Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

66

When called out upon fire duty, or to cipline, are orderly, effective, and most quell an incipient insurrection, the gallant soldiers. militia force of South Carolina is cau After having thus borne my willing tious, steady, and resolute. The ser testimony to the gallantry of the Amevice on which they are engaged is am- rican soldiers, I trust, I shall not be ply sufficient to make them so. But suspected of any wish to detract froin upon other occasions, such as training it, when I mention a single instance of days and reviews, the disregard of all poltroonery in an officer of the United discipline is quite laughable. The dif- States' Navy, which fell under my own ferent companies choose their officers observation.-I once sailed from Phiby ballot, and the captain, under whose ladelphia to Charleston, in company orders I had the honour to serve for a with the individual alluded to, and as short time, was a comical old Dutch- we neared the shore, our vessel, through man, especially elected because it was the mismanagement of the pilot, struck impossible to understand one word he upon the bar, which guards the enuttered. Shouts of laughter broke from trance of the harbour. The captain of the ranks whenever he attempted to the ship was much alarmed, and gave give the word of command. As we orders to cut the halliards, but the tirst marched through the streets, to and mate, who was an active, determined from the place of exercise, one file of fellow, insisted upon our carrying all our warlike company would amuse sail, and “thumping over," as he termthemselves and the spectators, by clos- ed it. The wind was high, and we ing their right eyes; the next, their certainly came into rather rough conleft: another would shoulder their mus tact with the bar. At this time, I saw kets with the butt ends uppermost, or the United States' officer trembling, would carry their cartridge boxes dang- pale as death, and clinging to a henling from the tops of their bayonets. coop. His young and very handsome

The whole militia system of the Uni- wife, to whom he had only been marted States is faulty in the extreme. The ried the previous week, had secured appointment of the officers by the pri. the arm of an Irish gentleman. He vates is sufficient of itself to destroy all was endeavouring to comfort her. “Oh effective discipline. In the country my God," she exclaimed,

we shall towns tavern-keepers are generally all go to the bottom." « We are there preferred, on account of the superior already, Madam,” said the Irishman, facility for meeting afforded by their and the idea seemed to reassure her a business. The uniforms of the inde- little. At length, we thumped" acpendent companies are ridiculously ex cross the bar into deep water, and pensive and showy; and the frequent presently afterwards landed. The trainings serve rather to demoralize lady of course was profuse in her acthan to discipline the men. I have re- knowledgments to her protector ; who peatedly on review days seen the great- had behaved, she declared, with true er number too much intoxicated to keep American firmness. “ Irish firmness, the ranks. It is usual on great occa if you please," he replied, and the unsions, before dismissing the troops, for fortunate husband seemed to feel the the commanding officer to deliver a sting of the remark. Yet, I know, that suitable, that is to say a complimentary this man had “sought reputation at the harangue; and I once heard a Connecti- cannon's mouth,” and he had fought cut colonel hold forth in a very exalted his way up in his profession with disstrain. He concluded, I recollect

, by tinguished bravery. thanking the privates for their officer There is a street in Charleston calllike conduct on that great day-mean- ed Vendue Range, where commodities ing, I suppose, that ihe men were as of every description, including negroes, drunk as their officers.

are bought and sold by auction. If it I have twice attended reviews when were possible for an Englishman to whole divisions have mutinied and overcome his feelings of sorrow and marched off the field, because the disgust at seeing his fellow creatures “right" or post of honour was not as knocked down to the highest bidder, signed to them. Court Martials, &c, like so many sheep and oxen, the scenes were talked of—but the mutineers of exhibited in the Vendue Range would course treated the threat with deserved not be unproductive of amusement. contenipt. This disgraceful work is The value of a negro in the market the fault of the system, not of the does not depend so much upon his perpeople ; for the Americans, as we sonal strength, or skill in any mechaknow to our cost, under regular dis- nical employment, as upon the good

will with wbich he would probably age till late in the evening, and then serve his owner. At a slave auction, sailed in the boat which conveyed to therefore, it is highly necessary, pre- her the last supply of fresh water. This viously to making a purchase, to ascer- boat was manned by two negroes and a tain from the poor fellow himself, mulatto. I soon perceived that it leakwhether or not he is willing to become ed rather alarmingly, and while the your property. If he has any objection mulatto fellow steered, the two blacks to the proposed transfer, as separating were obliged to busy themselves in ladhim from his wife and family, or from ing out the water. It was a warm, any other cause, he will probably tell dull, dark evening, and the atmosphere some lie about his health, pretend that was very thick and oppressive. Lights he is a bad workman, always getting gleamed from the casements of the lofty drunk, &c. Should he perceive, that mansions which stretch along the walk notwithstanding you advance on your called the battery, and afford an extenbidding, he will say at once—“Massa, sive view of the shipping and the bay; if you buy me, Massa, my gum, me be on the opposite side of which, the glancdam bad nigger, me no work a bit, nut- ing fire-fies illumined the beach of ting but eat; me be drunk ebbery day; Sullivan's Island. On shore, the silence an no wort ten dollars.” Money is ab- was only broken by the deep-toned solutely thrown away in the purchase chimes of St. Michael's Church, and in of a slave in such a temper as this. He bidding my final adieu to Charleston, will consumetwice as much as he earns. I could truly say-Vale in pace.

If, on the contrary, the bidder is con There was just wind enough to waft sidered a kind-hearted man, and the us gently along; but a less experienced slave is desirous of being purchased by sailor than my wanderings had made him, there is scarcely a quality which of me, could have surely foretold a a valuable servant ought to possess, coming gale. The negroes, however, which poor Pompey will not claim as worked very lazily, and at length fell his own. His joy at having escaped asleep. The man at the helm, who the clutches of a hard master will know alone knew in what direction our vesno bounds, and he may be considered sel lay, was somewhat intoxicated, and a “cheap lot," at a large sum.

mistook the lights on the shore for those It is not unusual for a master to come of the ship lanthorns. While we were mission a slave to sell himself. To roaming about in this manner, the wind bring a high price in the market is began to rise, and the boat to fill rapidthe great ambition of a negro. He ly with water. The heat of a close Cawill call upon “ de good Buckra men,' rolinian night had unnerved me. My begging them to purchase him, show, thoughts had wandered to far distant ing off his best points with the zeal shores; and long buried recollections, and tact of an experienced auctioneer. coming thick upon me, had hitherto

The price of a good negro varies prevented my perceiving our perilous from 400 to 1000 dollars. A mulatoo condition. Now, however, I endeafellow, who was employed as a porter voured to awaken the sleepers, and at an auction-room, and was consi- make the helmsman do his duty; but dered trustworthy and sober, brought this was beyond my power. They seem1500 dollars (about 3507.) when I was ed to consider drowning a matter of no in Charleston. This is the largest sum moment, and the preservation of life I have ever known to be paid for a not worth an effort. I tried the effects slave.

of kicks, and blows with my fist, in The circumstances which attended vain. They merely laughed, with their my final departure from Charleston usual,“ He, he, he, Massa veby funny." were rather singular. And I am tempt- At length I found at the bottom of ihe ed to relate them here, as, indepen- boat a piece of board, about two feet dently of any interest they may pos- long, and rough at the corners; with sess in themselves, they afford a mourn- this I belaboured the “niggers” on ful proof of the tendency of slavery to their heads and shins; till I awakened debase the human mind, and produce a them thoroughly, and compelled them dogged indifference to the preservation to work for my preservation and their of life itself.

So at last, after a hazardous sail I had taken my passage for England, of four hours, we reached the ship. But in a vessel that lay about four miles never shall I forget the deadly sickness from the city, waiting for a favourable which came over me when, for a time, wind. Being much hurried, I was un- I despaired of rousing the poor slaves. able to proceed to her place of anchor- After an absence of many years, during

own.

[ocr errors]

G.

which labour, anxiety, and some ill- where they lay upon the ballust in the health had rather worn me, I was with- Run, to their own berth forward in the in half a mile, probably, of a first-rate bows of the little vessel; they then revessel, ready to sail for home and Eng- placed the planks which they had land, -yet was I doomed, as I feared, to started, and arranged the dead body of perish disgracefully by the sinking of the mate along the cabin floor, close to a dirty water-tank, in company with two where I lay, faint and bleeding, and

niggers” and a mulatto! Strange as more heavily bruised than I had at first it may seem, this last consideration thought. was, I believe, the one which stimula The captain was still at the helm ; he ted me to exertion. Those of my read- had never spoken a word either to me ers who have resided much among this or any of the crew, since he had taken degraded race, will, I think, understand the trifling liberty of shooting me through this feeling; though they may not, any the neck, and no thanks to him that the more than myself, be able to justify or wound was not mortal; but he now readmire it.

Mon. Mag.

sumed his American accent, and began to drawl out the necessary orders for

repairing damages. TO MISS

When I went on deck shortly afterThe Crescent's Light."

wards, I was surprised beyond measure

to perceive the injury the little vessel We've heard of Sarah's Eyes, and Anna's,

had sustained, and the uncommon speed, Eliza's, Ellen's, Jane's, and Sophy's, Maria's, Emily's, Susannah's,

handiness, and skill, with which it had And of the broken hearts—their trophies. been repaired. However lazily the of Sapphire Eyes, and dove-like Eyes, command might appear to have been

Love darting Eyes, Eyes sly, and sunny; given, the execution of it was quick
Eyes that from Swains draw heavy sighs,
And from a Miser coax his money:

as lightning. The crew, now reduced

to ten working hands, had, with an alof Eyes like di'monds, jet, or stars ; Eyes to be envied by the fawn!

most miraculous promptitude, knotted Eyes such as Shakspeare gives to Mars, and spliced the rigging, mended and And Eyes that emulate the dawn :

shifted sails, fished the sprung and Eyes cruel, murd'rous Eyes, that pierce wounded spars, and plugged and nailed Men's hosoms through-like Polish lances !

lead over the shot-holes, and all within And Eyes that scorch with fames so fierce, And Eyes that slay with side-long glances ; half an hour. I don't like Americans ;

I never did, and never shall like them ; of sleepy Eyes, too, Poets chaunt; And Eyes that can't help running riot ;

I have seldom or never met with an And roguish Eyes-that only want

American gentleman; I have no wish To rob each gazer of his quiet.

to eat with them, drink with them, deal But all the Eyes recounted here,

with, or consort with them in any way; Could all these Eyes their charms combine, but let me tell the whole truth, nor fight Would, lovely maid, in mine appear Dreary and dim-compar'd with thine. C.

with them, were it not for the laurels to be acquired, by overcoming an enemy

so brave, determined, and alert, and CUBA FISHERMEN.*

every way so worthy of one's steel, as

they have always proved. One used to It was now five in the afternoon, and fight with a Frenchman, as a matter of the breeze continued to fall, and the sea to go down, until sunset, by which time course, and for the fun of the thing as we had run the corvette hull down, and lity of Johnny Crapeau beating us,

it were, never dreaming of the possibithe schooner nearly out of sight. Right where there was any thing approaching a-head of us rose the high land of Cuba, to an equality of force; but, say as to the westward of Cape Maise, clear much as we please about larger ships, and well-defined against the northern and more men, and a variety of ex sky, and as we neither hauled our wind

cuses which proud John Bull, with to weather the east end of the island, some truth very often I will admit, has nor edged away for St. Jago, it was evi• pertinaciously thrust forward to palliate dent, beyond all doubt, that we were his losses during the short war, a regard running right in for some one of the for truth and fair dealing, which I hope piratical haunts on the Cuba coast.

are no scarce qualities amongst British The crew now set to work, and removed the remains of their late mess- though I would of course peril my life

seamen, compels me to admit, that almate, and the two wounded men, from and credit more readily with an English

crew, yet I believe a feather would turn The reader will recognise this as a continuation of the tale, the "Chase of the Smuge

the scale between the two countries, so gler," in No. 250.

far as courage and seamanship goes;

and let it not be forgotten, although we ted stream of black gore crept from it have now regained our superiority in sluggishly down his right cheek, and this respect, yet, in gunnery, and small- coagulated on a heap on the deck. His arm practice, we were as thoroughly lower jaw had fallen, and there he lay weathered on by the Americans during agape with his mouth full of blood. the war, as we overtopped them in the His legs, indeed his whole body bull-dog courage, with which our board. below his loins, where the fracture of ers handled those genuine English wea the spine had taken place, rested prepons, the cutlass and the pike.

cisely as they had been arranged after After the captain had given his or- he died; but the excessive swelling ders, and seen the men fairly at work, and puffing out of his broad chest, conhe came down to the cabin, still ghastly trasted shockingly with the shrinking and pale, but with none of that ferocity of the body at the pit of the stomach, stamped on his grim features, from the by which the arch of the ribs was left outpouring of which I had suffered so as well defined as if the skin had been severely. He never once looked my drawn over a skeleton, and the disforway, no more than if I had been a bun- tion of the muscles of the cheeks and dle of old junk; but folding his hands throat evinced the fearful strength of on his knee, he sat down on a small the convulsions which had preceded his locker, against which the feet of the dissolution. It was evident, indeed, dead mate rested, and gazed earnestly that throughout his whole person above on his face, which was immediately the waist, the nervous system had been under the open skylight, through which, utterly shattered: the arms, especially, by this time, the clear cold rays of the appeared to have been awfully dismoon streamed full on it, the short twi- torted, for when crossed on his breast, light having already fled, chained as it they had to be forcibly fastened down

is in these clinates to the chariot wheels at the wrists by a band of spun-yarn to of the burning sun. My eye naturally the buttons of his jacket. His right followed his, but I speedily withdrew it. hand was shut, with the exception of I had often bent over comrades who had the fore-finger, which was extended, been killed by gun-shot wounds, and pointing upwards ; but the whole arm, always remarked what is well known, from the shoulder down, had the horrible that the features wore a benign expresó appearance of struggling to get free from sion, bland, and gentle, and contented the cord which confined it. as the face of a sleeping infant, while Obed, by the time I had noticed all their limbs were composed decently, this, had knelt beside the shoulder of often gracefully, like one resting after the corpse, and I could see by the moongreat fatigue, as if nature, like an affec- light that flickered across his face as tionate nurse, had arranged the death- the vessel rolled in the declining breeze, bed of her departing child with more that he had pushed off his eye the unthan usual care, preparatory to his last couth spyglass which he had fastened long sleep. Whereas those who had over it during the chase, so that it now died from the thrust of a pike or the stood out from the middle of his foreblow of a cutlasss, however mild the head like a stunted horn; but, in truth, living expression of their countenance “ it was not exalted," for he appeared might have been, were always fearfully crushed down to the very earth by the contorted both in body and face. sadness of the scene before him, and I

In the present instance, the eyes were noticed the frequent sparkle of a heavy wide open, white, prominent, and tear as it fell from his iron visage on glazed like those of a dead fish; the the face of the dead man. At length he hair, which was remarkably fine, and untied the string that fastened the eyehad been worn in long ringlets, amongst glass round his head, and taking a which a large gold ear-ring glittered, coarse towel from a locker, he spurged the poor fellow having been a nautical poor Paul's face and neck with rum, dandy of the first water, was drenched and then fastened up his lower jaw with and clotted into heavy masses with the the lanyard. Having performed this deathsweat, and had fallen back on melancholy office, the poor fellow's the deck from his forehead, which was feelings could no longer be restrained well formed, high, broad and massive. by my presence. His nose was transparent, thin, and “ God help me, I have not now one sharp, the tense skin on the bridge of it friend in the wide world. When I had glancing in the silver light, as if it had neither home, nor food, nor clothing, been glass. His mouth was puckered he sheltered me, and fed ine, and on one side into angular wrinkles, like clothed me, when a single word would a curlain drawn up awry, while a clot- have gained him five hundred dollars,

and run me up to the fore yard-arın in Why, man,” rejoined I, leave a wreath of white smoke; but he was off this stuff; something has turned true as steel; and oh that he was now your brain, surely; people must die in doing for me what I have done for him! their beds, you know, if they be not who would have moaned over me, me, shot, or put out of the way somehow or who am no:v without wife or child, and other; and as for my small affair why I have disgraced all my kin! alack-a-day, forgive you, man-from my heart I foralack-a-day!"—And he sobbed and give you ; were it only for the oddity wept aloud, as if his very heart would of your scantling, mental and corporeal, have burst in twain.

I would do so; and you see I am not “But I will soon follow you, Paul, much hurt,-so lend me a hand like a I have had my warning already; I know good fellow, to wash the wound with a it, and I believe it." At this instant little spirits--it will stop the bleeding, the dead hand of the mate burst the and the stiffness will soon go offligature that kept it down across his so"body, and slowly rose up and remained “ Lieutenant Cringle, I need not tell in a beckoning attitude.

what I know you have found out, that I was seized with a cold shivering I am not the vulgar Yankee smuggler, from head to foot, and would have fit only to be made a butt of by you and shrieked aloud, had it not been for very your friends, that you no doubt at first shame, but Obed was unmoved. I took me for; but who or what I am, or know it, Paul. I know it. I am ready, what I may have been, you shall never and I shall not be long behind you. know-but I will tell you this much”He fastened the arm down once more, « Devil confound the fellow!-why and having called a couple of hands to this is 100 much upon the brogue, Obed. assist him, they lashed up the remains Will you help me to dress my wound, of their shipmate in his hammock, with man, and leave off your cursed sentia piece of iron ballast at his feet, and mental speeches, which you must have then, without more ado, handed the gleaned froin some old novel or another? body up through the skylight; and I i'll hear it all by and by.” heard the heavy splash as they cast it At this period I was a reckless young into the sea. When this was done, the chap, with strong nerves, and my own captain returned to the cabin, bringing share of that animal courage, which genea light with him, filled and drank off a rally oozes out at one's finger ends when glass of strong grog. Yet he did not one gets married and turned of thirty; even now deign to notice me, which was nevertheless I did watch with some by no means soothing; and I found, anxiety the effect which my unceremothat, since he would'nt speak, I must, nious interruption was to have upon at all hazards.

him. I was agreeably surprised to Obed, do you ever read your find that he took it all in good part, Bible?" He looked steadily at me with and set himself, with great alacrity and his lacklustre eyes.

“Because, if you kindness even, to put me to rights, and do, you may perhaps have fallen in so succesfully, that when I was washed with some such passage as the follow- and cleansed, and fairly coopered up, ing :-"Behold I am in your hand; I found myself quite able to take my but know ye for certain, that if ye put place at the table; and having no fear me to death, ye shall surely bring inno- of the College of Surgeons before my cent blood upon yourselves.'”

eyes, I helped myself to a little of the “It is true, Mr. Cringle, I feel the needful, and in the plentitude of my truth of it here,” and he laid his large heart, I asked Obed's pardon for my bony hand on his heart. “ Yet I do not ill-bred interruption. ask you to forgive me; I don't expect “ It was not quite the thing to cut that you can or will ; but unless the you short in the middle of your Newdevil gets possession of me again- gate Calendar, Obed-beg pardon, your which, so sure as ever there was a story, I mean; no offence now, none in demoniac in this world, he had this the world-eh? But where the deuce, afternoon when you so tempted me~1 man, got you this fine linen of Egypt ?'' hope soon to place you in safety, either looking at the sleeves of the shirt Obed in a friendly port, or on board of a Bri- had obliged me with, as I sat without tish vessel; and then what becomes of my coat. “ I had not dreamt you had me is of little consequence now, since the any thing so luxurious in your kit.” only living soul who cared a dollar for I saw his brow begin to lower again, me is at rest among the coral branches so the devil prompted me to advert, by at the bottom of the deep green sea. way of changing the subject, to a file of

“I say,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »