« FöregåendeFortsätt »
“ It is coming now," thought I. Lieutenant Silva looked at first embarrassed, and then a little stern; it was evident, that that which the captain was pleased to designate as highly-toned intellectual conversation, was, despite his literary attainments, and the pas of superiority the publishing a book had given him, no longer to the author's taste.
“I have been thinking,” said Captain Reud, placing the fore finger of his left hand, with an air of great profundity on the left side of his nose, “I have been thinking of the very curious fatality that has attached itself to Mr. Silva's excellent work.”
“ Under correction, Captain Reud," said Silva, “if you would permit this unfortunate work to sink into the oblivion that perhaps it too much merits, you would confer upon me an essential favour.”
" By no means. I see no reason why I may not be proud of the book, and proud of the author, (Mr. Silva starts,) providing the book be a good book; indeed, it is a great thing for me to say, that I have the honour to command an officer who has printed a book; the mere act evinces great nerve." (Mr. Silva winces.)
“ And," said the wicked purser, “ Captain Reud, you must be every way the gainer by this. The worse the book, the greater the courage. If Mr. Silva's wit- "
“ You may test my wit by my book, Mr. , if you choose to read it," and the author looked scornfully, “and my courage, when we reach Port Royal," and the officer looked magnificently.
“ No more of this,” said the captain. “I was going to observe, that perhaps I am the only officer on the station, or even in the fleet, that has under my command a live author, with the real book that he has published. Now, Mr. Silva, we are all comfortable here--no offence is meant to you - only compliment and honour; will you permit us to have it read to us at the present meeting? we will be all attention. We will not deprive you of your wine-give the book to the younker.”
“ If you will be so kind, Captain Reud, to promise for yourself, and the other gentlemen, to raise no discussion upon any particular phrase that may arise."
The captain did promise. We shall presently see how that promise was kept. The book was sent for, and placed in my hands. Now, I fully opined, at least we should get past the second page. I was curiously mistaken.
“Here, steward,” said the skipper, “place half-a-bottle of claret near Mr. Percy. When your throat is dry, younker, you can whet your whistle ; and when you come to any particularly fine paragraph, you may wash it down with a glass of wine."
“ If that's the case, sir, I think, with submission, I ought to have my two bottles before me also; but, if I follow your directions implicitly, Captain Reud, I may get drunk in the first chapter.”
Mr. Silva thanked even a midshipman, with a look of real gratitude, for this diversion in his favour. I had begun to like the man, and there might have been a secret sympathy between us, as one day it was to be my fate to write myself author.
Having adjusted ourselves into the most comfortable attitudes that we could assume, I began, as Lord Ogleby hath it, “ with good emphasis, and good discretion,” to read the “ Tour up and down the Rio de la Plate." Before I began, the captain had sent for the master, and the honourable Mr. - -, so I had a very respectable audience.
I had no sooner finished the passage, “ After we had paved our way down the river," than with one accord, and evidently by preconcert, every one, stretching forth his right hand, as do the witches in Macbeth, roared out, “stop !" It was too ludicrous. My eyes ran with tears, as I lay down the book, with outrageous laughter. Mr. Silva started to his feet, and was leaving the cabin, when he was ordered back by Captain Reud. An appearance of amicability was assumed, and to the old argument they went, baiting the poor author like a bear tied to a stake. Debating is a thirsty affair ; the two bottles to each, and, two more, quickly disappeared; the wine began to operate, and with the combatants, discretion was no longer the better part of valour.
Whilst words fell fast and furious, I observed something about eight feet long, and one high, on the deck of the cabin, covered with the ensign. It looked much like a decorated seat. Mr. Silva would not admit the phrase to be improper, and consequently his associates would not permit the reading to proceed. During most of this time the captain was convulsed with laughter, and, whenever he saw the commotion at all lulling, he immediately, by some ill-timed remark, renewed it to its accustomed fury. At length, as the seamen say, they all had got a cloth in the wind—the captain two or three, and it was approaching the time for beating to quarters. The finale, therefore, as previously arranged, was acted. Captain Reud rose, and steadying himself on his legs, by placing one hand on the back of his chair, and the other on the shoulder of the gentleman that sat next to him, spoke thus:-“Gentlemen—I'm no scholar - that is—you comprehend fully -on deck, there—don't keep that
d d trampling-and put me out—where was I ?”
“ Please sir," said I, “ you were saying that you were no scholar."
“ I wasn't couldn't have said so. I had the best of educations—but all my masters were dull-d-d dull—so they couldn't teach a quick lad, like me, too quick for them—couldn'tovertake me with their d- d learning. I'm a straightforward man. I've common sense-comcommon sense. Let us take a common sense view of this excruciation-ex-ex-I mean exquisite argument. Gentlemen, come here,” and the captain between two supporters, and the rest of the company, with Mr. Silva, approached the mysterious-looking, elongated affair, that lay, like the corpse, covered with the Union Jack, of some lanky giant, who had run himself up into a consumption by a growth too rapid. The doctor and purser, who were doubtlessly in the secret, wore each a look of the most perplexing gravity, the captain one of triumphant mischief; the rest of us of the most unfeigned wonder.
“ If," spluttered out Captain Reud, see-sawing over the yet concealed thing. “If, Mr. Paviour, you can pave your way down a river
“ My name, sir, is Don Alphonso Ribidiero da Silva,” said the annoyed lieutenant, with a dignified bow.
“Well, then, Don Alphonso Ribs-are-dear-o da Silva, if you can pave your way down a river, let us see how you can do it in a small way, down this hog-trough full of water," plucking away, with the assistance of his confederates, the ensign that covered it.
“With fool's heads," roared out the exasperated, and I fear, not very sober, Portuguese.
Though I was close by, I could not fully comprehend the whole manœuvre. The captain was head and shoulders immersed in the filthy trough, which uncleaned, was taken from the manger, that part of the main deck directly under the forecastle, and filled with salt water. The doctor and purser had taken a greater lurch, and fallen over it, sousing their white waistcoats, and well-arranged shirt frills, in the dirty mixture. The rest of us contrived to keep our legs. The ship was running before the wind, and rolling considerably, and the motion, aided by the wine, and the act of plucking aside the flag might have precipitated the captain into his unenviable situation—he thought otherwise. No sooner was he placed upon his feet, and his mouth sufficiently clear from the salt water decoction of hog-wash--than he collared the poor victim of persecution, and spluttered out, “Mutiny-mu-mu-mutiny-sentry. Gentlemen, I call you all to witness, that Mr. Silva has laid violent hands upon me."
The “paviour of ways" was immediately put under arrest, and a marine, with a drawn bayonet, placed at his cabin door, and the captain had to repair damages, vowing the most implacable vengeance for having been shoved into his own hog-trough. Did ever any body know any good come of hoaxing?
( To be continued.)
THE QUESTIO N.
BY MRS. CRAWFORD.
What has the world to do with me?
Or what have I to do with it?
With that I've known so long : but smit
In airy grot and sylvan cell
To sit, and wake my Doric shell,
Whose very stones are eloquent,
Those sisters of the soul, that spent
Their modest days from life remote.
I love those wild neglected domes; My very spirit seems to doat
On solitary things, and roams Like truant child, delighted, free
To bound away from all control, With feather'd feet in golden glee:
But wordly scenes enchain my soul. With nature I'm as blithe as birds,
That sing because the heart's in bloom, But when I measure ont my words,
To jewell’d ears, in drawing-roomList to the tale of scandal told,
Or fashions fresh from fancy's loom, My feelings grow as dead, and cold,
As any tenant's of the tomb. Be mine the mountain solitude,
Where Nature's children only dwell, And loving friends alone intrude,
To hallow, and not break the spell:
As in primeval days, I ken,
And charity was loved of men.
The city's din, the selfish train, That mingle at the feast or ball,
Their pleasures bought with others' pain. Be mine dear Nature's drawing-room,
With curtain of the orient sky, And carpet from her matchless loom,
All radiant with the Tyrian dye Of violets, or virgin gold
Of cowslips, that with vestal head, Within their cloister'd cells unfold
For sportive fays a silken bed. And, as for music-let me hear
The sound of silver waterfall, More pleasant to my sober ear,
Than polish'd strain in courtly hall; And 'stead of costly chandelier,
Reflecting colours like the bow,
Like angel's eyes to man below,
As if for man the angels wept,
As angels have for mortals kept.
It suiteth best my simple wit;
Or what have I to do with it?
ERUPTION OF MOUNT ÆTNA.
Shower of Ashes—Eruption of Mount Ætna-Debarkation of Murat
in 1809— - and the Princess of L- -The Princess and the Lieutenant-Scaletta-Fiume di Nisi-Bulimia-Giardini - Professions of our Host-Beauty of the Plains at the foot of Ætna—The Cantara- The Devil's Bridge–Fiume freddo- Apollo Archagetes—Devotion of the Sicilian Ladies in former times.
DURING my residence in Messina, one of the most remarkable eruptions of Atna, which have occurred for many years, took place. Notice of the event was given in Messina by the fall of a copious shower of ashes, which, the very reverse of a snow storm, in a short time, put the edifices, streets, and inhabitants, who happened to be out of doors, into a general mourning. The white vestments of the belles, the gay uniforms of the military, with the more sober dresses of the bourgeois, all soon assumed the same sombre hue. To a stranger, this might appear as extraordinary as Livy's showers of blood and stones; but the natives did not long allow us to contemplate the phenomena as a prodigy, by explaining the cause. Messina lies about fifty miles from the mountain ; but these ashes are often conveyed by the wind to more than double that distance. The Heræan chain, which runs behind Messina, rising to a height of upwards of three thousand five hundred feet, of course intercepts all view of Ætna from that town. Towards evening the heavens began to present a fiery appearance on that side, and when dark, the whole atmosphere seemed one vast sheet of distant flame. At this time we were ignorant of the extent and nature of the eruption.
As it was uncertain how long it might continue, we left Messina next morning, mounted on good horses, and accompanied by two mules carrying provisions and other conveniences, a precaution very necessary in Sicily. By the time we reached Scaletta, a village distant about twelve miles from Messina, the sun had mitigated the freshness of the morning air, and the sea breeze had already rendered our appetites craving ; but we preferred pushing on to Fiume di Nisi, where, in a wretched fundaco, we knew we should find delicious wine, and probably a good dish of fish; at any rate, we might depend on an omelet, the only article on which travellers in this country can securely rely. We did find the fish, and the wine answered the eulogiums we had heard of it. The inn, as usual, afforded us but one knife, but we had a clean, though coarse table-cloth, with a napkin and silver fork each: the latter piece of luxury will perhaps surprise, but it is usually found even in the houses of the peasantry. What little money they are enabled to save is generally thus laid out: they have no means of disposing of it to any advantage, and purchase arti
Oct. 1835.-VOL. XIV.-NO, LIV.