Puslapio vaizdai

he will be indebted for any portion of it in this his native country. I will conclude, my dear Kitt, with some advice of a contemporary of these men, which will be of use to you this cold weather, and may prevent your catching cold, which would be of great detriment to one of your rheumatic tendency :

Mensibus Ratis ne super lapidem sedeatis.

Never sit on a stone in a month that has an r in it.

Yours, &c.



I SAILED from Scotland for Quebec, in the beginning of summer, and had a great number of emigrants as fellowpassengers. Being all of the lower class, they occupied the steerage, which was divided into various small compartments, that different families might be separated from each other. At first this arrangement seemed unnecessary, for every one evinced the utmost goodwill towards his neighbours,-novelty of situation having created a community of feeling among people who had no connexion or acquaintance with each other. Most of the emigrants were natives of Scotland; but the new circumstances in which they found themselves placed seemed to divest them of much of their natural caution and reserve. When they first came on board, they conversed freely about their private affairs, confided to each other the causes that had respectively induced them to leave home, and mutually offered to use their endeavours to alleviate the inconveniences and uncomforts which they expected to encounter during the voyage. Those who felt most afflicted at leaving their native country, employed themselves in anticipating the happiness which they supposed would await them on the other side of the Atlantic, while some, who apparently cared little about home, talked without intermission of the anguish they had suffered when quitting it. All idea of danger seemed to be studiously avoided by every one, and calm seas, cloudless skies, and favourable winds, were talked of, and looked forward to, as the inseparable attendants of a sea voyage.

For two days after we had put to sea, the weather was bright and beautiful. The waves scarcely rocked our ship, as we glided slowly down the Mull of Cantyre, and watched the Highland hills rising in majestic suc

cession on each side of us, and gradually fading into undefined masses as we receded from them. The emigrants remained almost constantly upon deck. Men, women, and children, loitered about promiscuously, in a state of indolent good humour, and made remarks upon every thing they saw. Some pointed to particular hills, telling their names, and describing the country near them; others dwelt upon the advantages they had foregone in leaving home, and spoke of the wealth, influence, and respectability of their relations; and a few, who appeared to have weighty reasons for not talking about their own affairs, wandered among the various groups, and listened carelessly to what was passing. One man derived a great deal of temporary importance, from his possessing a small work which treated of North America. He placed himself in an elevated situation, and occasionally read such portions of the book as were best calculated to excite the admiration and astonishment of those around him. Many began to consider him a perfect oracle, and when any dispute took place about the new country to which we were hastening, it was invariably referred to his decision. An old woman and her daughter assumed the lead in the female circles. They enumerated the disagreeables of a sea voyage; lamented that they had not become cabin passengers; declared there was no one on board with whom they could associate; and made many allusions to the terrors and anxieties which they believed their friends would suffer on

their account. Their auditors permitted them to talk without interruption; for every one seemed willing to let his neighbours exhibit their respective pretensions and characteristics, that he might be the better able

to form a correct estimate of what they really were, and likewise attain some knowledge of the different persons with whom circumstances had placed him in such close contact.

On the evening of the second day, most of the emigrants appeared to think that they had already had large experience of a sea life, and that nothing worse than the past was to be feared or anticipated. Some affected to talk knowingly of nautical affairs; while others ridiculed all idea of dan ger, and expressed a wish that a storm might speedily arise, and afford them evidence of the exaggerated accounts which they believed sailors usually gave of the perils and terrors of tempestuous weather. The wind had been gentle and baffling all the afternoon; but, towards sun-set it freshened and blew a steady breeze. A small sea soon got up, and our vessel, being under easy sail, began to pitch and roll about a little. At first, the emigrants walked backwards and forwards unsteadily, and often caught hold of the ropes that hung within reach; but, after a little time, most of them stopped, and leaned upon the bulwarks. The conversation gradually became broken and disjointed-those who had taken the most conspicuous part in it said least, and total silence soon ensued. Every one looked scrutinizingly into the face of his neighbour, but seemed averse to undergo a similar in spection himself. The groups that had covered the deck slowly dispersed, and those who composed them could be seen stealing away one by one, and cautiously descending into the steerage. Before the night was far advanced, all were in their births except the sea


The wind continued to increase in violence, and next morning it blew hard, and there was a heavy sea and a good deal of rain. A few of the emigrants, who had ventured out of the steerage, were crawling along the deck on all fours, with looks of alarm and anxiety. One man ventured to ask the mate, if he had ever seen such weather before; and the latter gave a significant look, and said, he hoped not to meet with such again; but, that God was merciful, and, for his part, he ne ver despaired as long as the planks of the vessel kept together. This reply was listened to with dismay by all who heard it; and several immediately went

below, and informed their companions, that we were in imminent danger. In a moment the steerage became a scene of tumult and confusion; parents were heard calling their children around them; the old women asked for their Bibles; the young ones sought consolation from their husbands; prayers and ejaculations were mingled with inquiries which the questioners seemed almost afraid to have answered; messengers were sent upon deck at intervals, to ascertain the state of the weather; and some proposed that they should petition the Captain to make sail for the nearest harbour.

The mate distributed the provisions among the emigrants every morning after breakfast, and when the time for doing this arrived, he made the seamen bring the casks of beef and flour upon deck, and likewise a large pair of scales to weigh out the rations. The noise produced by these arrangements, made the people below conceive that the crew were in the act of putting out the boats, and that the ship was in a sinking state. Next moment confirmed their fears, for the mate called down the gangway, "All hands upon deck!" Males and females, and old men and children, began to ascend the stairs with furious haste, and the steerage was soon completely deserted. They all rushed towards the bulwarks, struggling to get as near them as possible, that they might have an early oppor tunity of embarking in the boats. But when their agitation had a little subsided, and when they saw the mate standing between two casks, and coolly weighing out their rations, they seemed at a loss what to think, and viewed one another with a mingled expression of shame and apprehension. The laughter of the seamen soon made them suspect that they had been imposed upon by imagination; and the mate bid them advance to receive their respective allowances, saying, it was not likely the vessel would go to the bottom till after dinner, and declaring, that the panic he had occasioned was for the purpose of bringing them upon deck for the benefit of their health. This explana tion restored tranquillity, and every one good-humouredly bore the ridicule of his neighbours, because he could retort upon them whenever he chose.

In the course of the day, the wind became more moderate, and we entertained hopes of soon having fine wea

ther. Many of the emigrants resumed their stations upon deck, and began to amuse themselves in the various ways that their respective circumstances permitted, though they evidently were not so cheerful and confident as when we first set sail. But, towards the af ternoon, the increasing violence of the wind interrupted their recreations, and it was not long before we had a strong gale from the west, which reduced us to our courses. The sea ran so high, that the Captain took the helm; and the passengers, on seeing this, thought that things had come to the worst, and manifested strong symptoms of terror and despair. Our ship pitched and rolled very much, and they could hardly stand without support; but, nevertheless, seemed unwilling to go below. The crew, being employed almost everywhere, hurried backwards and forwards, pushing them unceremoniously from side to side, and answer ing their questions and exclamations with oaths and looks of derision. At last a wave broke over the vessel, and they all, as if under one impulse, descended into the steerage; the gangway hatch of which was immediately closed above them.

A severe attack of sea-sickness obliged me to retire to my birth, which was separated by a thin partition only from the place where all the emigrants lay. I sought repose in vain. The sea beat against the vessel with dreadful noise, and made her timbers creak and quiver from one end to the other; and during the short intervals of external quietness that sometimes occurred, my ears were filled with the moans, sighs, and complaints of those who occupied the steerage. Much tumult, anxiety, and confusion, seemed to prevail among them; and every time the ship rolled more violently than usual, a host of ejaculations, shrieks, and screams, burst from the mouths of men, women, and children; while the rolling of casks, the crashing of earthen ware, and the noise of articles of furniture tossing from side to side, completed the discordant and terrifying

combination of sounds.

While listening to the clamours which prevailed on all sides, the mate entered the cabin, and informed me that a man had fallen down the gangway, and was much hurt. I imme, diately forgot my sea sickness, and rose from my birth and went to his relief.

On reaching the steerage, I found my self in the midst of a scene that was equally ludicrous and distressing; all the emigrants occupied their respective compartments, many of which were so crowded that their inmates actually lay upon one another; and each, at the same time, in his anxiety to retain his place, totally disregarded the comfort and convenience of his neighbours, and extended his legs and arms where ever he thought fit. As often as the motion of the vessel indicated that she was on the point of rolling violently, a general commotion took place among the emigrants some clung to any ob jects that were within reach-others stretched themselves along the floor, and a third set tried to resist the anti cipated shock by wedging themselves closely together. However, notwith standing all these precautions, a sudden heave of the ship often dislodged whole families from their births, and hurled them headlong among their companions, who lay on the opposite side. Then screams, complaints, and exclamations of dismay, were exchan ged by both parties, while the intruders crawled cautiously back to their former quarters, and began to fortify them selves against the recurrence of a simi❤ lar accident. The pale countenances, dejected looks, and tremulous motions of the different groups in the steerage, were strikingly opposed to the ruddy complexions, confident deportments, and robust gestures, which they had exhibited when they first came on board. The ardour of enterprize was completely damped, and many of them inveighed bitterly against emigration, and vowed that if they could but once reach home, they would rather starve there than again endanger their lives by making a voyage to a foreign land. I observed one man staggering backwards and forwards, with clasped hands and eyes full of tears. He said he had left a wife and five children on shore, and was certain they would think we were all in the bottom of the sea; for a wind much less violent than that

which now raged around us, had once blown down three stacks of chimneys in his native place. An old woman, whom some one was attempting to console with the hopes of favourable weather, replied, that it mattered little to her how things went, for all her best clothes had been spoiled by the breaking of a jar of honey, which she had


foolishly put in the bottom of her trunk. A young girl went about inquiring what we would do when it got dark, for if the wind blew out the lights upon deck, the Captain could not possibly know which way the ship went; and her mother, who was a fisherman's widow, said that her experience of sea matters taught her to know that unless things were differently managed on board, our vessel would soon go to pieces. The man who had fallen down the gangway, met with no sympathy or attention, and I was obliged to order some seamen to carry him to his birth, otherwise he would have been totally neglected. However, on examination, we found that he was but slightly hurt, and therefore consigned him to the care of one of his relations, and then left the steerage.

The gale continued without the least, abatement, and as the violent pitching of the vessel rendered it im possible for one to sit up, or employ himself any way, I returned to my birth. It soon after grew dark, and the situation of all parties became doubly disagreeable and alarming. In the course of the evening I was started by loud cries, and next moment an old woman and her daughter rushed into the cabin, with looks of terror, and dropping on their knees, said that their time would not now be long, for the vessel had twice been half under water. I at the same moment, heard the brine trickling down the gangway, and consequently supposed we had shipped a sea, but endeavoured to remove their fears, by saying that such things occurred frequently, and did not prove the existence of danger. However, as they remained nearly speechless with dread, I got up, and having taken a bottle of brandy and a glass from the locker, gave the one to the mother, and the other to her daughter, telling them to revive their spirits by drinking a little cordial. They readily agreed to this, and the old wo man was in the act of filling up a glass ful, when an unexpected rolling of the vessel made her and her daughter slide suddenly over to the opposite side of the cabin. Next moment we swung tremendously in a contrary direction, and the two females were again hurled to leeward, along with a table, several chairs, and a large trunk. The noise was now distracting, and they increa

sed it by loud shrieks, but still kept firm hold of the articles I had put into their hands; the mother gliding across the floor with the brandy bottle, and the daughter following close behind with the glass. At last, the trunk came into colesion with the back of the former, and hit her such a severe blow that she began so gasp for breath, and soon fell prostrate, on which situation she was firmly pinioned by the weight of a couple of chairs that happened to roll above her. The Captain now entered the cabin, and the scene before him seemed so ludicrous, that he could not refrain from laughter. He immediately released the old woman from her jeopardy, and then administered a liberal portion of brandy to both females, telling them that the worst of the gale was over, and that we would soon have fine weather. Consoled by these assurances, they returned to the steerage, and made the happy intelligence known there, and all we had hoped for was soon realized. The wind suddenly changed its direction, and abated to a gentle breeze, and long ere midnight, tranquillity prevailed both above and below decks.

Next morning we found ourselves sweeping along under the influence of favourable and moderate wind. Most of the emigrants having alike recovered from their fears and their sea sickness, kept the deck, and began to display their respective characters more fully than they had hitherto done. The person who seemed most inclined to take the lead, was a man named M'Arthur, and by profession a distiller. He was tall and raw boned, and had something very whimsical in the expression of his countenance, and in his whole deportment. He walked the deck constantly with his hands in his pockets, observing all that passed, and making remarks upon it to those around him, and whoever disputed his opinions was sure to feel the weight of his ridicule and sarcasm. The person next in importance, bore the appellation of Spiers, and was a thread-maker, according to his own account. He professed to be a man of education and knowledge of the world, and often hinted that misfortunes alone had induced him to abandon his native country and become a steerage passenger. He held, as it were, the situation of master of ceremonies on board, and adjusted all points connected with conduct and be


all us passengers put together."nothing about the Captain!" cried a woman; " his behaviour made my blood curdle cold,—instead of saying his prayers, or thinking about the preservation of the Christian people on board his ship, he passed his time in turning round that bit wheel there," (pointing to the apparatus for moving the tiller.)" You speak without knowledge," returned Mrs Burrel," if it was'nt for that wheel it would be impossible to manage the ship."-"Ay, ay," answered the first, " I fancy the captain told you so; but I'm rather unfond of believing every thing I hear." -"Keep your tongue in order," cried Mrs Burrel; "have you the impudence to tell me that I speak an untruth? Well, well, I thank my stars the ship's no under your command.". "If it was," replied her enraged opponent, "I would give you a hot birth."- "I daresay that," interrupted Mrs Burrel; "and I half deserve such already, for demeaning myself by taking a place in the steerage-I'll be a cabin passenger the next voyage I make my rich friends will never forgive me for disconveniencing myself in this fashion."

haviour. A cooper bore the third rank among the emigrants; however, he did not enjoy this elevation because he possessed any personal or intellectual superiority, but merely in consequence of his broad humour, want of perception, and undisguised vulgarity of character. Several other males of the party st distinguished themselves in various ways, among whom was an individual who had a smattering of navigation and astronomy, and who usually made his appearance upon deck about mid-day, with a quadrant in his hand. Whenever he saw the Captain preparing to take an observation, he set about doing so likewise, and afterwards committed the results to paper, and remained absolved in the contemplation of them during some hours. He then strutted consequentially along the deck, and scarcely deigned to reply to his fellowpassengers, when they ventured to inquire in what latitude we were, or how many miles we had sailed within a certain space of time. The old woman and her daughter, who were named Burrel, took the lead among the females on board. Having resided in a small village, and been of some importance there, they seemed resolved to maintain the dignity they had once enjoyed, and to exact a proportionable degree of deference from their fellow-passengers. They usually sat near the companion, and entered into conversation with the captain and mate as often as opportunity offered. When they did address any other person, it was with

an air of condescension and reserve, and they affected to despise, and undervalue all those things that astonished, amused, or interested, the other emigrants.

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"We have at least one comfortable reflection," said Spiers, stepping forward, and raising his voice, 66 none of us shewed the least want of courage during the hour of danger."-" There was a fine shew of pale faces, though,” observed M'Arthur.-"Yes, because we were all sea-sick," replied a young man." Sea-sick!" exclaimed Mrs Burrel; "I don't know what you mean. I wasn't sea-sick. I never was sea-sick in my life, and I've made voyages before this.". ." I wish I could The gale of wind we had experien- say as you do, mistress," observed the ced formed a subject of conversation old man who had spoken first; "howon board for several days, and almost ever ill I was at the heart, I noticed every one expressed his opinion consome things that made me doubt our cerning it. The hand of Providence Captain's skill. I never was on the sea alone preserved us from the deep," said before, indeed, but then I've read an old man; "I warrant ye the best Lloyd's List. The wind was direct asailor in this ship never saw such wea- head, but still he kept up the sails. ther before. I've been in the way of Now, what could be the purpose of seeing Lloyd's list, and getting a notion that? just to drive us back to the place of nautical affairs, but yesterday's temwe came from. In mynotion, he should pest beats all I've yet read about."have taken down all his canvass, and “We're no accustomed to such adven- cast anchor.""I have my doubts if tures," returned another of the emi- he could have found bottom to do grants," and so we think more of that," said a sedate-looking man, who


them. The Captain took little head of the weather-there was a greater stock courage in his little finger than in



had not hitherto spoken. "It is astonishing what mistakes prevail about the depth of the sea. It has bottom

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