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Williams said, "You are more given to other pursuits. I fancy that you are more likely to be thinking of your absent fair one. At all events, you did not spend your time as these young men did during the whole time we were on our voyage from the trades to Madeira. They did nothing but play cards. There is nothing so ruinous to a man as a taste for gambling. Other tastes may be more debasing, but it is the most pernicious to himself and others."
Clare said, "Do you not think that drinking is worse?"
Williams said, "No. Worse it is for the man himself to drink, and it is commonly said of a drunken man, he is no man's enemy but his own; but a man that plays as Jones does, and leads of necessity others on, as he does Halstead, is a sort of curse to society a person whose vile appetite for gain is only satisfied by the destruction of the prospects of his fellow-men-a perfect intellectual cannibal. You hear such men say perpetually, I cannot live without the excitement of play.' Analyse this saying, and what is it? I am not content with my own. I must have a chance of gaining from another. When I have selfishly gained all that my brother officer possesses, I then shall be satisfied.' There is nothing but the most intense and unpardonable selfishness at the bottom of such a nature, let him disguise it in as fine words as he chooses."
Yet," said Clare, "how many there are that only play for the sake of passing away the time, as it were."
"So it seems," said Williams; "but the greatest number of these are men who are victimised by other more crafty and worse characters. And some also amongst them, when they have lost considerably, become in their turn harpies, who pounce upon any unsuspecting victims whom they may chance to meet with."
Clare said, "You say that a man should give a few hours of the day to the improvement of his mind, what do you say he should study, for instance, to begin with ?"
Williams said, "I should recommend his reading the classics: the study of the Greek poetry and dramatists is the very best school for the improvement of a man's style. He would there go to the fountain from whose source the most beautiful specimens are taken, and not trust to those who have written afterwards and borrowed most of their beauties from the original riches of the ancient writers. If you were to take any of the most admired poems of the present day to pieces, you would be struck with astonishment at seeing the wonderful number of ideas which are taken even literally from the Greek writers, or the Latin."
Clare said, "You are well versed in those things, can you give me an example or two?"
Williams said, "That famous apostrophe of Sir W. Scott's to Scotland, beginning with Breathes there a man,' has lines
which are in the mouth of almost every man who makes a speech relative to patriotism, and which one sees so frequently either partly quoted or adverted to. It ends with a line which is a literal translation from the Antigone of Sophocles:
ἄκλαυτος ἄφιδος ανυμέναιος,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung,
Byron's song of the Albanians, where it speaks of
The shrieks of the conquered, the conqueror's yell,
what is it but the line so common in Homer's Iliad,'
ενθαδ αμ οιμωγε και ευχωλή πελεν ανδρων ολλύντων και ολλυμένων.
And Grey's Elegy, which is a sort of model specimen of modern English poetry, is full of plagiarisms from the ancient writers; for instance,
The moping owl doth to the moon complain,
is from that part of the Eneid which speaks of Dido's tower: Solaque culminibus ferali carmine bubo, Sæpe queri et longas in fletum ducere voces.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
is from the 'Agamemnon' of Eschylus,
ευ αγγέλου φανεντος ορφνάινου πυρος
And in the beautiful address, in which Byron speaks of the evening and its star, and says,
The heavenliest hour of heaven is worthiest thee;
we are reminded of
έσπερος καλλιστος ενουρανου εσσεται ασερ.
It would fill a volume if one were to collect all the instances in which the most remarkable plagiarisms from ancient writers were
imported into modern books. Thus Swift, the most original writer perhaps (according to Johnson) of the modern school, has taken many of his thoughts from Aristophanes and Lucian; the exact words, of course, are not transposed, but a cursory reading of the original, and comparison with the modern work, would soon show that the latter was suggested by the former."
Clare said, "I think that more men would like the classics if it were not that they are drilled and dosed and disgusted with them at school, and that in after life they revert to thoughts of them with reminiscences of punishment and school-hours of pain."
William said, "I took to the great study of them in after life, after I had entered on my profession, and I had only learned the elements at school, and their beauties to me came fresh and vivid when I was capable of judging of them. They are not associated in my recollection with any of the horrors of a dull daily task, which is drummed into one's ears by tiresome ritual, but the beauty of the different compositions gained upon me as I perused them by myself."
The young men thus continued conversing till they came to the vineyards and the buildings of Constantia, and, after a short survey of these, they got on their horses again, and remembering the captain's impatience, as also the fate of their two brother officers at Madeira, they galloped back to Cape Town, and were in time to reach the place where they got their horses, and having paid for their hire they took a boat, and reached the Black Joke just about an hour before the captain had determined to set sail.
The other passengers were all on board, and on this occasion there was no one left behind. Then they left the harbour and steered the ship into the wide expanse of the broad and peaceful Indian Ocean. The nights were clear, lovely, and calm. The bright Southern Cross, an irregular four-sided figure, shone over the horizon. The myriads of phosphoric pulpy spawn of some marine embryo existence were at each side of the head of the vessel seen frequently shining like coruscations issuing from the deep. The porpoises huge, in masses like the multitudes of the men who crowd in concourse on the plains near an Eastern city of a festive holiday, had their throngs cloven through by the ship's bow as they sported in their native element, many of them jumping up to the ship's side as if to gaze on the new wondrous monster that came on with the wings of the wind to disturb their gambols. The lovers of nature's grand and beauteous handiworkwhich who does not learn to love when on the deep?-were sure to be on deck before the morning star was up to taste of the mild freshness of morning air, breathing its exhalations untainted by city smoke or country vapour. When lo! glowing like a distant globe of fire, the beautiful orb of day rose lone and lovely, cloudless and unobscured, in gorgeous majesty, the lord supreme of the
vast horizon; the little nautilus skimmed by, and the dolphins with hues of deepest green; also many a day the whales, spouting the water like an enormous fountain issuing from the fish's head, were seen at difference distances. No hope of making any land before they reached their destination now, but as the seamen said, "We have good sea room in the Indian Ocean, and no fear in such a tight sea boat as this." The days passed away one as the other. The soldiers were paraded regularly on deck in the morning with their trousers tucked up to their knees; and at mid-day, after dinner, to drink the rum raw from the cask, that vile decoction from molasses pregnant with noxious ingredients, shattering to the nerves, and but too frequently the dram which, given to the young soldier as a daily dose, is the first initiation to making him become a dram-drinker. The afternoons they mostly passed away in boisterous games-buffet the bear, or others of that kind—and in joking and singing. This was the employment of those on watch, but two-thirds had to keep below under hatches, and what they could do except sleep seemed quite an enigma. The worst infliction apparently on the numerous majority of fellow-beings which constitute the working mass is that they are frequently now, in these days, as devoid of mental pursuits and the elevation of character, which becomes man as compared with other animals, as the brutes that perish. This, I say, is even now sometimes observable, but at the time that I describe during this voyage the condition of the common order of soldiers and sailors"veluti pecora quæ natura finxit prona atque in obedientia ventri" was almost always so; at that time nine-tenths of the soldiers in a regiment could neither read or write.
Mrs. Green had been very much disappointed in her search for new fashions at Capetown, and after dinner the first fine day after they had left the harbour and were all sitting on deck, she began deploring her hard lot to her husband, and the principal part of her grief was the idea of losing the society of the people with whom he was accustomed to associate. To do her justice, she began sotto voce with her complaints, but the querulous voice and the fastidious toss of her head were duly noticed and mentally recorded by Mrs. Boreham, who shortly afterwards commenced a counter-attack, principally addressed to her husband, or to any of the officers who might chance to be standing near him, relative to "Some people being so fond of giving themselves airs," "How lucky it is to have a host of grand friends," "It would be delightful if Lord Some One"-naming some well-known character"would come out and pay us a visit to Ceylon." And this sort of wordy battle would have brought on worse consequences if, luckily, Captain Green had not had influence enough over his wife to keep her in order. In point of fact, though nothing could have been more unobtrusive or quiet than his conduct, it was he that
had the grand relatives of whom Mrs. Green so frequently spoke, and of whom, as a man of sense, he never said a word. The officers cared little for such disputes, but could scarcely help being amused at the demeanour of these fair combatants. It is certainly a truth that idleness, which is the worst of all evils, is the fertile source of the dissension and the bad feeling which so frequently exists where women are thrown together.
The duties of the watch seemed light now to the officers, as indeed the whole night might have been passed on deck, so mild was the climate. The days became rather hot, but an awning thrown over the quarter-deck kept off the glare of the sun. In reading mostly the officers passed away their time; and Williams, who was a rare instance of an officer devoting himself greatly to study, also was the means of inducing Clare to turn his thoughts to the grand object of every man's love in this life-the love of the Saviour and in putting before him the great truths of the gospel, that inestimable benefit which, whoever is unconscious of, is dead while he liveth. Together they often studied the New Testament, and daily and nightly knelt down to prayer in secret. At first, this occasioned several gibes and jests from their companions, particularly when Jones was on board, who was much opposed to all that was religious. But when they left Halstead and him at Madeira, their only companions remaining in the omnibus were the doctor and Prose. The latter was not of a demonstrative character; the former, though he did not join them in their reading, or follow their example in their practice of prayer, allowed them to go on their own way without remarking upon it. Thus the days and nights passed on, and about six weeks after they had left the harbour of Capetown-having had during all the time a fair wind and made good progress a man at the mainmast head gave notice of seeing Adam's Peak. This is that lofty mountain which stands in the centre of Ceylon, and of which native tradition asserts that Adam and Eve, after having been exiled from Paradise, fled hither.
Then indeed ensued commotion and excitement to every soul on board. By degrees the outline of the coast became faintly visible. The high lands of Buona Vista, which stand over the town of Point de Galle, loomed like a large crescent covered with forests of cocoa-nut trees, and the ground gradually descending to the level of the town, looked in the distance like a series of gardens or orchards, where every shade of foliage was seen. The breezes, fraught with odour, wafted the scent of cinnamon, mace, and hosts of other balmy treasures indigenous to the soil, which have roused the cupidity of European traders. They are the produce of groves of spice that here bloom so plenteously in the grounds of the most productive island that lies in the Indian ocean. Dutch fort appeared, with its bastions imposing and of strong con