Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, September 1847
Vol. XXXI. September, 1847. No. 3.
|Fiction, Literature and Articles|
|The Slaver (conclusion)|
|The Islets of the Gulf (continued)|
|Stock-Jobbing in New York|
|Lolah Lalande. A Package from My Old Writing-Desk|
|Review of New Books|
|To a Century Plant|
Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.
VICTORIA, PRINCESS ROYAL.
Engraved for Graham’s Magazine
Vol. XXXI. PHILADELPHIA, SEPTEMBER, 1847. No. 3.
A TALE OF OUR OWN TIMES.
BY A SON OF THE LATE DR. JOHN D. GODMAN.
(Concluded from page 71.)
Gon. Now would I give a thousand furlongs
Of sea, for an acre of barren ground,
Long heath, brown furze, any thing. The
Wills above be done! But I would fain die a
De Vere had not intended to marry quite so soonas he did, but being unexpectedly recalled home byan order from the admiralty, and wishing to take hisbeautiful Clara with him, he had with very little difficultypersuaded her to hasten their bridal day, andthen accompany him to England.
Don Manuel was at first very loth to let hisdaughter leave him. Had it been Francisca, hewould not have consented; her soft and gentle dispositionhad entwined itself completely around theold man’s heart. But there was more of pridemingled with his affection for Clara; and she soenthusiastically expressed her desire to visit theEnglish metropolis, and to travel over the heavingwaves of the broad Atlantic—for she had never beento sea—that the old Don gave way to her entreaties;and with many kisses and promises of soon seeingthem again, but apparently without much distress,she took leave of her father and sister on the deckof the Scorpion, where they had accompanied herto take a last farewell. Telling De Vere to watchwell the charge he had entrusted to him, withsorrow and tears Don Manuel and Francisca gotinto their boat.
As soon as the boat was clear of the brig, whichwas only waiting for them to make sail, and whosesails were all loose, but held in their places by themen who had unloosed them, were let fall together,and walking away with all the halyards at once,the Scorpion was under all sail, and standing out ofthe harbor before Don Manuel’s boat reached theshore.
Francisca and her father both felt very much theloss of Clara and De Vere’s company; but knowingit was useless to make vain lamentations, they returnedhome.
The thoughts of the many things she would see,and the images of the proud beauties of the Englishcourt, whom she would soon be with, and shehoped outshine, so occupied the mind of Clara, thatshe had parted from her father and sister withoutmuch regret. But as she stood on the quarter-deck,and saw the objects on shore gradually grow smallerand smaller—first the trees, then the light-house, andeventually the blue shores of the now distant islanditself disappear from her sight, as if they had allsunk to the depths of the ocean, and looking around,observed nothing but an expanse of clouds andwater, upon which the brig was but a speck—asudden and complete sense of her bereavementoppressed her, and she burst into tears; for thoughshe knew her husband was near, there is somethingso inexpressibly melancholy in leaving for the firsttime the home of your childhood, and the land ofyour nativity, that, for awhile, she could not avoidgiving way to her grief. But De Vere soothed her, bytales of the sea, the distant and new country shewas about to visit, and by promising it would bebut a short time ere she should return. Hardly hadshe regained her composure when she was disagreeablyaffected in another way. Father Neptune,not allowing even the most beautiful and fair totravel over his domains without paying tribute; andsick, nauseated, with her head swimming andaching as if it would split, she was led to her state-room,thinking she would give all she possessed inthe world to be once more in the house she had solately left.
When she recovered, and again came on deck,it was a warm, bright morning. The brig had justleft the Gulf Stream. There was a fresh breeze,but the sea, unruffled by it, was heaving in long,rolling waves. Shoals of porpoises and black-fishwere tumbling about in their uncouth gambols—interesting,because new, to Clara, but to the sailorsmore than uninteresting, as they prognosticated anapproaching storm. The fragile and graceful nautilus,also, was seen expanding its tiny sail; numeroussea-birds were flying about, or for a momentresting on the water; and the Scorpion, as shemoved rapidly along, seemed “a thing of life.”
Clara, forgetting her sickness, was delighted, andamused her husband by the incessant questions sheput to him about every thing she saw. All day sheremained on deck, and until a late hour in theevening; then with a lingering look at the brightstars, and the wide expanse of water that, alive withphosphorescent matter, seemed on fire, she reluctantlywent below; but soon was dreaming of theglorious sublimity and beauty of all she had seen,nearly all the night, as the day had thus passedpleasantly by, when, toward morning, she wasawakened by hoarse noises on deck, overhead, andfound the ship rolling and pitching violently. Herhusband she saw had left the cabin; and, alarmed,she hastily dressed, and started after him, to seewhat had happened; but she got no further than thetop of the companion-way. Terrified, she clung tothe railing, and with her body on the steps, and herhead just above the level of the deck, with dilatedpupils she gazed upon the awful change that hadcome over the face of the fickle deep in a few shorthours. Instead of the long, unbroken, rolling wavesshe had left, she now found the surface of the oceana mass of foam; huge, giant billows, as if in sport,chased each other with fearful rapidity, lifting thebrig, now apparently as if they would carry her upinto the low, dark, leaden-looking clouds, that seemednot much higher than her masts, and then, as theyran from under her, would leave her to sink betweentwo hills of living water, as if to the bottomless pit,until another would pick up the brig, as a child’splaything, and hurling her on, away she would goagain, up, up, for awhile, only to sink into anotheryawning valley, pitching, rolling, struggling, creaking,she held her way; and Clara’s natural prideand self possession in a short time enabled her tolook calmly around, and even to admire, the fearfulscene.
The brig, she saw, was under nothing but hertop-sails, close reefed; and a small storm stay-sail;and her husband coming to her, said that a heavywind had come out from the northward and westwardabout twelve o’clock, and had been increasingever since, and was still rising, and that though hewas now able to hold his course, he did not thinkhe could much longer, and insisted upon Clara’sgoing below. Well it was that she did; for scarcelyhad she left the deck, when a blast, stronger andfiercer than any they had felt, struck the Scorpion,and bore her almost on her beam-ends. Struggling,she nearly righted herself, but again the ruthlesswind compelled her to bow to its power, and atremendous wave striking her at the same time, shewas laid over completely.
Captain De Vere had been expecting such acatastrophe; and as soon as he found his vesselwas on her beam-ends, and could not again rightherself, gave the order to “Cut away the masts!”
Never is the cool and intrepid bravery that formsthe basis of a seaman’s character shown to suchgreat advantage as in situations of the utmost emergency.And to have seen the self-collectednesswith which the sailors of the Scorpion, axe in hand,crept along the brig’s weather bulwark, with thestrong and angry billows momentarily threateningto carry them off to the coral depths beneath, asthey swept over them, one would have thought themen were all unconscious of fear—and such wasthe truth; for mariners are danger’s children, begottenby courage.
Though fearless, they were fully aware of therisks they were running; with certain, but quickand rapid strokes, their sharp hatchets struck thethick-tarred lanyards, which, stretched to their utmosttension by the weight of the masts, quickly parted,and the tall spars losing their support, snapped shortoff, and toppled over into the boiling sea.
As soon as the masts fell the brig righted; andmuch to the joy of all on board, was once more onan even keel.
“Lively, men! lively, lads!” was now the order;and quickly cutting away the lee-lanyards, the brigwas free from the wreck of her floating spars, andputting her before the wind, away the Scorpion flew,sailless, mastless, faster than she had ever sailed before,when, in the pride of all her lofty canvas, shehad chased some flying enemy—on, on, they sped!
Never until now had the haughty spirit of Clarabeen thoroughly humbled, or had she a correct ideaof man’s entire nothingness, when compared withnature in its might and majesty. But humbled shewas, when she came on deck that day and saw thetall and gallant brig, that had obeyed every motionof the helmsman’s hand, a bare, naked hull, unmanageable,and driven whither the wind listedover the angry waves, which followed fast after, andas they rose under the stern, their vast white combswould curl over the very tafferel, as if about tobreak on deck; and as the vessel lifted, and wasfor a moment out of danger, they would send thespray in showers over her, as if they were sheddingtears of anger that the poor vessel had, for an instant,escaped that destruction to which it seemed shewas inevitably hurrying. At last, one mighty wave,more powerful than the rest, reared its tremendousbulk far over the devoted brig’s stern, and breakingin a torrent of resistless force, swept over her deck.De Vere saw the impending danger just soon enoughto throw one arm around his wife’s waist, and castinghimself and her flat on deck, seize with the othera ring-bolt, and save themselves from death.
When the water ran off, and he looked around,but ten of his crew were left on the Scorpion’sdeck; the rest, some one hundred and forty souls,had been swept, unannealed, into eternity, thewaves their winding-sheet, the howling blast, andthe roaring billows, hymning their dirge. Poormen! how many of your fellows, with brave souls,kind hearts, loving wives and children, meet thesame sad fate.
Gathering together on the quarter-deck those whohad been spared, the hardy, weatherbeaten tars,the proud, conceited officer, the vain, worldly-mindedlady, humbly joined in offering to the throneof Almighty Grace, grateful thanks for their preservation;and praying to the Ruler of all thingsfor the rest of their departed messmates, earnestlybesought him to keep them safe in the hollow of hishand, and lead them out of their present danger.
The second day came round; the wind was unabated;and the brig was rushing, hurrying on toher unknown destination—most probably the bottomof the ocean.
The third day came; as time will ever on in itsceaseless course, alike indifferent to human joy orsorrow. No change had yet taken place for thebetter; slowly, tediously, tiresomely, the hours ofthat third day crept by. No employment had theybut watching the brig, as she dashed along, apparentlyracing with the wild billows that ever followed,ever kept alongside. Sun there was noneto enliven them; the same dark, leaden hue pervadedthe sky; and even the sunlight of hope, thatbest, most cheerful