Imatges de pÓgina

and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” We have now God's Word to read, and every little boy and girl may learn there His will. Let us not forget the brave man who, amidst such danger and enmity, first gave the Bible to the English people.

From Stories and Pictures from Church History

(by kind permission of the R. T. S.)



THE SCHOOLMASTER. BESIDE yon straggling fence that skirts the way With blossomed furze unprofitably gayThere, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule, The village master taught his little school; A man severe he was, and stern to view, I knew him well, and every truant knew; Well had the boding tremblers learnt to trace The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laughed with counterfeited 1 glee At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Full well the busy whisper, circling round, Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned; Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault. The village all declared how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write and cipher too; Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, 2 And even the story ran that he could gauge,

In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,
For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thund'ring sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head should carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot,
Where many a time he triumphed, is forgot.




ONE night we had the middle watch, and were together on the look-out forward. It was unusually dark, neither moon nor stars were visible, and the clouds hung down in a thick canopy over us. A strong breeze was blowing from the southward and eastward, and we were standing to the south-west with our port-tacks aboard. The sea was not very heavy, but it struck me at the time that it was somewhat uneven and irregular, and this made me suspect that we might be in the neighbourhood of land or fields of ice. Newman was talking of the Aurora Australis," and telling me how much he longed to see its effect in its fullest brilliancy, when suddenly he seized my arm with a firm grasp.

“Williams !” he exclaimed, “ do you see that unusual whiteness glimmering there ahead, and on our starboard-bow? I hear the surf beating on it! I'm sure it's an iceberg! Starboard your helm ! Luff all you can! Starboard for our lives !” he shouted, rushing aft to see this done. I meantime called on those on deck to get a pull at the headbraces; an inch might save the ship. There was no time for ceremony; no time to announce the fact in set form to the officer of the watch. This was the second mate. He was happily a sensible man. He at once comprehended the emergency, and gave the necessary orders to brace up the yards, and bring the ship close upon a wind. We were not a moment too soon in anything that was done. The white glimmering appearance grew every instant more distinct, till it resolved itself into a vast massive iceberg towering high above the mast-heads, while the roar of the breakers which dashed against its sides increased in loudness. The ship heeled over to the gale till her yard-arms seemed almost to touch the floating mountain. Still she stood up bravely to her canvas, closely hugging the wind. Had a rope been rotten, had a spar given way, our fate might have been sealed. In one instant after striking, the ship and everything in her might have been dashed to atoms.

The man with firmest nerves among all our crew watched that lofty berg, as we rushed by it in our midnight course, with feelings of awe and anxiety, if not of alarm, and drew a breath more freely when he looked over the quarter and saw the danger past. It was not the only one we encountered that night. Sail had been shortened; but it was evidently necessary, after the warning we had received, to keep the ship as much as possible under command.

On, on we flew through the murky night, the gale every moment increasing in force, and the sea rising and breaking in unexpected directions. We had again kept away on our course. Sail was still further reduced. The cold had before been considerable; it now much increased, and our decks were now covered with ice. Captain Carr had, the moment we sighted the iceberg, come on deck; the watch below were called, and every one was at his post. It was not a time for any one to be spared. We had evidently got into the icy regions sooner than had been expected. Intending to get out of them, the captain gave the order to keep away, but scarcely had we done so when an icefield was seen extending away on our lee-bow and ahead, and we were again obliged to haul up, hoping to get round it. On, therefore, we sailed; but as we advanced we found the ice-field extending away on our starboard-beam, the sea breaking over it with a noise which warned us what would be the consequence if we should strike it.

Let our position be pictured for an instant. The fierce waves dashing wildly and irregularly about us; the storm raging fiercely; the ship driving onwards through pitchy darkness; wide, massive fields of ice extending on every side; huge icebergs floating around we knew not where; no lighthouse, no chart to guide us; our ears and eyes stretched to the utmost, giving but short warning of approaching danger. Such are the scenes which wear out a commander's strength and make his hair turn quickly grey. We knew full well that danger's still thickly surrounded us, and heartily did we wish for the return of day to see them. Newman and I were again forward. I was telling him that I had heard of a ship striking a berg, and of several of her people being saved on it, while she went down, when he startled me by singing out with a voice of thunder, “Ice ahead!” At the same moment old Knowles cried out, “Ice on the weather-bow !" and immediately I had to echo the shout with “Ice on the lee-bow !” and another cried, "Ice abeam!"

To tack would have been instant destruction ; to wear, there was no room. Every moment we expected to feel the awful crash as the stout ship encountered the hard ice. Captain Carr rushed forward. We must dash onward. Though no opening could be seen, there might be one! Onward we careered. Every man held his breath; and pale, I doubt not, turned the faces of the bravest. Suddenly, high above us, on the weather side, appeared another iceberg. The sea became almost calm; but it was a calmness fraught with danger rather than safety. The sails, caught by the eddy-wind, were taken aback, In another moment we might have been driven, without power of saving ourselves, under that frowning cliff of ice. The storm raged above us—before us-behind us --on every side—but there we lay, as if exhausted. Still the ship had no way on her, and we continued

« AnteriorContinua »