« AnteriorContinuar »
We all huddled together near the windlass, as the safest spot we could find. A few hundred yards under our lee, stretched a line, resembling a dark thread, drawn out upon the water. This was land ! We looked toward it with longing eyes, in the hope of discovering tokens of assistance. Meantime the storm raged on. The sea still broke over the vessel with undiminished force ; but as it struck •aft,' its power was well nigh spent before it reached us. So soon as there was sufficient light to enable us to see what we were about, the crew turned to the boat that hung over the taffrail
. It was in the worst possible situation for us, as the waves broke directly over the spot where it was suspended. While we were yet eyeing it wistfully, it was dashed to pieces, where it hung, by the force of the sea, and its fragments floated by us toward the beach. No signs of aid appearing, we began to consider the expediency of going ashore on a bale of cotton. To test the safety of the conveyance, we threw overboard a bale, which floated off like a cork; but, instead of going toward the beach, it was borne by the current, at the rate of eight or ten knots an hour, in a parallel line with the land! As the breakers struck it endwise, it would turn over and over like a whirligig, and sometimes rise convulsively quite out of the water. It was presently driven on the beach, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile. We deemed it best to wait a little longer, before attempting to reach terra firma by a similar process,
• There they are ! there they are !' exultingly shouted one of the crew. All eyes were directed toward the land.
A few black spots appeared moving along the beach. These grew more distinct as they drew nearer, until it was evident that they were men, running hurriedly toward us. Our hearts beat at the sight, although we were ignorant whether they were friends or foes, Jews or Gentiles, land pirates, or hostile savages. They ran down to the edge of the surf, at the nearest point, held up their hands, and made all sorts of signs, not one of which could we understand. We inferred, however, that they were willing to aid us. A long rope was fastened to a spar, which was cast overboard, in the hope that it would drift ashore ; but it floated off the entire length of the line, without nearing the land. It was drawn back, and a bale of cotton substituted in its place, which was in like manner borne onward by the current that swept along the beach. Sometimes it seemed rapidly approaching the shore; but as the waves swept back to the sea, the under-tow' carried the bale with it. We drew it in several times, and gave it a new start, by throwing it more advantageously. At last, borne forward by a rapid succession of breakers, that knew no retiring ebb,' it came within the reach of one of the men, who had adventured far into the surf for the purpose. With the aid of the others, it was soon high on the beach.
Now came the tug! They were obliged to draw in the slack,' before it could be of any service to us in reaching land. The current was so strong, that the rope formed nearly a parallel line with the shore. While they were yet pulling lustily, the sky suddenly grew dark; the rain poured down with increased impetuosity; the gale became a perfect tornado; the vessel, from bow to tafsrail, was literally smothered with water. I crouched under the ship's side, covered
my head with my cloak, and as the billows rolled over me, calmly awaited my fate.
During this paroxysm of the storm, the fore-topsail-yard was broken asunder near the middle, and the ponderous parts, more fearful than the sword of Damocles, dangled over our heads by the ropes that sustained them, threatening every instant to fall and crush us. topsail itself was torn into a hundred ribbons. The foremast creaked and bent, and evinced strong tokens of 'going by the board.' The danger, on every hand, was indeed most imminent. I relinquished my position near the windlass, and crept over the confused deck, toward the cabin. Before I reached it, my cloak was stripped from off me by the wind, and I was thrown prostrate by a terrific wave; and on recovering, and reaching the companion-way, I found the cabin full of water. The men whose approach had given us so much delight, were no longer to be seen upon the beach; and the bale of cotton was floating at the end of the line, as far from the shore as ourselves.
It was now high noon. My feet and hands were benumbed with cold. There was no fairer prospect of getting ashore than at daybreak. The air began to sharpen; and if we remained in our present position all day and night, we should inevitably freeze to death, if we chanced to be so fortunate as to escape drowning. There lay the land, only a hundred or two yards off; but between us and the desired haven, there was ' a great gulf fixed !'
'I am going ashore !' exclaimed a young Welsh sailor, whose manly daring and intrepidity had won my admiration on more than one occasion before. Scarcely were the words out of his mouth, ere he fastened a rope to the extreme end of the flying-jib-boom, and swung off into the sea. Watching the moment, he dropped into the water after a wave had retired, and the first that overtook him drove him nearer to the land. We all bent over the bow, and watched his course with intense anxiety. On the success or failure of his undertaking, our own safety mainly depended. At times he would sink from our view, but his head was soon again visible above the billows. He took with him neither rope nor plank, preferring the unrestrained freedom of his limbs, to the aid which they might have afforded.
He was successful. In a short time, we saw him throwing out his arms with joy, and shaking himself on the beach. Stimulated by the result of this experiment, the mate immediately followed his example, and reached the shore in safety. Feeling, for my part, no very particular disinclination to going ashore, I disencumbered myself of my cloak, ran out to the end of the jib-boom, dropped into the water, and in a short time stood beside them, on good old mother Earth! Very grateful was I to heaven for my escape. The remainder of the crew reached the shore, one at a time, in like manner, in the course of a couple of hours thereafter.
* For the benefit of the curious,' I should add, that the beach upon which we found ourselves, was that of a low, uninhabited island, adjacent to a point of land called, by sailors, · Chink-tink,' but which the people who get up charts write, with more propriety, 'CHINCOTEAQUE.'
E. H. T.
• NEARLY all my little pieces have been written in my mind, while my hands were engaged in the avocations of the farm. How well I remember the localities of each! One was composed while stacking corn; another was sung while sitting beneath an apple-tree, the fruit of which I came to gather, with the sack about my shoulders, to screen me from a piercing north wind. Indeed, the winds hare strung my humble lyre, and the birds have tuned it.'
LETTER TO THE Editor.
I've had it in my head some time,
Of first degree,
The gallows-tree !
When patriot thoughts my bosom fire,
Delight her son,
'Tis not a crime; but certain men, Whose profiles graced my lawless pen, Have e'en indicted me; what then?
I guilty plead; A fig for law or logic, when
I blow my reed !
And when the voice of human wo
And plaintive strains;
And worth in chains !
But if he had to pay no toll,
Had I but wings, I fain would fly,
But when I cast about mine eye,
And see who fail,
The lowly vale.
If not the same,
And beat to flaine !
I hear her in the falling food,
I see her in the works of God,
Around me spread;
And may she dress the valley's sod
Above my head
But,' Alpha,' unknown friend, and fair,
And undressed fiction.
But now, just now,' she has ta'en a fit,
I own it go ;
Before you go.
Now while with thirst my spirit fought, Bard of the monumental plain!
High thoughts of thee;
Soft-eyed and sweet;
In homage meet!
The Life of WASHINGTOX. By Jared SPARKS. In one volume, octavo.
Tue admirable biographical sketch with which our great annalist has prefaced that national monument, his edition of the Writings of Washington,' is now sepa. rated from the larger work, and issued by itself, with such additions as seemed necessary to its completeness. The beautiful volume, rivalling in paper and in letterpress the recent works of Prescott and BANCROFT, bears a stamp of conscious workmanship; nay, looks as if it were proud to have seen the light in the cradle of liberty, within hail of the hero's head-quarters, of Boston and of Bunker-Hill. The world indeed moves on apace; and Time, in the moment of agony, or the hour of pleasure, when both have passed, seems like an enchanter, whose passion and nature are change; whose wand has empire over events and destinies, but is defied by the human spirit, which with the breath of life is transmitted immutable through ages; for, sixty years after Washington, from Cambridge, directed the movements of the American army, then besieging the British in Boston, one of the ensuing generation, a faithful historian and impartial biographer, aided by the numerous records of his actions, which the hero seems purposely to have bequeathed to his country, indites his life, amidst the scenes of his early glory; in presence of the very trees and hills, among which then arose the weather-beaten tent of the continental, and where now, from a thousand free and happy hearths, the peaceful smoke ascends to heaven. For ten years and
more, Mr. Sparks has dwelt at Cambridge, and toiled unremittingly at the pious work of rescuing from forgetfulness the memories of our forefathers. In that space of time, more authentic materials of history, more illuminated questiones vezata, more of biography and of verified narrative, have left his hand, than perhaps any other man has gathered in a life. And he who, in the face of the tumultuous cares and interests of this ardent generation, invites them, when the future seems within their reach, to pause and contemplate the past, and, unmoved by their thirst or their indifference, holds history up to their view, is no ordinary chronicler of events.
The work before us is adorned with fourteen plates, which, as we glance through its pages, may not inaptly serve to illustrate the epochs in Washington's career. The frontispiece is Mount Vernon, the charming nucleus of his fondest hopes, the oasis on which his eye ever dwelt, when the war was hottest, and the prospect gloomiest, as a resting place, when his labors should end. In this very anticipation, may we see that he put his whole trust in the favorable issue of the contest, and never doubted the attainment of that liberty, without which he would have preferred death, a thousand times, to inactivity. Next comes our hero at the age of forty; a face full of determination and benignity; a tall and manly form; the unconscious future liberator of his native land. The hour of danger is nigh; and he who is shortly to lead a great nation to independence, seems hardly to suspect his destiny. Already had his name been honorably mingled in the sad history of Braddock's fate, and bestowed
upon the beautiful and amiable woman, whose affection gladdened his life. The head-quarters at Cambridge, remind us that the strife already registers Lexington, Concord, and Bunker-Hill; the house is still shaded by the elm trees which then flourished there, and daily meets the eye of Mr. SPARKS, whose abode is not far distant. A medal presented on the evacuation of Boston, commemorates this great event, and the head-quarters at Morristown, remind us of the brilliant victories at Trenton and Princeton, which so gallantly retrieved the laurels fortune refused us at Long-Island. On viewing the sketch of the humble abode which held the commander-in-chief at Newburgh, one shudders for humanity's sake, for a tragedy has been enacted there, and a proud name stained with treachery; and at the same time, we cannot help rejoicing for America, and for freedom, which escaped such peril.
It is 1785; peace has been two years in force, and an interesting drawing exhibits the outline of those farms on which our Cincinnatus would sain have spent the remainder of his days. Hondon's bust testifies to the gratitude of his native state, which thus followed him to his retreat, and the portrait of Martha WASHINGTON, by Stuart, displays the serene countenance of its charming mistress There is something touching in the comparison one involuntarily makes between the young wife just released from her weeds, with a smile dwelling among the rounded outlines of blooming womanhood; and the calm expression which interprets the devotion of a heart given, and never withdrawn. Her life must have been one of privations and of proud sacrifices. How could it be otherwise with the partner of him who freely offered his best years and hopes to his country?
Behold the wise and placid civil magistrate; the first and greatest President. Again have domestic joys been relinquished, and the helm of state is now grasped by the firm hand which so ably wielded the sword. Washington's star glows with the same silver radiance; a cloud veils it for a moment from certain eyes; and the discussions stirred up by Mr. Jay's treaty, embroil the national councils. But the chief remains immoveable, and the circumstances which could not influence him, await their turn until the day when JEFFERSON was carried up on the wheel of fortune to the presidential chair.
And we are through the volume, so sadly terminated by the death of the patriot, the soldier, the statesman, with a feeling that a part of his glory is our glory, nor all of it his country's, for, such a being ennobles humanity, and will be handed down with Timoleon and Cincinnatus, through all time.
WINTER STUDIES AND SUMMER RAMBLES EN CANADA. By Mas. JAMESON, Author
of Characteristics of Women,' etc. In two volumes. pp. 680. New-York : WILEY AND PUTNAM.
We had liberally pencilled an early copy of these admirable volumes, received at a late hour, for our last number, but were reluctantly compelled to postpone the notice. Since then, every one of our marked extracts have been given to the public by the tasteful critics of the daily and weekly press; indeed we fancy that quite twothirds of the work have already appeared in the journals of the day. Reserving the volumes, therefore, for incidental retrospective review, we shall content ourselves, for the present, with commending them warmly to our readers, assuring them that purer sentiments, more beautiful criticism, vivid descriptions of scenery, pleasing incident, and acute observation, we have not found in any modern work that has come under our observation. The kind and flattering opinions, therefore, which Mrs. Jameson expresses of this Magazine, are far more than reciprocated, by the high estimate we have ever placed upon all the efforts of her fine and well-balanced intelleci. VOL. XIII,