tbe minutiæ of the service. In the present instance, it has been deemed necessary partly to throw off the incognito ; and as, among the conjectures which have been hazarded by reviewers and others, that Work has been confidently asserted to be the joint production of several professional men, the authors beg to assure the reader, that whatever merit their former, or their present Work may be considered to possess, it is not too much to be shared between two individuals-NAVAL OFFICER and a TEMPLAR.




-A home returning bark-
Blow fair, thou breeze! she anchors ere the dark.
Already doubled is the cape-our bay
Receives the prow which proudly spurns the spray.


“ A STRANGE sail, hy all that's brave :"--exclaimed old Captain Crank, as he had adjusted to his eye a favourite Dollond's day-and-night telescope, which was handsomely mounted in the oriel window of one of the most compact neat cottages that graced the picturesque banks of the river Dart. Erected on rather an abrupt eminence above the cliff, this rural retreat commanded an almost boundless view of the English channel on three sides ; save where it was intercepted, on the west, by the bold projection of the Start Point; a headland so often hailed with delight, as the harbinger of home, by the returning wanderer of the wave.

" Let me see,” continued the captain ; 66 whatthree reefs out o' the taupsles* on a wind !--never did that in my time-don't dream of the squall that ’ill catch him off the point-a younker, I warrant !-Shoud'nt wonder if his top-masts went over the side ;-all comes of boys shipping swabst before they shave.--Weather fore-taupslesheet not home by a fathom--jib stay in a bight, toom

Topsails--the pronunciation of this word instantly detects the landsman.

† Mounting epaulettes, which in his day denoted a captain.

[ocr errors]

not a block to be seen low or aloft-bless my soul!--nor a hand in the chains !* She's ashore for a shilling.'

But the subject of these testy criticisms soon assumed a very different appearance. It was true, that at the moment the veteran had pronounced her " jib-stay to be in a bight," and * her fore-topsail-sheet not home by a fathom,” her crew were in the act of setting up the one, and 4. singling" the other,--the latter being a practice fre.. quently adopted of late by officers for the purpose of clewing up the top sails with a celerity, which to either a novice, or one of the old school of seamen, bad all the appearance of legerdemain. The critic could not fail to be in some degree surprised by the effect of this rapid evolution in

shortening sail ;” and he had the further mortification of finding himself“ out in his reckoning” as to another foreboding ; for the vessel, with all her broad and lofty canvass spread, as if wooing the wind, not only stood into her an. chorage in admirable style ; but, to the evident mortification of the petulant prophet, took up a safe birth, suddenly clewing up every thing, in a position near enough to give the veteran a full view from his window, of her busy, but orderly deck.

The only auditors which this nautical Nestor had for his critical comments upon the rising generation of our seamen, were two female relatives, who constituted the whole of his fireside circle. The elder, a respectable middleaged matron, the captain's sister-in-law ; whose life had been sufficiently chequered to have imparted to her character all those chameleon hues, which result from a knowledge of the world. Of an ambitious disposition, though humble extraction, she had been principally indebted to a fair share of personal attractions for her establishment in life, if more than existence it might be called, whose daily inconveniences and perplexities were to be constantly encountered and defeated by shifts and evasions absolutely necessary to maintain appearances in the early stages of her husband's professional career. He had been a country attorney in a small town, where the spirit of litigation had been restrained by the potent spells of religious enthu

* A leadsman to ascertain the depth of water,

siasm ; or, in other words, as most of its population were members of the same sect, their disputes were, too often for the attorney's interest, amicably adjusted by the intervention of the pulpit, rather than the woolsack. It was not wonderful, therefore, that Crank's prize money should now and then be invested in other hands than those of the Commissioners of the Navy Four-per-Cents,

The worthy veteran continued for years to supply the wants of a brother, whose choice of a profession had been so unfortunate. A sense of dependence and degradation gradually brought on an apathy and distaste for life, from which the attorney vainly sought relief in the too frequent use of spirituous liquors; and he paid the penalty of these culpable attempts to escape from the cares of the world, by an attack of apoplexy, which closed his career, without burdening his family by any regret for his loss. What had proved poison to her husband's temporal concerns,. turned out a balm to the sorrows of his spouse--she became a convert to those principles whose influence had ruined the lawyer's practice ;-was frequent in her attendance at

meeting ;"-seldom seen at church; and rose, as vete. rans, ought in the forces, with her standing, through the different grades of "hearer,” “ convert," class-sister," and " band-sister," until she became as constant in her attendance on the service at Zerubbabel Chapel, as the pillar which supported its pulpit.

The next in order of rank, though far above her in the estimation and affection of the veteran, was his niece. Raised to a sphere far beyond her early expectations by her kind-hearted uncle, who had adopted her on his brother's death, and completed her education at considerable expense; Emily, like girls of any emulation, rose in spirit with her altered circumstances. She must have been dull indeed not to have perceived her own increased importance even while at school, in the deference and marked civilities of both mistress, teachers, and school-fellows, the moment she was recognised as the presumptive heir. ess of the retired old Ingee admiral, the title by which her uncle was usually designated.

Emily had acquired in the captain's society a compelent acquaintance with sea terms to comprehend that the

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »