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LETTER FROM HANNIBAL SMITH, ESQ.
WITH " THE TRIPS OF THE Lily."
You are too great a philosopher, hour it remains a mystery to every my loved, my honoured, much-re- one but myself and you. I found it spected North! to be surprised at any out by mere accident. Having sat thing; you will, therefore, perhaps down one day to finish the second part retain your accustomed equanimity of my “ Theory on the innate forces of when you see a communication from the mathematical zero," of which you me, written with those hieroglyphic kindly expressed so favourable an capitals to each line, and mysterious opinion, I found, involuntarily as it strokes of admiration at the end of were, a secret power conducting my them, which are generally supposed pen in the most extraordinary manto constitute poetry. But I declare ner imaginable. First a huge capital, to you, I would have written in my then a long line, ending in a powerful ordinary sprawling hand if I possibly word of one syllable, supported by a could. I have tried, I assure you, to note of interrogation. Then a second . retain the steadiness and sobriety of line, of exactly the same length, ending my usual demeanour; but all in vain. '
in a very similar word to the former, Living in my present situation, it is and supported by a long mark of adimpossible to think in prose. Hills miration, which I concluded was the and valleys! seas and cliffs !--you answer to the interrogatory of the first. would awake the Nine Muses in the I looked at the two lines, folded up soul of an attorney. No wonder, then, the paper as rapidly as possible, and you have put a person who does not felt an internal conviction that I was enjoy the advantage of belonging to -a poet! How very strange this the profession into a state of perturba- was ! I told nobody of my discovery ; tion difficult to be described. The but for a long time amused myself in attack first came on me about eighteen secret by watching the very curious months ago, accompanied with a proceedings of my pen. There it was strange singing in the head, which -hard at work, Sapphics and Adongenerally took the tune of one of ians-Heroics and Alexandrines-let Campbell's ballads. Late on Saturday the subject be what it would ; and nights, and early on Sunday morn every now and then appeared such
. ings, I was haunted with the “ Mari. words as “ tremendous ocean stream!” ners of England” and the “ Battle of -" billowy waste!” till at last, by the Baltic;" but all this time I con. dint of much meditation, I concluded tinued unconscious of my very alarm- that I was inspired by some Nereid, ing state. My wife--you remember and that my Hippocrene was salt her as Betsy Gallagher of Portnamuck water. -to be sure, occasionally looked at The only reason I can assign for all me with a very dubious expression this, is the locale of my dwellingwhen I had given utterance to any of house. When I used to be a steady the more vivid of my exclamations, sensible contributor, Mr North--alas! and occasionally shook her head. At that such days are departed-you last, under pretence of my having a remember I lived nearly in the heart slight cold, a physician was sent for. of England. When the wind blew, it He prescribed a diligent perusal of only drove the smoke down my chimActs of Parliament, the London Di- ney, or endangered the equilibrium of rectory, and some treatises in blank a haystack—when the weather was verse on the Judgment of the Flood calm, the fields looked very well, and and the medicinal skill of the Ante- the ditches gradually became dry. In diluvians. From these latter I derived some evil hour I determined to settle considerable benefit; but the Acts of by the sea-side, and a pretty settling it Parliament, and even a special High. has been. I got possession of what is way Act, which I read carefully at called a marine villa, and there can be bedtime, were of no avail. Every no manner of doubt that it is as marine body was nonplussed to find out the as it is possible for any terrestrial obcause of my complaint; and to this ject to be. It is a small cottage, nearly
on the ledge of a sloping piece of ground, tinued prosaic, floating under those at the foot of which is the sea. Fish are majestic promontories or winding at all times disporting themselves round those beautiful indentations ? I within two hundred feet of my dining- took a Whig barrister out with me only room; so that, when by any accident once, and he sent me a sonnet next they find themselves on my table, the morning. I tried the same process on change of circumstances must be so various others-on an architect, a slight as to be comparatively unobs special pleader, a clergyman, a solserved. Very different from the sen- dier,—they all sent me poetical effu. sations of a turbot, that finds itself sions of extraordinary beauty. If you boiled all to rags in the heart of War- will send me from Edinburgh a W.S. wickshire. This must indeed be very under fifty, or an advocate in the fulldisagreeable to an animal so little ac- est practice, I will let you know the customed to travelling by land ; and I result of the experiment. The only wonder there is no Humane Society to one it has hitherto failed with is a confine the eating of fish to places banker ; but it was in the very middle within a very limited distance of their of the monetary crisis, and cannot, usual dwelling place. But this is a therefore, be considered a fair trial. remark which you had better enclose But there are grander and more - in a parenthesis. I was describing my stirring sights than bays and headcottage, which belongs to no order of lands. Sometimes the whole sea seems architecture, and has despised the covered with sails. I have counted a models of the temples of Greece, and hundred and eighty vessels in sight at the public buildings of Rome. With
Whenever “ the British the exception of its never going afloat, fleet up Channel steers," it must alit might very well pass for a ship. ways come within range of a very In high winds, the noises of its outside moderately good pair of eyes, and with shutters and somewhat ancient doors, a telescope you can see the whole with the sound of the sea so close, re- equipage, from the admiral to the mind one so much of a Leith smack off smallest of the mids, While it is Scarborough, that I can confidently sweeping past, like a great peristrerecommend it as possessing all the phic panorama, no human being can advantages of a sea voyage without expect one to retain his phlegmatic any of its dangers. It was here my equanimity, or write the second part malady began ; but perhaps the cir. of a treatise « on the innate forces of cumstance that brought it fully to a the mathematical zero ;" and there. head, was the purchase of a sailing fore you will be at no loss to account boat. I gave an order to a man at St for the delay of the concluding chapHelen's, who builds most of the fisher- ters. I will finish it the first time I men's boats on this shore, to send me go twenty miles inland - honour a specimen of his greatest skill--hand- bright!-or, if I stay here, would you some to look at, and which could not have any objection to take it in rhyme ? possibly be upset. In about three Occasionally an event occurs which weeks he achieved a miracle of art ; gives rise to still more interest and and to the foot of the above-mentioned excitement. Some time or other, it sloping piece of ground came one is supposed in the great storms of Noevening a boat of enormous strength, vember '38, or January '39, a vessel very wide, and with bows that would loaded with timber must have gone do for a South Sea whaler, yet alto- down, probably in the night, about a gether as prettily shaped a little vessel mile to the westward ; for every now as I ever saw. With the help of a and then, when a stiff breeze has been stout capstan, two men hove her up, blowing for a day or two, a large balk and in about a week she was fully of oak or mahogany is seen floating rigged, and fit for any thing. It was with the tide. Not a moment is lost now altogether impossible to pretend by the fortunate discoverer; a boat is to have a grain of steadiness any instantly launched, and if he succeeds longer. The cliffs here are about in capturing the waif, his fortune is three hundred feet high, running out, made. A good log of mahogany is and in all manner of shapes, so as to worth sixty or seventy pounds. Pieces form numberless little bays, guarded of wreck are often seen, bunt generally each by its own headlands east and in such rough weather that a boat west. How could any one have con- cannot be pushed through the surf;
and once, last April, the crowning being amply rewarded. They found event of all was the stranding of a the captain without any idea of where great West India ship of five or six he was ; and his spirits were probahundred tons. But as this is the sub- bly not much exhilarated when they ject of Trip the Fourth, I will say no told him his bowsprit was within two more about it, except to tell you how cables' length of Dunnose. However, the people who went on board and with their help, he stroye to work the helped to get her off were rewarded vessel off ; and, being in hopes of for their activity:
effecting his purpose, and proceeding How delightful it used to be to have on his voyage without having his one's patriotic feelings roused to the misfortune discovered, he refused to highest pitch, by hearing William tell his name or the name of his vesFarren or old Bartley, dressed in the sel. His passengers were much alarmplain grey coat, brown breeches, and ed, and hired one of the men to go long gaiters, which the stage has long and procure boats to be near the ship consecrated to the commercial papas in case the weather changed. He of lively young heiresses—how de performed this service; and the boats lightful it was, I repeat, to hear those he procured were paid by the passenexcellent performers launch out in gers the sum agreed upon. The six praise of the generosity and other virs or seven men wlio remained on board tues of the British merchant! .“ Such-all of them seafaring men-for the may be the case with high-born seig, people along this coast, though calling neurs and titled comtes, but let me themselves masons, and carpenters, and tell you, sir, a British merchant is a other terrestrial occupations, are all man who". the triumphant shouts more or less bred to the sea-were of the shilling gallery drowned the rewarded next morning with the splenremainder of the sentence. 6 A Bri- did donation of a glass of rum a-piece, tish merchant, sir ?--as long as you which, as rum is cheap, and this was have such princely benefactors you not of the best quality, might amount need have no regret for the want of to the value of three-halfpence a titled patrons.
Who are so free-SO glass ; making in all, among the six liberal-so just ?” While Mr Bartley men, the gross aggregate of nineenunciated these profound observa pence. On the same evening, a steamtions, and stuffed his hands into the boat from Portsmouth succeeded in sober-coloured unmentionables, above getting her off, and there seemed no described as the characteristic apparel great chance of hearing any more of of the histrionic trader, the sympathies the fortunate vessel or her very liberal of the whole audience were excited, commander. A reverend gentleman, and boxes, pit, and gallery went away, who resides near this, wrote a plain thoroughly impressed with the belief statement of these facts to the county that the most beneficent and disinter- paper; and, being furnished anonyested class of her Majesty's subjects mously with the names of the owners, are those whose daily and hourly oc- he of course expected from the Bricupation it is to turn an honest penny tish merchants, whom Mr Bartley had if they can, but at all events a penny. represented as so liberal and just, some
The farces I have quoted were pro- compensation for the men who had bably written by merchants' clerks, been so active on their behalf. In or perhaps the heads of firms them. answer, he tells me he received a copy selves, while enjoying a temporary of an epistle sent to them by the comretirement in what some Italian fiddler mander of their vessel, denying that used to amuse the Prince of Wales by the shore-people had ever been on calling his father's big house; but board ; and stating that, with the whether clerk or principal, their de. solitary exception of the ship having clarations must be taken cum grano.
been for a short time on shore, there But, with my former vivid impres- was not the slightest ground for any sions of all the virtues being embodied of the other statements in the reverend in the occupant of a three-legged stool divine's communications. There were of great height, in some city lane, I witnesses without number to the facts; made no question of the poor fellows I saw the men with these bodily eyes who went on board the stranded ship -I was on the shore within forty within half an hour of her having minutes of her taking the ground; struck, and worked all night on board, and the men themselves were ready
to verify all their statements upon strange shape and rig are observed oath. The commander published this crowding down to meet the mackerel counter-statement, wherein, among shoals at the chops of the Channel. As other things, he denies having con.. the mighty hosts of those “ friends) t cealed his name or the name of the the people” come furthereast, the numvessel, and calls such an accusation ber of vessels increases, till you may absurd, because the name was written sometimes see eight or nine all together, in large letters on the ship’s stern and as their nets seem to be filled every forgetting, the worthy man, that a time they haul, you would naturally darkness which hindered him from expect that mackerel would be plenti. seeing the promontory of Dunnose, ful as blackberries—and so, indeed, nearly eight hundred feet high, might they are, for blackberries are a rarity excuse the men if they could not here. The monopolizing fish-dealers make out the ship's title, though writ. of Portsmouth and the other large ten in letters one or even two feet towns on the coast, and, above all, of long. My reverend friend prepared the omnivorous London, step in bean answer to this unaccountable mic tween you and your half-dozen mackestatement, and forwarded it for inser. rel, and neither love nor money can tion in the next week's paper; but procure you a single scale, unless on received in reply a private communi. the marble slab of the fishmonger. cation from the editor-a man of very Would you believe it, that although considerable abilities and excellent the sea here is teeming with fish, and character-suggesting that the more the purchase of boat, tackle, and a likely way of attaining his object, whole mile of net would not exceed namely, some remuneration for the £160, there is no regular mackerel men, would be, not to continue the boat belonging to this coast employed controversy, especially as the agent in the fishing? Why do not a few of for the vessel bad promised to see the the natives join, and procure a vessel matter satisfactorily arranged. From and apparatus ? The gains are enorthat hour to this the pockets of the
one of the above-named agent have been herme Brighton boats was fishing off this tically sealed; the commander goes shore, and in one night caught fish on his way rejoicing ; and the British which was sold to the salesmen in merchants, in spite of the assevera- Portsmouth for £180. And this is tions of Mr Bartley and others, con- not uncommon. The ordinary race tent themselves with the outlay of the of fishermen are too poor to undertake already mentioned ninepence, in the the first expense; but nothing would shape of six glasses of rum. Now be more easy, nor a more judiciousthis is pessimi exempli, and the fruits not charity, but_encouragement to of this niggardliness were very soon deserving men, than for a certain after shown. One night, about six number of gentlemen to advance the weeks afterwards, a great fire was necessary funds, which one season's perceived at sea. It was impossible exertion would enable the fishermen it could be any thing else but a burn- to repay. Four fishermen and a steersing ship. The flame went on for hours man, which would constitute the crew, faring up against the sky, but not a would be passing rich with such a possoul would stir from shore to the res. session. In Holland, the government cue ;-alleging, as with one voice, would give all possible encouragement that they had had enough to do with to such a scheme ; and in Scotland, I the other, and would never trouble feel sure, the funds would be supplied, themselves either with stranded ves- the boat, &c., bought, the fish caught, sels or burning ones. It turned out and the debt discharged in the course to be a steam-boat bound for Spain, of three months. But here there is a which sank after burning to the wa- very migratory population, attracted ter's edge. The crew, however, were from all parts of England by the mildsaved.
ness of the winter, and the beauty of You're very fond of mackerel ; I the summer ; they seldom settle long collect seeing you stow away sixteen enough to become acquainted with the soused in vinegar for luncheon, in less amphibious animals who inhabit little than twenty minutes. Early in the huts upon the shore, and supply them spring the mackerel season begins; with delicious prawns and lobsters ; that is to say, mapy boats of a very and return to their own dwellings in
the neighbourhood of York or Wor- covering my former reputation for cester, to astonish their geological sedateness and wisdom. In that case neighbours with their thunderbolts I will finish my “theory” next month, and fossils. And, in the mean time, and shall be caught tripping no more. the mackerel fall a prey to more en:
Meanwhile I remain-sparing you a terprising piscators from Brighton and flourish of complimentary trumpetseven Dover-not to mention France.
yours ever, I am really getting so dull and sensi
HANNIBAL SMITH. ble, that I begin to be in hopes of re- Leeward Cottage, Bonchurch.
The Lily leaveth the building-yard of Mr Burden of St Helen's, nearly a mile from the water, and is launched amid the uncorking of several greybeards, and the acclamations of the spectators.
'Twas a bright day, O Lily! when the song
Of choral triumph swell’d upon the breeze;
You heard, far off, the glad voice of the seas
O'er the high Bembridge barrier uncontroll’d.
With a new spirit as the plashing foam
TRIPS OF THE LILY OF BONCHURCH.
TRIP THE FIRST.
Wherein the Lily goes to Portsmouth in rough weather, and comports herself
3. Hurrah! the Yellow Ledge we've reach'd, and through the Race we drive, The breakers coil, and bubble, and hiss--the sea seems all alive; But on she goes, my Lily fair, a queen o'er the wild sea, It seems as if she loved the strife, so buoyant is her glee.
• The Cook-a dangerous rock. When I asked my boatman why it was called the Cook, he said, “I don't know no reason for’t, sir ; but he makes the water boil, sure enough,
NO, CCXCII, VOL. XLVII,