk, as he roughly but good-humoredly styles the government allowance of beef; and while he quaffs off his portion, or his whack, as he calls it, he envies no man alive, and laughs to scorn those party philanthropists who describe his life as one of unhappy servitude. The real truth is, there is no set of men in the world, in their condition of life, who are better taken care of than the sailors and marines of the navy, or who, upon the whole, are more content and happy. There, George, what think you of all that?”

GEORGE. “Why, that they must be a merry set of fellows, and I should like to be a ‘Middy’ amongst them.”

EMMA. “Oh! George, do not wish to be a sailor: remember Frederic Hamilton.–The next islands we come in sight of are Cape Yerd Islands near Africa. They were discovered in 1446 by the Portuguese, their present proprietors; they are remarkably fertile. St. Jago is the largest, and is the residence of the Portuguese viceroy.”

CHARLES. “May we now steer north, and call at the Azores or Western Isles? We shall then be half-way between Europe and America.”

MR. WILTON. “We shall be very willing to accompany you, if you will entertain us when there.”

CHARLES. “That might be done at a moderate expense, for they are delightful islands, with a fine climate, a spacious harbor, good anchorage, and all essentials,–but they are subject to earthquakes; therefore it is not advisable to prolong our visit One remarkable circumstance I had almost forgotten is, that no noxious animal can exist, or is ever to be found on these islands.”

MRS. WILTON. “The Azores are also called the Land of Falcons, because when discovered there were so many of these birds found tame on the islands. They are 800 miles from the shores of Portugal, and belong to that kingdom. Nature appears everywhere smiling; the plains wave with golden harvests, delicious fruits adorn the sides of the hills, and the towering summits are covered with evergreens. But, as Charles observes, they are volcanic; and many new islands have been raised from the bottom of the sea by volcanic action. In the year 1720 one of these phenomena took place, on approaching which next day an English captain observes:–‘We made an island of fire and smoke. The ashes fell on our deck like hail and snow, the fire and smoke roared like thunder.’ The inhabitants of the Azores are an innocent, honest race, who prefer peace to conquest, and distinction in industry rather than in arms.”

EMMA. “My course is now tolerably plain; but while we are so near Newfoundland, we may as well look in upon the people. This large island shuts up the northern entrance into the Gulf of St. Lawrence; is for the most part barren and unfruitful, and covered with perpetual fogs.”

MR. BARRAUD. “These fogs are, no doubt, produced by the currents that flow from the Antilles, and remain for a time between the great bank and the coast before they escape into the Atlantic Ocean.”

CHARLES. “Sir, I do not understand how the currents can cause a fog.”

MR. BARRAUD. “It is because these streams, coming from tropical regions, are warmer than the water surrounding the banks of Newfoundland, and necessarily warmer than the atmosphere, consequently they cause a vapor to arise which obscures the island with a moist and dense air. Newfoundland was for a long time considered the inhospitable residence of fishermen; but of late it has doubled its population and industry, and the activity of the British nation has added another fine colony to the civilized world.”

MRS. WILTON. “Newfoundland is the nearest to Great Britain of any of our North American possessions. It is rather larger than England and Wales. Its chief town is St. John’s. It was discovered in 1497 by John Cabot. The fisheries here are the chief wealth of the island, and consist principally of codfish, herrings, and salmon. The great Bank of Newfoundland, which appears to be a solid rock, is 600 miles long, and in some places 200 broad.”

CHARLES. “Newfoundland is famous for dogs; but I find the most numerous there are not like those we call Newfoundland dogs, which are large handsome animals, for _they_ are comparatively rare. The most abundant are creatures with lank bodies, thin legs and tail, and a thin tapering snout. They are very intelligent though, and would beat the Chinese birds in catching fish; for Mr. Jukes, a gentleman who has been to Newfoundland, says of one of these dogs:–‘He sat on a projecting rock beneath a fish-flake, or stage, where the fish are laid to dry, watching the water, which had a depth of six or eight feet, and the bottom of which was white with fish-bones. On throwing a piece of cod-fish into the water, three or four heavy, clumsy-looking fish, called in Newfoundland “sculpins,” with great heads and mouths, and many spines about them, generally about a foot long, would swim in to catch it. These he would watch attentively, and the moment one turned his broadside to him, he darted down like a fish-hawk, and seldom came up without the fish in his mouth. As he caught them, he carried them regularly to a place a few yards off, where he laid them down; and his owner told us that in the summer he would sometimes make a pile of fifty or sixty a day, just at that place. He never attempted to eat them, but seemed to be fishing purely for his own amusement. I watched him for about two hours; and when the fish did not come, I observed he once or twice put his right foot in the water, and paddled it about. This foot was white, and my friend said he did it to “toll” or entice the fish.’ Cunning dog was he not, George?”

GEORGE. “Yes; he would make his master’s fortune if the fish he caught were worth selling.”

EMMA. “To get into Baffin’s Bay, we must go through Davis’s Straits, so called from their discoverer, John Davis, who sailed through them in 1585; and following the coast on the north side, we shall pass South-east Bay and Coburg Bay. In 1818 Captain Ross completed the circumnavigation of this oblong bay. The middle of it seems everywhere occupied with impenetrable ice, between which and the land is the only passage for ships.”

MRS. WILTON. “That portion of the bay you have just described washes the shores of Greenland and the Arctic Regions. Greenland is considered as a peninsula attached to America, wretchedly barren, for no trees grow there. But God, who made man of the dust, also promised to supply his wants, and most wonderfully is this exemplified with regard to Greenland. To provide the inhabitants with the means of warming and nourishing their bodies, God causes the sea to drive vast quantities of wood from distant shores, and with thankfulness the poor Greenlanders regularly gather these providential supplies from their own coasts. Some parts of Greenland are nothing more than huge masses of rocks, intermingled with immense blocks of ice, thus forming at once the image of chaos and winter.”

GEORGE. “Is it not near Greenland the ships go to catch whales?”

MR. BARRAUD. “Yes; and, as you have mentioned the subject, we may as well stop and inquire into the particulars of this fishing.”

GEORGE. “I remember reading that there are three sorts of whales–the finback, the right whale, and the sperm whale; but I should like to hear how they are caught.”

MR. BARRAUD. “A man is stationed at the mast-head to look out, and as soon as he perceives a whale, he shouts, ‘There she blows!’ Immediately all hands are on the move to prepare the boats: this takes but a short time, and the chase commences. I will now give you an American account of such a chase.

“‘The moment of intense excitement now arrived. We pulled as if for life or death. Not a word was spoken, and scarcely a sound was heard from our oars. One of the men sprang to his feet, and grasped a harpoon. A few more strokes of the oar, and we were hard upon the whale. The harpooner, with unerring aim, let fly his irons, and buried them to the sockets in his huge carcass. “Stern all!” thundered the mate. “Stern all!” echoed the crew, but it was too late. Our bows were high and dry on the whale’s head! Infuriated with the pain produced by the harpoons, and, doubtless, much astonished to find his head so roughly used, he rolled half over, lashing the sea with his flukes (tail), and in his struggles dashing in two of the upper planks. “Boat stove! boat stove!” was the general cry. “Silence,” thundered the mate as he sprang to the bow, and exchanged places with the harpooner; “all safe, my hearties! stern hard! stern! stern! before he gets his flukes to bear upon us.” “Stern all!” shouted we, and in a moment more we were out of danger. The whale now “turned flukes,” and dashed off to windward with the speed of a locomotive, towing us after him at a tremendous rate. We occasionally slacked line in order to give him plenty of play. A stiff breeze had sprung up, causing a rough, chopping sea; and we leaked badly in the bow-planks; but, notwithstanding the roughness of the sea, we went with incredible swiftness. “Hoorah!” burst from every lip. We exultingly took off our hats, and gave three hearty cheers; but while we were skimming along so gallantly, the whale suddenly turned, and pitched the boat on her beam-ends. Every one who could grasp a thwart hung on to it, and we were all fortunate enough to keep our seats. For as much as a ship’s length the boat flew through the water on her gunwale, foaming and whizzing as she dashed onward. It was a matter of doubt as to which side would turn uppermost, until we slacked out the line, when she righted. To have a boat, with all her iron, lances, gear, and oars, piled on one’s head in such a sea, was rather a startling prospect to the best swimmer. Meantime, the whale rose to the surface to spout. The change in his course enabled another boat to come up, and we lay on our oars, in order that Mr. D—-, (the other mate) might lance him.–He struck him in a vital part the first dart, as was evident from the whale’s furious dying struggles; but in order to make sure, we hauled up and lanced the back of his head. Foaming and breaching, he plunged from wave to wave, flinging high in the air torrents of blood and spray. The sea around was literally a sea of blood. At one moment his head was poised in the air; the next, he buried himself in the gory sea, carrying down, in his vast wake, a whirlpool of foam and slime. But this respite was short; he rose again, rushing furiously upon his enemies; but a slight prick of a lance drove him back with mingled fury and terror. Whichever way he turned, the barbed irons goaded him to desperation. Now and again intensity of agony would cause him to lash the waters with his huge flukes, till the very ocean appeared to heave and tremble at his power. Tossing, struggling, dashing over and over in his agony, he spouted up the last of his heart’s blood. Half an hour before, he was free as the wave, sporting in all the pride of gigantic strength and unrivalled power. He now lay a lifeless mass; his head towards the sun, his tremendous body heaving to the swell, and his destroyers proudly cheering over their victory.'”

EMMA. “It seems very cruel to catch these poor creatures.”

MRS. WILTON. “They are tortured as little as possible; but they are so strong, that it requires immense skill and bravery to contend with them. Their usefulness justifies the act, for I know not what we should do without some of the comforts produced from these monsters of the deep.”

EMMA. “What part does the oil come from?”

MR. BARRAUD. “First, from the blubber which is the outer covering, or, as whalers call it, the ‘blanket-piece;’ this is stripped off by means of an ingenious contrivance, cut into pieces, and the oil boiled out. Secondly, from the head, which is called the ‘case,’ and sometimes contains from ten to fifteen barrels of oil and spermaceti. A sperm whale frequently yields as much as 120 barrels of oil. Forty-five barrels is considered a medium size.”

GEORGE. “I hope, when we go to Jamaica, we shall see some whales.”

MR. WILTON. “No doubt we shall. I have often seen them rolling and spouting in the wide Atlantic: and you will also see the flying fish skimming in the hollows of the waves: they are very pretty.”

GRANDY. “Yes, they are, poor unfortunates! for, though possessing the qualifications of a bird as well as a fish, they are so persecuted by enemies in both elements, that, whether taking their temporary flight through the air, or gliding through the waters, their double faculty proves insufficient to defend or secure them from pursuit.”

CHARLES. “What creatures war against these innocent fish, madam?”

GRANDY. “While in the air the man-of-war bird pounces upon them; and they are chased in the water by the bonito and albacore: thus constantly persecuted, they do not become very numerous.”

CHARLES. “Icy Peak, in Greenland, is an enormous mass of ice near the mouth of a river: it diffuses such a brilliancy through the air, that it is distinctly perceived at a distance of more than ten leagues. Icicles, and an immense vault, give this edifice of crystal a most magic appearance.”

EMMA. “Shall we now continue our voyage through Lancaster Sound?”

MRS. WILTON. “I have been considering whether it would not be better to finish with these northern latitudes before we proceed on our voyage. In that case we will test the hospitality of the people of Spitzbergen, Iceland, Nova Zembla, Ferroe Isles, and sundry others in this part of the Atlantic and Frozen Ocean, and then descend to warmer climates.”

MR. WILTON. “A very good plan, if we do not get blocked up by the ice in these dreadful seas. By-the-by, there is an account of such a calamity happening to a vessel some years ago.–In the year 1775, Captain Warrens, master of the ‘Greenland,’ a whale-ship, was cruising about in the Frozen Ocean, when at a little distance he observed a vessel. Captain Warrens was struck with the strange manner in which her sails were disposed, and with the dismantled aspect of her rigging. He leaped into his boat with several seamen, and rowed towards her. On approaching, he observed that her hull was miserably weather-beaten, and not a soul appeared on deck, which was covered with snow to a considerable depth. He then hailed her crew, but no answer was returned. Previous to stepping on board, an open port-hole near the main-chains caught his eye; and, on looking into it, he perceived a man reclining back in a chair, with writing materials on a table before him; but the feebleness of the light made everything very indistinct. The party went upon deck, and, having removed the hatchway, descended to the cabin. They first came to the apartment which Captain Warrens viewed through the port-hole. A terror seized him as he entered it: its inmate retained his former position, and seemed to be insensible to strangers. He was found to be a corpse! and a green damp mould had covered his cheeks and forehead, and veiled his open eyeballs. He had a pen in his hand, and a log-book lay before him. The last sentence in its unfinished page ran thus:–

“‘Nov. 14th, 1762.

“‘We have now been enclosed in the ice seventeen days. The fire went out yesterday, and our master has been trying ever since to kindle it again without success. His wife died this morning. There is no relief!’

“Captain Warrens and his seamen hurried from the spot without uttering a word. On entering the principal cabin, the first object that attracted their attention was the dead body of a female, reclining on a bed in an attitude of deep interest and attention. Her countenance retained the freshness of life: but a contraction of the limbs showed that her form was inanimate. Seated on the floor was the corpse of an apparently young man, holding a steel in one hand and a flint in the other, as if in the act of striking fire upon some tinder which lay beside him. In the fore-part of the vessel several sailors were found lying dead in their berths, and the body of a boy crouched at the bottom of the gangway stairs. Neither provisions nor fuel could be discovered anywhere; but Captain Warrens was prevented by the superstitious prejudices of his seamen from examining the vessel as minutely as he wished to have done. He, therefore, carried away the log-book, and immediately steered to the southward, impressed with the awful example he had just witnessed of the danger of navigating the Polar Seas in high northern latitudes. On returning to England, and inquiring and comparing accounts, he found that this vessel had been blocked up by the ice for upwards of thirteen years!!! Yes!–

“‘There lay the vessel in a realm of frost, Not wrecked, nor stranded, yet forever lost; Her keel embedded in the solid mass;
Her glistening sails appear’d expanded glass.'”

[Illustration: THE GEYSERS.]

GRANDY. “A most awful situation to be placed in, surrounded on all sides by impenetrable ice, which closeth up the water as with a breast-plate.”

MRS. WILTON. “Iceland is first in point of distance. It is situated south east of Greenland, in the North Atlantic Ocean, and considered an appendage to America; although it was known seven centuries before the time of Columbus. It is truly, a land of prodigies: where the subterranean fires of the abyss burst through a frozen soil; where boiling springs shoot up their fountains, amidst eternal snows; and where the powerful genius of liberty and the no less powerful genius of poetry have given brilliant proofs of the energies of the human mind at the farthest confines of animated nature.”

CHARLES. “There are twelve volcanoes in Iceland; the most celebrated of which is Mount Hecla, situated in the southern part of the island: its elevation is about 4800 feet above the level of the sea.”

GEORGE. “And there are hot springs, too, in this island; but they have not all the same degree of heat. Mamma, do you know anything of them?”

MRS. WILTON. “Those springs, whose tepid waters issue as gently as an ordinary spring, are called Langers, or baths; others that throw up boiling water with great noise, are denominated Caldrons, in Icelandic ‘Hverer.’ The most remarkable is the Geyser, which is found near Skalholdt, in the middle of a plain, where there are about forty springs of a smaller size. It rises from an aperture nineteen feet in diameter, springing at intervals to the height of fifty or even ninety feet. In these hot springs, which formerly served to baptize their Pagan ancestors, the Icelanders boil their vegetables, meat, eggs, and other articles of food; but it is necessary to cover the pot suspended in these steaming waters, in order to prevent the volcanic odor from imparting a taste to their contents. Iceland is not so barren as you might imagine from its extreme cold, for gardening is cultivated throughout the island: but there are no large trees.”

MR. WILTON. “The present houses of the Icelanders differ little from those used by their ancestors, who first colonized the island, and are, no doubt, the best fitted for the climate. They are only one story high; the stone walls have all the interstices stuffed with moss, and are about six feet in thickness. In the better sort of houses, the windows are glazed, in the others, secured by a thin skin stretched over the frames. They have no chimney or grates; the smoke escapes through a hole in the roof. The beds are merely open frames filled with feathers or down, over which they throw their blankets, and cover themselves with a counterpane of divers colors. Their seats are, in general, the bones of a whale or a horse’s skull. But much is said and done in these rude huts which would astonish you.”

EMMA. “Are the Icelanders civilized people: I mean, at all refined?”

MRS. WILTON. “Every Icelander knows how to read, write, and calculate, which is more than we can say of the English. They are a grave, honest, benevolent people, but not remarkable for their industry. Their favorite amusements, when assembled together, consist in reading history or poetry, in singing, or playing at chess, in which game they take great delight, priding themselves on their skill. They are refined enough to admire poetry and music: I think I need say no more. We will now visit Spitzbergen.”

EMMA. “Spitzbergen is a group of three large islands, and a number of lesser ones near the North Pole. The mountains crowned with perpetual snow, and flanked with glaciers, reflect to a considerable distance a light equal to that of a full moon. The Icy Sea washes its shores, and abounds with whales, who love to roll their enormous bodies among the marine forests of the sea. In the vicinity is found the polar bear, which pursues everything animated with life, devours every animal he encounters, and then, roaring with delight, seats himself enthroned on the victorious trophy of mutilated carcasses and bones.”

CHARLES. “The only tree growing in Spitzbergen is the dwarf willow, which rises to the vast height of two inches! towering with great pride above the mosses, lichens, and a few other cumbent plants.”

GEORGE. “What a ridiculous little shrub! We might just as well dignify mustard and cress with the title of trees. To whom does this _very fertile_ island belong?”

MRS. WILTON. “To the Russians; and it certainly is not an enviable possession, for the climate is most wretched. From the 30th of October, until the 10th of February, the sun is invisible; it is as one long dreary night, and bitterly cold. The inhabitants sit by dull fires during this season, immersed in furs, and endeavor to doze through the tedious gloom. They are chiefly of Russian extraction, and many of them natives of Archangel.”

MR. WILTON. “Other animals are found in these regions besides the bear and whale: for we read of foxes, reindeer, walruses, and seals being occasionally caught by the people; and many islands about here (for the Frozen Sea is full of islands, principally composed of turf hills,) are the dreary abodes of bears and reindeer.”

EMMA. “The Ferroe Isles, belonging to Denmark, are seventeen in number; they produce agate, jasper, and beautiful zeolites, and export feathers, eider-down, caps, stockings, tallow, and salted mutton.”

CHARLES. “I do not think that can be very nice: I wonder who buys it?”

EMMA. “It always finds purchasers: therefore some folks are not so fastidious as Mr. Charles Dorning.”

GEORGE. “Mamma, let us go back past Norway, and see what are all these little islands on the coast.”

MRS. WILTON. “As you please, George; but most of the islands are barren, uninhabited spots. Those worthy of notice are Karen, Bommel, Sartar, Hittern, at the entrance of the Gulf of Drontheim; the Victen or Victor Isles, and the Luffoden Isles: the latter are the most numerous and extensive, and noted for the whirlpool Maelstrom, which has drawn so many fine ships into its abyss, and from which even the bellowing struggles of the great whale will not suffice to redeem him if once he gets within the vortex.”

GEORGE. “What causes this whirlpool?”

MR. BARRAUD. “When two currents of a more or less contrary direction and of equal force meet in a narrow passage, they both turn, as it were, upon a centre, until they unite, or one of the two escapes. This is what is termed a whirlpool or eddy. There are three celebrated whirlpools noticed in geography–the Maelstrom, the Euripus, near the island of Eubaea, and Charybdis, in the Straits of Sicily.”

CHARLES. “Bergen, one of the principal towns of Norway, stands on the North Sea: it is seated in the centre of a valley, forming a semicircle round a small gulf of the sea. On the land side it is defended by mountains; and on the other, by several fortifications. This city is chiefly constructed of wood, and has been many times destroyed by fire. So dreadful was the last conflagration, in 1771, that it is said the flames were visible in the Isles of Shetland, or at least the red lurid glare of them in the sky.”

MR. WILTON. “There are silver mines in Norway; but the iron mines are the most profitable. We have to thank Norway for the magnet, of such inestimable value to the navigator.”

GEORGE. “Papa, who found out the use of the magnet?”

MR. WILTON. “Flavio Gioia was the author of the great discovery of the property of the magnet, about the year 1302. He was a citizen of Amalfi, a town in Naples.”

EMMA. “Is there not a destructive little animal, native of Norway, called a lemming?”

MR. BARRAUD. “It is called the lemming, or Norwegian mouse; it comes from the ridge of Kolen; and sometimes spreads desolation, like the locust. These animals appear in vast numbers, proceeding from the mountain towards the sea, devouring every product of the soil, and, after consuming everything eatable in their course, they at last devour each other. These singular creatures are of a reddish color, and about five inches in length.”

EMMA. “We may now return to our station in Lancaster Sound, pass Croker’s Bay, and enter Barrow’s Straits which wash the shores of North Devon.”

GEORGE. “In the New Archipelago, north of Barrow’s Straits, are the Georgian Isles. They are numerous, and the principal are Cornwallis, Bathurst, and Melville. The latter is the largest, being 240 miles long, and 100 miles in breadth.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Here is another dreary land where no tree or shrub refreshes the eye. The climate is too cold for any person to live there; and, from its vicinity to the magnetic meridian, the compass becomes useless, remaining in whatever position it is placed by the hand.”

EMMA. “Prince Regent’s Inlet will lead us into Bothnia Gulf, thence through Fury and Hecla Straits,[11] which are between the peninsula of Melville and Cockburn Island, we can enter Foxes Channel, pass through Frozen Straits, and launch on the great waters of Hudson’s Bay.”

[Footnote 11: So named because these two vessels were here frozen up from October 20th, 1822, to August 8th, 1823.]

MRS. WILTON. “We enter Hudson’s Bay on the north, close by Southampton, a large island inhabited chiefly by Esquimaux. Nothing can exceed the frightful aspect of the environs of this bay. To whichsoever side we direct our view, we perceive nothing but land incapable of receiving any sort of cultivation, and precipitous rocks that rise to the very clouds, and yawn into deep ravines and narrow valleys into which the sun never penetrates, and which are rendered inaccessible by masses of ice and snow that seem never to melt. The sea in this bay is open only from the commencement of July to the end of September, and even then the navigator very often encounters icebergs, which expose him to considerable embarrassment. At the very time he imagines himself at a distance from these floating rocks a sudden squall, or a tide, or current, strong enough to carry away the vessel, and render it unmanageable, all at once hurries him amongst an infinite number of masses of ice, which appear to cover the whole bay.”

MR. WILTON. “Sixty years after the intrepid navigator Hudson had first penetrated the gulf that bears his name, the British Government assigned to a company of traders to those parts (by the title of the Hudson’s Bay Company) the chartered possession of extensive tracts south, and east of Hudson’s Bay, to export the productions of the surrounding country.”

GEORGE. “Are there any whales in Hudson’s Bay?”

MRS. WILTON. “No, all attempts at the whale fishery have been unsuccessful: indeed, there are very few fish of any sort here; but in the lakes around there are plenty, such as pike, sturgeon, and trout, and their banks are inhabited by aquatic birds, among which are observed several species of swans, geese, and ducks.”

EMMA. “James’s Bay is directly in the south of Hudson’s Bay, and extends a hundred leagues within the country. I believe it is near here that the Company’s most important establishments are situated, such as Fort Albany, Fort Moose, and the factory of East Main. This bay contains many islands.”

MRS. WILTON. “What bays must we pass to get to Hudson’s Straits?”

EMMA. “Mosquito Bay is the only one I can perceive; but there is Mansfield Isle, and Cape Diggs to make before we reach the straits; and in the straits there are several bays, the principal of which are North Bay and Ungava or South Bay.”

MRS. WILTON. “Quite correct, Emma. The straits were discovered by Hudson, in his voyage of 1610. The eastern coast of Hudson’s Bay forms part of the peninsula of Labrador. Will any member vouchsafe some information concerning this country?”

CHARLES. “All that we know of Labrador is, that it is a mass of mountains and rocks, intersected with numerous lakes and rivers, and inhabited by Esquimaux.”

MRS. WILTON. “Once more in the Atlantic, the great highway and thoroughfare of civilized nations. Where sail we next?”

EMMA. “Through the Straits of Belle-isle into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”

MR. BARRAUD. “This gulf abounds with fish in a remarkable degree. The bears here combine together in numerous herds, to catch the salmon near the cataracts in the rivers, where great numbers are stopped in their ascent, and are exceedingly relished by that animal. Some of them plunge into the water, and pursue their prey, while others more idle watch them from the banks. There are only two islands of note in this gulf,–the island of Anticosti, 90 miles long and 20 broad, covered with rocks, and wanting the convenience of a harbor; and Prince Edward’s Islands, pleasant fertile spots. The Gulf of St. Lawrence washes the shores of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.”

MR. WILTON. “Nova Scotia is about 350 miles long, and 250 broad: its chief town is Halifax. This island, with regard to fishing, is scarcely inferior to Newfoundland, which place is connected with the government of Nova Scotia.”

MRS. WILTON. “Cape Breton, or Sydney Isle, lies north-east of Nova Scotia, from which it is separated by a strait only a mile broad. Its length is 100 miles, its breadth 60. A remarkable bed of coal runs horizontally, at from 6 to 8 feet only, below the surface through a large portion of the island: a fire was once accidentally kindled in one of the pits, which _is_ now continually burning. Cape Breton has been termed the Key to Canada and is the principal protection, through the fine harbor of Louisburg, of all the fisheries in the neighborhood.”

EMMA. “The next important bays in our southward course are Bay of Fundy, Delaware Bay, and Chesapeake Bay: then we come in sight of the Bahamas.”

MRS. WILTON. “Which islands must stand aside while we examine the Bermudas, which are half-way between Nova Scotia and the Antilles. They were so called by Juan Bermudas, who discovered them in the year 1557, but did not land upon them: they are of various sizes, the largest being about twelve miles. The cedar-trees grown there form the chief riches of the inhabitants, and they estimate a man’s income by the number of trees he possesses. St. George is the capital, and the islands belong to the English. They are sometimes called ‘Somers Isles,’ from the circumstance of Sir John Somers being shipwrecked on the rocks by which they are surrounded. Previous to this occurrence Henry May, an Englishman, was cast ashore on one of the largest, and as the islands abound with cedar, he contrived, with the assistance of the materials he obtained from the wreck, to build a small vessel, in which he returned to England, and was the first person who gave any account of the group.”

GEORGE. “Now for the Bahamas. They are 300 in number! but only twelve are large. Nassau is the capital They were the first land discovered by Columbus in the year 1492.”

MR. WILTON. “And were once a nest of pirates, but the English expelled them, and established a colony in 1720.”

MR. BARRAUD. “Speaking of pirates, have you ever heard the plan adopted by the Portuguese for the suppression of piracy?”

No one had heard it, and Mr. Barraud proceeded.

“The Portuguese, in their early intercourse with the Indians, had a summary punishment, and accompanied it with a terrible example to deter others from the commission of the crime. Whenever they took a pirate ship they instantly hanged every man, carried away the sails, rudder, and everything that was valuable in the ship, and left her to be buffeted about by the winds and waves, with the carcasses of the criminals dangling from the yards, a horrid object of terror to all who might chance to fall in with her.”

CHARLES. “Almost as dreadful a vessel to fall in with as the Phantom Ship in Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner,’ I always feel uncomfortable when I read that poem, and yet I admire it very much.”

MRS. WILTON. “It is replete with such truthful descriptions, that you are involuntarily borne on the wings of imagination until all seems reality, and you identify yourself with the Ancient Mariner.”

MR. WILTON. “I anticipate we shall all be ancient mariners before we conclude our voyage, but we must not be idle ones. Lead on, Emma, we will follow.”

EMMA. “I have no more bays yet, and it is mamma’s province to describe the islands.”

MRS. WILTON. “Well and good: here are the Antilles. I shall not hasten over _them_, for they are _our_ isles, whither we hope shortly to sail in reality; therefore it is highly necessary that we should be well informed concerning their locality. They form an arch between the two continents of America, and extend from the Gulf of Florida to that of Venezuela. They are divided into the greater and the less; Cuba, Jamaica, St. Domingo, and Porto Rico are called the Great Antilles, all the others the less Antilles.

“Cuba is the largest and most important: it commands the windward passage, as well as the entrance into the gulfs of Mexico and Florida, and is for that reason sometimes called the Key of the West Indies. It is more than 700 miles in length, and its medium breadth 70 miles. Havannah is the capital.

“Jamaica is a delightful island, endeared to me by many fond recollections; it is mountainous, extremely fertile, and abounding with springs (as its name signifies) of delicious water, a great luxury in a warm climate. The top of the highest mountain, Blue Mountain Peak, is 7800 feet above the level of the sea. Kingston is the chief place for trade. The island is 150 miles from east to west, and its breadth is 60 miles in its widest part.

“St. Domingo, capital same name, is a pleasant fertile country. The first town founded by Europeans in America was St. Domingo. The bones of Christopher Columbus and his brother Lewis are deposited in two leaden coffins in the cathedral of this city.

“Porto Rico is 100 miles long and 40 broad. It is beautifully diversified with woods, valleys, and plains, and extremely fertile.”

GRANDY. “The Antilles are lovely islands, and some of the happiest moments of my life have been passed in admiring the wonderful works of our Creator, as shown to such advantage in the bright lands of the West. Beautiful are the mornings in Jamaica, when the sun, appearing through a cloudless and serene atmosphere, illumines with his rays the summits of the mountains, and gilds the leaves of the plantain and orange-trees. The plants are spread over with gossamer of fine and transparent silk, or gemmed with dew-drops, and the vivid hues of industrious insects, reflecting unnumbered tints from the rays of the sun. The aspect of the richly cultivated valleys is different, but not less pleasing; the whole of nature teems with the most varied productions. The views around are splendid; the lofty mountains adorned with thick foliage; the hills, from their summits to their very borders, fringed with plants of never fading verdure. The appearance of the valleys is remarkable: to form an imperfect idea of it, we must group together the stately palm-tree, the cocoa-nut, and tamarind trees, the clustering mango and orange-trees, the waving plumes of the feathery bamboo, and many others, too numerous to mention. On these plains, too, you will find the bushy oleander, many varieties of Jerusalem thorn and African rose, the bright scarlet of the cordium, bowers of jessamine, vines of grenadilla, and the silver and silky leaves of the portlandia. Fields of sugar-cane, houses of the planters, huts of the negroes almost hidden by the patches of cultivated ground attached to them, and the distant coast with ships, add to the beauty of the West Indian landscape.”

MR. WILTON. “That is the bright side of the scene, my dear mother; and lest we should form wrong impressions, we will let the young folks hear how all this beauty is sometimes marred by hurricanes and earthquakes. One specimen will be sufficient; and I will describe a hurricane, in order that you may have some slight notion of the many _delights_ attendant on a residence in the West Indies.–A hurricane is generally preceded by an awful stillness of the elements, the air becomes close and heavy, the sun is red, and the stars at night seem unusually large. Frequent changes take place in the thermometer, which rises sometimes from 80 deg. to 90 deg.. Darkness extends over the earth; the higher regions gleam with lightning. The impending storm is first observed on the sea; foaming mountains rise suddenly from its clear and motionless surface. The wind rages with unrestrained fury; its noise may be compared to distant thunder. The rain descends in torrents; shrubs and lofty trees are borne down by the mountain stream; the rivers overflow their banks, and submerge the plains. Terror and consternation seem to pervade the whole of animated nature: land birds are driven into the ocean; and those whose element is the sea, seek for refuge in the woods. The frighted beasts of the field herd together, or roam in vain for a place of shelter. All the elements are thrown into confusion, and nature appears to be hastening to her ancient chaos. Scenes of desolation are disclosed by the next morning’s sun; uprooted trees, branches shivered from their trunks; and even the ruins of houses scattered over the land. The planter has sometimes been scarcely able to distinguish the place of his former possessions. By these dreadful hurricanes, fertile valleys may in a few hours be changed into dreary wastes, covered with the remains of domestic animals and the fowls of heaven.”

CHARLES. “I do not envy you the prospect of an abode in the Antilles, friend George; but I shall be heartily glad to see you safe back again.”

GRANDY. “Every country has an evil; ’tis right it should be so, or we should like this fair world and its enjoyments so well, that we should not care to ‘go up higher.’ There are many evils ’tis true, but there is also so much good to counter-balance the evil, that we should raise our hearts with thankfulness, and open our lips with praises to sing the goodness of our God.

“Emma, my child, where roam we next?”

EMMA. “We cannot quit the Gulf of Mexico yet, dear Grandy, until we have examined its environs. We entered it through the Gulf of Florida, which is situated between Florida and Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico almost intersects the two continents; and is, in fact, an extensive sea. It washes the shores of Mexico and Yucatan, and contains many comparatively small bays.”

MR. BARRAUD. “This gulf may be considered as a Mediterranean Sea, which opens a maritime commerce with all the fertile countries by which it is encircled. The islands scattered in it are inferior only to those in the Indian Archipelago in number, in magnitude, and in value.”

MRS. WILTON. “Mexico is a very rich city; the shops literally overflowing with gold, silver, and jewels. The cathedral, in some respects, surpasses all the churches in the world. The balustrade which surrounds the altar is composed of massive silver. A lamp, of the same metal, is of so vast a size that three men go into it when it has to be cleaned; and it is enriched with lion’s heads and other ornaments of pure gold. The statues of the Virgin and the saints, are made of solid silver, richly gilded and ornamented with precious stones.

“Yucatan is celebrated for beautiful ruins, adorned with the most striking, imposing, and elegant decorations, but who were the architects, or when built, is at present a mystery; for when discovered by the Spaniards in the fifteenth century, it was inhabited by a fierce tribe of Indians, who were perfectly ignorant of arts and sciences; therefore, these magnificent erections must have been the work of civilized men, before Yucatan was possessed by the Indians. Many attempts were made by the Spaniards to obtain a footing in this country, but to no purpose. At length they hit upon the expedient of sending priests among the people. Five were found willing to go: they were introduced as men of peace by the Mexicans, were amicably received, and allowed to settle in the country. Their conduct soon gained them the love and esteem of the fierce Indians, and they brought their children to be taught, and were baptized with their whole families. Every day strengthened their attachment to the Padres: they built them houses to live in, and a temple for worship; and at last, without any compulsion, the chiefs acknowledged the authority of the King of Castile. But this allegiance was of short duration. Some Spanish soldiers went over, and carried fire and sword into the heart of their country, and soon obliterated the impression made by the good Padres. The Indians again waged war with civilized man, and the priests fled for their lives. Many years after the Spaniards were the conquerors, and succeeded in planting their standard in Yucatan, in the year 1537. It is now inhabited by Spaniards and Indians: there is an appearance of civilization surrounding many of these desolated places. Villages and towns have been formed, and lands cultivated in every direction.”

EMMA. “Through the Bay of Honduras we enter the Caribbean Sea, and it is the last sea on this side of the equator.”

MR. BARRAUD. “The Caribbean Sea is, generally speaking, still and quiet, and in fine weather the water is so transparent, that the mariner can discern fish and coral at fifty fathoms below the surface. The ship seems to float in the air, and the spectator is often seized with vertigo, while he beholds through the crystalline fluid, submarine groves and beautiful shells glittering among tufts of fucus and sea-weed. Fresh-water springs issue from the sea on both sides of the Channel between Yucatan and Cuba. They rush with so much violence out of the deep, that it is dangerous for small vessels to approach them; boats have been dashed to pieces by the force of the surge. Ships on the coast sail here sometimes for a supply of fresh water, which the seamen draw from the bottom of the Ocean!”

EMMA. “What extraordinary things we meet with in our travels! May we, before crossing the equator, visit the lakes, mamma?”

MRS. WILTON. “I am quite agreeable. Who wishes to go to the lakes?”

CHARLES. “I do, and will start directly I have prepared the necessary documents. Oh! here they are; Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, are considered as forming one large inland sea, dividing the United States from Canada. There are several islands in these lakes, particularly in Lake Superior, which islands the savages believe to be the residence of the Great Spirit. It is strange that these lakes are never frozen over, although the entrances are frequently obstructed with ice.”

EMMA. “Lake Superior is more than 500 leagues in circumference; its clear waters, fed by forty rivers, are contained in extensive strata of rocks, and their surges nearly equal those of the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Huron is connected with Superior, by the Straits of St. Mary. Lake Michigan communicates with Huron by a long strait, and the country around its banks belongs exclusively to the United States.”

CHARLES. “Lake Erie is my favorite, because it communicates with the river Niagara, and with those celebrated cataracts of which so much has been written.”

GEORGE. “For the same reason then, you should patronize Lake Ontario. It is 170 miles long, and 60 miles broad, at its widest part, and empties itself through the romantic ‘Lake of a thousand Isles,’ into the St. Lawrence.”

EMMA. “Lake Winnipeg is the next nearest; it is more than sixty leagues in length, by thirty or forty broad. Its banks are shaded by the sugar-maple and poplar, and it is surrounded by fertile plains, which produce the rice of Canada.

“The Great Slave Lake is quite north, and the last of any consequence. It is more than a hundred leagues in length, and sprinkled with islands, covered with trees resembling the mulberry. Mackenzie found them loaded with ice in the middle of June.”

MRS. WILTON. “There is nothing in other parts of the globe which resembles the prodigious chain of lakes in North America. They may properly be termed inland seas of fresh water; and even those of second and third class in magnitude, are of larger circuit than the greatest lake in the old continent. They all unite to form one uninterrupted current of water, extending above 600 leagues in length. The country around is intersected with rivers, lakes, and marshes to a greater extent than any other part of the world: but few mountains rise above this savage icy plain. One is tempted to inquire, why do such superb streams waste their fertilizing waters upon these frozen deserts? We only know they manifest the Power, and we must not doubt the Wisdom of their Creator.”

MR. WILTON. “Now, Emma, return to our former situation in the Bay of Honduras. What of that bay?”

EMMA. “Only this, papa, that it washes the shores of Yucatan, which has already been described, and runs into the Caribbean Sea. Mamma will help me here.”

MRS. WILTON. “The coast of Honduras was discovered by Columbus, in his last voyage, but its verdant beauties (for it is a lovely place.) could not win him to the shore. Without landing, he continued on to the Isthmus of Darien, in search of that passage to India which was the aim of all his hopes, but which it was destined he should never see.”

EMMA. “The Caribbean Sea contains the Caribbee Islands, which are also distinguished by the names of Windward and Leeward Isles. The only one we should have to pass near in sailing out of this sea, is Tobago.”

MR. WILTON. “But, Emma, are you going to leave this coast without a visit to Panama?”

EMMA. “My only reason for so doing, dear papa, is because I know nothing about it, except that it is situated close to the Isthmus of Darien, and its chief town is Porto Bello.”

MR. WILTON. “Panama is itself an isthmus, and is most luxuriant in vegetable productions, and could challenge competition with any part of the world, in the vigor and variety of its woods. There are known to be growing there, no less than ninety-seven different qualities of wood. It is famed, as most woody places are, for snakes and poisonous reptiles: the country people will scarcely move abroad after nightfall for fear of them, and always carry a charm about their person to prevent injury from their bite. This charm is an alligator’s tooth, stuffed with herbs, compounded and muttered over by some old woman.”

MR. BARRAUD. “I have heard that toads at Porto Bello are so numerous, that it is the popular prejudice that the drops of rain are changed into toads; and even the more learned maintain that the eggs of this animal are raised with the vapors from the adjoining swamps, and being conveyed to the city by the succeeding rains, are there hatched. They are large and frightful, many of them six inches in breadth; and after a night of rain, the streets are almost covered, so that it is impossible to walk any distance without crushing dozens of them. The city is so badly situated, and the climate so unhealthy, that few persons can exist there, and it is justly termed by the Spaniards ‘La Sepultura de los Europeanos.'”

CHARLES. “The people of Porto Bello are not particularly dainty. I am sure I should starve there, for I could not consent to eat their food. What do you think of shovel-nosed sharks being sold in the markets, and guanas–which you know are lizards–being considered a special treat? and then, worse than all, the country folks mostly feed upon monkeys. How should you fare amongst them, George? Could you make a dinner off a roasted monkey?”

GEORGE. “I do not think I should enjoy it, but if I were very hungry, I might not be particular: however, I must own I should even then prefer beef or mutton to lizards and monkeys.”

MR. WILTON. “Panama is, notwithstanding their want of taste, a rich country; rich in gold, silver, and other mines. Commerce is gaining ground there, and in the present day the people are more anxious to make their fortunes than to display their magnificence. Formerly, no family in Panama ate off anything but plate, almost every domestic utensil was of the same material, and the women wore a profusion of chains, pearls, and other ornaments. But times are altered there as elsewhere; most of the gold has passed through the melting-pot to the Old World.”

MR. BARRAUD. “True; but they have still enough left to make very grand displays on gala days; and, on these occasions, the dresses of the women are peculiarly splendid. A loose chemise of beautiful cambric, with innumerable and immense frills richly worked with lace, is, with a petticoat of the same, fastened at the waist by several massive chased-gold buttons. Round the neck are several gold chains, with pearl rosettes, crosses, and rows of pearls; the ear-rings are of the shape of a telegraph, and reach nearly to the shoulders; the fingers are covered with rings: and various combs, studded with rows of pearl cased in gold, are placed together with a massive gold bodkin, to great advantage in beautiful hair, plaited in two tails down the back. The feet are barely introduced into a little slipper, turned up very much at the toes, and also richly ornamented. The whole appearance is elegant and becoming.”

MR. WILTON. “The pearls thus tastefully disposed around the person of a fair Panamenian, are procured among the islands of the coast by diving. The occupation is very laborious, and success most uncertain; but the pursuit is a favorite one, and the divers are very expert. They generally proceed in companies of several canoes together, each containing six or seven men, who dive in succession, armed with a sharp knife, rather for the purpose of detaching the oysters from the rocks to which they adhere, than for defence against danger. Before descending, they repeatedly cross themselves, (for you must understand, nearly all Central America is inhabited by Roman Catholics,) and generally bring up four oysters, one under each arm, and two in the hand. The usual time of stopping under water is from fifty seconds to two and a half minutes. Much has been said of the danger of these fisheries, both from the shark, and another enemy called the ‘Manta.’ which crushes its victim. But the shark is ever a coward, and no match for an expert diver with a knife; and accidents rarely occur.”

EMMA. “Oh! how much information I should have lost, had I gone sailing on by myself. I think I had better resign my station at the wheel to some member who is better able to steer. Who will have it?”

MR. BARRAUD. “Keep it, Emma, unless you are weary, and we will direct your course occasionally. I am sure you have proved yourself so indefatigable on all occasions, that our vessel cannot be in better hands.”

EMMA. “Before proceeding any further, I wish to read the enclosed account. I received it with two or three other papers, from our friend Dora, a few minutes before we assembled. She knew we should be explaining the Atlantic to-night, and begged I would introduce this at the meeting.

#The Seaboy’s Grave.#

“‘There was a poor little middy on board, so delicate and fragile, that the sea was clearly no fit profession for him; but he or his friends thought otherwise; and as he had a spirit for which his frame was no match, he soon gave token of decay. This boy was a great favorite with everybody; the sailors smiled whenever he passed, as they would have done to a child; the officers patted him, and coddled him up with all sorts of good things; and his messmates, in a style which did not altogether please him, but which he could not well resist, as it was meant most kindly, nicknamed him, “Dolly.” Poor fellow! he was long remembered afterwards. I forget what his particular complaint was, but he gradually sank, and at last went out just as a taper might have done, exposed to such gusts of wind as blew in that tempestuous region. He died in the morning, but it was not until the evening that he was prepared for a seaman’s grave.

“‘I remember in the course of the day, going to the side of the boy’s hammock; and, on laying my hand upon his breast, being astonished to find it still warm; so much so, that I almost imagined I could feel the heart beat. This, of course, was a vain fancy; but I was greatly attached to my little companion, being then not much taller myself, and I was soothed and gratified, in a childish way, by discovering that my friend, though many hours dead, had not yet acquired the usual revolting chilliness.

“‘Something occurred during the day to prevent the funeral taking place at the usual hour; and the ceremony was deferred until long after sunset. The evening was extremely dark, and it was blowing a treble-reefed topsail breeze. We had just sent down the top-gallant yards, and had made all snug for a boisterous winter’s night. As it became necessary to have lights to see what was done, several signal lanterns were placed on the break of the quarter-deck, and others along the hammock railing on the lee-gangway. The whole ship’s company and officers were assembled; some on the booms, others in the boats; while the main-rigging was crowded half-way up to the cat-harpings. Overhead the mainsail, illuminated as high as the yard by the lamps, was bulging forwards under the gale, which was rising every minute, and straining so violently at the main-sheet, that there was some doubt whether it might not be necessary to interrupt the funeral in order to take sail off the ship. The lower-deck ports lay completely under water, and several times the muzzles of the main-deck guns were plunged into the sea; so that the ends of the grating on which the remains of poor “Dolly” were laid, once or twice nearly touched the tops of the waves, as they foamed and hissed past. The rain fell fast on the bare heads of the crew, dropping also on the officers during all the ceremony, from the foot of the mainsail, and wetting the leaves of the prayer-book. The wind sighed over us amongst the wet shrouds, with a note so mournful, that there could not have been a more appropriate dirge.

“‘The ship pitching violently, strained and cracked from end to end; so that, what with the noise of the sea, the rattling of the ropes, and the whistling of the wind, hardly one word of the service could be distinguished. The men, however, understood by a motion of the captain’s hand, when the time came, and the body of our dear little brother was committed to the deep.

“‘So violent a squall was sweeping past the ship at this moment that no sound was heard of the usual splash, which made the sailors (naturally superstitious) allege, that their young favorite never touched the water at all, but was at once carried off in the gale to his final resting-place!'”

GEORGE. “Oh! how very melancholy. It seems much more dismal to be buried in the sea than on the land:

“‘For the dead should lie in the churchyard green, Where the pleasant flowers do spring.'”

EMMA. “I shall be grateful to Captain Hall if his pathetic description of the funeral of ‘Dolly’ checks your desire to become a sailor, George; for I cannot bear to think of it. We are now to sail along the coast of South America, and the first gulfs in the north of this coast are the gulfs of Maracaybo, Coro, Trieste, and Paria, by the island of Trinidad, where—-“

CHARLES. “Stop! stop! Emma. Out of four gulfs there must be something to be had worth fishing for, is there not?”

MR. BARRAUD. “You may fish for melancholy in the Gulf of Trieste, Charles, if you are so disposed, for it is a dreadful place. Here, in the midst of furious waves, enormous rocks raise their isolated heads, and scarcely, even with a fair wind, can ships overcome the strength of the stream.”

CHARLES. “We will not angle in _that_ gulf; but I have fished up an island in Maracaybo, or Venezuela Gulf. It is called Curacoa, and is arid and sterile. There is very little water, and only one well in the island, and the water is sold at a high price. Its capital is Williamstadt, one of the neatest cities in the West Indies.”

MRS. WILTON. “The entrance to the Gulf of Paria on the north side is called Dragon’s Mouth, on the south, Serpent’s Mouth. This gulf separates Trinidad from South America. Trinidad is about 70 miles from east to west, and nearly 50 from north to south. The most remarkable phenomenon there is a bituminous lake, situated on the western coast, near the village of La Brea. It is nearly three miles in extent, of a circular form, and about 80 feet above the level of the sea. Small islands, covered with plants and shrubs, are occasionally observed on this lake, but it is subject to frequent changes, and the verdant isles often disappear. Trinidad is important on account of its fertility, its extent, and its position.”

EMMA. “The next bay in our course is the Bay of Oyapok.”

MRS. WILTON. “And the next country in our course is Guiana, washed by the Atlantic. This country is subject to annual inundations. All the rivers overflow their banks; forests, trees, shrubs, and parasitical plants seem to float on the water, and the sea tinged with yellow clay, adds its billows to the fresh-water streams. Quadrupeds are forced to take refuge on the highest trees: large lizards, agoutis, and pecaries[12] quit their watery dens and remain on the branches. Aquatic birds spring upon the trees to avoid the cayman[13] and serpents that infest the temporary lakes. The fish forsake their ordinary food, and live on the fruits and berries of the shrubs through which they swim,–the crab is found upon trees, and the oyster multiplies in the forest. The Indian, who surveys from his canoe this new chaos, this confusion of earth and sea, suspends his hammock on an elevated branch, and sleeps without fear in the midst of so great danger.”

[Footnote 12: Animals similar to the wild boar of Europe, but very small.]

[Footnote 13: Cayman: a species of alligator.]

GRANDY. “Emma will have more than she can accomplish to-night, if she wishes to enter all the bays around South America, for no country in the world is so famous for its enormous gulfs.”

MR. WILTON. “Yes; we must make a division for another meeting. To-night we will sail down to Cape Horn, and sojourn there until the 21st of this month. We could not choose a more favorable time than March for our visit.”

EMMA. “Very well, then, we will merely mention some of these bays, viz.:–Pinzon, Maripani, Gurupy, Turiassu, Cuma, Paraiba, All Saints, Camanu, and St. Salvador Bay, near Rio de Janeiro.”

MR. WILTON. “Well, Emma, you have certainly manoeuvred well to bring us over the equator without the usual visitation of Neptune and Amphitrite, and we must all thank you for landing us, without a ducking, in the principal town of Brazil. So now we will walk about and see the lions.”

GEORGE. “We can go and fill our pockets, papa; for it is said that through the whole of this country, at the depth of twenty-four feet from the surface, there is a thin vein of gold, the particles of which are carried by the springs and heavy rains into the neighboring rivers, from the sands of which they are gathered by negroes employed for that purpose. There, too, we might happen to find some diamonds”

CHARLES. “You would find it not so easy to collect gold and diamonds as you imagine, and I expect you would come back poorer than you went.”

MRS. WILTON. “Rio de Janeiro possesses one of the finest harbors known, having at its entrance a bar, at the extremes of which rise two rocks. This bay is twenty-four leagues in length, and eight in width, and has in it many islands; some are cultivated and possess sugar-works. The most celebrated of them is named De Cobra, off which island ships cast anchor. On the opposite side of this city, a natural wall of rocks, called Los Organos, extends itself as far as the sea, and forms a perfect line of defence independently of the neighboring fortresses.”

EMMA. “Paraguay is the adjacent coast, and derives its name from the Payaguas, a treacherous and deceitful people, who subsist by fishing. It is a fertile district, and produces a species of ilex,[14] which makes the tea so much used in South America. The laborers, who esteem it vastly more than we do our Chinese tea, will refuse to work if deprived of it. The twigs are steeped with the leaves, and the tea is taken through a silver or glass tube. The gulfs along here are not very important. I have no account of them.”

[Footnote 14: Ilex: a species of oak.]

MRS. WILTON. “Monte Video is the next coast, and derives its name from a mountain near the city; it is completely enclosed with fortifications. The inhabitants are humane and well disposed. The ladies in general affable and polite, and extremely fond of dress, and very neat and cleanly in their persons. They adopt the English costume at home, but go abroad usually in black, and always covered with a large veil or mantle. Provisions here are very cheap; and such is the profusion of flesh-meat, that the vicinity for two miles round, and even the purlieus of the town itself, present filthy spectacles of bones and raw flesh at every step, which feed immense flocks of sea-gulls, and, in summer, breed myriads of flies, to the great annoyance of the inhabitants, who are obliged, at table, to have a servant or two continually employed in fanning the dishes with feathers to drive away these troublesome intruders.”

EMMA. “Between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres are many bays: False Bay, Brightman Bay, and Union Bay are the principal.”

MRS. WILTON. “Buenos Ayres was founded in 1535 by Don Pedro de Mendoza, who gave it that name on account of the salubrity of its climate. This town is in many respects the most considerable of all the commercial towns in South America. Bread is by no means the staff of life here, for meat and the great variety of roots and grain with which the country abounds, afford to the poor inhabitants an equally healthy and even more nutritious substance.”

EMMA.”–South of Buenos Ayres are Antonio Bay, Nuevo Gulf, Ergano Bay, Gulf of Vera, and Gulf of St. George, which last runs into the country of the gigantic Patagonians.”

MR. BARRAUD. “The bays here afford good anchorage for ships; but there are neither inhabitants, wood, nor fresh water in the adjacent country: a few aquatic birds and sea-wolves remain unmolested on these dismal shores.”

MR. WILTON. “Patagonia is inhabited by wandering tribes of Indians. From their extraordinary size they have given rise to many remarkable tales. Fernandez de Magalhanes says, that one day, when the fleet was anchored at Port San Julian, a person of gigantic stature appeared on the shore. He sang, he danced, and sprinkled dust on his forehead: a sailor was sent to land, with orders to imitate his gestures, which were considered signals of peace. The seaman performed his part so well, that the giant accompanied him to the commander’s vessel. He pointed to the sky, wishing to inquire if the Spaniards had descended from heaven. His size was such that the sailors’ heads did not come up to his waist.”

GEORGE. “But are they really giants, papa?”

MR. WILTON. “Not exactly _giants_, my dear; not men who could travel in seven league boots: but they are really large people; many of them seven feet high; and such men seen through a traveller’s microscope, would be magnified to huge giants!”

CHARLES. “Now, here we are in the land of Fires! and yet it is very cold. Emma, you are surely not going to name all these little bays?”

EMMA. “Do not be alarmed, Charles: I will not so far tax your patience; but we must see Terra del Fuego. It is divided into three large islands,–South Desolation, Clarence Island, and King Charles’s Southland; besides which there are hundreds of smaller isles, habited and uninhabited.”

MRS. WILTON. “Having reached the southern extremity of the American continent, we may take an excursion to some of the neighboring islands; for although they are not all subject to America, still they are nearer to it than to any other country. To the south of Patagonia there is a number of cold, barren, and mountainous islands; volcanoes which cannot melt, brighten and illumine the perpetual snow in these dismal regions. Here it was that the sailors observed fires on the southern shores of the strait, for which reason the land on that side was called Terra del Fuego.”

GEORGE. “Mamma, I wish to know why March is a favorable month for visiting Cape Horn?”

MRS. WILTON. “Because midsummer takes place in February, and is the best time of the year. July is the worst month, for then the sun does not rise until nine o’clock, and it sets at three, giving eighteen hours night; and then, also, snow and rain, gales and high winds are in abundance. Charles, will you favor us with some account of the islands?”

CHARLES. “Staten is a detached island, which may be considered as forming part of the archipelago of Terra del Fuego. It was discovered by Lemaire.

“The Falklands are two large islands, separated from each other by a broad channel of the same name. We are now nearly out of the Atlantic.”

MR. WILTON. “Yes; we had now better clear the decks, and pipe to supper.”

GEORGE. “One question more, dear papa. Can any one tell the depth of the Atlantic?”

MR. WILTON. “The depth is extremely various, and in many places wholly beyond the power of man to fathom. The greatest depth that has ever been reached, was effected by Captain Scoresby in the sea near Greenland, in the year 1817, and was 7,200 feet. Many parts of the Atlantic are thought to be three times this depth. How much is that, my boy?”

GEORGE. “21,600 feet, papa.”

MR. WILTON. “Well done! Now go and discuss mamma’s _realities_, and try and remember as much as possible of our imaginary wanderings, that they may prove of _real_ utility to you in your journey through life.”


The water of the vast ocean,
When it has raged with all its fury, becalms itself again; This is the course of the world;–and likewise still to forget. _Kalmuck Song_.

There were no disappointments on the twenty-first; but there was evidently some cause of uneasiness, for there was a great deal of whispering between George and his sister, and a great many significant glances at papa, which plainly indicated that some important disclosure was about to be made. But muffins and tea appeared, and disappeared, and still not a word. George fidgeted, and Emma looked uneasy, which Mr. Wilton observing, he said: “I apprehend there will be no business done to-night, unless I set these anxious little folks at rest, by informing the present company