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copper funnel, up which the steam went sighing as if that heart would break.
About noon the last boat shoved off, the gangway curled itself up, a voice from the paddle-boxes said quietly—“Go on!"and the vast vessel glided away as smoothly as a gondola.
Within the ship was at work the convulsive energy of four hundred and fifty horse-power, that was to know no rest for three thousand miles; but without, all was so calm and undisturbed, that she might have seemed still at anchor but for the villas and villages, and woods and lawns, that went scampering by, as if running a steeple-chase to Salisbury. The beautiful Southampton Water, grim-looking Portsmouth, and the gentle Isle of Wight, fed rapidly away behind us, and then the shores of Old England began to fade from our view.
The first day of our voyage passed very silently away: many were sea-sick, and more were sick at heart; but in the evening there was a startling eruption of writing-desks, and a perfect flutter of pens preparing for the Falmouth post-bag. I think I see those eager scribes before me now: the man of business, with his swift and steady quill; women, gracefully bending over their twice-crossed notes (not the more legible, lady, for that tear); and lonely little boys, biting their bran-new pen-holders, and looking up to the ceiling in search of pleasant things to say to some bereaved mother. Her only comfort, perhaps, was to be that little scrawl, till her self-sacrificing heart was at rest for ever, or success had gilded her child's far distant career.
While one end of the saloon was looking like a couniing. house, the other was occupied by a set of old stagers, whose long-smothered conversation broke out with vehemence over their brandy-and-water. These jolly old fellows seemed as if no one had any claims upon their correspondence; they were father and mother, brother and sister, to themselves, and their capacious waistcoats comprised their whole domestic circle. The following day we were at Falmouth, and then we were at
LIFE AT SEA.
Come! Let's on, where waters soothe us;
Where all winds can whistle free;
Et, n'est-ce pas, en effet, une seconde patrie pour un Anglais, que les vaisseaux et la mer!
MADAME DE STAEL.
By the bright goddess who sprang from ocean's foam, there is something glorious in this, her native element! Every heart di. lates, and every pulse beats high, as, with favoring breezes in a cloud of sail, we sweep along our “mountain path
over the Bay of Biscay. Philosophers tell us that we are composed of these same elements of air and ocean: and surely there is strong sympathy between us; for every wave we bound over, every breeze we breathe, is full of life and health, and energy and hope. There is no such remedy for drooping frame or pin. ing spirit as the sea - read it in every voice, and every eye, so changed within the last few days : color is come back to the pale cheek, courage to the sinking heart, and health of mind and body to every voyager on board.
The joyous and light-hearted yet gallant bearing of the sailor is no accident; it issues naturally from his stirring and eventful career, from the exhilarating air that he breathes, the freedom from petty cares that he enjoys, and from the almost unconscious pride of a chivalrous profession, which there are no town-bred coxcombs to laugh down. His life is passed in perpetual ac. tivity upon the ocean—that one great battlefield of England,
which her flag has swept in triumph from the time of the Arma. da, “when the winds and waves had commission from God to fight under British banners ;' until these latter days, when the for. tresses of Syria crumbled into ruins beneath her thunder, and a nation, containing one third of earth's inhabitants, bowed down before her.*
But to turn to details of that sea-life which any of read. ers, who have not already experienced, may calculate upon hay. ing to live ere long in these amphibious days. Our time flows on smoothly and pleasantly enough ; its course is so monotonous and even, that it seems rapid. The minds of sea-going men en. joy entire freedom from the daily cares that fever ordinary life; there is no wealth to be lost or gained, no letters to disturb into joy or sorrow, no intrusive visitors : you live in the open air, between the awful ocean and the glorious sky: there is very little loud laughter, but there is scarcely an anxious or a gloomy brow. Every one finds a listener, and, still more easily, does every one find communicativeness. Information on every subject that can interest the traveller only waits an audience. You will hear places, that sound most strange and distant, spoken of with the familiarity of citizens: if you inquire about any locality in the wide East, up starts a native of the spot; and a gazetteer of voices is ready to enlighten you on any subject of geography, from Cairo to Hong-Kong.
On Sunday divine service was performed by a young missionary clergyman, to a grave and decorous audience. It was a striking scene—that little congregation of exiles observing the ritual of their church in the midst of that stormy sea. The red ensign was laid upon a small table, and formed an altar, not un. appropriate to the occasion ; without, the wind was howling, and the waters weltered, and all nature seemed in commotion ; but within, the peace of heaven was being promised, and seemed to shed its calm over the storm-tost listeners to its voice. I was surprised to find that none of the crew except the officers, or
* The walls of Acre, impregnable even to Napoleon, lie heaped in ruins ; Beyrout, Tyre, Sidon, Tortosa-Gibell, and Scanderoon are defenceless. The “ Flowery Land” is laid open to the world, and a pen in Downing Street wrought the spell by which all this was wrought.
any of the servants of the ship, formed part of the congregation. Surely the service which begins by addressing prince and peas. ant as brethren should not form part of the exclusive privileges of first-class passengers.
There are nearly two hundred souls on board, yet there is as much order and regularity as in an English hotel. At half.past eight in the morning a dressing bell resounds through the decks and galleries ; the sleepers tumble off the bier-like places that are called berths, and a hundred razors are gleaming in a hun. dred miniature looking-glasses. Chemisettes and pea-jackets don't take long to put on, where the toilette process is an uncom. fortable one: and at nine o'clock we are all quietly seated at a well-furnished breakfast, wherein milk, fresh from the dairy on the deck, hot rolls, salt-fish, and turtle cutlets figure advantageously. About ten the sunny deck is alive with inhabitants, not unsuccessfully imitating life ashore. Merry groups of children are playing about as if on a grass-plot. Twos and threes of men are walking the decks for exercise, as eagerly as if they'd never reach the bowsprit in time ; a tranquil group of smokers is arched over each paddle-box; ladies are reading, or working worsted monsters under the awning. An invalid or two is laid upon a sofa, gossiping now and then gently to a caught child, or a pausing passer-by. The sea is sparkling brightly as we move swiftly but smoothly over it. There is scarcely anything to remind us of our imprisonment; and, except for the silent sailor, at the restless wheel, we might fancy ourselves at the pumproom at Bath, or on the chain-pier at Brighton.
In the care-free idleness of our voyage, every trifle becomes a matter of interest; and the little incidents that assume the shape of news strongly illustrate the innate activity of human sympathies, and the necessity the mind feels for their exercise. It is true, we no longer hear of “Monster-meetings,” or “ Anticorn-law-agitation," or divisions of the house, with the speeches of their respective orators. But something “very like a whale" was seen this morning towards the coast of France ; the sea is always rising up or getting smooth ; L.'s last joke has a busy ime of it, and B.'s last anecdote is almost believed.
It did not require the isolation of our lot to create a deep in.
terest about one of our fair invalids, who only appeared on deck when we entered on a milder climate. This poor girl was going to the Mediterranean in the hope of prolonging, not of saving, the life whose sunset hour was already visible in the bright color of her hectic cheek. When I first saw her, her eyes, in which the light of immortality seemed already shining, were gazing mournfully on those northern skies, which she was never to behold again—at least with an upward glance. Her helplessness, and youth, and beauty seemed to exercise an influence over all around her; the little children spoke softly, and the helmsman seemed to move the wheel more gently, lest it should disturb her.
Is it the respect that men unconsciously feel towards those about to “put on immortality,” or tenderness for those about to part from earth, that checks the wild laugh, and makes the eager foot tread lightly as it approaches that pale girl? I know not; but if the old theory, that failing life could be restored by the infusion of healthy blood, were true, I believe there is not a man in all that crowded ship who would not freely let his best blood flow for her, whom he never saw before, and whom, after a few more sunsets, none will ever see again.
“Steward !" calls out a little cadet, with the tone of a great mogul, “are you bringing me that ale ?”!
“No, sir,” replies a voice from below; “twelve dozen has been drunk since breakfast, and the purser won't allow any more till luncheon."
This reasonable restriction is soon removed : luncheon appears at twelve, and with it the desired beer. Four o'clock is struck in concert with the dinner-bell : no one is late, and no injustice is done on this occasion. At five the deck is again alive, and, if the sea be smooth, quadrillers and country-dancers bound over the depths of ocean as livelily as tritons and sea-nymphs. As the number of the former predominates considerably, the latter are in great request. If the evening be stormy, the men gather round the oven between decks, and smoke, and listen with pa. tient looks to the more vehement conversationists—the bell. wethers of the talking flock. Seven o'clock bells summon to a tea of a very substantial nature, which is followed by whist,